I have no illusions that citing a few abstract will settle the question of whether or no strength training is effective for serious cyclists ... but what the heck. These recent studies suggest strength training is valuable. Your results may vary.
STUDY 1) Effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area, performance determinants, and performance in well-trained cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Mar;108(5):965-75. Epub 2009 Dec 4.
Rønnestad BR, Hansen EA, Raastad T.
University College, PB. 952, 2604, Lillehammer, Norway. email@example.com
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), determinants of cycling performance, and cycling performance in well-trained cyclists. Twenty well-trained cyclists were assigned to either usual endurance training combined with heavy strength training [E + S; n = 11 (male symbol = 11)] or to usual endurance training only [E; n = 9 (male symbol = 7, female symbol = 2)]. The strength training performed by E + S consisted of four lower body exercises [3 x 4-10 repetition maximum (RM)], which were performed twice a week for 12 weeks. Thigh muscle CSA, maximal force in isometric half squat, power output in 30 s Wingate test, maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2max)), power output at 2 mmol l(-1) blood lactate concentration ([la(-)]), and performance, as mean power production, in a 40-min all-out trial were measured before and after the intervention. E + S increased thigh muscle CSA, maximal isometric force, and peak power in the Wingate test more than E. Power output at 2 mmol l(-1) [la(-)] and mean power output in the 40-min all-out trial were improved in E + S (P < 0.05). For E, only performance in the 40-min all-out trial tended to improve (P = 0.057). The two groups showed similar increases in VO(2max) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, adding strength training to usual endurance training improved determinants of cycling performance as well as performance in well-trained cyclists. Of particular note is that the added strength training increased thigh muscle CSA without causing an increase in body mass.
STUDY 2) Effects of resistance training on endurance capacity and muscle fiber composition in young top-level cyclists.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Mar 1. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01283.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Equivocal findings exist on the effect of concurrent strength (S) and endurance (E) training on endurance performance and muscle morphology. Further, the influence of concurrent SE training on muscle fiber-type composition, vascularization and endurance capacity remains unknown in top-level endurance athletes. The present study examined the effect of 16 weeks of concurrent SE training on maximal muscle strength (MVC), contractile rate of force development (RFD), muscle fiber morphology and composition, capillarization, aerobic power (VO(2max) ), cycling economy (CE) and long/short-term endurance capacity in young elite competitive cyclists (n=14). MVC and RFD increased 12-20% with SE (P<0.01) but not E. VO(2max) remained unchanged. CE improved in E to reach values seen in SE. Short-term (5-min) endurance performance increased (3-4%) after SE and E (P<0.05), whereas 45-min endurance capacity increased (8%) with SE only (P<0.05). Type IIA fiber proportions increased and type IIX proportions decreased after SE training (P<0.05) with no change in E. Muscle fiber area and capillarization remained unchanged. In conclusion, concurrent strength/endurance training in young elite competitive cyclists led to an improved 45-min time-trial endurance capacity that was accompanied by an increased proportion of type IIA muscle fibers and gains in MVC and RFD, while capillarization remained unaffected.
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