Coach Hughes: Cycling Strength Training Muscle Balance pt. 2
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Intelligent Training—Training

Improving Muscle Balance, Part 2

Strength Training for Century, Brevet and Other Endurance Cyclists

by Dan Kehlenbach & John Hughes
© 2003 John Hughes, All Rights Reserved

John Hughes and Dan Kehlenbach are the authors of Distance Cycling: Your Complete Guide to Endurance Cycling Kehlenbach has been a contributing editor to UltraCycling and is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and as an expert level coach with USA Cycling and has a master’s degree in sports medicine. Hughes, the former director of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association and editor of UltraCycling, has been certified by the NSCA as a personal trainer and by USA Cycling as a coach. Both have been coaching for over 15 years.

Strength training overview [  Part 1  |  Part 2

Recommended exercises for

  1. Increasing core strength [  Part 1  |  Part 2  ]
  2. Developing leg strength [  Part 1 |  Part 2  ]
  3. Improving muscle balance [  Part 1  |  Part 2 ]
  4. Strengthening connective tissues [  Part 1  |  Part 2 ]
  5. Improving upper body endurance [  Part 1 |  Part 2 ]

Improving Muscle Balance
Most of us have strong quadriceps and relatively weak hip flexors, hamstrings, and gluteals. The following exercises will improve muscle balance and pedaling efficiency. Do one or two sets of 12-20 reps three days a week.

Single leg hip flexors: Continue strengthening the hip flexors, using a heavier resistance cord. Stand with a resistance cord around your right ankle and the cord anchored behind you, or with a weighted band around your ankle, or wear heavy boots. Hold an object for balance. Lift your knee up and forward, replicating the motion you use when pedaling from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock.
Hip Flexor


Single leg hamstrings: Continue strengthening the hamstrings using a heavier ankle band. Same position as the hip flexors, except facing the cord/machine, or wear a weighted belt around your ankle. Tighten your hamstring until your heel curls up and touches your butt. Do one or two sets of 12-20 reps three days a week.
Hamstring Curl Hamstring Curl

Single Leg Gluteals: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor near your butt. Lift your left foot off the floor. Tighten your glutes (butt muscles) to raise your butt about eight inches off the floor and lower. Do one set while keeping the left foot in the air, then switch sides.
Gluteals Gluteals


Originally printed in UltraCycling