Strength training is key - it reduces injuries and improves performance

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For those of you who know me, you have all heard me say that resistance training or “doing your exercises” actually works.  A recent systematic review (yep, that’s the fancy words for a thorough scientific review of everything that is published in the peer-reviewed literature) has just overwhelmingly proved this to be the case.

A research group well known for injury prevention work in Norway* analysed the best scientific studies to date and here’s what they found:

  • Strength training programmes reduced sports injuries by an average of 66%. Now that’s very significant!
  • These benefits were achieved on average with 8 months of training – this isn’t a long time in the career of a sports person. The longer athletes were involved in strength training the better their results.
  • The intensity of the strength training and the volume per week appear to provide the best results.
  • This approach worked equally well for adolescents providing there was adequate supervision and instruction, teaching proper technique, avoidance of explosive / plyometric efforts, and longer rest periods between strength work (72hrs) when compared to adults.
  • Both injury prevention and performance enhancing benefits occurred together – yet another example of how these two factors are totally linked.

How does this apply to you as a cyclist?  Simply put, I see lots of back pain in cyclists every year, esp. adolescent cyclists or those new to cycling, that is NOT caused by a poor bike fit.  Often it is caused by weakness.  This is where developing good all-round strength and maintaining it is crucial.  It will help prevent your body from being injured, help you perform better and add variety and interest to your training.

 

* Laueresen et al (2018): Strength training as superior, dose-dependent and safe prevention of acute and overuse sports injuries: a systematic review, qualitative analysis and meta-analysis. BJSM 52:1557.