Strength Training for Cyclists
November 27, 2023 - March 17, 2024
The BaseCamp strength training program is a unique and highly-advanced approach to strength training for cyclists. It's based on functional strength exercises, breathing, and dynamic movements that will help you get stronger and faster, while also addressing the imbalances caused by our sport of cycling. There are two separate programs, a beginner program for those new to strength training (or those who haven't done strength training for a while) and an advanced program.
The goal of the BaseCamp strength training program is to get your body back in balance by activating and building the muscles you need to perform and feel your best, while improving the inner environment of your body to help you recover faster, ride stronger, and look, feel, and move better.
Led by Menachem Brodie of Human Vortex Training
20-60 minutes per session (depending on program selected), 2-3 sessions per week, throughout the entire BaseCamp program
Progressive program focused on complimenting your Basecamp workouts
Self-paced; perform the sessions when it suits your schedule
Program delivered via TrainingPeaks and downloadable ebooks
Supported in the BaseCamp Facebook group
The strength training exercises can be done at a gym, at home, or wherever you are in a space about 6 feet square. You will need the following equipment:
Advanced Program Supplies
A barbell: women’s Olympic 35 pounds or men’s Olympic 45 pounds
Pairs of weights for the barbell, ideally with the larger weights being Olympic bumper plates, as these ensure a standard diameter, regardless of the weight:
Pins/fasteners to keep the plates from moving on the barbell during exercises
A rack, preferably adjustable for height
An adjustable bench (flat to 45 degrees is ideal)
At least 2 pairs of dumbbells:
Beginners: 5kg (15 pounds) and 10 kg (25 pounds)
Intermediate: 8kg (20 pounds) and 12kg (30 pounds)
Advanced: 12kg (30 pounds) and 16-24kg (40-55 pounds)
Yoga mat or towel
Frequently Asked questions
I have a limited amount of time to train. How much time will strength training take?
Our dynamic format allows you to complete a cycling-focused strength training program in 15-25 minutes a day, doing a workout 2-3 days a week for best results.
Will the strength workouts be in my TrainingPeaks account?
Yes, your strength workouts can be loaded to your TrainingPeaks calendar.
What equipment do I need for the strength program?
All exercises can be done in a gym or at home with the equipment listed above.
Should I do my cycling and strength workouts in the same training session? Which should come first?
Coach Menachem recommends doing cycling in the morning and strength in the evening, if possible. At the very least, do your cycling workout first and wait at least three or four hours before doing your strength workout. If you must do them close together, know that you will not be able to load the back and spine as much because the tissues will be in a state of stretch for 90 minutes or more after your ride. Read this article from Menachem for more details and information.
I was expecting to lift more. Can I add more lifting?
The program is a progressive one focused on performance increases on the bike, not heavier weights in the weight room. Coach Menachem has talked a lot about this over the years, as many athletes think more weight = better, but when it comes to sports performance, that isn't true, unless you're a power lifter or Olympic lifter. Here's a podcast from Coach Menachem that addresses how and when to progress your lifts. We start with lighter weights to focus on how you're moving and doing an exercise (specific muscles, timing, etc.), and ramp up over the sixteen weeks to heavier loading. As for deadlifts and squats, we have Romanian deadlifts and front squats throughout the program. We strongly encourage you to follow the program exactly as it's written, but you can always change things to be more what you like/prefer; just know that doing so will change the program outcomes from the designed/known outcomes.
Why front squats instead of back squats?
Front squatting is more knee dominant, and it challenges us to keep an upright spine, braced 360 degree midsection, as well as shoulder placement. Here's a video from Coach Menachem about the different squats and explaining why front squats are a far better squat variation for most cyclists & triathletes, and here's another video from him going deeper into the topic.
Should I do the circuits by completing all sets for each workout one at a time or go through all the workouts in the circuit and then back to the beginning?
The workouts are divided into three or four circuits of one to five exercises each. Complete one set of all exercises in one circuit, rest for 1.5-2.5 minutes, and then go back to the first exercise in the circuit and complete another set of each exercise in the circuit, continuing this way until all sets are completed.
FAQ Video Answers
How should I feel going through my workout?
Should I be sore?
What weight kettlebell should I use?
What should I focus on for the kettlebell swings?
Special considerations for women
How should I arrange my workouts each week?
What types of pain should I not train through?