I’m convinced that if you love riding a bike and hope to do it throughout your life, you should also be strength training.

If you’ve read about strength training before and decided it’s not for you, or even if you feel you’ve got it all figured out, I hope this blog series can offer a fresh perspective.

Before we jump in, it’s important to note that I’m not an expert in strength training. So why should you stick around for my “non-expert” advice? 

Hedgehogs and Foxes

It’s a fair question that’s best answered with a helpful illustration I came across in the book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. The illustration goes like this. 

Subject matter experts are like hedgehogs who burrow into a field of study, accumulating knowledge that’s deep but narrow. 

Foxes reach beyond a single discipline developing breadth across various topics (with the trade-off of accumulating less depth of knowledge).

Hedgehogs are specialists; foxes are generalists. 

Training can be confusing. In our free eBook, we’ll show you four ways to use your data and insights from science to ride better than ever.

The Perspective of a coach

This strength training guide comes from my perspective as a cycling coach and generalist. 

In this guide, I’ve sought to more plainly connect the dots between the world of strength training and cycling, distilling what I’ve learned into a practical framework you can follow for decades.

Along the way, I’ve referenced each expert opinion that has shaped my thinking. You can find a paper trail of my thoughts at the bottom of each post. 

In rare cases, strength training might not be a good fit due to physical limitations. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor.

How this series is laid out

With the disclaimers out of the way, here’s how this series is laid out. 

Part 1: Health

In part one, we’ll look at the most robust case for including strength training alongside your cycling. No, it’s not because it might make you faster, at least not initially. 

Part 2: Speed

In part two, we’ll take a quick look at how specific doses of strength training might improve your performance on the bike. No, doing “on bike” strength training doesn’t count. 

Part 3: How To Do It

In part three, we’ll develop a rationale for choosing specific strength training exercises while avoiding others, then define precisely how to integrate strength work into your cycling routine.

Part 4: A Concise Workflow

In the final section, we’ll wrap things up with a clear and concise workflow you can follow to apply the best strength training strategy for your specific cycling scenario. 

As always, these are all just my opinions. Take what’s helpful, discard what’s not, and above all keep enjoying the ridiculous honor of riding a bike.

Let’s jump in…

Training can be confusing. In our free eBook, we’ll show you four ways to use your data and insights from science to ride better than ever.

Written by Nate Dunn M.S.

Nate Dunn has spent his entire career in education and coaching. As a former teacher and now founder/head coach at Data Driven Athlete, he is most excited about helping cyclists discover their potential as they experience more great days on the bike.