Addition of strength training to off-road cyclists training. A pilot study

Javier Botella Ruiz, Jose Manuel Sarabia, Silvia Guillén, Raúl López-Grueso, Keijo Häkkinen, Rafael Sabido


This study investigated the effects of adding a traditional strength training approach (endurance-strength = ES) during the pre-season versus a non-traditional approach where strength training is further maintained throughout the season (maximal-strength = MS), on aerobic and anaerobic parameters of off-road cyclists. Eleven off-road cyclists were divided into two groups. The ES group (n=6) performed during the first 8 weeks endurance-strength training, while the MS group (n=5) performed maximal-strength training, both together with their usual endurance training. During the following 8 weeks, only MS group maintained 1 session of strength training per week. 1RM, VO2max, Maximal aerobic power  (Wmax), Power at 4-mmol·L-1 (LT4.0), Peak Power (PP), Mean Power (MP), Power best 5s (PB5), Power last 5s (PL5) and Fatigue Index (FI) were assessed. Results showed that there were significant (P < 0.05) increases for MS group in PP (+ 4.8%) from PRE to MID, in 1RM (+ 15.8%) from PRE to POST, while in the ES group there was a decrease in 1RM (- 16.1%), PL5 (-4.3%) with an increase in FI (+ 9.5) from MID to POST. Effect size calculations showed small and moderate improvements in PP (+ 3.6%), MP (+ 2.8%), PB5 (+ 4.3%) from PRE to POST for MS group, while ES group showed a small improvement in VO2max (+ 4.1%), LT4.0 (+ 4.3%) and PB5 (+ 2.7%) from PRE to MID, and a small decrease between MID to POST in Wmax (- 4.1%) and MP (- 2.6%). These results suggest that by including a non-traditional strength training approach it is possible to maintain aerobic levels and possibly increase anaerobic parameters throughout the off-road cycling season


concurrent training; endurance; strength; cycling; maximal strength

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