Get Your Butt in the Gym to do Strength Training for Cyclists Over 50
As a nearly 60-year old cyclist, I hate to see “over 50” and “senior” in the same headline.
One of the cycling benefits for seniors is building increased endurance.
But the reality is that bicycling is a non-weight-bearing sport, which means your bone density and muscular strength don’t necessarily develop while you’re on the bike.
Strength training, lifting heavy things, not only helps with your strength and endurance off the bike, lifting weights has immense benefits: increased strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.
Even if you’re not a bike rider, weight training for older people provides huge benefits: more endurance, balance, and speed, and better injury prevention.
Women, especially, benefit from strength training at any age. My 83-year-old mother does strength training twice a week and talks about how it helps her with movement and balance.
“When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility and force,” says Matt Sedgley, sports medicine physician with the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. This may help treat fragility conditions like osteoporosis. So if you fall you have stronger bone density. It may also lead to more cushioning when you do fall.”Washington Post
Strength Training for Cyclists over 50 Means Heavier Weights
Cycling offers so many benefits to seniors (anyone over 50).
But we need to keep building strength as we age.
I see a lot of older adults in the gym doing the same routine on the same machines every day with very light weights.
If you are just starting a strength training program for cyclists over 50, machines can be a good place to start since they are stable.
However, the more you use bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, and other free weights, you will utilize stabilizer muscles, build core strength, balance, and stability.
This kind of stabilization is one of the cycling benefits for seniors.
The key, though, is lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions.
In fact, this article recommends older adults get after their training by gradually increasing their weights and reducing the reps.
In terms of actual exercise selection, following the NSCA’s (National Strength and Conditioning Association) recommendations of implementing multi-joint exercises at moderate intensities of 40-60% 1RM is a great place to start, and the efficacy of several different methods such as resistance bands, pneumatic machines and plate-loaded machines have all proven to be both safe and effective. The NSCA’s position stand on resistance training in older adults recommends an individualized and periodized approach to resistance training, eventually working towards 2 to 3 sets of 1 to 2 multi-joint exercises per muscle group at 70-85% one-rep maximum (1RM) two to three days per week.Daniel Flahie
The Cycling Benefits for Seniors Includes Increased Strength, Endurance
- Focus on free weights, bands, suspension straps. Anything that is multi-joint and multi-purpose. For example, doing a Pallof press with bands or an exercise ball works your chest and shoulder muscles as well as your core.
- Start light and easy. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re placing on it! For the first three or so weeks, you shouldn’t feel exhausted after a strength workout, not even “really tired.” You should be aware you used your muscles in a new way, but you should feel no worse than taking a good walk.
- Focus on a full-body workout, with an emphasis on your hip joint. Do deadlifts, squats, single-leg split squats, lateral squats, hip hinges.
Questions About the Cycling Benefits for Seniors?
Strength training is an invaluable part of our bike training programs, especially as we age.
Better endurance, strength, and injury-prevention are just some of the cycling benefits for seniors.
I’ve lifted a lot in my lifetime, but as I get older, I’m spending more specific time in the gym.
I’m deadlifting more than I ever have, and I’m doing a lot of core and posterior chain work.
Plus, I focus on kettlebell training with swings, snatches, lateral lunges, and Turkish Get-Ups.
What do you think you need to work on? Do you need some help creating a program that works for your individual needs?
What questions do you have about cycling training?