Cyclists often ask me the question, ''should I lift weights as part of my training program?'' It's a hotly debated topic and every coach has a different answer.

Most amateur cyclists and triathletes who have full time jobs typically find 5 to 10 hours a week for focused training. Where this is the case, and where their events are multiple hours long they're most likely to get the best results by spending every minute of that valuable training time either on the bike, on their feet or in the pool. 

If they were a full time pro athlete with 40 hours of training time a week at their disposal then they should absolutely supplement this with a year round, periodised, strength & conditioning program. 

For the general population, strength is not the limiting factor holding you back from better race performances. You just have to stand an endurance athlete and a strength athlete next to each other and you'll see that this is the case. 

If you're really looking for those marginal gains and you're putting in every hour possible on the bike then my advice would be to focus your attention on core stability and flexibility work before you go piling up the plates for some big sets. 

Having said all that, on occasion and at the right time of year (during the off season), it may be prudent to get in the gym and work through a strength block for 4-6 weeks. 

If you choose to do this, make sure you consult an expert on what exercises will benefit you the most and where you should begin. 

Kelly Fillnow has recommended some great compound exercises that will form the basis of 99% of strength programs for endurance athletes. Check them out... but rack up the hours on the bike before you rack up the squats!

Ken