Sprinters and climbers know that strength training is essential for increasing their max power, but Norwegian researchers have found adding weights to your training can also boost your cruising speed.
The study in question, conducted at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, followed 14 cyclists through a four-day-per-week strength program. Half the program was devoted to leg exercises that included squats and leg curls. After 12 weeks the subjects were tested and compared to a control group.
The control group remained unchanged, but the training group had boosted their one-repetition squat by 20 percent and their leg curl by 12. The researchers then compared how much energy the cyclists needed to pedal at near 40 percent of their maximum power (roughly the same wattage you'd use on a long ride) and found that the training group's heart rate had dropped seven beats per minute and that they used three-percent less energy and oxygen.