Coach Chad's Strength Training Recommendations For Cyclists

I know this may be a silly question @chad …but does anyone have a link to what these exercises/lifts actually are?

May seem obvious but I’m not 100% sure!


I use Graeme Street’s Cyclo Iron kettlebell videos. I really enjoy them. I use a 14kg kettlebell. They’ve really made my core stronger and has fixed the back pain I would get on longer rides. My back would give me more issues than my legs when I first started cycling longer distances.

Let’s see if we can talk Chad into getting in front of the camera to show some proper form on these lifts. Stay tuned!


I actually expected a companion video along with the recommendations (like the prior Strength Training and Stretching vids). That would be a nice addition to help make the post a more complete guide.

Plus, we all know he’s itching to show off all that work he does in the gym :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey @RobertSims, here’s some of the best short clips I could dig up, a couple with minor modifications.


Back Squat:

Bench Press (use a wider grip though):

Barbell Row:


Chin-Ups: see “Pull-Ups” above, turn your grip inward

Military Press (omit the leg assistance/push):


Fantastic. Many thanks

Nice thanks @chad @Jonathan this is a good article.

Highly recommend anyone get a trainer to teach you the lifts and moves you can do more damage to yourself not having proper movement. I started lifting properly with a wooden pole and wasn’t allowed to add weight until I had the movement. I do one S&C a week, usually on a Thursday, race week I wont lift at all. The deep level stress it puts on your muscles I believe detrimental to your race a couple of days later.

I have been anxiously waiting for this post/thread since it was mentioned on the podcast weeks ago. Thank you @chad and @Jonathan!

I am absolutely clueless when it comes to strength training but am really looking forward to putting this into practice.

Assuming i will be starting out as level 1, and doing 2x week sessions, what are realistic progress goals to move to level 2? Do you suggest incrementally adding weight - at percentages? Weekly?

Again, clueless… :upside_down_face:

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Went straight to level 3 because I think I’m “strong”. Deadlift check, back squat check, got to the chest press and row and was like “Are you sh#*&ing me! No way”. Then kept scrolling down, chin-ups check, overhead press check. But still feeling pretty deflated because of my arm muscle mass and being proud of it…

Then I scrolled down a little farther to the women’s section, ha! Happy again! But I totally want to at least try to achieve those upper body male goals at some point :thinking:


@chad Are there any recommendations for core strength?
For example a minimum plank or side plank time of 1 min.
Thank you for the great blog post.


Definitely plus one for the least worse kettle or dumbell alternatives, please @chad

Best chance for me to incorporate is at home, where I don’t have a spotter or a squat rack. I’m not using a barbell without a rack or spotter for anything bar a deadlift.

Just to use the squat as an example, is the best alternative dumbbell squats or goblet squats (I’ve always tended to go for the latter for my inconsistent attempts at incorporating strength training).

The podcast (and niggles) have worn me down and I think I’m ready to commit! :smile:

I can’t go too heavy on a goblet squat. If you can’t do high bar squats I would do bulgarian split squats instead. Even with much lower weight compared to regular squat your quads and/or your glutes will be burning. Focus on stability and proper form. By changing your torso angle you can manipulate which muscles do the most of the work.

And as a side note, you should do single leg/arm exercises anyway. It improves your stability and lowers the imbalances.


My previous logic of going for the goblet squat (albeit over dumbbell not bulgarian split) was that it “felt” more of a compound lift.

A rack is on the wish list, but the new pain cave has to be built for that first!

I would think so as well. However my arms are pretty weak and limit me on the goblet squat. It might still be useful exercise but not for the leg strength development more of a mobility and core/grip strength.


I’m working my way through the HV plans (Monday off bike) and my current strength routine is:

Monday or Tuesday:

  • Bench 3x5
  • Pendlay Row 3x5
  • Hanging Leg Raise 3x8
  • Oblique Wood Choppers with cable machine 3x10 per side
  • Chinups 2x8
  • Battle Rope circuit ~5 minutes total
  • Sometimes Bulgarian Split Squat 3x5 per side


  • Overhead Press 3x5
  • Deadlift 1x5 or 2/3x3
  • Hanging Leg Raise 3x8
  • Pallof Press 3x10 per side
  • Pullups 2x8
  • Battle Rope circuit ~5 minutes total
  • Sometimes Bulgarian Split Squat 3x5 per side

I’ve found barbell squatting very difficult to combine with cycling, and haven’t done any of that since base. So if my legs feel fine I will do the Bulgarian Splits Squats one day a week. At 5’10" and 147lb/67kg I can hit or exceed almost all of the Level 3 targets, though my bench is a little low. However I would still say in general I am quite thin, that is to say even meeting this threshold does not require an impractical amount of muscle. I suspect the greater concern is time and energy.

Before starting TrainerRoad I had a greater than average level of experience with strength training, so have been in maintenance mode for the most part. I have been able to increase weight on all lifts over the past few months, albeit very slowly. With the deadlift for example, if I am feeling stronger I will increase the weight and switch to multiple sets of 3 vs 1x5.

Unfortunately due to time constraints I often skip the Friday endurance ride to lift, sometimes including a short ride on the rollers. Sacrificing a ride to lift is a overall benefit, for my body and health. Although I am considering through the next training cycle replacing most Sunday Sweet Spot rides with long aerobic rides, to make up for this missed component and vary the stress.


Not Chad, here, but he’s often talked about pistol squats as an alternative and if you don’t like those I have also sometimes done shrimp squats. Here’s a very chipper demonstration of them:

Like pistol squats, it is hard to add extra weight, but both effectively double the effect of just using your own body weight since they’re unilateral. I dunno if it’s quite true that they’re analogous to doing, say, 100% of body weight in a back squat, but it’s not far off and if you’re not going to do the back squat at all then it’s a reasonable approximation.


@runriderandi this is actually quite impressive. Want to know what’s not impressive? Someone who can bench press my 1963 VW Beetle, but can’t do a single deadlift. You freakin’ rock!

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I don’t think you could go wrong with pistol squats or bulgarian squats as a barbell alternative. The difference being maybe the pistol is more of a balance/control test and the bulgarian can and probably should be loaded quite heavy, once the movement is learned.

And for anyone who is looking to add in strength training, you may come to find that the foam roller and lacrosse ball are your new best friends. And may want to make regular stretching/mobility work a priority as well, which does not need to take up much time.

I’d long heard that this exercise was one to be avoided because of the stresses it puts on your shoulders is quite likely to lead to injury. Do you know if there’s any truth to this, or was it more of a “if your form slips” sort of warning?

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