Making the Best Use of Your Training Time

By Peg Labiuk | 02/01/12
Making the Best Use of Your Training Time

Jonathan Devich/

We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.

The following tip is a reprint of a 2009 question submitted by from Voler E-Mail List member Peter Slonsky. His training question that follows was answered by Peg Labiuk (nee Peggy Maass), a colleague of Marilyn Trout, and a certified NCCP level 3 coach with a career in international road and track racing. She is a World Championship medalist, World Record holder, U.S. Olympic Team member, former British national team coach and Kreb's Cycle co-founder (British Columbia, Canada).

Making the Best Use of Your Training Time


I happen to be lucky enough to work 10 miles away from home. I ride to and from work 5 days a week. I really keep my pace brisk and have a hard time going slow. Like most dedicated roadies I'm sure.

I was wondering how to incorporate strength training into my two a day riding sessions? Do I add workouts to already tired legs? Do I take a day off of the bike and concentrate on weights? Your thoughts?

Thank you!

Peter is considering adding strength training to his off-season routine of commuting. As I have written in previous answers, I always ask the question, why would you strength train? Some people need to correct imbalances. Some are doing events that require more power, like track sprinting. Some have the time or are confined to indoors and use the gym option. Those are all valid reasons.

In Peter's case, he lives in sunny Southern Calilfornia and would rarely need the indoor option. Since he does a number of other sports, he gets cross-training in already, so I'd say he doesn't need to correct imbalances via the gym either. He's new to cycling at age 31 and wants to be race ready for the upcoming season. He hasn't started racing, so there's no specialty to strength train for yet. Those three questions answered makes it clear that there is no pressing need for Peter to fit cycling specific weight training into his schedule.

In fact, I think Peter would do better with his time to put more miles in on the bike. Aerobic stamina and racing skills are the limiting factors for newbees in cycling. I believe those are best remedied by getting more road miles, group riding especially. Finding a club to ride with and learn from would be time well spent. That being said, it wouldn't hurt to finish his commutes with a little core strength training and some exercises to prevent the muscle imbalances common in cycling. Stretch and strengthen obliques, lower back, hamstrings, gluts, shoulders and neck either before or after riding. Peter can easily create a quick routine using space to stretch, a fit ball, tennis ball, and possibly hand-held weights at home.

Some ideas for pre-ride:

  • Yoga salutations (check out videos like "Yoga for Dummies")
  • Pilates (core strength)
  • Water bottle or velcro weights – arm rotations, lunges, leg lifts
  • Fit ball – backbend, hamstring bridge, hip swivel, oblique rotation, back curls
  • Tennis ball – releasing lower back pressure points, rolling on gluts, lower back, upper back

I have to do my exercises first thing in the morning otherwise the priority is lost. I spend anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes.

For Post-ride:

  • Yoga poses
  • Stretching – all of the above
  • Tennis ball – rolling on gluts, lower back, upper back, resting head on 2 balls (side by side) at the back of the neck

Set aside just 8 minutes. I make sure I do my exercises before I do anything else, like shower or eat so that I'm working with muscles while they are still warm.

Best wishes, Peter, for your upcoming season and remember…keep the rubber side down.


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