I've been cycling for a few(3) months now, but I have one problem.

I don't really get tired anymore but my legs are not strong enough. Can somebody tell my what tipes of ex. I should do for stronger legs.

We stared on a tandam and then I'm fine but as soon as I get on my own bike it feels like I have no power,please help!!
Hi Lizz,

I'm going out on a limb here. Let's see what the other fellas think of my views.
First rule . . . Don't rush it. You will need to gradually build up your fitness and strength over time. You can supplement your bike training in the gym, but you should bear a few things in mind.
Building muscle (like body-builders do) will negatively affect your cycling. This is because the programs they use are designed to reduce their stamina so that they break down their muscles faster, so that the regenerate muscle mass faster and then grow like crazy. This will 1. make you slow, and 2. reduce your endurance capability. (The point I'm making is don't ask body builders for advice in the Gym.)

Nevertheless, there is no better strength building activity than squats. (It is however also the biggest muscle building activity aswell.) The trick is keep the weight moderate (you should be able to do lots of repetitions like 15 to 20 or more.

I usually like to isolate the different muscle groups in my legs and train them on different days. (I don't know what everybody's views on this are).
I'll do the following for thighs: Squats and leg extensions.
This for hamstrings : Lunges and hamstring curls.
and for calves : Standing calf raises or seated calf raises.

I find this assists me with my power and isn't too detrimental to my endurance. (I do find my speed does suffer a bit though, but I supplement that with intervals)

Hope this helps. Some may view some of this as incorrect or controversial, but you have to find what works for you. Good luck. ;)
ok, I have a slightly different view on this.
Firstly, what type of cycling do you do? more sprints or endurance type stuff?
My thinking comes from my boyfriend, he is one of Australias Top 100m sprinters (running) and is the NSW open champion and does half his training in the gym and half on the track. His speed is helped by interval type training sessions as in cycling, but his POWER comes from the gym. He does squats, leg press, deadlifts, hammy curls and so on and all this does is increase his power and then supplemented with the track training, his speed increases. I really doubt (unless you were huge like a bodybuilder) that weights will slow you down, but the type of training you do in the gym would definitly depend on what type of cycling you wanted to do...

if you do take up weights the basic idea would be to do 15-20 reps (4 sets ) for each exercise, and start with a comfortable weight, then just increase the weight as you can.. ie dont stay on the same weight for more than 2 weeks or so otherwise you are wasting your need to keep increasing it..until you are strong enough for what you need, then just maintain that strength... this is a pretty messy idea of what to do, i could be more specific if you mention what type of cycling you do..??
We do road racing(70km or more) I 'll say it is more endurance type of stuff. The flats and downs are OK but the hills get me down. When I have to climb a hill I can feel I have no power in my legs.
Sorry to have to ask. But as you find it OK on the flat and tough on the hills, are you overweight?

Noticed that you are female. Don't worry about putting on more weight through weight training. The lack of testosterone in your body will make it difficult for you to significantly increase your muscle mass through any resistance training programme!
I found that during the "off-season" I do some strength training (like LabRat said) and some indoor trainer sessions. During the racing season I do a lot of hills and intervals.

The best thing is to take it slow and "work" to make yourself a stronger cyclist.
I don't think I"m overweight. I did pick up a few kilos since I started cycling, but I didn't add any cm's.

I am 1.6 and my weight is 65kg.

I am trying to lose weight now but if I dont eat like I should(believe me very small portions) before a race I can feel that I have no energy. Maybe I should add that I'm in my 40's already.

I would like to have menu with just energy foods and things that won't add any kgs.
First of all, youv'e been cycling for 3 months now.
Give it time. Do not rush it like Lab_Rat said. Do some strenght training (Squats,Leg extensions,Leg curls,Calf raises) with a lot of reps.
Do a lot of uphills and intervals to get your legs stronger.
Good luck!
By the way Lizz, what sort of mileage are you doing at the moment anyway?
Riding during the week is a problem. I don't always get home while it's still light and riding in the dark in Gauteng is looking to be run over, hijaked or killed. I do about 60-70km on a Saterday and try the same for a Sunday.
Lizz, by posting here and pointing out that you battle in the hills, you have actually taken the first step in becoming a better climber. You will find that many cyclists concentrate on their strong points and neglect their weak points while training. Now that you know your weakness, concentrate on improving it by doing target specific training. You mention doing 60-70k's on Sat- and Sunday each. Why not alternate? Use the Saturday to improve your climbing and the Sunday for your base work? If there are climbs along your regular route, use them to your advantage. Ride easy on all the flats and descents, but hammer those climbs as far up and as hard as you can. And when your legs feel like they are about to disintegrate, push for another 10 strokes! Believe me, you will soon reap the rewards of your efforts.

BUT! You need to balance your diet with the right amount of carbos, protein and fat to ensure that your body has enough fuel to sustain your cycling, and that it is also replenished after your workout. There are many threads in the Health, Nutrition and Supplements Forum that will help you out in this regard. If none of them answer your specific questions, ask away
Hiya Lizz,

If you live in JHB and are close enough to the Kyalami racetrack, you can do some good training there, usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons from 4:30pm until sunset. Phone the Cyclelab to get details. (Unfortunately you may have to pay for entry, but I don't think it will be much)
I went there yesterday afternoon to do a lazy recovery ride, but found myself working the hills and doing some sprints. There is one major hill each way (They alternate directions) to get that HR up, so work it as hard as you can up the hill. You'll have the rest of the 4,5 km track to recover and you can do it again.

An added bonus is there are NO cars to bother us.
Lizz, Kyalami racetrack a great place to train during the week - I went there for the first time on Tuesday. Getting there by 16:30 gives you about 40min. of training.

Also, if you're in the Pretoria region, Swartkops racetrack is open for cyclists on most Tuesdays and Thurdays from about 16:00.

Since the Argus I've substituted early morning training during the week with 1 day track, 1 day spinning and 2 days gym and it seems to work well. Weekends I try to ride at least 60km on Sundays...

If anyone needs to loose weight I can recommend Weight Watchers. I've lost 3.5 kg (of probably about 20kg) in the last two weeks without it affecting my energy levels.

btw, I'm not aware that we have to pay to ride at Kyalami. Does anyone know how that works?

Thanks guys that sounds wonderful but I stay and work in Alberton till 16.15 and with the traffic that way I'll never make it. I'm going to take all the advice so far and work out a program and I will try everything and find what works for me.

I really love cycling and I wish I started when I was younger.
I won't let the hills get me down and I won't pack away my cycle.

I will see if I can join a gym if not home training is in.

But I'll build "those bones to clima those hills"

Hi Lizz. You've had some good advice here. My contribution is, make a REGULAR program, keep to it, AND keep a log of what you're doing. There's an excellent one you can download for free at
Remember speed and endurance (like weight loss) comes GRADUALLY. Don't check your improvement daily or you're be disappointed. Weekly is quite often enough. Make a note NOW to check your log in three months time (end of August) and you'll probably amaze yourself ;D
Better still have a goal, enter something for 3 month's time. (Lost City CANSA is end of August 8))
Hi Old Timer.

Thanks I will use all the advice I got. I have entered the Lost City and believe me I don't know if I did the right thing. Well I will only know that by doing the race. Till then I'll traing hard and just give my best.

Strength training is a good answer to increasing muscular strength quicker, than just with specific training (cycling). I would suggest 2 options:

Weight training, I would look at a routine where you lift 70% of your max weight, and keep in the 8-12 rep range. Doing 15 or more reps with weight training isn't as effective as regards building strength, as opposed to lower reps and higher weights. As you are using this as additional training for your specific training, you want to work towards muscular strength (up hills, and sprints), the endurance aspect is covered by your cycling. Exercises such as squats, hack squats, leg extensions, stiff-legged dead lifts, leg curls, and calf raise; are all good. Squats are probably the most effective, but it takes some learning to coordinate the movement. Remember to balance your workout between your quads and your hamstrings - if you are cycling and strength training you run the risk of over training your legs, or overdeveloping one area. Quads tend to develop more readily than hamstrings (even with just cycling), so you want to "balance" this development in your hamstrings, if you do not you can see injuries such as muscle tears (hams).

Rowing machine. You mentioned you have little time to add additional training, so I would suggest getting a home rowing machine. Rowing with the machine set at a high tension will develop your hams and quads (as well as your upper body). I would suggest something like 4 x 5 minute "sprints" (rest in between), this will act as a strength building exercise. It will also help you balance your ham/quad development and reduce the risk of unbalanced development. If you experience a general muscle soreness that lasts for more than a few days, you are over training, and you need to add more off training days.

Hope it helps,

Another exercise that may be worth trying, that is used a lot around my training bunch (which has produced numerous junior Australian reps) is strength/endurance efforts. these involve riding up a medium slope of a few kilometres in a gear higher than u would usually use (all of this while remaining in the seat). the gear should be high enough to limit your cadence to around 70 rpm. during such efforts u must concentrate on your pedalling form, esp pedalling in circles (as opposed to just pushing down). complete maybe two to three of these per session maybe twice a week. When riding back down the hill you should select a relatively small gear and spin it out, to allow the legs to recover, and at the same time, do some speed training.

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