Head to the front of the cycling pack with training tips from top coach Joe Friel

A good training program can take a cyclist from the middle of the pack to the front. Get tips on improving endurance, speed and strength from top cycling coach Joe Friel in a live Web chat Monday, July 18, at 11 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Central time, 2 p.m. Eastern time). Friel is the author of “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling-certified elite-level coach. Friel, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., has a master’s in exercise science, trains amateurs and pros, and is the founder of TrainingBible Coaching, a Web-based coaching site.

Although endurance training is essential for cycling, we asked Friel what role strength training plays in the sport.

“Strength training, if done properly, can improve a cyclist’s ability to deliver muscular force to the pedals,” he said. “The muscles that many need to strengthen extend through the entire chain from the hand, through the arm and shoulder, down the core and hips and into the thighs and calf.”

Proper strength training means doing exercises that mimic the movements of cycling, with weight and repetitions that are challenging, he said. Novices, women and older men tend to benefit the most, while advanced cyclists have the least to gain through strength training, he added.


“For those who do make gains, the primary improvement will come in the form of greater economy of movement,” he said. “This is the cyclist’s ability to turn the pedals with a reduced effort.” That will definitely be noticed on hills.

Do you have a question for Joe Friel? Email and join the chat to see the answer.