Weight Training for Track Cycling

Man doing pull-ups in the park
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Track cycling is mostly a power sport and weight training can help build explosive power. While road cycling has endurance as a dominant theme, track cycling events range from sprint match races to somewhat longer events like the points race.

The following is a weight training program for track sprinters and power events, which emphasize strength and power. Because all athletes have individual needs, a generic program like this one will need to be modified for age, gender, goals, facilities and so on. However, here's a program, starting out, to get you up to speed in track cycling.

Pre-Season General Preparation

The general preparation phase should provide all-around muscle and strength conditioning in the early pre-season. You will probably be doing training on the track as well, so you will need to fit it in with your track work. As a general rule, and for all the following programs, don't do the workouts immediately prior to track work. Do them on a separate day if possible. Nothing you do should limit your ability to train fast on the track.

  • Frequency - 2 to 3 sessions per week
  • Type - General conditioning
  • Exercises - 9 exercises, 3 sets of 12, plus warm-up and cool-down in the basic strength and muscle program. (I favor the Romanian type deadlift rather than full deadlift in this program.)
  • Rest between sets - 30-90 seconds

Later Pre-Season Specific Preparation

In this phase, you will focus more on the development of strength and power. This is the period, later pre-season, leading up to the start of the competition.

  • Frequency - 2 to 3 session per week
  • Type - Strength and power
  • Exercises - 5 sets of 6: Romanian deadlift, incline bench press, hang power clean, pull-ups, and squats plus combo crunches at 3 sets of 12
  • Rest between sets - 3-5 minutes, except for crunches

Weight Training During the Competition Phase

The aim of this phase is the maintenance of strength and power. Track training and competition should dominate. Prior to the start of the competition, take 7-10 days break from heavy weights work at the end of Specific Preparation while maintaining your track work. Weight training in the competition phase should play essentially a maintenance role.

  • Frequency - 1 to 2 sessions per week
  • Type - Power; lighter loads and faster execution than in the specific preparation phase
  • Exercises - 3 sets of 10, rapid concentric movement, 40% to 60% of 1RM. Squats, power hang clean, Romanian deadlift. Crunches.
  • Rest between sets - 1-2 minute


  • Be sure to warm up and cool down prior to weight training.
  • Don't train through injuries, acute or chronic.
  • Don't sacrifice a track session for a weights session unless you're treating or recovering from an injury with weights work.
  • If you have a knowledgeable coach, be guided by him or her regarding the details of your program.
  • Take at least a few weeks off at the end of the season to recover after a hard season of training and competing.
  • If you're new to weight training, you should read up on the fundamentals before you start.

By Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers is a personal trainer with experience in a wide range of sports, including track, triathlon, marathon, hockey, tennis, and baseball.