Question: I recently purchased a set of free weights in hopes of improving cycling power and speed. But muscle soreness from squats prevented me from riding more than 12 mph for about 4 days — exactly the opposite of my goal. What did I do wrong? — Kevin N.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Squats are a great way to increase cycling strength, but it takes several weeks or even months (not days) to work up to significant weight.
The first 3 or 4 sessions should be done with bodyweight only and limited to 10-20 reps. If you overdo it at all, you’ll get extremely sore — as you experienced.
Once you’ve built strength with squats, you’ll need to convert that strength into cycling-specific power. The total process takes several months and is best begun at the start of cycling’s off-season.
My eBook Off-Season Training for Roadies includes step-by-step instructions for doing squats correctly, then converting your greater strength into faster riding.