Both groups improved torque production and cycling efficiency but the older athletes improved significantly more. Younger athletes were found to be more efficient than masters-age athletes prior to training but this difference disappeared after three weeks of strength work.
The study states: “In masters, the strength training induced an enhancement in maximal and endurance torque production and cycling efficiency, thus reducing age-related differences in performance recorded before training… These results suggest that strength training added to endurance training might be a complementary strategy to preserve functional capacity and performance with ageing.”
In studies of non-cyclists, strength training has been found to have a host of benefits. It has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of sports-related injuries, to improve performance and reduce injury risk. In a recent systematic review and meta-analysis including over 26,000 participants, strength training was found to reduce overuse injuries by nearly 50 per cent (Lauersen et al. 2013).
Cycling Weekly excerpt June 2014.