A bespoke personal training program designed especially for cyclists of any ability, whether you’re an amateur cyclist looking to improve your endurance, or an athlete looking for more pace and power to get to the next level.



Written by

Chris Nicklin is a certified Personal Trainer with over 7 years' experience, and the owner of Nxtep Personal Training. Chris qualified from Edge Hill University with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Sports Coaching and Performance Development, and has delivered over ten thousand one-to-one Personal Training sessions.

Updated 5/10/2022

Many cyclists do not realise that strength and resistance training can improve cycling performance and should be a part of any cyclist’s exercise regime. If you want to improve your cycling performance, working with a personal trainer could be the way to achieve your goals. At Nxtep, we will design a bespoke personal training regime for you and your specific ability, fitness and goals, involving a mixture of weight training, flexibility and of course bike work. Together with the 24/7 support and complete meal plan we provide, you will see rapid improvements in your cycling game.


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Patrick SmithPatrick Smith
06:47 05 Jun 24
Joined Nxtep under the 6 week transformation plan and had great results. Chris is a great PT with plenty of experience and skill.
Sarah RaoSarah Rao
07:30 30 May 24
20:41 07 May 24
The “personal trainer” at this establishment is very unprofessional and will fat shame people. I do not recommend you will be judged.Edit: No email was left to contact. Leave an email so we can discuss further thank you.
Paul CorriganPaul Corrigan
12:26 10 Mar 24
Sadly I'm leaving the area and would love to take Nxtep with me. I attend the small classes. Chris has created a unique venue that would be hard to match anywhere. The environment is warm and friendly. The sports science work that Chris does behind the scenes to prepare the classes is immense, so that we don't have to worry about it. Just plug and go. Though education is always at hand if required. The classes can be hard work (results driven) but always fun. The equipment is of the highest standard. I've always been around sports but have never experienced anything so positive and rewarding. At 57 there is no way I would ever have thought I'd lift such heavy weights or complete these vigorous exercises. Chris gets you there incrementally and safely but always with great humour. He uses a truly interactive App that plots your progress. A fitness App that actually works, who knew!!Also the clients are lovely and incredibly supportive of each other. Well bloody done Chris!
Aidan McGearyAidan McGeary
07:50 27 Feb 24
Over the past alomost 3 years, Nxtep has been central to my personal growth. Chris and his clients make up a fantastic community of people who have helped me develop in many ways. No one lifts a single kg on my behalf or runs a step for me, but as part of a positive and nurturing environment I have been able to consistently, week in, week out, exceed my expactations of what I am capable of. The Physical and mental benefits I have experienced since being a part of this community have been game changing and I owe them a great deal. Aidan.
Alana McgladeAlana Mcglade
17:44 20 Feb 24
Chris has been absolutely amazing at supporting me on my fitness journey. Everything is tailored to the individual so it suits everyone no matter what stage you're at. There's a really supportive environment that I haven't experienced elsewhere and the flexibility Chris has shown to me when needed has been amazing. Would never go anywhere else now!
Ashleigh PattersonAshleigh Patterson
20:07 18 Feb 24
CHRIS AND LUCA YOU ARE AMAZING AT WHAT YOU DO.At one point i couldnt walk up the stairs... after been hospitalized and locked in a room for nearly a month at pinderfields I was diagnosed with severe asthma to been under observation for COPD at 30 years old and still living everyday with it now, I decided to make a change. I moved to Cheshire I joined @nxtepknutsford and in a matter of months I was competing at @turfgames with the gym familyI cannot thank everyone enough who has been on my journeyNow at 32 I can lift 110kg on a deadliftI can run .... some sort of distance and always improving as much as my lungs will carry me.Never give up and push to be betterWe saw. We came. I conquered! 🏆
Steven ThompsonSteven Thompson
07:40 15 Feb 24
The model works for me , small group of less than 6 with a dedicated trainer . Have used gyms for many years but this model works for me . Complete professional instruction at all times . All about correct technique and protecting back etc . Plus there is no escape - maximising every session and getting maximum benefits . A real community approach .
deborah walkerdeborah walker
10:08 12 Feb 24
Always a great session with Chris .Come away feeling fab
Iain FountainIain Fountain
12:04 06 Feb 24
Have been training regularly each week since October at Nxtep and just wanted to give some feedback on my experience which has been nothing short than excellent. Chris, Luca and the team have provided one and one expertise, techniques, dietary plans to help with weight loss, build lean muscle and improve fitness. Can’t shout their praises enough. Good job Nxtep.
Hannah ThrelfallHannah Threlfall
14:10 10 Nov 23
I signed up for the 6 week body transformation initially to help me get my pre baby body back after gaining a lot of weight through pregnancy. I lost 8.6kgs in the 6 weeks and have since renewed my membership to continue with my progress and I’m almost down 10kgs in total only 2kgs away from my pre pregnancy weight. I have always hated going to the gym and would dread going initially but now I am 8 weeks in, training 3x per week and feeling fitter and much happier in myself it is something I definitely want to continue. I feel it has really changed my lifestyle and I am making healthier choices everyday with a much more positive outlook, my family have commented that the old Hannah is back as before I felt I’d lost myself since becoming a mum for the first time. Chris and Luca are incredibly knowledgeable about anatomy which was very important to me after having a C-section and I have seen huge improvements in my core and lower back stability. I am also enjoying the new friends I am making from the sessions and never thought I’d say it but I’m looking forward to continuing the training long term and being in the best shape of my life!!
Katie MorrisKatie Morris
08:05 15 Sep 23
I've really enjoyed the community at Nxtep. I've never been this thrilled get up before 7am to attend the gym. Chris and Luca are brilliant and I feel I've come so far in the year since I started coming. Looking forward to more progress and the pride that comes with working hard
Lesley SneesbyLesley Sneesby
08:04 15 Sep 23
Thank you Chris and Luca for your amazing help, guidance and support in such a welcoming environment at Nxtep
15:47 03 May 23
I initially joined Nxtep to get a better grip on my fitness levels after yo-yoing for years with sporadic classes and runs. It was an excellent decision as the sessions are three times a week which quickly got me in a good rhythm. Chris and Luca are both fantastic and very patient with a newbie like myself who had never lifted weights before. They have really helped me understand fitness and weight lifting a lot better. They also adjusted any exercises based on my capabilities as I had an injured shoulder for a while, and with the rehab exercises they gave me that’s now back to normal. I can’t recommend Nxtep enough!
15:38 04 Aug 22
I've been working with the guys at Nxtep for about a year now; I originally joined thinking it would be a short-term thing to lose weight for my wedding.A year later and I'm married, 12kg lighter than when I first started, lifting much heavier weights and am in much better shape in general. Chris and Luca have been amazing with my training; they always challenge me to try new things and to push further, which is really helpful for someone who's training has always seemed to plateau in the past.They've also taught me about health and fitness as a lifestyle; there's so much more to it than lifting some weights or constantly being on a diet, and they always keep things new, fun and flexible. They're also really helpful and approachable guys; I've messaged them lots of times to ask for training tips and advice when I'm going to the gym outside of training hours, and they're always more than happy to help.
Jackie KingJackie King
19:38 17 May 22
I first met Chris in January 2020. I was 12 weeks pregnant with my first child. As a trained dancer, and teacher I was hoping to maintain my levels of fitness whilst minimising the risks of my pregnancy. My early dance training concentrated on training my limbs, while often neglecting my ‘centre’ or ‘core’. It wasn’t until a back injury in 2012 due to weak lower back muscles that my approach to training changed. When I first found out about my pregnancy, I worried about my back and how to keep it strong.Chris helped me through my pregnancy teaching me safe ways of keeping my core strong, helping with my postural alignment as well as addressing some muscular imbalances that I wasn’t aware I had. Most importantly, Chris gave me the confidence to continue training through pregnancy. I knew I was in safe hands. Chris is phenomenally knowledgeable in how our bodies work.May 2022, I am currently pregnant with my second child and still continuing to train with Chris at Nxtep. Luca has also joined the team and is a fantastic addition. They are a great team, and I am very lucky to be trained by them both. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about pre or post natal pregnancy training to consider Nxtep.
Sean WSean W
12:09 02 Apr 22
Before starting at Nxtep I would go through a cycle of starting to get fit, injuring my back, then avoiding exercise for fear of making it worse. The same happened when I started here, with my over eagerness to improve leading to the same old injury. Chris and Luca kept me motivated and coached me through the recovery process, allowing me to strengthen the areas susceptible to injury and enabling me to carry on where I’d previously have given up. Now I’m lifting ~100kg more than when I first started and the past few years of persistent back injury seem a distant memory. The guys have helped me with my nutrition, my outlook and overcoming what I previously thought I couldn’t. I can’t thank them both enough!
Paul KennedyPaul Kennedy
22:59 05 Nov 21
I’ve been working with Chris and the team at Nxtep, and the initially just wanted to get stronger and fitter somewhere local when the gym near work was no longer an option due to the pandemic. I know feel really confident handling weights and my diet. I recently saw myself in a film from before I started at Nxtep and other people couldn’t recognise me from me who didn’t know me well so, it definitely works! Highly recommended.
Jordan CraigJordan Craig
20:45 05 Aug 21
Training at Nxtep during Covid was tricky but Chris and Luca made it work! Started with training outdoors in the carpark before we were allowed to move indoors, it was always fun and I feel I made real progress.It never felt just like a business and always felt more caring, I was also doing it as part of my DofE to which Luca/Chris were very helpful with.I've had to stop due to other focuses in life but I've got some real fond memories of the time and am hoping to go back later if I can!
ryan unwinryan unwin
20:29 28 Jul 21
Great personal trainer, his sessions are great and really push you into great mindset to achieve your goals, great knowledge of the body aswell! Would definitely recommend!!
David VDavid V
17:54 22 Oct 20
Wanted to improve all round fitness especially strength and conditioning so contacted & met with Chris.....was very impressed with his approach and was motivated to getting started & looking forward to the challengeChris was fundamental to me in making the nutrition and exercise changes required to achieve goals.... inspiring, motivational, encouraging & supportive he is great to work with......regular tracking & updates help me to stay focused..... Chris is easy to get along with and the sessions are challenging but enjoyable.....

Why Weight Training Is Important For Cyclists

Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the world. In fact, it’s been named the second most popular sport worldwide, behind football. But what makes cyclists stand out from other athletes? One thing that sets them apart is their ability to maintain a high level of intensity for long periods of time. This requires both a strong aerobic system and a powerful anaerobic energy system. However, while aerobic fitness is important, the ability to sustain intense effort for prolonged periods of time is even more vital.

In recent years, research has shown that incorporating strength training into a cyclist’s routine can help improve this capacity. For example, studies show that strength training can increase the force potential of type I muscles fibres which lead to greater efficiency during sustained exercise. This is because type I muscle fibres are capable of producing a much larger amount of work per unit of oxygen consumed compared to type II muscle fibres – the latter being the dominant fibre type in skeletal muscle. As a result, the body uses fewer oxygen molecules to support each contraction. This leads to better economy and performance.

Furthermore, studies show that strength exercises can delay the onset of fatigue and reduce the perception of perceived exertion. These factors allow you to ride harder longer without becoming fatigued.


How Does Strength Training Improve Cycling Performance?

Cyclists need strong muscles to maintain balance while riding. Cyclist’s legs account for approximately 70% of their total body weight. Therefore, cyclist’s leg muscles must work harder to support the rider’s body weight. Stronger legs allow cyclists to pedal faster, longer, and with less fatigue.

Weight training helps cyclists increase bone mineral density, strengthen tendons/ligaments and build lean muscle tissue, which increases overall strength and reduces body fat percentage.

These changes create a strong stabilisation system to support the body’s primary movers, build strong core muscles for superior bike control, and increase power generation for sprinting and strength for climbing hills, and improve overall muscular endurance to keep you going until the end of a race. Cyclists who do strength training also experience fewer injuries due to improved joint stability.

Ultimately there are no real downsides to adding a cycling strength training element to your program – you just need to ensure you don’t overdo things before races – but your personal trainer will advise and control the amount of type of workouts you do if you are due to compete soon.


When Should I Integrate Weight Training Into My Cycling Training?

I would advise against weight training during tough cycle training phases if you haven’t done any in a while (> 6 months) or if you don’t have much experience with it yet. This is because adding weight training may not always be well accepted by the body during these sorts of phases as it is already subject to significant training demands. Therefore, it is preferable to begin incorporating weight training during general preparation or off-season stages, as your body will adapt to the new type of exercise and the associated physical soreness more quickly if you utilise the bike because of its inherent low to moderate intensity, which is more pronounced in the beginning of your weight training programme.

How Often Should Cyclists Do Strength Training?

This largely depends on your individual ability, goals and time. High-performing cyclists may need to perform strength training three times per week, as doing strength training once per week may not provide enough time for the muscles to adapt to the new exercise routine, and may lead to injury.

Amateur cyclists however may find just one session per week of strength training blended with some bike work is the right balance for them.

General advice for any cyclist looking to start weight training

  • It’s best to perform each set of exercises with a weight that is 10-20% heavier than your one rep max (1RM). This will increase the intensity and make it more challenging.
  • Use proper form when lifting weights. Make sure you are using good posture and keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.
  • Doing too much at once can cause injury, so don’t overdo it!
  • Don’t forget to stretch after working out. Stretching helps prevent injuries and improves flexibility.

Which Muscles Are Most Important for Cyclists?

Weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles is problematic for cyclists, but the most important muscle group to work on is the quadriceps, which are located on the front of the thigh. Quadriceps weakness causes cyclists to lose balance while climbing hills and pedal slower than normal. Because cyclists spend so much time sitting on their bicycles, they also tend to have weaker hamstrings, glutes, and calves. These areas must be strengthened in order to improve cycling efficiency.

Won’t Strength Training Make Me Heavy & Slower?

Some cyclists worry that performing strength training will make them too bulky and slow. But strength training does not necessarily lead to bulkiness or weight gain.

Depending on how you train with weight lifting, you should be able to increase strength and power, even if you add a little weight too. Heavier does not mean slower.

There is a misconception that weightlifting causes a person to become rigid and “muscle bound,” which causes them to move slowly and with a restricted range of motion. However, this only truly applies to those who engage in excessive muscle growth, such as bodybuilding.
Here, the sort of activity you do and how you perform it both matter. You may increase your flexibility, for instance, by stretching and moving through your whole range of motion.

Long training sessions on the bike, running and swimming improve endurance. Progressively heavier weightlifting produces increased strength, while plyometric exercises and power lifting provide improved explosive power.


Should Cyclists Do Upper Body Exercises Or Just Legs?

Both upper body and lower body strength training are important for cyclists. Lower body strength training strengthens the leg muscles while upper body strength training works the arms and shoulders. Both types of strength training are necessary for improved cycling performance.

Lower Body Strength Training

The most common type of lower body strength training is weightlifting, which involves lifting weights to build muscle mass. Leg work helps you develop your legs by building up your quadriceps (front thigh) and hamstrings (back thigh). These two groups of muscles work together to move your bike forward when pedaling. The stronger these muscles become, the more power they can produce.

Weightlifting also builds endurance in your legs because it requires a lot of energy to lift heavy weights. You need to be able to pedal hard for long periods of time without getting tired. This kind of endurance training will help you ride longer distances at higher speeds.

Upper Body Strength Training

Cyclists also benefit from upper body strength exercises such as pushups, pull-ups and dumbbell lifts.  Resistance exercises use your own bodyweight or an external load (such as dumbbells) to increase the amount of force that must be exerted against gravity.

These exercises also target your core muscles, which stabilize your spine and pelvis so that your back doesn’t have to support all your bodyweight during exercise.


What Are the Best Strength Training Exercises for Cyclists?

To maximize gains in muscle size and strength, cyclists should perform compound exercises, which work multiple major muscle groups simultaneously. For instance, squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pullups, pushups, chin ups, and overhead presses are all examples of compound movements. These types of exercises allow cyclists to develop strong core muscles, which are essential for riding safely and efficiently.

There are many ways to incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Some people prefer to lift weights using free weights, whereas others prefer to use machines. Free weights allow you to work out each major group of muscles independently, whereas machine-based workouts isolate specific groups of muscles. A personal trainer will design a bespoke program especially for you as a cyclist, which will work on the precise muscle groups in the right ways, at the right intensity, and at the right time.

Here are some examples of strength training workouts for cyclists:

Free Weights

Squats – Squatting strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles.

Deadlifts – Deadlifting works your back, shoulders, arms, chest, and abs.

Barbell Rows – Barbell rows strengthen your biceps, forearms, and triceps.

Machine-Based Workouts

Leg Press – Using a leg press machine allows you to focus on working individual sets of muscles.

Cable Crossovers – Cable crossovers isolate your pecs, lats, and delts.

Seated Leg Curls – Seated leg curls work your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Lateral Raises – Lateral raises work your shoulder girdle.

Bent Over Row – Bent over row exercises work your back, shoulders, and abs.

Upright Row Machine – Upright row machines isolate your lats, traps, and rhomboids.

Tricep Extension Machines – Tricep extension machines isolate your triceps.

Dumbbell Bench Press – Dumbbell bench presses work your pectorals, anterior deltoids, and trapezius.

Inverted Ropes – Inverted rope exercises isolate your biceps, foreheads, and abdominals.

Reverse Lunge Machine – Reverse lunge machines isolate your quads, adductors, and hip flexors.


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