If you look at photographs of many elite cyclists with their shirts off it’s surprising to notice that these highly tunned cyclists that are at the pinnacle of their career don’t look ripped like a bodybuilder. Based on this observation I would conclude that if they did look like a ripped bodybuilder, they wouldn’t be as great a cyclist.

To help you ride the hillier sections of the L’Étape Australia courses, you’ll have to develop sustained “hill-climbing” strength.

Now there are many different strength training techniques, which each produce different types of results.

The strength training that you do to develop “hill-climbing” strength is different from the strength training you would do to develop explosive strength for short high-intensity sprints. So, it’s important to do the right type of strength training that specifically develops sustained “hill-climbing” strength.

Sustained “hill-climbing” strength can be developed both on the bike and off the bike and I recommend that you do both.

On the Bike Strength Training

Developing it on the bike involves doing training that simulates hill climbing. For the L’Étape Australia, that means longer and shorter lengths of climbs at different gradients. By getting out and riding courses that replicate this you’ll be optimizing your training for hill climbing.

While this may make common sense, it still amazes me how many riders prefer to do the bulk of their training on the flat in fast bunches. The main reason why this doesn’t really help your hill-climbing is that your cadence is usually too high. To build hill climbing strength you need to drop your cadence to replicate what it would be when climbing. You can do this out on the road as well as on your home trainer.

Off the bike strength training

Developing proper functional strength off the bike will certainly help you climb the hilly sections of the L’Étape Australia. This is becoming especially important now that many of us are now desk-bound. The secret is to develop your strength and power without building unnecessary bulk, just like the pro riders. To do this you’ll want to stay away from traditional muscle isolation exercises using machines.

Traditional muscle isolation exercises using machines are great for bodybuilders building bulk but not the sort of strength we need for hill climbing. For hill-climbing, you’ll need to focus on exercises that develop core strength. As my strength and conditioning coach says… “you can only develop as much power as you can stabilize”. To help you get started we have a quick strength training video that you can download from this website that provides the first phase of these exercises:

As part of the specific training program that we have developed for the L’Étape Australia, we provide specific “on the bike strength” sessions for your home trainer as well as out on the road along with our exclusive off the bike strength training exercises.


Cycling-Inform helps you climb better and have you riding faster in less than four weeks so you can be your best at your next bunch ride, recreational event, or race.

You can register to the 12-week training plan provided by Cycling-Inform and tailored to the distance you decided to ride when registering to L’Étape Australia for $119, or $149 at L’Étape official website.