Cycling and gender: how and why male and female cyclists need to train differently

Physiological differences mean different training programmes depending on your sex

Women and men have very different training needs

(Image credit: Jesse Wild)

The biggest single difference in sporting performance separating one cyclist from another is gender. Since 1983, when the gender gap stabilised in Olympic sports, there has been a consistent average difference across all sports of around 10 per cent.

In track cycling, Dutch researchers found an average speed discrepancy of 12.6 per cent; the figure from similar German research was 11 per cent. On the roads, world and US masters’ records show the difference in the 25-mile TT is around 10 per cent.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Josephine Perry

Dr Josephine Perry is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist whose purpose is to help people discover the metrics which matter most to them so they are able to accomplish more than they had previously believed possible. She integrates expertise in sport psychology and communications to support athletes, stage performers and business leaders to develop the approaches, mental skills and strategies which will help them achieve their ambitions. Josephine has written five books including Performing Under Pressure, The 10 Pillars of Success and I Can: The Teenage Athlete’s Guide to Mental Fitness. For Cycling Weekly she tends to write about the psychological side of training and racing and how to manage mental health issues which may prevent brilliant performance. At last count she owned eight bikes and so is a passionate advocate of the idea that the ideal number of bikes to own is N+1.