Our strength coach wrote his first article over here. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical of lifting until I started 6 years ago, then stopped for a few years thinking it wasn’t beneficial, and THEN came back to it 2 years ago.
As a young master’s athlete (37yo), it’s really helped me avoid injury and I’m getting leaner than ever before. I think one of the big benefits is injury prevention, but I also feel stronger on surges, although I have no way of proving that to myself.
Does anyone else lift, and if so, what are your primary drivers?
I lift for 2.5 years (and I’m also the same age as you). Started because I was getting injured while running big volumes. So, originally the motivation was injury prevention. I basically replaced running by cycling but I stayed with strength training. My posture improved a lot (and I have to keep at it since I have a desk job), my back and butt look much better and I also feel stronger. Not sure that it helps me on the bike and it certainly affects my cycling (and any running/jogging I do) following day or two. But I am not injured, train consistently, improve and feel better. I could however do without those DOMS
Started lifting after getting my rotator cuff fixed in my early fifties. Doubled down this year after realizing knee issues were caused by weak glutes and posterior chain. On top of it I didn’t understand the importance of developing the back due to all the time spent in front of a computer.
If I had a time machine and could rewind the clock 20 years to your age, the one thing I’d tell myself would be to start lifting and stick with it.
I raced bikes from my early 20’s on and off and consistently from my mid 40’s to my latter 50’s. During those years, lifting was usually confined to off season. After hanging up the bike I started lifting for health reasons, and have kept it up ever since. Muscle loss (sarcopenia ) is associated with aging and lifting heavy weights is preventative. Now I lift once a week, usually two days of DOMS so I don’t do any hard bike workouts immediately post.
Interesting how perpespectives are different depending on athletic history. I played rugby for years and picked up cycling when I retired.
I’ve been lifting for 30 years (although my lifting now looks a lot different than in my rugby days).
I went for my first MTB ride of the year last weekend. 4 hours of riding technical trails in Grand Junction. No issues with upper body or core soreness or fatigue. I attribute that in large part because I lift year round. That said, I could probably drop 5-10lbs of upper body muscle if I wanted to become a true skinny cyclist!
I’ve mentioned this in other threads - long bike rides used to mean a lot of post-ride upper body stretching. That all ended once I got serious about doing rows (e.g. seated cable, T-bar, dumbbell, kettlebell) and a couple of non-weighted exercises. And that also completely fixed posture issues while working in front of a computer.
haha that’s awesome! Glad it’s going so well for you. What type of program do you focus on? I worked through an adaptation phase and then moved through strength and basically doing 1-2x lifting per week with a focus on heavy weights, 5 sets x 5 reps.
Lat Pull Down
Bent Over Row
Need to mix in some:
kettle bell swings
I think that is my biggest challenge now is making the time, even though just 1h, to go to the gym. I think I’ve found a good time slot for it amongst the other training, and am glad to hear it has been a good thing for you as well! Thanks!
in the gym I’m doing 4 routines at the cable station:
seated cable row
lat pull down
My preference is seated cable rows over bent-over-rows because it is easy to maintain form -and- lift heavy without risking my lower back (spine/discs). At home I’ll do bent-over-rows, but that is with lighter weights (20lb dumbbell or 25lb kettlebell).
I’ve lifted off and on for about 25 years, mostly off the past two years. Since high school, I haven’t been able to crack the nut on how to combine lifting and endurance training (whether running or triathlon) with much consistency. I find that the lifting, even relatively light loads, takes a lot away from my ability to swim/bike/run as desired in training. I’ve done it just during base. I’ve done it during offseasons. I’ve done it entire seasons. And generally I just start feeling burnt out a lot faster when I try to lift and train.
Most useful for me are squats and deadlifts (but deadlifts are probably off limits for me anymore) along with free weight rows. And I like body weight exercises like pushups and pullups more than bench or machines.
All that said, I know strength training helps my performance over the long run. I think force generation is my limiter on the bike, but now’s not the time to incorporate heavy squats. I think I need to start doing some of that in the offseason again alongside some maintenance work throughout the year. If only I knew a coach who could tell me to do that…
At this point, I think I just need to figure out where to wedge it in to my schedule once a week (at least) for maintenance purposes.
I think I’m reaching a point where I’m not going to be able to drive max power (aerobic, neuromuscular) and FTP much higher without addressing my leg strength. I know I was stronger the year I was doing CrossFit while training for triathlons and my sprint numbers were up… it just wasn’t helping me race any faster. I’ll churn on this, and probably incorporate my strength maintenance routine once a week, then hit heavy weights a little bit after my training year wraps up in September.
stronglifts 5x5 ftw.
i started last year to try and avoid running injuries primarily. i follow the TR guys advice to do TR workouts in the morning and then lifts that evening. i’m sure i could lift a lot more if i didnt run or cycle, but that’s not my priority. I also like having another type of workout to do for stress relief. My intention was to do it through the winter but i think i’ll try and keep going with it year round.
Goblet Squats have done wonders for my lower back pain, range of hip motion, and overall flexibility. I like to do 15x3 reps with a 35 pound kettlebell so that I get a mix of stretching and muscle development. A great compliment to squats I found.
@samyall I hear ya! For quads my current go-tos are goblet squats, reverse lunge, and step ups. For hamstrings its kettlebell and dumbbell deadlift variants, in particular the single leg Romanian deadlift.
All the one-leg stuff is fantastic IMHO for cycling and life in general. About 6 months ago my glutes were so weak my progression started with bodyweight hip hinging until I nailed form and recovered some flexibility and basic strength. Started with 25 pound bell to focus on form. About ready to step up to 35 pounder. Also doing reverse lunges and step ups with 20lb dumbbell in each hand (need to bump that up soon too). Not sure I’ll bother with barbell except for benching, getting started later in life means knowing I’m not invincible (darn it!) and figure it is better to play it safe than risk lower back injuries if form gets sloppy.
I am working with a coach from the beginning. It took me a while before he even allowed me to touch the bar My bracing (the core!), shoulder stability & strength and hip mobility were mostly non-existent. Once he was comfortable with my technique I started doing 1+2 session on most weeks. One being with him and is mostly focused on injury prevention (for running, cycling but also strength training). We often also do form checks on the lifts I do without him. The other two sessions are basically what you have described - strength, lower reps, major lifts. More specifically I do:
Deadlift - either conventional or sumo
High Bar Squat - regular or tempo (paused)
Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift or Bulgarian Split Squat
Lat Pull Down or Seated Cable Row
One Arm Dumbbell Bent Over Row or some variations with the cable machine
Overhead Press or Shoulder Dumbbell Fly or Face Pulls
Deadlift and Squat are around 20-25 reps (5 x 4, 4 x 6…) and the rest is mostly 3 x 8. I also use some resistance bands for shoulder mobility in between the sets.