Adding Strength Training

I’ve just added some decent weight equipment to my home gym because I want to add strength training.

I’ve been adding heavy squats, deadlift, benchpress, vertical shoulder press, barbell rows, barbell hip thrusts, pull ups, carries, face pulls, etc.

Is there anything I should expect when adding these heavy lifts to my routine? Someone made the comment to me that you should expect to get slower before you get faster. Any truth to that? My plan is to alternate an A & B full body workout for a total of 3 weight training days per week.

I think I’m “fortunate” to be implementing this while I’m technically “off the bike” due to my doctor’s instructions. I am continuing to do some standing bike work as well as have a noseless bike that I can do some medium duty indoor bike work on. I’m thinking I can get through the phase where I have the worst DOMs. Any recommendations on how I should continue this once my hardcore training starts back up in a month or so?

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reads like Jeff Cavaliere’s recent Perfect Total Body Workout A & B!

the science supports organizing morning workouts on bike, and afternoon workouts in your home gym.


Sorry to piggyback off your post. While not at home, but at a gym, I was also planning to start adding strength training (specifically stronglifts 5x5). I’m looking to increase mostly core strength (tiny dude and 63kg), since I’ve realised I fall apart on longer rides and I think getting stronger should help that. I’ve read up quite a bit and while strength training will results in different benefits on and off the bike, there is one question for those of you who have had success with strength training.

How do I manage progression? The plan I linked seem to go on forever (as in raise weight every time), but won’t this progression eventually negatively impact my bike workouts? Everything over sweet spot is hard enough as is, without adding in the 3 strength workouts a week.

Do I stop adding weight?
Do I reduce reps/sets?
Do I reduce the number of gym workouts?
A combination of these?
When do I start modifying the progression? When I reach Level 1 or 2? (Coach Chads benchmarks) When I start build phase? When I start failing workouts?

Wow, seems like there is more than one question. :sweat_smile:

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You’ve already answered your own question, stop the progression once you’ve hit Coach Chad’s benchmarks. Or when you feel you’ve achieved the benefits you were looking for in terms of fatigue resistance on long rides. After that then continuing to get stronger is going to mean adding muscle mass that is increasing your weight without giving any cycling benefits, and is also impacting the time and freshness you have for cycle training. Ideally you’d want to stop the progression and move into maintenance before you hit the build phase on your cycling training, as I think it’s hard to do both at the same time.

The plan goes on forever because it’s aimed at people who want to carry on getting stronger/bigger, which isn’t cyclists. You’ll also find that you almost certainly progress a lot slower than laid out by the plan as you’ll be doing cycling as well so won’t be recovering and adapting to the strength training as rapidly as somebody who is only doing strength work.

In terms of what to do once you’ve hit your goals and are maintaining, I tend to mix it up quite a bit to keep from getting bored. Still hit the major muscle groups at least once per week. But I use more variety of exercises including doing bodyweight stuff that I can do at home (I don’t have your setup unfortunately!) or when travelling such as pushups, pullups, lunges, single leg bodyweight squats, squat jumps, etc. In the gym I might swap out bench press for flies, inclined press, declined press, shoulder press, etc. Would rarely do 5x5, more likely to do 3 x 5 or 3 x 10.


I think this might differ from person to person. Chad’s benchmarks are pretty generic and seem quite low to me. You can get stronger than those benchmarks without building muscle that I would think be a negative. I would think muscle growth would be more dependent on what you’re eating than just whether or not you are lifting heavier weights.

I am curious about the comments about going to maintenance before you hit the build phase and wondering about other opinions on that matter. I’m not sure what “maintenance” really means in this context, but this is sort of what I was looking to have answered in the original post. How do others balance strength training with hard bike training?

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Maintenance means building strength is no longer the focus. In a traditional 12-week, 3-phase base program, many athletes spend the last 4-6 weeks maximizing strength gains. This might be 2-3 workouts per week of low rep, high weight work coinciding with what Friel calls “Base 3”. They then shift to maintenance for the Build-Peak-Race portions of their training. What that looks like can vary by athlete, but it’s generally 1 workout, medium reps (10-15 reps/set), 1-2 sets, at fairly light weight. It doesn’t take much to maintain strength gains.

Chad’s recommendations are light for many people, but remember that he’s focused on having enough strength to be functional while successfully racing. Whether you can bench 185 five times or 155 five times probably doesn’t make much of a difference in a crit either way. So the point of stopping when you get to those levels is to focus on what’s actually going to make you faster, and that’s riding your bike.

Remember too that most of TR’s plans and recommendations are based on people for whom time is a constraint. In most cases, if time is a factor, you’re going to be faster by spending more time on the bike, not by adding additional strength work.

FWIW, this upcoming offseason I plan to work up to Chad’s crit/sprinter level, which I’m usually pretty close to without training due to a long background of strength work in my past, and then I essentially plan on using his guideline as my maintenance workout once a week once I’m there. I’ll do those compound strength movements, and then add a bunch of core work at the end. YMMV.


Maintenance in my book simply means doing enough to maintain the strength you’ve built, not continuing to add to it.

Agree that more strength doesn’t necessarily mean more muscle mass, but building strength does take more out of you than maintaining what you’ve got, and that is going to impact cycling workout quality and recovery. That’s more of an issue during build than during base IME, as that’s the phase where you’re looking to be making the big gains in FTP, and are doing the higher intensity workouts where you need to be fresh to get the most out of them.

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This is a great topic!

I like lifting but struggle with how to add it in. I do my TR workouts tues/thurs/sat. I just started SSB LV1 (gotta be good in Feb of next year). I find that if I lift on my days off of TR, my legs are wrecked for the next trainer workout. I just can’t recover.

I’ll have to try lifting as a 2nd workout on trainer days and having Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun off of lifting. I often ride easy and long Sundays.

Thanks for the good convo!
my blog:

There are a few threads on this but I’ll echo comments from other spots;

  1. pick your timing to work on this. If you get heavy DOMS when starting back up (i do) do it early in the offseason and get that out the way. I did 10 day stretch of just some short endurance rides while i got back in the gym and got back into the routine and DOMS settled down. Now 3 weeks in things are fine and I am back to SSMV1 without issue.

2)time your training/lifting appropriately. the general consensus is to make your hard days HARD and your easy days truly easy. For me on Mid-Vol this means my wednesday ride is nothing more than Taku generally just to spin the legs out. And my Tues/Thurs/Sat are rides in the early morning and lifting in the evening. This gives me at least 48hrs between any lifting session and being back on the bike doing proper work (Tues night gym -> Weds AM ride is Taku)

  1. Pick a program that works well with other training programs.
    Stronglifts and Starting Strength are full fledged entry level powerlifting programs. They are made to be done 100% as a standalone program. They don’t play well with other training like TR, especially if you are trying to maintain any kind of volume. Basically if you do them you’re going to either have to modify the program a fair bit, or you won’t be able to ride properly. There are programs that work well with other training. I’m currently doing Juggernaut Training 2.0 on their 2 day cycle and it’s working well and gives ample recovery time between stuff which allows it to supplement with other programs, which is what it was designed for. Do some research of different programs and give them a try. Just like TR, consistency is key to gains, so find a program you can do consistently without a bunch of modifications.

PS. love the rogue RML-3 rack, have the same one. Top tip, throw some back duct tape or electrical tape on those J-hooks on the curved up metal edge. The flat portion has some hard rubber which protects the barbell but that curved part doesn’t and over time it can start to scratch your knurling up if you’re not careful.

Since I’m really a complete beginner with strength training I think I’m gonna step away from full lifting programs and just get a barbell and some weights and do the mix of body weight and lifting exercises in the blog post. Later I might get a cage and a bench if I can get my hands on a used one.

Similiar to Coach Chad’s listed excercises, and I won’t call it a program because it isn’t, most good PROGRAMS follow the same sets of exercises, structured around the squat, bench and deadlift, with overhead press added into most. These programs usually also have accessory movements, of which most of coach chad’s exercises would fall.

This is exactly my issue. I also need to run, which complicates things further.

I have one more race at the end of September, so I am trying 2 a days from now until then. TR workout and a run on Tuesday and Thursday. Long Run one weekend day and a long ride + follow-up run the other weekend day. Swimming is W/F (and some Monday’s). When the heck to schedule it?

Hard days be hard / easy days be easy — not enough days in the week!

@kurt.braeckel Always very helpful posts :ok_hand: merci

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