Can an endurance athlete build/maintain a meaningful strength foundation/base and be fit?

You can ride and lift but you’ll probably need to be more selective about the riding.

I’ve been lifting heavy (starting strength, specifically, discussed in other threads) 3x per week and it affects threshold/vo2 type efforts more than endurance. Intending on dropping that down once I’m happy with my level of strength. I’m still trying to figure that part out but I have a ways to go anyhow.

Thanks!. Wonder what you mean by metabolic fitness….According to Levine, the main factor is stroke volume which in turn is mostly dependent on size of the heart and it’s compliance.

Well I believe, without specific evidence, that all the low-intensity training has made my heart more elastic and have a stronger rebound, and that has increased stroke volume. But my top end always seemed to blow up spectacularly early, because of my legs. But I have no real evidence to support that. I’m pretty connected mind-body so those are merely feelings.

Can only tell you that doing boat loads (for me, about 7-8 hours/week average) of low intensity has driven my ftp up by 20-30W, driven up entire power curve under 5 minutes without any real vo2max training, raised power at lower aerobic threshold by 50W, added an inch to my upper legs, allowed my HRV to return to normal, and dropped resting heart rate 12 bpm and still dropping. :man_shrugging: and it took 2 years. I’m patient.


4 to 8 hours a week of lifting for the basic program sounds like a lot of lifting? That’s at least 4 days a week?

The weight lifting portion of the plan is here:

And week 5 it shows 4 hours lifting and 5 hours riding. That’s for the Intermediate plan.

You can get extremely strong on 3 sessions a week, for sure.

But if you think you have a real strength deficit, I would do a dedicated strength training block, then rebalance the bike and weights.

I think the challenge people have is that strength training makes them sore and tired. But that stops being the case. If you focus on strength training for 3 months (and thus temporarily reduce time on the bike) then squatting one day and riding the next (or squatting one morning and riding that afternoon) won;’t be an issue. If you don’t temporarily scale back the aerobic work, it’s much harder. And honestly, unless you decide to dedicate years to hypertrophy, in 3 months you can get more than halfway to as strong as you can get.

I battled this all the time playing rugby. After years I sort of worked it out, between pure powerlifting blocks, mixed PL and aerobic work, then in-season maintenance work. I topped out at 2.9x bw DL and 2.6 bw squat, so not elite but solid to also go 80 minutes.

Is this lab tested?…If not I think is hard to estimate. The closest thing is looking at the compare chart in or Xert’s LTP.

Estimated starting in 2016 and refined year after since. Part of my methodology here:

It’s not my VT1 or LT1 because I’ve no plans to get tested. It’s my pragmatic lower aerobic threshold where I can go out and do long 8-16 hour rides, wake up the next day and feel normal, and two days later continue training as normal.

Like here, 14 hours into a double century:

That’s about 3-4bpm below my estimated HR at lower aerobic threshold. Easy but not too easy pace. That was on a Saturday, went back to normal training and on Tue or Wed hit a short power PR.

And yes, Xert LTP was relatively close when I used it in 2017.

The heart rate (small range) at that lower threshold hasn’t appeared to change over the last 7 years.

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What is working for me is I do 2 or 3 days of strenght resistance exercise a week and I follow a low volume training plan which is made up of 3 days of workouts on the bike. The way I make it work is that I joined a fitness studio called F45 and I know that I’ll do my 3 sessions on Tues/Thurs/Friday. They are 45 minutes long with about 10 minutes of those watching the demo. I’m plenty strong just by doing these workouts.
I then schedule at least one, but sometimes two rides on the weekend and do my other ride during the week. If my son is sick or there is something else going on at home then I’ll either sacrifice a workout or modify my schedule. I often do a double day on Thursday with a weight session and a ride in the evening.
What is great about f45 is that they focus on functional movements so this might a good fit for you. What is also great is you can go as hard or as easy as you want. Good luck.

Check the power vs hr chart, it’s a more robust methodology than your system.

What should one look for in this chart to determine LT1?

Just look the HR ballpark range of your LT1. And compare it with previous season or period. What you want to see is more pwr per same level of hr. Some people can see a plateau in the LT1 area. LT2 is even more clear, because the break in linearity.

Really? What am I suppose to see?

When I use the last two years, the only years where I did some really low-intensity 45-60 minute efforts between 80-120W, its a straight line up from 90W to just below ftp (270-ish). Other years have distorted data at the low-end.

That linear relationship between HR and power is something I’ve seen in published studies going back a long time ago.

You want to see the whole curve below LT2 HR shifted to the right.

Ok we are talking about different things. I’m discussing estimating lower aerobic threshold, which is not something I’ve been able to do with

You are talking about the curve shifting. And yes, it went up 40-50W over 2 years at my lower aerobic threshold. And I can see that with or without

Is part of the same conversation. Your LT1 HR is somewhere in a range of possible options. In my case 140-155 bpm. So I want to see a big delta across the range.

Additionally, some people see a plateau in that area. For me is a bit unclear. I can post a pic later.

15bpm is a large range. Thru repeated field testing over the years I feel my range has a much narrower.

I understand your point, and can clearly see a large shift in Intervals but I’ve been using other tools before intervals came along. It’s about 40-50W shift, over the years, in my “all day” / long ride endurance zone.

I see this in the same light as @Jonathan often mentions things being faders instead of switches. At what point does one become an endurance athlete and stop being a strength athlete. I find the most practical approach is some of both, unless you’re getting paid to do one or the other. Although I look more like a strength athlete than an endurance athlete, I spend a lot more time doing endurance training than I do strength training. I don’t always make it happen, but a good week for me is 2-4 TR workouts or outdoor rides and two strength workouts. I used to do long, complicated strength workouts when that was more my focus, but I like what I’ve pared it down to now. I’m not here to argue weight vs. reps, but I prefer high weight and low reps. One day, I do squats, overhead press, and try for pull-up progress (always been a struggle). The other day, I do a deadlift series, barbell rows, and pull-up work. I usually superset push-ups between sets of squats and deadlifts and sit-ups or abwheel between presses and rows. When you get started, yes, it will hurt. Take it easy, easier than you think. Slowly work up to Chad’s recommendations, and then just do what it takes to maintain those. Each of those workouts I described takes 25-30 minutes. I keep it tight with sets either every minute (EMOM) or every two minutes (E2MOM). It’s really simplified it all for me and keeps me more consistent. Besides all that barbell stuff, I did do a lot of kettlebell stuff in the past (BikeJames) and had fun and success with it. I still mix in KB’s when I feel like it.


To answer the Op - checkout Fergus Crawley. 1200lb powerlifting total and a sub 12 hour Ironman in the same day is a strong endurance athlete!

I feel your pain! I am an aging female endurance athlete fighting a losing battle against sarcopenia. Being skinny too doesn’t help. But I focus more on mobility/balance work, and add in a weights session of simple excersises twice a week if I’m not too tired.
I really rate Precision Movement. (Coach E.)
They have a lot of videos on youtube + a website where you can purchase different plans.
These address posture issues and strength imbalances, so you may find them helpful.

Gym membership costs a fortune over here (uk) so would be wasted on me. You can buy a set of weights and work out at home which is easier and less time consuming.
I think Joe Friel’s book Fast after Fifty would be a good read, and does cover weight training.
Hope it goes well!

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