Confused about lifting recovery

I’ve been working with a trainer for a bit at a Big Gym. Initially, the goal was just to learn mobility exercises and squat/deadlift form. We’ve been doing leg workouts on Mondays (only interested in legs). Sort of in a base phase, so I lift on Monday, do easier Z2 type rides on Tuesday/Thursday and then allow myself to push some more watts on group rides on Saturdays w an easy Sunday.

The problem is that I don’t seem to be recovering from the Monday workouts. Today (Saturday), for example, I had no legs and my heart rate remained relatively low. Below FTP efforts felt a lot harder and I was pretty weak by the end of the ride.

This trainer knows some great mobility stuff and creates good workouts, but he’s also a “bro” who focuses on getting big/strong. No experience with endurance.

I guess this might be a volume issue with the lifting? Seems like five days later I’d be recovered, but this week’s leg workout was pretty hard. I want to ride far and fast this summer. Is it better to mostly leave lifting behind until next fall/winter?

I’m 39, don’t recover very quickly and am not athletically gifted. “Fit” for me being pack fodder in the 3/4 and barley keeping up on the fast group rides. If lifting is making me weaker, though, it isn’t going to be a fun summer.

Total volume, yes.

You don’t really describe the lifting session or bike workouts, or your club ride to know where is too much.

I would naturally assume the unstructured club ride is where riders are undermining their training - because no one ever agrees. :slight_smile:

Welcome back to the forums, have you been using TR plans at all?

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I can’t remember the last lifting session very well, but it was something like this:

Mobility stretches

High rep kettlebell squats x 3
Deadlift 5 x 10 - 12
Squat 4 x 8 - 10
Single leg leg press 4 x 10 - 12

3x Circuits that included squatting motions like throwing heavy balls and such.

The group ride wasn’t that intense. It just felt way more intense w no legs.

Reading this workout, I’m like ‘WTF is he doing to me?’. That’s way too much.


Ah, yup! :grinning:


You need to decide what your primary goal is - lifting, or biking?

What I personally do is hit all my HARD workouts on the bike, because I’m prioritizing bike fitness. I’ll then hop off the bike and do a leg workout right afterwards 2x a week, but it’s really much more of a maintenance workout than building strength. I do 3x squats and 3x deadlifts where it’s a moderate effort to finish 3 sets of 10 at a very deep / full range of motion. That’s as much for my legs as it is core, back, shoulders, etc. I also do 2-3x core / upper body sessions on my rest or endurance days.

It also sounds to me like you’re not doing enough intensity on the bike. Just one group ride isn’t going to be all that efficient for training to get faster.

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Makes sense. Right now I suppose I’m sort of doing the Dylan Johnson lift + zone 2 base. I haven’t been able to get my FTP up much and think I need to add lifting to add some strength which I can then refine into on-the-bike strength. But yeah, cycling is the primary goal.

I don’t think I could handle even what you’re doing. With lifting, one upper body and one lower body per week is about all I can recover from.

I try sometimes but can’t really because I travel for work and my schedule is weird. I use TR for workouts but following the plan is difficult. Have seriously considered changing jobs just so I can train “correctly”.

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If biking is your primary goal, I’d start with a TR LV Plan. Your FTP hasn’t gone up much because you’re not really doing any organized bike training with what you’re doing.

Option one is to sub the 3rd intensity workout out, and replace with your group ride. If you can handle the volume you could do workouts Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and then your group ride Saturday.

I’d personally then add legs on Monday, and then Wednesday or Thursday, but you have to keep the effort down, start slow, and then scale up.

If you really don’t have the time because of work/travel, then just use “Train Now” for some intensity work earlier in the week whenever you can, but prioritize that if you want to get faster on the bike.

For what it’s worth, I’m 45, had never done any endurance training, started on a TR LV plan just over a year ago, and now I’m training at around 12 hours a week on the bike.

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This a very useless and overused retort that always come up in this threads. Usually people that don’t know the goodies of being strong AND fast.

Some of us want to be in the upper/right quadrant of w/kg and strength.

I have never really gotten a clear answer as to how strength training makes you faster. That’s not to say it doesnt…I honestly dont know. But I have yet to hear it articulated clearly and specifically yet, which makes me question whether it matters at all.

Useless? Absolutely not. Most people physically can’t prioritize both lifting and biking and recover / adapt appropriately, it’s as simple as that.

If you want to get faster on the bike, you’re going to be better off prioritizing bike workouts, and making lifting secondary so it doesn’t affect your ability to execute your bike workouts.

If your primary goal is to get bigger and stronger, it’s the other way around, you’re going to be better off prioritizing weight lifting and making sure your time on the bike doesn’t adversely impact the adaptations you get from lifting.


Realistically, how many true hours of sleep are you getting each night?

Seems like a lot of leg exercises tbh. I would try to split those across the week if possible. I only do 1-2 leg exercises per week. 4-5 sets of squats and 4-5 sets of deadlifts. Seeing gains in both cycling and lifting. Also you’re definitely missing out by not working your upper body and core. Don’t worry you’re not going to sprout 20 pound biceps overnight :slight_smile:

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I do this too: low rep of DL and squat, plus skme light upper body and core. Workout is 30-45 mins once per week. Heavy legs helps me short sprint power up to 3mins. I wouldnt expect it to increase my ftp (20min plus).

OP sounds like a great leg workout but more than id choose to do. However, ive weight lifted for years so its nore maintenance mode with some slight changes in weight

Sounds like you are burnt out, overly fatigued. I’m in the same place, was trying to do a plan builder LV plan (SS Base Stage) + extra Z2 work and got to the point where I grind through my workouts with a HR in the 110s and cadence of like 60.

Hoping I can get out of it by dropping the intensity and just doing midrange Z2 workouts for a while but its pretty weird to go from spinning along at 95 rpm through all your workouts to suddenly be grinding along at 60s and sometimes lower, without elevation of HR. Think its just because my legs are fried.

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I don’t know that it’s as important as just riding a lot for younger cyclists. But it seems as you get older that muscle doesn’t stick around without a little more stimulus.

Without the riding I’d lift like this. I think this trainer is mostly thinking about lifting as the primary sport rather than a complement to the sport because that’s what he knows. That workout was great if I want to increase my max deadlift, but not my FTP.

Yeah really like deadlifts. After a couple months I’m seeing full body benefits from that. Just don’t need to add so much else to it.

You can be 4.7 w/kg and be a feeble stick or you can be 4.1 w/kg and be strong well rounded athlete. So, its about where in the curve you want to be.

Most people physically can’t prioritize both lifting and biking and recover / adapt appropriately, it’s as simple as that.

One simple part of that you can see in the OP schedule is in the ideal you are keeping your hard days hard. So some days figuring how to get the lift and ride into the schedule, then get the proper recovery by the next hard day. It’s really easier schedule-wise just to throw an hour at the gym on the days you aren’t on the bike, but then you are working the legs 6 times a week.

The other thing is lifting will fatigue your legs in different ways than riding will, but it just takes a little while to get used to. Even though they don’t feel fresh the performance will be there, just have to “wake up the engine”.