Failing workouts after taking up weight training

Do your weight training on your hard cycling days…after your cycling workout. The next day is a recovery spin…how can you fail that?

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I had a huge comedown when I started lifting heavier again. Was crushing workouts on the bike when my training plan looked like:
Monday - rest
Tuesday - VO2 am / Z2 pm
Wednesday - Z2 am
Thursday - SS am, Z2 pm
Friday - Z2 and swim am
Saturday - threshold am
Sunday - weights pm

As soon as I added a strength session in on Friday pm, I started failing workouts. I moved the threshold session to a Sunday morning and went straight back to crushing workouts. After failing two Saturdays in a row, AT dropped me from 5.0 to 3.2 - I’ve just completed a Stretch 4.8 with no real issues.

I’d advise adding strength to the harder days and having a minimum of 24 hours between lifting and riding. That way I can prioritise the riding training, and leave the strength stuff as the supplementary training.

Your focus is upper body strength/toning. I find upper body training easy to combine with structured training. After an adaptation period, you won’t get very sore (unless when you switch exercises). Eat, sleep and keep in mind that you don’t have to kill yourself to make progress. Ensure perfect form, and start with the minimum effective dose. Many beginners do way too much volume. Also, I would not turn lifting into metabolic sessions (you get enough of that on the bike).

I know the general recommendation is to keep hard days hard, and rest days easy. Personally, I’ve never managed to get my ass to the gym on hard days (also for logistical reasons) and always lift on rest days. It’s not a problem. For lower body, I have accepted that till June I benefit more from cycling than from lifting so I train lower body only once a week, just to preserve strength.

I think most cyclists try to lift too much when they start adding strength training to their cycling routines. If a cyclists hasn’t been strength training, it doesn’t take much to add some strength. For legs, I like to keep my hard days hard and my easy days easy. So, I generally do two hard cycling days per week which would be VO2max intervals or a hard group ride/race…after those workouts I will do a set of Bulgarian split squats with dumbbells and a set of deadlifts. Now, I’m fortunate that I have weights in my basement next to my bike trainer so this is easy to accomplish after my cycling workout, even if separated by a few hours. On my easy days I’ll do some upper body weights and core work. The main point is if cycling is your number one sport, don’t train like a body builder or a power lifter…that’s just not smart.

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