Fatigue – how to use rather than abuse it

Are there different types of fatigue? I think there must be. Like most athletes here, in the past I have been breathless, but most recently legs that can’t work like they have.

About a year ago my Physio and Exercise Physiologist got together to provide a long-term solution to my wobbly knee. They took a cautionary approach based on strength training. Initially I did a lot of work on stability, gradually adding strength based on body weight, then machines and dumbbells and most recently, more complex compound bar work. In each case starting with low weight/higher reps to ensure precise technique.

During this time I have kept up cycling, particularly once my knee alignment and stability became more established, now good.

What is most surprising now is ‘fatigue’.

The compound bar work, is the main change in my session routine, ie, RDL, Dead Lift and Back Squat. Based on 5 repeats of 5, seems fine during the actual training session, M, W and F. I have to work hard but not at my strength limit. After each set, my breathing rate has certainly risen. But, my recovery and feeling of tiredness for the rest of the day is noticeable. Doing a cycling workout the next day feels completely different. My breathing rate doesn’t get above low, 60-70%, but my legs feel tired , they don’t want to work. My cycling speed has dropped, so even an endurance paced ride is slow and it feels like something to endure.

The Exercise Physiologists aren’t overly concerned, but did wonder if it is nutrition based, ie, I’m not eating enough.

If you train your legs in the gym, squats for instance, they are expected to take some time to recover. Personally I can’t combine leg training in the gym with cycling as I’m sore for like 4-5 days after a session.

If you are concerned that your cycling suffer you can try fewer reps heavy. You could also try fewer sets. See if that makes any difference. You should be able to ride in z1 or z2 if you aren’t like me though.

If you’re on top of your nutrition and sleep well you are mostly set for optimal recovery and there isn’t much else to do regarding recovery.

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