Ideas for on the bike strength training

I’m starting to structure training again in the hope that we may get a cx season, however I don’t want to go down the full build route in case we don’t. Therefore I’ve blocked out a very simple program based on my experience, available time and what I enjoy.
So during the week I’ve scheduled 2 sweetspot sessions (I’ll gently progress these) and at the weekend I’ll continue to enjoy longer rides both on and off road, with durations ranging from 3-12hrs depending on my desires. (Did a mega 15hr off road ride last Sunday, it was epic!)
This leaves me with 3-4 days off each week which is necessary as I’m 45 and have a physical job. I’ve been down the 6 days a week path and it made me fast but a complete zombie and killed my love of racing, so now I always listen to my body and allow myself to chill more often.
However, as an option I’d like to have one other session up my sleeve for those weeks where my weekend is lighter or I’m just feeling good. Don’t want to add vo2 max workouts at the moment, get bits of that anyway when mountain biking and those can be added once racing is imminent. What I’m more interested in is ‘on the bike’ strength work as I feel building muscle mass will be a long term gain that won’t just fade the moment I stop it like vo2 ability tends to do.
I know I could do squats but the gym is closed at the moment and I don’t own free weights so am looking for ideas for on the bike strength workouts. Durations and intensity. Would max effort, standing starts in a big gear be as good as anything? How long to maintain it? 6, 12, 20 seconds? I’m thinking about 12 seconds as that’s about the duration of the phosphocreatinase (total guess at the spelling) contribution isn’t it? Any better ideas?

You could try sprinterval workouts. They are tough as you won’t have enough time to recover between sprints. Try Thor-1, Tom +2 which consists of sprints and muscular endurance. You could also try some sprint workouts like Gardiner.

There is a series of stomping intervals + strength sprints in the Trad Base High Vol block 2 – maybe in block 3 as well, but I haven’t looked.
Moosilaukee, Chocura and Carrigain.
I think that these are aimed at what you are trying to do.

Try the workouts that 200M specialists do.
-Standing start sprints in a 50/14 for about 12 seconds- that is when you usually sit down.
-Seated sprints in a 50/14 or 52/14 from walking speed to top speed. You can use anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to recover. Do 3 to 5 efforts and go home.

  • Do motor-paced windups behind a motorcycle in a big gear. Start at 25 mph and smoothly accelerate past 40 mph in the next 12 seconds, trying to hang on to the speed as the motorcycle accelerates away.

If you’re into MTB and CX I wouldn’t neglect off the bike strength either. You can do a lot with just body weight. Push ups, squats, pistol squats, jumps, lunges, step ups, pull ups, etc.

Underspeed (50-60rpm) would be great; start 4 x 8m and move up towards 15m.
Not a fan of tractor pulls but some like them.


Thanks for your replies. I’ll see what I can incorporate.
It’s going well.
Last week I was doing standing starts, keeping the power on for about 6-12 seconds. Felt very noodly, giving away lots of control due to a weak midsection.
This week I was just riding around a park but accelerating as hard as I could out of corners or over steep features. Felt a lot more coordinated in the efforts.
It’s nice to be able to pop out for 45mins and feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, without having to commit to a bigger workout.

@grawp this ^^

search Internet for “muscle tension intervals” and some good articles (Fascat and CTS) should pop up immediately

By underspeed do you mean just riding at a low cadence? I naturally do a lot of this anyway due to bikepacking off road where often you simply run out of gears on a heavily laden bike and have to churn it up a hill.
I’ve been doing 10-15hr rides every other weekend or so like this and and it certainly isn’t harming my weekday interval training.
Massive endurance rides plus two sweetspot sessions a week seems to suit me nicely. Incorporating a strength session each week and 1-2 runs is making me feel ready to race.
Pity there’s no racing yet!

I’ll google muscle tension intervals.