Incorporating Strength into your Training plan... Did it actually work for you?

Hi all

Been a TR user for a few years, quite a lot of experience of interval training. I’m 43, race at Cat 3, road rider, done several crits, fast road events.
This year again I’m targeting a 100 mile gran fondo here in the UK (tour of Cambridgeshire) in June 22.

My plan started a few weeks back (mid volume SSB 1 & 2, General build, rolling Road race) 29 week plan. Did the same last year even though my event was cancelled, and got some great gains thanks to TR - ended up getting all time PR figures in October at a group trip in Mallorca… :+1::pray: Thank you TR :heart_eyes:

Anyway my question…

I hear a lot of discussion of using strength training (mainly squats and deadlifts) during the base period to increase performance for endurance events. I know coach Chad has recently discussed this on the pod (and will be expanding on this in future episodes).
I’m interested in your real life experience of this, if you are someone who didn’t previously use any form of strength training and then has incorporated it into your routine.

  • did it actually work for you?
  • did your own endurance event performance benefit or suffer?
  • what type of strength regime did you, or do you use (# times a week, types of exercise, etc)
  • If I’m to do this I will need to buy a bar and some plates/weights. I’m 78kg/170 lbs (~4 w/kg rider) . How much should I lift? 60kg, 80kg? Want to make sure I don’t buy too little or much weights if possible!

Many thanks
Mike

1 Like

Hi there!

I come from a strenght training background, and trained a full body program for strength last year through the same plan as you referr to.

Used the Starting Strenght method, 3 sets 5 reps squat/bench/deadlift, plus some additional chins and core-excercises. Trained this workout twice a week, never on the day before aerobic work over threshold, I found that that would limit the legs a bit.

Strenght is never a weakness.

3 Likes

If you don’t mind some reading. Take a look at this article. Paragraph 3 has a calculator for weight targets based on type of riding. Also has key exercises and some clips on how to perform them.

edited to include link

4 Likes

Started riding road 6 years ago, I’m a bit older and love epic days on the bike but not competitive. Others have successfully integrated strength with TR plans, I wasn’t successful mostly due to muscle imbalances so I patiently worked on that for 2 years. In summer 2020 I tried FasCat’s off-season 10 week plan as it combines lifting (squat, leg press, leg curl) with mostly zone2 / endurance riding. That worked out well, because the first 4-6 weeks my legs were too sore to ride much above that (and same for some 24+ year old riding buddies that started lifting heavy a few weeks ago).

Small gains on the bike, nothing major, but I’ll take any gain. The amount of weight you can lift is individual, strength work is generally low reps / high weight. Lifting heavy things requires good form, so focus on perfecting form before going heavy and risking injury. I schedule lifting on same day as cycling, and always after a day off (come in fresh for both).

3 Likes

No link

Funny, I had the same exact question. I watched the recent Dylan Johnson video on strength training. He was throwing out numbers like leaving 10-20% on the table. I was wondering if anyone here had any 20% magical gains. If I could add 20% to my FTP, I’d be really encouraged to lift.

I have dumbbells and do some basic stuff at home. I was going to buy a kettlebell. I’m going to continue doing this stuff for the general conditioning but unless I thought I was going achieve some solid FTP gains, I don’t really want to build a large home gym or join a gym.

1 Like

Sorry about that - mobile posting + late night is a bad combo.

1 Like

Strength training addition is great. Not solely for the improved performance but also to add some new elements, new routines to your overall training. I found that cycling workouts only started to be too repetitive and boring and nothing worse then monotony! Once I’ve added twice a week 40mins strength routine it all became exciting and enjoyable again. I use primarily kettlebells and body weight. Lower body/upper on different days. Pull ups, push ups, squat variations there’s multitude of kettle bell routines and I find it really enjoyable. I dont know if it improved my overall performance on the bike TBH though but surely keeps the whole body in better shape.

3 Likes

A couple of things I like. Don’t overdo it in the gym, leave a few reps in the tank. As in, lure yourself back in the next day, or in this case don’t sabotage the next days training. Somewhat, don’t train like a typical gym goer. Leave the ego at home.

My feeling is the strength work is cross training by nature, therefore a change of focus: limiting the osteoporosis chances, due to non weight bearing nature of cycling, and very beneficial for muscle fibre recruitment. Additionally, better posture from sedentary jobs, after all strength training is claimed to be the premise for keeping us older folk out of nursing homes in the years to come (not my research but it makes sense to me). Finally and presently/probably most importantly for current self, the ‘strong body from which we can train upon all year’ reason is enough for me to commit to a ‘strength’ but not getting much stronger routine for this time of year. Similar to my ftp to be honest. The hard work goes into keeping it just the same….10 odd years training has found no miracle sessions, intervals or supplements.

Keep lifting, it might be more beneficial to future self than the kms pedalled. Maybe….

3 Likes

I’m in the same boat as the OP. I bit the bullet and got a home setup(cage, bar, plates, bench). I knew I wouldn’t be consistent with it if I had to go to a gym.

Last week was my first week. I have done ZERO weight training prior to this. I landed on doing Starting Strength routine, which is a rotation between 2 different workouts. 1 is 3x5 squat/3x5 Over Head Press/1x5 deadlift, the other is the same but swap the overhead press for bench press. I started with an empty bar and am adding 5lbs each time. Workouts take me ~40 minutes. So far, even and embarrassingly low weights, my legs were incapable of anything beyond Z2 work the day after lifting. I’ve switched to the ‘LV Polarized’ plans and plan to do the ‘intensity day’ on Tuesday(Monday’s are total rest days, no work).

my week’s schedule looks like this

Monday-Off
Tuesday-VO2/Threshold on the bike
Wednesday-Lift
Thursday-Z2 ride
Friday-Lift
Saturday-Z2 ride
Sunday-Lift

3 Likes

100% and what may get overlooked are your hamstrings.

Many people go into a gym and want big powerful quads and rightfully so, but think about 2 quadrants of the pedal stroke that incorporate the hamstrings.

I’ve seen a significant diffence by placing a bit more emphasis in this area.

1 Like

Live longer, no osteoporosis, be healthier, fewer injuries and therefore less downtime. I can’t prove the rest, but there are a lot of studies that show that strength training leads to better endurance and maximum performance.

And I like the idea of being a cycling athlete instead of just a cyclist.

10 Likes

Guys,

Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Really appreciate it.

OK so I’m looking at this differently now after hearing your perspectives. Sounds like it’s not really about performance but more about achieving improvements to resilience and investing in later life. Great advice.

In terms of exercises and kit, I saw a sandbag yesterday which had a 25kg capacity. There seems to be many upper and lower body drills I could follow with that and of course its easy to store and I can fill and empty to suit. Does that sound like a sensible route?

Many thanks
Mike

1 Like

If you’ve got the space then a bar, bench, rack and a set of plates is a good investment. I finally pulled the trigger when lockdown hit last year after years of making do with a combination of body weight exercises and intermittent gym membership. Haven’t regretted it at all, my strength training has been far more consistent (and time efficient) in the last 18 months and that’s translated to improvements both on the bike and in overall health. Figure I can probably get all or most of my money back if at any point I don’t have space for them, it’s not like weights get obsolete!

2 Likes

Hi Mike, i am actually intrigued how similar we are!

178cm 78kg and 4 watt/kg treshold when in shape. I have done structured training and amateur racing for a few years now, and consider myself a puncheur or sprinter. This year for the first time i have decided to add strength training for the challenge and change. I am using tips from Dylan Johnson, but more specific advice from Jasper Verkuji, and this amazing guide: STRENGTH & POWER training for cyclists! - #cycling - YouTube

I started lifting about 10 weeks ago, and i am now up to 100kg backsquat, 120kg deadlift, 60k bulgarian splitsquat. I am now finally able to combine 2 weekly strength workouts with sufficient cycling and running volume. No doubt my shape has taken a hit, but now i hope to build it back, and surpass my previous level by going through base and build (sweetspot and threshold focus).

More than anything i hope to gain sprint and attacking power from my strength training, but will also be exciting to see if it can positively impact my threshold aswell. I have gained about 5kg bodyweight, but hope to reduce that to 2-3 kg when i get more properly in shape.

1 Like

Could I be cheeky and ask exactly what your strength workouts are - I’ve been doing some yoga and planks to get range of motion back to some of my old joints and work on my core but I do have some kettlebells. Don’t have enough cash to buy much more at the moment but could do with building my strength up to be more robust. Thanks in advance for any pointers you could give…

Like many of the others, I’ve incorporated strength into my routine a few months ago with my goal being better overall health as I age. Chads comments on being more athletic overall resonate with me. I went the Dialed Health route, and have been doing kettlebell and body weight stuff. Once I’m comfortable going to a gym, I might go do Olympic lifts there, but so far I’m seeing good results in overall fitness through the kettlebells and prefer to focus on core/upper body.

One note on your specific case…most of the strength training things I’ve read for cyclists incorporate 2 days a week and @Cory.Rood has 3. If your goal is to be a faster cyclist, I think I’d spend that 3rd day getting in more miles. If you’re a sprinter, this could be different.

To be clear, My goal is to build the strength as fast as possible, then I will cut back to 2 days a week and add weight at a lower rate if at all and ramp the bike work up. I figure if I’m gonna be sore and can’t hammer bike work, might aswell shift the focus on the strength a bit more.

1 Like

Kettlebells are cheap - I bought a couple of vinyl ones on eBay and really great piece of kit. Search Pevel Tsatsoulin on YouTube he’s kind of kettlebell guy. Like I said - on Monday I do squats, deadlifts, bridges, Bulgarian squats and swings in EMOM format. Thursday upper body: pull ups push ups halos with bells, shoulder presses etc. I try to add new routines and exercises to keep things interesting

1 Like

I power lifted for a number of years in my 20s. I didn’t start cycling until I was in my 30s. This fall in my mid-30s I started lifting again. Both because maybe it would help my riding, but also because of non-bike-related health benefits, and life benefits (much easier to do yard work and throw my kids around).

To date the two beneficial things for my riding I’ve noticed are an increased TTE near threshold and feeling less tired/better mood. In regards to the latter, weight training apparently increase testosterone and GH post workout and I wonder if this is what helping here.

I did find it interfered with my riding at first, but only until I stopped getting DOMS after every lifting session. Interestingly, that only took about a week coming back to weight this time, whereas when I first started lifting way back when, I recall it took closer to 4-6wk to stop getting sore muscles every time after lifting.

2 Likes