Lifting in Build Phase

Hi all,

Im looking for approaches to lifting moving from during a build phase on the bike…tell me what you do! :slight_smile:

Ive been doing 3 hard lifts per week (SL5x5) during SSB MV1, plus three run sessions per week, now Im moving to Sustained Power Build MV and adding a swim session.



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Wow. If you get through that, you better be totally ripped! :exploding_head:

On second thought, is there a chance that your ramp test results are suppressed by the other training? That could be a good thing of course.

When I moved to build I went from 1 leg day and 2 upper body days (all had some core stuff at the end) to 1 leg day and 1 upper body. I also had that third day that might be lighter upper body, just core, or just some stretching depending on how I felt.

For the lower body day I dropped the volume a lot and quickly worked up to 1x1-3 on something above 80%. That way I still got the stimulus of moving some heavier weight but didn’t do a bunch of reps either at that weight or to get to it. I also dropped a lot of the weighted stuff like lunges and did more bodyweight stuff.

Upper body was a little more volume than legs but not much. I still did somewhat of a maintenance program.


How long have you been doing stronglifts for? After about 6 months if you continue the progression the squat sets can be absolutely brutalizing.

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I tend to do my cardio workouts in the morning. Pre-COVID I was swimming Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s in the morning on the cycling off or recovery ride days - so only biking the four “hard” days per week. I would try to lift the afternoons that I swam, but wasn’t consistent based on work and family demands. Lifts were almost exclusively upper body with just 1-2 lower body exercises, and more maintenance than heavy sessions. I’d also Try to run a couple of miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays, again mainly maintenance 3-5 miles.

Post-COVID and the pools closing, I lift MWF mornings (same routine as before) but then do at least 45 minutes of recovery riding / easy spin. It is often less than prescribed by the plans but still something. I’m down to one maintenance run per week.

Overall I think I like this routine a little better because I’m doing fewer afternoon workouts, and I think my body composition is better. I miss the pool, though, so need to figure out how to work that back in once they reopen. Maybe trade 1 lifting day for a maintenance / base swim each week…

Anyway, hope this helps.


Ive backed off, stopped and started a few times since last october either deliberately or through illness, so I havent had to squat much more than my bodyweight yet. Id rate 5x5 squats at 100% bodyweight as a Hard workout, and I dont think I need to be much stronger than that.

Ill be keeping it simple whatever I decide on, really Im looking to keep the whole-body benefit of lifting rather than keep squatting at 100% if that makes sense and the two are not intertwined.

Trick is that I need strength to be no harder than an RPE5 workout…not sure thats possible on 5x5 :grimacing::grinning:

I agree, 5x5 at bw is a good point where things start getting really hard. My first foray into lifting I focussed only on lifting and eating huges amounts, and I took stronglifts up until 5x5 at 1.5x bodyweight…those sets were extremely painful!

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Well done! I think Id be happy to see 100kg, or 1.25 bodyweight…and maybe just on deadlift! :slight_smile:

Im not dogmatic about 5x5 Mehdi of SL say its incompatible with endurance training anyway, Joe Friel and Mark Allen have a higher rep approach throughout but I cant find any specifics on what to do when in build phase for the endurance sports…just hints, dribs and drabs. And their whole routines have a lot more faff.

I listened to three hours of Scientific Triathlon Show podcasts on strength training and aim none the wiser.

I think Ive figured out Friel’s protocol for what would be TR Build and Speciality;

Strength Maintenance (SM)
1 workout per week
2 sets per Exercise
Set 1 - 12 reps at 60% 1RM
Set 2 - 6 reps at 85% 1RM

This could be applied to squats and deads, although he wants side planks and other things in a strength routine.

So a little bit of maths, if Im squatting 5x5 80kg my estimated 1RM would be about 100kg…so two sets, 1x12 at 60kg and 1x6 at 85kg…sound doable if unintuitive.

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Okay a little more research and I think Im going to merge the TrainerRoad and StrongLifts philosophies:

So Ill switch to lifting twice per week. StrongLifts 3x5 and use Chads L2 target weights as Im already above most of them.


My dilemma is if I am doing 3x5 reps of squats or deadlifts for a given weight during base then what is a reasonable approach for maintenance. Do I lower the weight or do I lower the volume with fewer sets or is something else better?
In Trainerroad, maintenance seems to be keeping intensity and lowering volume. Wondering if the same approach applies to lifting.

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Don’t drop down to these levels though! Maintain what you have. Tbh anyone who is a balanced athlete (so not most road cyclists, who are quite unbalanced) should be easily able to hit those without even weight training…60 lbs military press is basically the bar.

I do think that the two days a week plan is pretty perfect for maintenance. Id probably just add in some pullups.

Its going to depend, partly on how hard your lifting is in base, and how hard your build phase is.

SPB MV has four hard sessions per week (RPE7-8) and Im doing one hard run per week, that already puts me over the line for some coaches. So my lifting cant be in the RPE7-8 range, I suspect even 6 might be pushing it.

So if your 3x5 is easy (RPE4) or youre doing a low volume Build plan, you could be okay continuing lifting but probably twice per week so you body can focus on bike specific adaptations.

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