I couldn’t really find a thread that seemed like the right fit. Obviously lots of discussion about lifting in general and its value.
I haven’t done a lot of lifting for a long time, though I was doing a lot of heavy leg press immediately prior to getting back into cycling in a big way early 2020.
After listening to the latest EC podcast about strength training, I’m wondering if I should make more of an effort/reintroduce some strength training to my overall training. I felt conflicted in terms of the benefits espoused and whether they’d actually lead to a performance improvement. Obviously there are many benefits off the bike.
My question for the masses, is it worth adding in lifting now - mid season essentially? I’ve just come off the first of my A races, and the second is in March so there is a window for doing some more “base” now.
I might get greater training benefit out of doing a Sweet Spot block as I haven’t really done one this year .
Yes, but just once a week and only moderately heavy. Save progressive overload for post season.
What sport/hemisphere is mid-season in October?
If you are mid season now, and end of season is in March, your season is 8 months or more. Almost in season all year long, so not much post season to speak of if we assume there is a pre season as well.
If you have 4 full training months between A races you should not lock your mindset into season. As you point out you have a window for “more base” now. Strength training is always a question of priorities. I am lucky to only have 5 months of season, and I aim for peak during the latter part. I do 2-3 (usually 2) leg strength sessions per week from Oktober to around January, with the aim of building strength. After that I try to maintain it as best as possible, but focus is shifted to on the bike work. Strength work to gain strength will affect on the bike training in some way, so you need to make some compromises. Strength work as injury prevention and maintenance is easier to fit in. With four months to spare you have quite a bit of time for good training, but I would not prioritise strength training to gain strength.
Yes, well really it’s the very start of the season, but my A race is the first thing on the list.
Next A Race being another MTB in March. I don’t get to race much as I try to do all of my riding when it wouldn’t impact on my family time. Races are mostly not that.
It’s a lot like someone training for Kona Ironman, then Ironman NZ.
Anyway, thank you very much for your thoughts! Very much appreciated.
5x5 starts with just the barbell so it might suit you to start that - light through your A race then should start to feel heavy in a couple of months by which time your body is used to it.
with 4 full months before March, I’d definitely start lifting twice a week. take the first month very light weight (or body weight) and get those mechanics dialed in, then slowly bring the weight up. you don’t need to hulk out for cycling benefits IMO. Good luck!!
Ah, i understand. Well, that scenario could almost happen for me as well if I pick out an A race in May, and another one in September. Clue is to not try to stay “in season” and hold the form for so long. Priority is the A races. Pros, or semi-pros, with a long race calendar of priority racing has a shit ton of volume/base in the bank compared to us. Still they burnout if they are not careful.
I would not start lifting twice a week now. It takes too much toll on your on the bike work, which needs priority before the next A race. And since you are in the southern hemisphere, you are still in season with regards to now is the time to enjoy riding your bike not sweat in the gym. You need to set a side 8-12 weeks with strength focus to see real gains. Do that after your A race in March.
If strength training is worth it depends on the individual. The research doesn’t seem all to conclusive. But, for a slow twitch guy like myself I think it is worth it, no question. I went from 66-68kg in 2021 (a weight I’d been at for 10 years), to 71kg now. Seen an increase in FTP of 30 watts. At the same time I’ve been able to hold my w/kg stable at 5.31 in 2021 to 5.36 peak this season. With regards to my training history, and my age of 39, I don’t expect to see any gains so I am pretty sure this jump is mostly down to strength training. Besides getting a lot stronger on the flats I have become stronger on shorter explosive efforts. I had the exact same experience with regards to upper body strength training and double poling in cross country skiing. If you are a fast twitch guy (and you are not specifically after optimising your sprints) I think you are better off prioritising on the bike work. You will just gain weight and further increase an already genetically predisposed high VLamax by lifting. You need a lot of endurance volume and specific sessions to counteract that. I think that is where the research becomes difficult. Would be interesting to see a study on strength training specifically targeted at “low twitch” atheletes.