Optimized Recovery, Powerlifters Gone Cyclist, Fueling Rides and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 256

Techniques to improve recovery and get the most from your rest week, how to transition to cycling from powerlifting to be fast and strong, why you should be using an electrolyte or carbohydrate sports drink while cycling and more in Episode 256 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

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Hey where do i ask some questions i got again?

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Click on the Ask a Question button


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For anyone thinking of trying the compression flossing mentioned in the episode (AKA voodoo flossing) don’t waste your money on the branded bands. I used to do it a lot when I did more olympic lifting and instead of spending $20 on a rubber band I just went to a bike shop and asked for an old used mtb inner tube and they gave it to me for free from a big trash can. Then you cut it in half and you have basically the same band but for free.

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Is there a step by step to setup my United Health Care Insurance to pay for Trainer Road?

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They mentioned there would be a TR blog post on this specific issue – I’m eagerly awaiting some info as well! @Nate_Pearson mentioned something about designating your home as a gym… but I don’t see how that’s is possible or legit.

On my run this morning I was just composing a note in my head to the NHS telling them I wanted £20 a month back from my taxes and then @Nate_Pearson pops up and tells me it’s just for people in the US.


Regarding the Powerlifting portion, Will, if you see this, we’re you a competing powerlifter? Or powerlifter as far as training goes. I only ask because I was a competing powerlifter and am well above 1.5 (1.75-2.0) all of the categories for strength also. But my aerobic power is crap. My FTP is only 265 but currently I’m 190 and going to try and drop to 180. I’ve stopped all Legs Strength training as I’m worried that with the amount of super slow progress I’ve made over the last year of consistent training , it will adversely effect my cycling. What are your max power numbers? Also Chad mentioned age as also a possible influencing factor. I’m 42 which is the reason I ask.

Or is this a question I should send in via the ask a question.


I was a “competitive” Olympic lifter/CrossFitter for 9-10 years before I owned a bike and got into cycling. At my peak strength I weighed 195 lbs at 6’1” with a 450 deadlift, 350 squat, 250 clean and jerk and 195 snatch. I wasn’t the strongest as I was mostly into CrossFit but competed in Olympic competitions.

I quit CrossFit due to a host of medical conditions, which I now know was likely severely over trained, amongst other issues. After a couple of years recovering and not doing much fitness, I turned 40, bought a MTB and got into cycling and racing XCO.

After 1.5 years of trying to get fit on the bike, I found TR in July 2018. My first ramp test I landed with a 192 FTP at a weight of 185-190. After following TR for just over a year my peak in 2019 I weighed 170 with a FTP of 300. This year I’m on pace to surpass that and possibly hit 4.0 w/kg at 43 yrs old.
It took me about a year to transform from a strength background and body to be just cycling specific.

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Hey man, I was never competitive as a powerlifter. As I said in my question on the podcast, I totally stopped strength training from June (when I got my bike) to a few months ago (when I found Chad’s recommendations and heard him discuss strength training on the podcast). Admittedly, I’ve lost a lot of strength in that time, but my wife and I had our first kid in November so that adds to it too. I asked the question in hopes that Chad would say, “yeah, focus on the bike and let your strength numbers fall a bit more,” but I knew that wouldn’t be his answer (lol)! Right now, I’m still above that that 1.5x mark for the sprinter category for my weight, but not by as much as you. I think that’s where a lot of my endurance improvement came from, shifting that focus for long enough to build FTP without the added stress in the gym. Now, I’m struggling to find the time to hit the weights while increasing my time in the saddle.

One thing I’ve noticed after picking up the weights again, my core lost a ton of strength in that time. Adding deadlifts back into the mix has helped me keep better form on the bike, especially for staying aero. I’m still not squatting much, and when I do it’s SSB squats, but I’d highly recommend keeping your deadlift in the rotation. I’m going back and fourth on whether to continue doing sumo or traditional, so I’ve been mixing it up. No real takeaways yet. I’ve found Bulgarian split squats help with knee tracking and probably overall knee health, so I’m continuing that as well. That’s all I’ve been doing for lower body.

I think age is an important factor, and I should have included that; I’m 31.

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Yeah, I dropped strength training for a couple of months (not planned, just lazy) and my core was the first to go. Weirdly enough my upper body stayed pretty much intact despite me not swimming or anything.

MI-XC- yeah you’re kind of me. My One Rep maxes at 181 were 385 Bench, 525 Squat, 550 Deadlift.

What type of max 5 second power do you put

Although you and @wowsley are both beasts at cycling compared to me. Will what about your max power output? Did y’all keep the sprinters watts?

I’m not worried about sprinting as i don’t get beat in many sprints. Although no racing yet, but 100-200 meter sprints, there isn’t anyone really coming around me.

We’re y’all also sprinters running? I ran the 100-200-400.

I’m just curious as to why I suck so bad. Or why my progress so slow. I did smoke for a long time but quit 7 years ago so that could be it.

This year I have decided to finally take Cycling seriously and really enjoy it. But looking at yalls numbers, I suck at it. Although on the road I fair better than just comparing numbers.

My concern is that even though I’ve consistently ridden for the last and with the help of TR I’ve went from 225-FTP to 265 currently, that maybe I’m just not a cyclist? But I can’t accept that, I’ve never NOT excelled at any physical sport I’ve participated in however y’alls numbers are killing me lol.

Maybe I have too many Type II fibers and do not process lactate well? Or better yet, do not process oxygen well which could be a result of all the years of smoking. According to Garmin (I know a rough rough estimate) my VO2 Max sucks at 52. I’m thinking of doing a VO2 max rest at a facility here locally just to know for sure.

I don’t know but I know I am going to keep at it and my goal is to get to 300-310 FTP by the end of the season at 180lbs. In theory I’d like to get to 175 but in reality I lose too much strength there.

Either way, I’m just happy to have a place to come and get feedback and have told my friends who I have recommended to TR that this forum and the podcast puts it head and shoulders above any other platform. So Jonathan, Nate, Chad and Amber, y’all keep up the good work and providing us with good info and training insights.


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I race/ride on singletrack, so I don’t have really any all out efforts. I’ve never tried getting any raw numbers or sprinted to test my max numbers. I guess I don’t really care or track that stuff. In April 2019 I show some PRs on one ride I did with 1005 watts for 5 seconds and 978 watts for 10 seconds. Those were both on a full suspension mountain bike (Quarq XX1 PM) as I don’t own anything else. Maybe I’ll try to hit some max sprint efforts in the near future as a comparison from last year.

I was never technically a sprinter in school/college, but I know I had some sprint speed. I’d beat most people I sprinted against casually and in CrossFit workouts, some of who were 10 years younger than me. I also had other random “explosive” abilities that showcased in things like max box jump for height and broad jump for distance. I also tend to “over test” on TR Ramp Tests and achieve a number I can’t train with.

For the first year of TR I literally lifted no weights, focused solely on cycling, nutrition and recovery. I started meditating (Headspace.com), read 10+ books on cycling, racing and mental endurance and listened to every TR podcast. I took notes on everything and went 110% into this new sport.

I have since reintroduced strength training back into my training over this past winter and into the spring.

See, you’re not fully committed. You care about strength at the cost of your cycling ability. Which is fine, I get it as cycling is not your life. However, this is likely holding you back if you’re caring extra fatigue into your TR workouts. I did the same thing in my first year cycling. I realized I was way to strong than needed for life in general and my new sport. Being strong and lifting big numbers is fun, but not practical. It took a while to make that mental shift and get used to people asking me why I’m so skinny now.


I doubt it. Like MI-XC mentions you need to decide where your priorities are.

I had a great personal trainer in 2012-2014. I loved squats and deadlifting yet I wanted to be a fast cyclist. He would never (ever) let me go heavy on legs and instead put a lot of emphasis on explosive power (such as jump squats with light weights after starting with no weight and building up). A lot of band work for strengthening stabilizing muscles and dragging weight plates around under my feet while stabilizing my upper body on a medicine ball.

I thought it was kind of crazy because peak deadlift for me was easily over 400 for reps and I thought if I could get back there and ride a lot my sprint would be insane. But doing it my way I never would have been there for the sprint. Yes we did some squats and deads but I don’t think we ever went over 225 and probably did most work well under 150 but for a ton of reps. So I emphasized getting my aerobic strength high, dropped all the heavy lifting at my trainer’s insistence, and ended up setting power PR’s for my sprint pushing over 1400 watts at 170lbs (Cat 5 at the time), over 40 years old too.

You ask, “maybe I’m just not a cyclist?” Are you? You decide what lights your fire and you can get there. 300 watt FTP at your weight is definitely a carrot worth chasing and I think you can get there. :muscle:

Figure out your lean mass and use this as a guide:

"Athletes often ask me what their FTP should be. That’s hard to answer because (as usual) there are so many “it depends.” But here’s a quick and dirty way to estimate what your FTP based on body weight, age and gender…

Step 1. Double your body weight (lean mass not total weight - my comment) in pounds (1 kg = 2.2 lbs). Example: A body weight of 154 pounds (70 kg) estimates an FTP of 308 watts (154 x 2 = 308).

Step 2. Subtract 0.5% for every year beyond age 35. Example: If the above 154-pound rider is 50 years old he would subtract 7.5% from 308 (50 – 35 = 15 x 0.005 = 0.075). This would predict an FTP of 285 (308 x 0.075 = 23.1, 308 – 23.1 = 284.9).

Step 3. Women riders can subtract 10% from the estimated FTP as found in steps 1 and 2 above. Example: A 120-pound (54.5-kg) woman who is 40 years old would have an estimated FTP of 211 watts (120 x 2 = 240, 240 – 2.5% = 234, 234 – 10% = 210.6)."

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Like @MI-XC, I haven’t done any explicit testing as 95% of my riding is indoors with TR. My peak is just under 1000 watts, but that was last August, before TR. I’d guess my 5 second power could be in the range of 1200 or so, but I should get out and test that snap because I really have no idea. I also don’t know what’s good “peak power” for my weight (155 lbs, 70 kg), so maybe it needs some attention? With the lifting background I’m thinking it wouldn’t take too much work to bump that up a fair bit.

My max’s were Squat: 435, Bench: 275, DL: 475 @ 162 lbs, nothing very impressive and my upper body as always lagged behind … I guess maybe I was always meant to be a cyclist?? Now I’m just doing relatively light 5x5, once a week.

@DustinDucote I think a 300 FTP is a great goal to have, mine is actually the same. One thing I’d recommend is to greatly reduce your lifting volume, if you haven’t already, and channel your inner Nate and fuel those rides! I wouldn’t bother with a VO2 test, but that’s just me. I love numbers and tracking progress/results, but VO2 seems like a waste of time. I do track weight daily, calories/macros (weigh everything), and I have a BF scale and get hydrostatic BF tests every ~6 months.

I’ve done exactly the same, except I got my bike last June and starting lifting again in February. Tons of reading though and I’m all about cycling. That sounds like that major difference for @DustinDucote. There’s nothing wrong with splitting your time and focus between strength and endurance, just realize you won’t excel at either. But if you enjoy both, keep at it! Regardless you’re going to be more fit than 99% of people out there!!



I guess it may have gotten misinterpreted when typed. I do no strength training for legs, I solely do upper body. And I do not powerlift any longer. That was many years ago. And when I say power lift I mean powerlifting in a competitive form.

No I spend. MAX of 40 minutes in the gym, 4 days a week. And very rarely do any rep volume under 10 reps. When going under that amount of reps, the weight becomes too high and not longer tolerable on my joints. My shoulders suck, my wrists, back, heavy lifting took its toll when I was younger and I no longer do it. But even without lifting low powerlifting reps, I can still bench over 350, do 315 for 8 reps or so, deadlift over 400 for reps as well as squats at the same. I have just naturally been stronger than everyone else. As you spoke of box jumps and Crossfit ( I did that as well) my vertical at its peak was 39" my 40 time was a 4.5 and I grew up playing football. And on appearance I do not look very much like a cyclist.

And cycling has became my life, and I prioritize cycling, both indoor and out, over lifting weights. Lifting weights however will always be a part of who I am. My lifting comes after cycling in my daily routine. I lift one body part a week, and have not even attempted a squat, deadlift, or leg press in over 6 months for fear of overtraining my legs. And @wowsley So in that regard I am not splitting the strength and endurance training at all.

Regarding my weight, I am so fearful to lose progress in my cycling that I do not restrict my diet as much as I possibly could because, what if I can’t complete that Sweet Spot interval because I am not fueled enough.

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