Polarized goals (lifting & cycling)- anyone struggle with this?

I love lifting… and cycling…

With lifting, there’s something about the feel of lifting massive weight off the ground and the success of feeling it locked out at the top. It’s such an awesome feel. However, in lifting, there has been 1 goal that has eluded me - the 1000 pound club (Weight @ 160, the closest I got was 245bench, 335squat, 365DL).

With cycling there’s something about the mental strain and struggle that makes the finish so rewarding. I enjoy the endurance side of things. The doubt of success, the thoughts that go through your brain as you mentally will yourself and push your body to do things it’s screaming not to do. The success is in the battle itself.

Is there anyone out there that struggles with these kind of goals? I set a goal for myself to hit 3.5w/kg
(currently at 2.9) and the 1000# club however, I’m doubting the feasibility of it and am wondering if I should pick one and call it a day. With 2020 around the corner I’m curious what some of you would do if these were your struggles.

My options are:
A. All out lift - perhaps toggle between SSLV1 & 2 while I lift heavy… to achieve 1000#
B. All cycling - just keep in a maintenance phase with lifting and move towards a mid-volume plan of goals
C. Keep doing what I’m doing - which is the Wendler program and do SSLV with 1 or two added workouts (I’m not quite to MV but close). Mentally, I want to say this is sustainable, but the sheer volume of work and the body teardown is quite a bit. I’m wondering if I’m just spinning my wheels (pun intended) or if this achieving these goals (over time) is a reasonable ask.

Thank you for any advice/thoughts.

There’s probably an option D where you rotate cycles of lifting and cycling. Like a 6 week lift program followed by 6 weeks of cycling where you inch closer on each progressively.

I think you are right though that both of these goals are in conflict with each other so you are fighting an uphill battle… Especially at that volume of lifting and high weight.

I would ask what your goals are and work from there. My recommendation would be to read The System, which is one of the best books that I have found on strength training as it applies to sports. It is written by strength coaches to support sports versus for weight lifting. What you won’t find is specific strength exercises (focus is on Olympic), which should be in your wheelhouse.

The authors do a great job explaining how different percentages of 1RM help each part of the strength pyramid across training phases and may change your mind on doing 100%. Their approach includes undulating periodization across cycle types and an unload for adaptation. As a result, you would probably not feel so wiped.

Of course, you could ask how cycling could be the cardio element of your weight lifting program and enjoy the ride.

I think you can enjoy both, but realise that carting more than average muscle mass around will be a disadvantage when cycling.
I’m 92kg (just over 200lb) at 12% body fat so I’m not carrying too much excess fat, been lifting over ten years but enjoy my cycling. I’ve come to the realisation that I’ll never be a whippet on the climbs, but the decents are epic. :+1:


I’ve been lifting through ssb1 just fine.

But then for my leg days I do them after my overunders and I have reduced the weight a bit. Other than this, just lift a few hours before or after spinning.

I refuse to give up the iron path also

Don’t call it a day just yet. You need to start dialling in to your workout routines; don’t go full intensity every session - this is a recipe for going backwards.

I’ve taken my foot off the gas and now lifting more at 33 then I ever did at 25 whilst having the additional new hobby of cycling which also reasonably good at being about 3.1 per kg. I’m constantly improving at both atm just by taking it very steady and eating lots, trying to improve sleep, thinking more positively about everything and getting full range of nutrition in not just protein and carbs

Is this the book?

The System: Soviet Periodization Adapted for the American Strength Coach https://www.amazon.com/dp/1931046611/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_FV1WDbKVF1810


Haha. Yeah I’m ok with carting the mass. But that’s why I tried to make my goal something I thought was realistic - 3.5w/kg. Feels lofty but mentally I “think” it’s doable.

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Love it… the iron path. How long have you been doing it?

Yes. Worth every penny.

Reread your post and you could do three days of cycling and three days of strength. If you are going to try doubles, I would cycle first.

At 1000# goal what weight do you think you need to be at to achieve this? It sounds like that goal is a bigger priority than any cycling specific goal. For the numbers you want to hit you’re likely looking at a weight of 90-95kg minimum. That pushes your FTP at the targets you want to 270+. Not sure your current FTP and weight but it gives you something to work with.

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This is the struggle. Last time I went full bore even following the deload sessions and the slow down weeks in TR, I still found myself over trained and beat down.

There’s a balance in there somewhere with resting and recovery but it’s crazy difficult to find.

For 1000#, what would be realistic for me would be 415dl, 355sq, 230bench. I’m a smaller guy typically hover around 72-75kg. Current ftp is 214… typical percentage increase per (full compliance) ‘round’ of ssbp is around 3%

I guess at that rate, I’d be looking at 6 cycles, 6 weeks each (assuming full compliance again), hrm… yeah … so next year goal might be feasible.

Good thoughts!

How long have you been powerlifting? Do you feel like you’ve stalled out?

The way you’ve phrased the goal eluding you suggests to me you’ve tried for a long time and never got there.

Cycling is taking away from powerlifting, and powerlifting is taking away from cycling if you’re pursuing both with the intensity of even SSB workouts. In exactly the way that cyclists stay stuck at a w/kg for years, powerlifters do too. Once you’re near your genetic limit a 5lb increase is huge for 6 weeks’ work. You need to give yourself every advantage, and tiring the legs with something that does zero for your absolute strength is not giving yourself that.

I say that as someone who was there. I wanted to break a 3xbw deadlift, and was at 2.8/2.9 for years. Absolute weight up a bit when I was slightly heavier, down slightly when lighter. But the moment summer came and I started running to prep for rugby season it came down just enough to prevent the kind of breakthrough workouts necessary to get through plateaus.

If you want to be decent at both and split the baby, I have absolutely no criticism of that.

But if you really want 1,000 pounds, just focus on that. Recovery rides will even help with that, but intensity won’t.

It would be much easier to reach that strength level then maintain it while focusing on cycling than it would be to improve both at once,.


I’ve been lifting since I was 18, 28 now but I’ve been serious about it for the last say 3-4 years.

I got pretty damn big

Of course all this upper muscle mass is near useless on the bike but it looks great


could definitely lift and ride! can lift 2x a week and just space a few days before races or big long rides, and can cut endurance miles for lifting if you like. there’s definitely a sweet spot in there that is athlete dependent.

utilize more than sweet spot cycling to hit your goals, with varied workouts, and you’ll be able to achieve both goals.

good luck!


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Yeah, trying to achieve 1000 will definitely affect your cycling. I came to cycling from a gym background and I’ve done Wendler amongst other periodized systems. Lifting that much will make you too heavy to be a fast cyclist. You can still enjoy riding the bike, just understand there will be limitations. I gave up weights for over a year in order to lose some muscle and now I’m making great gains on the bike. I’ve just started back at S&C but only to support my riding. Whatever you choose just make sure you are happy within yourself. Option C doesn’t look good to me. I learnt to enjoy life because no one is paying me to do this.

This is rather relevant considering I thoroughly enjoy Wendler 531 traditional BBB. Not much of a fan with forever however, it could be bc I’m not sure I’ve ever hit my 100% peak.

I do realize that the heavy lifting will play a role… I just more wonder if 3.5w/kg is too lofty of a limit.

Listening to the last podcast made me rethink the number though. They mentioned the different systems and peak sprinting power etc.

IDK I guess this is what I get when you have a all in mentality…

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Hey I’m in a similar situation, trying to juggle the two.

I’m doing similar to option C in your original post, currently at 3.3 FTP/kg @82kg bodyweight. I’ve not “tested” my lifts recently but currently working off training maxes of 320 squat, 242 bench and 375 (sumo) DL.

On TR i’m currently on SSBLV2 and using the awesome new plan builder. I’m new to TR and am just trying to stick to what’s programmed so far without adding too many extra rides.

I’ve found that I have to be really careful with recovery and weights volume. I’ve been skipping de-loads thinking I didn’t need them but found out I really do! The fatigue can creep up on you.
It’s important to figure out which exercises in the gym have the most influence on your main lifts and cut out all the stuff that doesn’t. I’ve also found including some single leg work as accessories is helpful with the bike (single leg squats and stiff leg deads with dumbell) for hip stability as much as anything.

I’ve been tracking my lifting volume in numbers of sets and reps to compare how I feel with different amounts of volume in the gym too. There’s a sweetspot between too much and just right, so tracking in a spreadsheet helps! I’m generally better lifting weights 3x a week rather than 4 as that seems to bump the fatigue up too much, but this may improve over time.

Another lesson I’ve learnt is to eat enough food (particularly carbs) to fuel workouts and recovery. I’m still experimenting with this though, again tracking calories otherwise I tend to under eat! I have made the mistake in the past of being afraid of putting on too much weight and making my power to weight ratio go down, or being in too high a weight class in powerlifting. Eat to fuel the work and see where you end up!

Enjoy the journey my friend! It’s supposed to be fun :slight_smile:

So after reading “The Hybrid Athlete” I learned a lot about this kind of programming. To take things another step further I got “Forget 531” from Wendler and there are some interesting overlaps between the two books. Primarily the part about learning how to balance the load.

I found that for me ssblv2 was too much for the weekend part. I was able to do the weekday stuff on deadlift and squat days. However, it worked better if I just exchanged the weekend one for a longer (2hr ish) endurance effort).

Good luck on your goals. It’ll be cool to see others out there work on this lofty goal.