Strength Training During VO2/Anaerobic Phase

Looking for a little advice on incorporating strength training during a V02/Anaerobic-centric phase. Is it too much to do multiple high-intensity sessions throughout the week and add in strength training? Can these be complimentary or will it always be a compromise? In the past, I’ve done V02 work in the early morning and strength training in the early evening of the same day, followed by an easy endurance/recovery day. Or sometimes I’ll stack them and do a V02/Threshold/SS workout in the early evening and immediately do some strength work off the bike. Thoughts? Suggestions? I can provide some background if it’s helpful but I don’t want my regimen to be the topic. Looking for others’ experience with scheduling, sets/rep schemes, style of lifting (endurance v. hypertrophy v. strength v. power phase), and their successes and failures.

If you are lifting heavy, yes.


If I lift heavy enough to get DOMS, then it tends to hurt my ability to do vo2/ anaerobic power levels. Doesn’t really matter much for power below that tho. For example, I just lifted Sunday for the first time in a month and still have sore legs. I suffered through today’s vo2 reps workout. However, when I’m fit to it, it doesn’t seem to matter. I typically do the key workout and lift immediately afterwards or the next day. I’m at the tail end of CX tho so I just lift once a week during off weeks

I don’t lift during VO2max blocks and I tell my athletes not to if they’re doing more than two VO2 sessions/week. Those two sessions are usually stacked back to back, so they can do a maintenance session later in the week if they want.

Most of my anaerobic work is during race season so I’m doing a single maintenance session there along side usually two truly intense days.

So, it depends on what the block looks like… but generally I would say either don’t lift or maybe one maintenance session.

VO2max and pure anaerobic workouts are very demanding to your central nervous system and so are heavy weight strength sessions. In order to avoid frying your CNS, I’d definately not be doing demanding strength workouts during this period.

One easy’ish strength workout per week should be enough to maintain most of your strength gained during off-season and base phase. Usually reducing the overall load in strength sessions by roughly 30% is enough to make them easy enough to not really affect the harder cycling workouts.

Of course, your personal abilities and goals does also affect how high strength levels you need. Sprinters and xc-racers will have a higher priority on overall strength than someone, say, a pure climber would.

I was having the same thoughts but from a slightly different angle. I am currently doing the 6 week polarized block, but have also been doing 2x heavy lifting sessions a week.

With polarized training I know the intention is for the easy days to be easy, and hard days to be hard - but does this apply just to the time on the bike but also the strength training? If strength training applies to this too, then I would be doing heavy lifting sessions on V02 max bike session days which I feel could stretch the bike sessions slightly out of reach.

Is anyone doing something similar and/or has any advise?

Many thanks

I don’t know if this is helpful luipollastrone but-

A little background… I had a solid season (probably my best to date, i.e. VERY consistent, did some racing, etc.) but personal issues kept me mostly off the bike for the majority of August into September. I got a few unstructured rides in here and there, did some running, and lifting - maintaining 8-10hrs of “training” per week. Towards the end of September I broke down and got the trainer set up again. I did a week and a half of TrainNow, and then did the TR Short Power Build MV - with additional recovery/endurance rides - as short, hard efforts are a weaker aspect of my fitness vs. longer more steady state. I figured that factoring in for the time off, I could shift into this almost like a reverse periodization model, before getting into base.

Throughout that training block, I maintained strength training 3-4 times per week. As the workload increased in weeks 3 and 7, I had to taper back volume and intensity in the gym in order to be recovered enough to complete the TR workouts. This happened naturally via listening to my body and adjusting the schedule accordingly. I often felt fatigued but made steady progress. I just got through the second rest week, have been feeling strong, and did my best ever ramp test (which I suppose isn’t all that surprising after dedicating myself to so much V02 work). I’d like to continue working on this type of fitness, as I have never really focused on it prior, so I scheduled the Crit Training Plan next. I race a little but definitely air on the side of recreational cyclist. During that second rest week in the Short Power plan, I allowed myself maximum recovery and did no lower body gym work and felt so much fresher doing high intensity intervals on the bike. In the first week of the Crit plan, during V02 work, I’ve been able to sustain higher power for 5 minute repeats than I was able to do for 3 minute repeats prior. In hindsight, I was just carrying too much fatigue as opposed to my aerobic engine being the limiter for those efforts.

My weekly schedule looks something like this:

AM. 90’ Easy Endurance/Recovery.
PM. 60’ Strength&Conditioning. UpperBody&Core. Power/Strength Session.

AM. 90’ V02 Workout.
PM. 30-45’ S&C. Lower&Core.

AM. 90’ Easy Endurance.

AM. 90’ V02 Workout.
PM. 30-45’ S&C. Lower&Core.
AM. 60-90’ Recovery Spin.
PM. 90’ V02 Workout. > 30’ S&C. Lower&Core.

AM. 60-90’ Easy Endurance/Recovery.
PM. 60’ S&C. Upper&Core. Moderate Hypertrophy Session.

90-120’ Threshold Workout.

120’+ SweetSpot Workout.

Typical Upper Session would be…
4-5 sets of 4-6 reps Hang Clean and Press -SS- WideGrip Pressdown (8-10 reps) -SS- 2’ Planks.
3-4 sets of 8-10 reps Weighted Dips -SS- Weighted Pullups -SS- Weighted Decline Situps.
2-3 sets of 12-16 reps Incline DB Press -SS- Pendlay Rows -SS- Weighted Leg Raises.

These mostly work the vertical plane, 2nd Session of the week would change exercises to focus on the horizontal plane.

Typical Lower Session…
5x5 Squat -SS- 5x10 Calf Raises.
3x8-12 Split Squat. -SS- Russian Twists.
2x5-8 Deadlift.

…or following a bike workout…

3-5 sets of 5-8 Split Squats.
3x16 Goblet Squat -SS- DB Deadlift.

Exercises and rep schemes vary depending on if it’s the first or 2nd session of the week, and how far into the training block I am. Volume/intensity would be higher during the first week and taper as fatigue built on the bike. The recovery week is just that, on the bike and in the gym.