Strength Training Questions for Special Podcast Episode

It’s been a while since we covered strength training on the podcast, and following feedback from all of you on this forum, we are going to do a dedicated episode on Strength Training with a special guest.

What questions/topics would you like us to cover?

  1. What is the optimal approach to strength train your lower body while sticking to a Low Volume Training Plan?

  2. What exercises are recommended to be part of a cyclist strength routine to counteract the repetitive motions of our sport, and to strengthen the muscles we don’t use as much when pedaling? I ask this in the context of longevity and being injury free in general.


The benefits/differences between weight lifting, body weight exercises and mobility exercises, and if/how they should/could be combined or separated.

  1. Is 5x5 plan a good one for cycling?

  2. How much session is an optimal amount in a week?

  3. Should upper and lower body workouts have the same volume?

  4. Which days should I do my strength training? Doing it during z2 days is optimal or detrimental to your recovery?

  5. Are weight lifting workouts essential or just an extra in a training plan for a “normal” person?

  6. How weight lifting should modify your nutrition?

Extra: should I use carbon bars and weights for optimal performance?


What should a maintenance lifting plan look like if I’ve been doing 5x5 (or other program)? How much do I cut back?

How does lifting for cycling differ from lifting for general health?

Does my lifting plan need to be adjusted for age?


Taking bets on the guest being Derek from dialed health.

I’d love some discussion for incorporating strength training into the triathlon plans, and how that differs from cycling only.


How do you adapt general strength/hypertrophy training to better suit cycling or endurance athletics in general? From what I understand, a lot of the key exercises are still there; squat, deadlift, bench, row, etc but how should your resistance training differ if your goal is cycling performance rather than hypertrophy or absolute strength?

I don’t currently follow a plan, but would love some discussion on timing of strength training, running and cycling. I only have about 45mins a day during the week to do my workouts so the old cycle first and strength training after doesn’t work for me. Also, being the occasional runner, cramming > sweet spot workouts and running on consecutive days quickly fatigues the legs resulting in lower quality workouts later in the week.

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I’d love to hear about what can be done easily at home. A lot of videos I see of strength training for cyclists are at a gym and use equipment I don’t have (not necessarily fancy equipment, but often equipment where weights get added and the exerciser stands in the middle and lifts from handles. I have pairs small hand weights (dumbbells?) and I should probably get some that are heavier than I currently have, but I don’t have the space for anything bigger. I also use resistance bands since that’s the kind of thing that fits into my space.


Expand the “what can i accomplish at home w/ no equipment” question. So that, then what can i do with access to dumbells/ kettlebells? And then with access to squat rack and barbell.

Also, what does a mobility/stability/durability focused routine look like aside from strength work? For example: after deadlift and clean and jerk are done do planks, tippy birds, medicine ball work, walk around with a resistance band on your knees, jump on a box, ect.


i’d like a piece on leaving reps in the tank, vs going closer to failure. in other words, can we get most of the benefit, by backing off a little bit, and walking away. i find there is less need to “suffer” in the gym, unlike on the bike when doing Vo2 work etc.

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What does a TR plan look like with strength training built in? Pick a few of the plans and discuss which specific days you would include the strength work. If you don’t have that much time, which workouts would you skip in order to add strength training?

For average folks who have jobs and families, it feels like you have to skip riding your bike (or shorten your workout) in order to fit in strength work. Without saying “find more time”, explain how, in a 7 day schedule, you would include both riding and lifting on a day by day basis that gives recovery time and doesn’t burn you out.


Following on from the previous posts: can strength work of some sort work to replace warm up or cool down in a work out?

Are kettlebell flow workouts too intense for cyclist while following a training plan? Should beginners be doing kettlebell flow workouts?
I see a lot of them on social media targeting cyclists, but anytime I try them with light weights way it feels like too much intensity while also trying to maintain and train on my bicycle. Seems counterintuitive to be doing all that intensity with the kettle bell…


@Jonathan - it’d be great to see you address it two ways:

General core, mobility, upper body lifting. The lifts that don’t target the muscles you’re hammering on the bike, but you need for general health, longevity, flexibility, etc. I target 3 days a week here, but sometimes from an energy perspective it’s still hard to find time for a productive workout when I’m doing a lot of hours on the bike.

Lower Body Lifting. When? How Much? How Heavy? I personally go minimal here. Squats and Deadlifts because they hit sooo much with minimal time. 3 Sets of 10 finishing with 2-3 reps in the tank. But again, when? Get off the bike after a hard interval workout and just do them then? Later that same day? Endurance Day? Hammering out deadlifts and squats is tough, when it’s secondary to the bike and the intervals you’re doing…

I’m almost 46, and in the grand scheme of things staying healthy and in shape is more important than on-bike performance. And for me, consistent lifting basically keeps me from falling apart with minor injuries as I get older. But, this year my volume peaked at 18 hours leading into Leadville, so lifting definitely took a back seat. Making an effort starting this fall to make lifting more consistently a priority.

Really, your thoughts on a plan throughout the year, and by phase would be interesting.



How to go about periodising strength training and endurance training for best results in principle and how to flex that depending on how the individual athlete responds to both.


I’d add in with body weight exercises and/or resistance bands; and then kettlebells/ dumbbells/ no rack or spotter! There’s obviously variations of barbell exercises with dumbells/ kettlebells, but which are the most appropriate.

Also, any role for suspension/ trx in lieu of rack and barbells? Which exercises?

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It’s well established that strength training helps improve cycling/triathlon performance. However, as a time crunched athlete, I only have a limited time budget to train. How do I identify the point at which I’d be better served riding vs lifting to get faster?


I second this one. I asked a similar question to the podcast years ago now.

I worded it as this: At what point (in terms of hours/time on the bike) is the marginal benefit of cycling another hour less than lifting for an hour (or 30 minutes combined with stretching/mobility). Importantly, the context is that I want to maximize on bike fitness.

Another way I have thought about: is there a minimal threshold of time on bike I ought to achieve before I add in lifting (again, context is to maximize on bike fitness).

Separate question: What is the minimal effective dose necessary to see improvements from lifting? If I do 30 minutes twice a week, is that enough? what about chopping off last 15 minutes of two rides per week and doing a quick kettle bell circuit? Assume starting point is zero liftng and goal is to maximize on bike fitness.

One suggestion for this podcast episode: Assume all questions have the context of maximizing on bike fitness unless stated otherwise in the question. Sometimes I find it tiresome to hear caveats made around “it depends on the goal”. Also, if others disagree, feel free to tell me I am stupid.

Edit: I would also assume all people are starting from zero lifting unless stated otherwise.


Why is it horrible?

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