Strength training seems to have killed my cycling fitness

Yeah that’s similar my aim for off season; 5x5 3/wk up to 100kg then back off in base to a maintenance weight and frequency.

I did 3x5 at 65kg 3/week during June which going into build phase last season that was too much so I might only do once per week by then.

I dont know that there is a magic correct weight to be doing, but my rule is that if I struggled the next bike session or vo2 max that week I’d back off the lifting.

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In my experience weight training really helped z6&7 but nothing below that in terms of power numbers.

It definitely reduces the amount of volume I can do on the bike but I think from an injury prevention point of view training consistency may even be better with strength training included.

For me and my goals it is worth it. Most crits and road races I ride are won with an explosive effort. And most of all I enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend including lots of it if you don’t enjoy it!

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My opinion is that its not the weight on the bar that disturbs the next cycling sessions, but the volume (total tonnage) lifted. That is why I’d rather lift one heavy set of fives at 100 kg, and not 3x5 at a lower weight


Very good point!

I really enjoyed Pavel’s Power to the People for that reason. It’s basically two sets of deadlift and two sets of overhead press (5 reps each) done 5 days a week. Most days are fairly easy, you only get close to your 5 RM twice every two weeks, after which you take the load back down and ramp it up a again. Super quick workouts, refreshing and energizing in a way, and almost no weight gain, which I guess most cyclists will care about!

Strength training made you stronger, not cycling as much killed your fitness. Gradually reduce the amount you lift and increase the amount you ride and, voila, you’ll be a stronger rider.


Not quite the same but with no swimming I like to get a bit of upper body work through 5x5.

I’m thinking of getting some kind of barbell based upper body plan together while swimming is off the menu.

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Only just had time to read through the thread. Good to see this isn’t just me.

I don’t think it is just reduction in cycling volume because I’ve usually held my form better, and never felt like I’m struggling so much to get it back.

What @bbarrera says definitely rings true - HR off the chart on what were fairly easy rides.

Sure I’ll get back to full power (and hopefully a little more). I think part of my problem is riding with people who don’t have an off season and are racing Zwift at summer watts…

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I’m currently focussing on weightlifting, trying to get my squat up. Ill prob do so until end of March, then I’ll switch to maintenance. I think my goal will be to maintain a 225 (lbs) squat and a 315 deadlift, ideally for reps as opposed to a max. I’ll be trying to cut down to 81 kg race weight around then so it’ll be tough. My plan is to just keep volume low and weight heavy.

I’ll bet you see better long term health and gainz. :+1:

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I reviewed the book Maximum Overload for Cyclists. What Jacques states is that there is a difference between strength and power. Strength exercises move slowly. Power exercises move fast. They are a combination of strength and speed. So if you read the book it is better to do a test where you start at a lower weight and then increase the weight by 2.5 lbs until you begin to feel the weight is slowing you down. One legged exercises are better than doing two legged exercises such as the squat. So, using to much weight can slow down your muscle elasticity.

I have found my mountain biking much improved by body-weight routines with lots of complicated balance moves. Mobility, strength, endurance of the whole body, durability all better. I’d love to add one or two heavy lifts on these sessions too, but haven’t had a gym available. But even without that, i’m a lot more athletic. I’ve been using things like pistol squats, single-leg squats with exercise bands, stuff like that, in order to keep it challenging.

So i don’t have any idea how much my lifting has improved (i’m sure i’m a lot weaker in the main lifts than i was back in the day) but, paradoxically, i’m “stronger” than ever before.

For those of you who find you gain weight from lifting: how is that possible unless you’re eating a calorie surplus such that you’d expect to gain weight anyway? Isn’t that just . . . physics?? Or am i misunderstanding something?

When to do strength training? On SS days or on endurance? Before or after the trainer?
How strength training affects cycling training adaptation?

I do my strength sessions on endurance days. For my weekday strength session I’m able to get away from work late morning and then do the endurance ride early evening. Weekends I do the strength workout early and endurance ride a few hours later.

This may not be the ideal way to do it, but it works for me and my schedule. So it’s better than not doing it at all.

This topic has been discussed on the podcast, forum and so many other cycling outlets. I want to say that Coach Chad recommends 6 hours between the two.

In regards to cycling training adaptation from weight training I’d search the TR blogposts. There’s a post that bullet points all the benefits of weight training.

Do you feel like you were able to retain most of the strength gains with the maintenance work as you switched back to cycling and eventually stabilized your endurance “markers”?

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Yes. I’m still picking up a barbell and swinging heavy kettlebells during maintenance.


On consideration is that i will not be doing any front squats. And my back squat will be focusing on posterior chain work, ala Coach Rippetoe. H

Not being churlish but how does that work exactly. You can hit the glutes by going ass to grass but squats don’t really work the hamstrings afaik:

So with just bsck squats you won’t get the whole chain

true. but im not only doing squats. Deadlifts and One legged stuff is good for that. H

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Re-reading the first post. Were you doing a higher volume of riding before you took your break?

If you were riding significantly more it would make sense that your fitness dropped.

I’ve done the 5x5 protocol in the off-season and it does seem to be beneficial to overall cycling performance throughout the season.

After building up your strength in the off season I’d switch off of 5x5 and maintain strength in a different way. It is time consuming when you get to higher weights with all the time warming up.