Strength Training

I am 46 and I am finding myself in a similar situation in that when I do lift or do plyo I end up in a position where efforts in the sweet spot and above are really impacted and I can’t always hit numbers. I come from a strength training background but the fact that cycling just relatedly impacts the same muscle groups makes for a difficult balancing act

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I think it makes a lot of sense to take 2-3 months every year to focus on weight lifting. Definitely need to reduce cycling. Just started my off-season and for this initial block established a baseline at 6 hours cycling and 3 hours lifting.

My strength training workouts are relatively short (under 45 mins and sometimes 15-20 mins) but intense and I end up feeling it in the days that follow and it impacts my more intense sessions.

Lifting heavy or explosively creates a lot of fatigue in larger motor units. Take a little more time to let yourself recover and you’ll be alright. Alternatively, change your lifting style to create less fatigue. You don’t have to fuck yourself up to have an effective session!


This. A book I always recommend is Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline. Great resource. Much of the book focuses on teaching athletes how to build and maintain strength without negatively impacting their primary pursuit.

So I just finished Garage Gym Warrior II by Andy Baker. Highly recommended for anyone but especially for older cyclists. I think it is an excellent approach for strength training when you are doing TR plans. I achieved person bests in squats, bench, overhead press and deadlifts, at age 55. You can complete the workouts in under 1 hour even in the later weeks, I fully endorse the tagline “Highly Effective, Low on fatigue”. [GGW2]. It is a bargain at $25. (


Apologies if this has been covered, I bet it has, but its a long thread and hard to know what search term to use!

Lets say I did a workout. 15x3 dumbbell curls, 10x3 squats, 10x3 pullups, 10x3 deadlifts, 20x3 pushups. 30-45 minute sesh…

If I did the curls at 8am, the squats at 10am, the pullups at 12…and so on and so forth. Would I get the same muscle effect, leaving the calorie burn side out of it. i.e. would I get the same gains as doing it as one workout?


I cant say Ive heard any science on it, but rationalising it - what change are you aiming for? Will the body respond that way to infrequent, short duration, low intensity efforts?

My guess would be no.

Your gains could even be better. For pure strength gains, more rest between sets will allow you to work at a higher intensity/weight, which will lead to greater gains. By breaking up your workout, you’ll likely feel less pressure to cram everything in one time period by using shorter rest periods like 1-2 minutes between each set.

Also, your rep ranges are getting into the muscular endurance range rather than pure strength, so just be sure you’re lifting to maximize what you really want to maximize.

One additional point: you probably don’t need to include curls. The pull-ups you are doing already hit your biceps, and you could switch to chin-ups if you really want to emphasize bicep activation.

There are reasons for direct arm work, but if your primary pursuit is cycling, it’s unlikely that one of those exceptions applies. I know that time is at a premium for all of us, and there’s no need to waste energy on things that offer little or no return.

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Thanks @JoeX @jct @AZSkeptic for the replies.

I just picked the exercises at random, they weren’t important, what I was wondering about was the timing aspect of doing it all in 45-60 mins or spread out throughout the day and how it would effect the GAINZ :muscle:t3: :grin:

There will also be an aspect though where you will be better off doing everything in one session because your body will be warmed up. Versus coming into each exercise completely cold.


Yeah so Im doing 5x5 and the deadlift set is in anticipation of having already done the squat sets.

Sticking an hour or three between them would mean adding some warm up I suppose.

Oh and - this is really obvious now - youre messing up your recovery! Gainz are from the recovery not the work, so instead of doing the damage and waiting for the body to repair, youre damaging it again.

As a triathlete I do this everyday, so…but at least its aerobic work, and varied.:sweat_smile:


Interesting (and very long) thread. Started lifting via the starting strength program / app a bit over a month ago. Harder to motivate myself for more structured training when the entire season went up in smoke. Seemed like a good time for it, in any case.

One possible benefit I didn’t expect is that my testosterone bumped up ~40% over where it had been staying at as long as I’ve been tracking it (annually, ish).

Not entirely sure what to do for goals once I pass the Level 3 goals from Chad’s article. Past a certain point it seems like it’d butt heads with cycling pretty substantially.

How does lack of strength training affect cycling performance? Is there signs that tells me to focus on it? Main reason why i am asking this is that i don’t know if i’m tired because of cycling or because i have not done strength training (for legs) last couple months. I can do back to back interval days at FTP, but the feeling on the bike is what is bothering me. I can hold the power, but legs feel “weak” right after i start the interval. Before this couple months of no strength i did mostly bodyweight exercises (couple times with weights i had home, low weights) but the point is I did very little strength training.

Can “tired” / “weak” legs be caused by lack of strength training?

I think the need or not for strength training comes down to specifics about you:

  • Age
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Non-cycling benefits / general health / appearance
  • Personal goals

For me, I do strength training year round:

  • I’m 53 - so strength for bone / helps with testosterone levels
  • I have a history of knee problems, so if I don’t do strength work then I get knee problems which keep me from cycling
  • I like the way I look with a little bit of upper body / non-tyrannosaurus arms
  • I find I climb better if I do hamstring and core work

While we can be sure that there’s much more to performance than simply the muscles needed to push the pedals, the fatigue you are feeling in your legs specifically could be due to the efforts/recovery/nutrition surrounding your training, or it could be due to a lack of comprehensive strength training. Specifically, core strength is super important in supporting muscles in your legs that help prevent injury (and perhaps in your case, the fatigue felt in your legs!).

I know for myself, when I’ve been slacking on core, those ‘signs’ for me are lower back pain, shoulder pain, and even neck stiffness! Core strength is really the best foundation to protect other muscle groups (including legs!) from being injured and fatigued while riding.

This podcast is the most comprehensive resource as to the ‘why’ incorporating strength training is so impactful to your cycling performance: ‘Why Every Cyclist Needs Strength Training – Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 190’, and there’s also an excerpt about How Strength Training Affects Your Physiology. :muscle:


I have kept core training in my weekly routine (at least once a week, does it count… ha). I feel like the core is not the problem, because i have never had any problems with my back or with what you mentioned. But who knows.

Also forgot mention about the feeling on the bike. I don’t remember last time i was “out of breath” - most of the time it’s the legs saying “pls stop already”. Was there similar situation answered in the AACC? Also not reaching max HR tells me i would be tired (?).

Not reaching your normal high HRs and the inability to get out of breathe indicate more to me that you are over trained/under recovered. That doesn’t sound like a lack of strength training to me.


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