Strength Training

I nominally follow a 5x5 style routine except 3x8 a bit of isolation work. My cycle is I alternate between 2 different workouts two times (4 workouts) and 2 days rest. Depending on which lift, If I hit 8 reps at a weight I go either 8,9,10 next time or 10s. If I hit 10s then I go 10,11,12 or 12’s then add weight. Some of the isolation ones I will go as high as 15 reps. It means going 2-4 sessions at the same weight but adding reps as progression. So far it’s been good and I have actually worked out some glute (piriformis) issues that always seemed to rear up (pun intended).

FWIW, this is what I do, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s trash.

Workout 1
Spin Bike Warmup
Squats (safety bar because of shoulder rotation issues)
Bench Press
Landmine Press
Landmine Single Arm OH Press
Skull Crushers
Chest Dips
Barbell Hip Thrust

Workout 2
Spin Bike Warmup
Landmine Squats (now Landmine Reverse Lunge)
Landmine Row
Hex Bar Deadlift (just changed from low to high handle)
Cable Trap Raises
Curls (incline dumbell changed to EZ curl)
Cable Lat pull downs
Trap Mobility exercises


That sort of describes the move from beginner to intermediate lifter. Can either keep doing 5x5 or 5/3/1 type stuff and not worry about increasing weight or gaining strength, or move to different programming methods.

Most of the year I just do strength maintenance with working sets something like 75-85% of “lifting season” 1 rep max.

During periods when I’m focused on building strength and trying to move more weight, have had good luck with Johnny Candito’s programs and a couple higher volume programs for specific lifts grabbed from other sites.

Like cycling and FTP, once you are at a good level and are at a plateau, have to make significant changes to programming to make smaller gains. I happen to focus on bench pressing as that makes me happy. Last cycle managed to add 10 pounds to 1RM but took something like 2-3X change in volume and specific accessories.

Hope that helps. Am afraid once at a good level it just gets more complicated and time consuming to keep going up :slight_smile:


Here is what I posted in another thread:

Neural adaptations. Nerves fire faster and in a more coordinated way.

But you’ll also get changes in muscle mass and shape. Don’t listen to the “your muscles won’t adapt if you endurance train” folks.

I make no claim if gaining muscle or strength will enhance performance for anyone here. If you have a strength training background, more than a cycling background, it almost certainly will not. (that’s my n=1 as a former bobsledder).


Power / strength vs hypertrophy training

Horses for courses and all that, but for discussion, am curious if anyone here with cycling as their main sport, but also with an interest in strength training, has tried linking strength mesocycles with hypertrophy mesocycles.

I typically do several strength mesocycles in late fall to early winter and then switch to “maintenance” work in late winter when cycling ramps up. It has worked reasonably well as amount lifted goes up slowly over time and I can see moderate muscle growth. Am a bike racer sized guy so this is all very relative - LOL

Am wondering, thinking, pondering, that instead of “maintaining” if it might be useful to run some hypertrophy mesocycles during the bike focused months (April - August). Idea being that can’t keep getting stronger (lifting more) without adding muscle mass as a foundation. Hypertrophy cycles might give some advantage keep the fatigue low enough to not affect the bike training.

My default would be to lift only a little bit during the bike season. But 2021 season, the races I usually focus on wont happen so willing to experiment.

I’m curious what rep/set scheme you all are doing in-season. I know this might have a huge range of responses, but maybe there’s a trend.

I’m currently looking to dial my frequency back, but keep strength training 1 day per week during my build and race specificity phases (and then back up to 2x per week)

In terms of CNS fatigue and general fatigue would it be better to do something like 8-12 reps (3-5 sets) at a lower weight with more speed or something like 3-5 reps (3-5 sets) with higher weight?

I have a good grasp on how to periodize for cycling, but for strength training I’m lost.

1 Like

I’m in maintenance mode now - 1x per week with 3x5 reps of both deadlift and back squat (approx. 80-90% 1RM) + other warm ups (band squat, light RDLs etc.).


I typically follow the Candito Strength 6 week programs and run it either 3 or 4 times in “winter”.

This year I broke that tradition, did two cycles of Candito and then ran an 8 week bench press focused program. Significantly more volume in the bench press program. Which seemed to work well so I’m thinking about what my minimum workload needed is for future gains.

Basically the strength program is working in the classic 3-6 rep range. For maintenance I usually just go to 3x5 or 5x5 type work twice a week.

BTW - if Alex is following this thread, Dr. Mike’s You Tube videos are really good.

Kettlebells destroyed my back. Won’t touch them ever again.

Sorry to hear that. Sitting at a desk for 30 years with poor posture (shoulder hunch) destroyed my back. Proper technique in the gym and at the desk has restored it.


There’s nothing intrinsically bad about kettlebells. Most likely bad load management was the culprit.


Tnx, all good points and Yes… almost added that hypertrophy might be too hard as was typing. Also was thinking it was going to be the fatal flaw in even considering this as a possible path.

I go very light to none on leg exercises as I like to ride year round. As much as I enjoy deadlifting, to a much lesser extent squats, it beats me up too much. So tend to focus my lifting from the waist up. I enjoy the heck out of benching and am getting into overhead pressing more and more too.

Am probably facing the reality that being very good on the bike and very good in the weight room are contrary objectives to some extent. What I’m doing for strength works well enough.

Just looking for some tweaks to maybe get a bit more out of the time spent lifting. Will think more on dividing the year into thirds instead of halves. That’s helpful and tnx for the reply.

GT sprinter can be surprisingly strong. Look at Caleb Ewan’s legs, he didn’t get those without a healthy dose of heavy gym work.

Light is relative. I see even spindly noodle armed GT cyclist still hex bar dl’ing 185-205lbs. It might be a 3x3, but that’s what you need to do to build power and strength.

As I have outlined before, if you make your hard days hard and have plenty of recovery days, it’s doable. It takes a lot of eating though.

I’m currently experimenting with how to mix 3x week olympic weightlifting with a low volume TR plan. I don’t control the weightlifting programming–I take classes at a weightlifting gym. Unlike many people in this thread, weightlifting is approximately similar in priority as cycling.

I do weightlifting Tu/Th/Sa and TR Mo/We/???. The timing of the third session is in flux. I’m leaning towards making it immediately following my morning lift on Saturday. Even though literature suggests this is suboptimal. I agree with Alex Viada in that “the athlete’s mental state and overall fatigue are far greater factors in determining training quality than attempting to frame recommendations on a cellular adaptation level.”

I tried doing an outdoor TR workout immediately before weightlifting and the result was poor if not dangerous. I was exhausted during the beginning of the session, which is when the most technical lifts are scheduled.

I also tried an outdoor TR workout immediately following weightlifting and it worked out great. Didn’t have issues with muscle fatigue. I suspect this is because it was immediately following the lifting workout when adrenaline was still high and before the psychological perception of fatigue set in.

(The reason I’m attempting TR workouts immediately before/after lifting is because I often ride my bike to the gym–it’s easier for me to condense the schedule. I know you’re supposed to have 6+ hours in between. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes.)

I might try and move TR to Tu/Th and find a way to stack TR with lifting hoffman900. I like the idea of Monday as a rest day, because I often do a long ride on Sunday–it’s a hard thing to pass up if the weather is nice.


Absolutely. I train at an USA Weightlifting team gym, so I see what people who’s sport is weightlifting do. That said, the power to weigh is incredible. Some of the female athletes there are cleaning 100kg and they weigh 58kg or so. Strong doesn’t always have to be “huge”. Caleb does says he lifts 2x a week and does “a lot of squats and leg presses”. That much is pretty clear…

That said, what discipline are we doing? The GT riders race 100 miles a day for weeks on end. I don’t know a single amateur doing that. Most races are probably in the 25 minute - 1.5hr range for most here. Maybe some do one off 3-4hr events.

I wouldn’t call Jasper a big guy at all, but he’s strong. That comes with lifting heavy weights. STRENGTH & POWER training for cyclists! - #cycling - YouTube

I think the problem is most strength training plans are written by cyclists, who probably learned from online and strength trainers who don’t know cycling.

My lifting coach trains track racers. It’s amazing how quick the workouts are and you don’t need a ton. Most lifting articles for other sports, etc. would crush someone trying to do cycle training at the same time.

1 Like

All TR workouts aren’t the same so I wouldn’t take much stock from the fact you handled one particular workout after but not before. Ive done a fair amount of mixing lifting and cycling I think. Ideally I would have the weightlifting classes in the am and the bike session the following morning or lunchtime.

If those weight sessions are hard I’d definitely prefer sweet spot intervals and endurance rather than threshold workouts or vo2.

Ideally I would have the weightlifting classes in the am and the bike session the following morning or lunchtime.

Weightlifting is Tu/Th evenings and Sa mornings. The lifting schedule is fairly inflexible in my case. Right now I’m alternating TR/lifting in the evenings during the week.

When I say before/after lifting I mean immediately before/after, as in, an outdoor workout on the commute to the gym or commute home. I’m not worried about TR workouts after lifting as much, just the ones before. You just don’t want to risk feeling burnt out when you’re catching a heavy barbell over your head.

1 Like

I struggle on fitting in weight training in 2x a week and have a 3x a week time maybe once a year tops. It seems like there’s a ton of conflicting information out there on frequency per week. I’ve heard some coaches say don’t even both unless you can do 2x+++ per-week and other coaches say it depends on your focus, time of year what kind of gains but 1x is not ideal but ok.
And from what i’ve seen there’s no solid data on frequency per week except on looking at focused pure weight training gains vs a combined weight training AND aerobic conditioning (regardless of sport).
I think its easy for a coach and especially TR coaches to lift 3x a week because they have an amazing gym where they work and/or they are always at a gym. Us cyclists are a bit different in this respect.

1 Like

Well, until you buy a powercage, bar and plates and install it around your bike & trainer like I did last year. :slight_smile:

I think it’s generally accepted that 3 times per week is a baseline for getting better at pretty much anything. And there is plenty of science supporting that and the consistency it engenders.

The question though is, but what if you want to get better at two or three things at the same time?

Well the answer is the same, but also to accept that you will not progress either as fast as if you were dedicated to a single activity.