Strength Training

The reality is - if your strength is impacting your bike sessions: you’ll know about it, and you won’t need to ask the question. If you don’t find yourself forced into the choice you aren’t training near your capacity and can crack on and enjoy it.

When you do start to find that you are struggling on the bike as a result, there are often quite simple solutions - in order of preference:

Eat more
Periodise better
Rearrange the timing of your sessions
Change the kind of strength training
Reduce the strength volume
Reduce the strength intensity
Reduce the bike volume / intensity

Where you decide to land on this will end up depending upon your priority.


Yes, absolutely.
Try things, see how they work for you, change what needs to be changed. EAT MORE :laughing:

I’d be grateful for some advice. I started a block of hypertrophy training in January (3/4x8-12 reps of various basic lifts) and I plateaued really quickly. I’m still on baby weights. It’s really frustrating and also tiring me out for cycling training. Is this normal for hypertrophy training? I’m eating protein but maybe not enough. I get a fortnightly veg box delivery and once I’ve eaten all the enormous mounds of cabbage that they deliver at this time of the year there’s not much space left over for anything else. Any ideas how I can get more protein?

Shakes, eggs, yoghurt, cottage cheese, soya (if you’re vegetarian)

Beef, chicken etc if you eat meat. If you’re vegan then it’s harder but you don’t need ‘that’ much protein as an endurance athlete compared to a bodybuilder. I have around 1.5g per kg BW up to 2.0 depending on what’s in the fridge.

If you’ve stalled, you need to address how often you’re lifting weights (2x per week or less will yield slow results) or if your cycling is hindering gym work. If it is, and you’re a cyclist predominantly then I wouldn’t be that bothered. Concentrate on the bike stuff.

Change your programme, use different exercises, rep schemes etc.


I would also pay attention are you getting enough overall calories, if you’re filling your stomach with cabbage you might be undefueled and extra protein won’t help there.
If you’re underrecovering first thing I would add is more carbs.


If you can do whey protein isolate it can be pretty easy to get a lot of protein. Two scoops of the one I use is 50g of protein so it makes hitting your targets a lot easier.


Haha I don’t just eat cabbage! It just sometimes feels that way when there’s savoy cabbage and kale in the box week after week

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Thanks I already put some in my breakfast oats but maybe I should try to add another scoop somewhere


One scoop will be fine, 50g of protein wont be fully digested, you are theoretically washing down the toilet.
I believe 25g per meal sitting is the benchmark and I think the rule of thumb for the digestion of protein is 10g per hour.


Like others have stayed it’s a great way to work in things more mobility related or maybe muscle groups that don’t get hit as much like with side steps. I follow dialed health and really enjoy the programming. It’s the perfect amount of volume for me and it allows for that mobility sprinkled in there. 5x5 and such used to be my jam but add any amount of cycling and I’m shot.

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Been a while since this thread is up so giving it a bump.

So one year later from my last post on this thread in February 23’ and I’m thinking about tapering strength. This year I’m NOT going to chuck it out (except in race weeks); I want the general health benefits more than I need to be at peak bike fitness. Not only that, but strength training keeps my back in good shape on the bike (go into gym with tweaky QL, squat heavy, come out feeling grand).

Usually think about this roughly the same time I plateau all of my lifts - this year I managed to pb the lot - nothing special, but good for me (140x5 back squat, 160x10 dead, 90x5 clean, 115x3 front squat @ 75kg bw).

I reckon I could squeeze a bit more out if I did another month or two’s cycle, but my race season (XCO) starts in March. If my normal routine is a GZCL style progression - one heavy lift (5x3+), one volume lift (3x10), and some accessory work, how would you reduce this to allow for more intensity on the bike?

Last year I switched my program entirely from heavy lifting to more technique, single leg and power generation work, and then when the season started I dropped to a very simple routine and dropped the volume down to super minimalist (e.g. 2x3-5 Squat and 2x3-5 Dead once a week).

Is there any new wisdom about how people keep lifting throughout the race season and year?

In-Season Strength Training for Cyclists: Keeping What You’ve Gained - Breaking Muscle

Strength Training In-Season - Folly or Fast-track? - PezCycling News

Both seem to say drop to 1-3 sets of 2-4ish reps for 2 simple leg exercises but keep weight as high as you can.


Are these weights in kilos? If so, they’re pretty damn impressive, especially considering your bike fitness and BW.

Is there any new wisdom about how people keep lifting throughout the race season and year ?

IDK about new but I think what you have is about how to do it. As for the ‘keep weight as high as you can’ part, that would be with the caveat that it’s as high as you can while monitoring your overall fatigue.

One thing I’ve been doing is to have one heavier day and one lighter day. That way you can isolate the heavy lifting as much as you can from your harder bike days but the light day prevent the detraining as much throughout the week.


Big fan of that idea as a halfway house between once a week (which means losing a day to DOMS every week) and two heavy days (which makes timing hard bike days tricky). May just steal it!

I’m currently doing this program that features squat/bench/DL 3x week but only 1 heavy lift per day.

So for example Monday would be back squat - work up to 2-3RM, and then the others 5x5ish at 65%

3 week cycles (65%, 70%, 75%), and the third week I’ll Peak instead of a 2-3RM.

You still maintain top end strength, and it’s easier mentally knowing the other 2 lifts those days are comparatively light. I use the latter lifts to refine technique too.

I don’t race but stopped squatting before summer for about 4 months, just to see my legs would feel better for summer riding, which is when I ride the most. I don’t think I’ll take a break again because I didn’t detect much difference by not squatting. Coming back, it took a little while for my legs to handle the load, but now I can squat and do a v02max/threshold session 24 hours later.

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I heard somewhere the other day (not sure which podcast sorry) but basically you should think of leg weights (squats for e.g) in the same way as you do VO2 max or Anaerobic intervals in terms of the stress the leg weights puts on your legs. Their recommendation was, if possible, to do your leg weights the same day as your intensity efforts of those types. Usually those sessions are followed by a rest day or an endurance day so you’ll get the benefits of the work and the subsequent recovery.
I’ve shifted my training to reflect this idea to see how it goes. I ST 2 x per week with currently 4 rides p/w

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If you want to lift (legs) and also be able to race and train strongly, I suggest a once-a-week maintenance routine as follows: Do one hamstring-focused exercise and two quad-focused ones. Warm up thoroughly then, for each exercise, do 1 heavy, 4 rep set, rest 2 minutes, then reduce the weight as little as necessary and do a 12 rep set. You are stimulating the neurologic/ATP-CP system and also the glycolytic strength system, but you aren’t do enough work to tire out your legs. Ideally you would then do whatever high intensity riding session you have scheduled, such as intervals. You’re not doing so much strength training that your legs will be trashed, rather, they will actually be warmed-up and primed for higher force pedaling. Mentally you will probably find it feels sort of comfortable to push with force rather than riding easy/steady. You also are doing your highest intensity work on one day so you don’t blow you easier days.

Sounds like Operator Pro from Tactical Barbell :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Which program is this? Super interested in trying out something with this high of frequency

Im going to give this a try. I like how you are always lifting moderate weight and sprinkling in some heavy squats once a week to keep on improving that. Feel like this will burn me out much less than the Greyskull workouts I was doing.

After week 3 do you just rinse and repeat?

Massive throwback to this post, but did anyone experiment with this guide?