Struggling to find Weights/Riding Balance

I am 43 and Cat 2 CX racer in Colorado. I also race CX MTB, around 3 hour races and jump into the occasional crit.

I am learning the importance of workout/rest balance but i am struggling to set a schedule.

Post 40, I feel like i should be doing weights 2X a week and need 1 rest day which leaves 4 days for riding.

Is anyone out there operating on a similar schedule? Is it worth trading out a ride day for a weight day (4 rides and 2 weights) or should is it worth it to maintain 2 weight days and only 4 ride days.

My goals are probably like everyones, increase FTP and be competitive in races.

It depends on what you’re “struggling” with. If you aren’t recovering then you simply need more recovery!

Maybe you’re approaching it backwards. Rather than allocating 1 rest day and then stacking the rest of the week with work, why not decide exactly what work you’d like to do and how often you need to do it and then allocate the necessary recovery time. You may have to figure out “necessary recovery time” through experimentation but it sounds like you’re part way through doing that now anyway.

Why not do your weight training and cut down to low volume (3 days a week)?
Or do 4 rides a week and do strength training on 2 of those same days, meaning you have three rest days.

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Some good info here to sift through:

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You didn’t mention in your post how long your rides are, but like @onemanpeloton said, I would suggest stacking a weight lifting session on the same day as one of your rides.

I personally do this all the time, and find it works well with my schedule. You can get in a pretty solid weight lifting session in an hour, especially if you do your workout in super-set fashion.

The most important thing to consider is what body parts you are training on a given day, and your bike workout for that day ( from my own experience I wouldn’t suggest doing squats in the AM then sweet spot or threshold in the PM :crazy_face:)


I have a day where I’m in the gym and riding the same day. Ride comes first, then weights.


“Struggling” with…that made me think a bit and if i am being honest with myself i am struggling with feeling overstretched with trying to do too much which is probably equating into me NOT feeling fresh for workouts. (I also have a 14 month old that is the first priority).

I am doing SSBMV

My schedule is:
Monday - 30 min of weights
Tuesday - Ride 60 min
Wed - Ride 60 min
Thur - Ride 60 min
Fri - 30 min of weights
Sat - Ride 120 min
Sun - Ride 60-80 min

Obviously from the looks of it i don’t really have a complete rest day, but my stubborn brain tells me that a 30 min weight day is an off day. So if i had to cut one thing out, should it be a ride or a weights day? I know that there are many variables and usually the answer depends, but any insight helps me to explore…

With that schedule, I’m not surprised that you’re struggling.

Personally, if it was me, given your small child too, I’d move/remove things to give yourself time to have TWO proper rest days. If you feel after a month of that, that you can handle more then cut the rest days to one.

What you cut is up to you and depends on your goals. I don’t think two weight sessions is crazy so why not just cut one day of biking out? Even better, cut one day of biking out completely and move one of your weight sessions to the same day as one of your remaining bike sessions, giving yourself 2 days off.

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Well if you are overstretched, maybe think about going down to SSBLV and add in a ride or tack on some time afterwards. You could also try just drop the Wednesday right if you feel you need more rest. Otherwise if you are in this endless cycle of training while tired and weak, it’s only a matter of time before you bury a bigger hole and end up with some forced time off.

I’m curious, what does your weight workouts look like in terms of exercises, sets, and reps, as you may also want to rethink your volume per session.

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I’m 43 XCO cat 1/Expert racer and my schedule for last 8 weeks has been:


Monday - REST
Tuesday - Ride 60 min
Wed - Row 30 mins & Weights 30 mins
Thur - Ride 60 min
Fri - 30 min of weights
Sat - Ride 90 min
Sun - Ride 90 min

I’ve noticed that the Saturday O/U workout in SSB1 is pretty tough. Sometimes by Sunday I’m smoked and need to dial back intensity a bit. Not sure I’ve found the perfect schedule yet.


I’ve just done Mary Austin -1 at midday and then squats (week ~9 of StrongLifts 5x5) at 5pm. Can confirm, it sucked :grin:


I’ve been doing pretty much that exact same schedule except I’m doing a mid volume general build, which has 90min workouts on Tuesday and Thursday and my lifting sessions are between 45min and an hour-ish. I feel surprisingly good with this schedule. Occasionally I’ll do my core strength training day on the same day as a ride. I’d question the following things if you’re struggling:

  1. How much sleep are you getting?
  2. Are you eating enough?
  3. What are you lifting on your strength training days? My strength days are upper body and core focused to get muscles I don’t work while on the trainer and are important for bike handling IMO. I do circuit based sessions where I’ve gone down to 2 sets of the circuit. My upper body day has 13-14 exercises in it and my core day has ~10 that includes some hand strength stuff. I found that doing more than 2 sets with this left me dragging on riding days over the past year but I’ve still been able to maintain really good overall strength that’s helped my technical abilities and injury prevention. FYI, my primary goal is training for enduro right now but I also ride road and dh.
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I’m doing consistent weight training (5/3/1 program) for the first time this winter as well as SSB LV (and skating/xc skiing as the weather allows), and I can really feel how much more fatigue I’m carrying compared to previous winters without the weight training. Following something I think Coach Chad said, I’m trying to do both weight training and TR on the same days, giving me a full day of recovery from both activities. If I’m still feeling fatigued, I’ll skip a lifting workout, to try and maintain consistency on the bike. I’m also (for the first time) making a conscious effort to ensure I properly recover between workout days. So far it’s working, but I’m already thinking that once I start Build, I’ll probably have to cut back on the weight training, probably to a maximum of 2x per week. I’m not sure what I will do when Spring comes and I can ride outside again. Like previous posters, I try to do my TR workout earlier, and then go lift in the evening.

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Sooo appreciate this community and the feedback.

My weight training consists of squats, sled, good mornings then some plyos like jump lunges, box jumps, skiiers and bulgarian split squats. Usually around 2x10-15. I also do a great deal of core work peppered throughout the week.

Sleep, better lately, but with a 14 month old it can be hit or miss.

I limit myself to 60 min to keep my marriage in tact.

I am sure i can always do better with the diet, but i am eating more than i have in the past which is probably why i am able to hit my training #'s.

IMO you’re over training your legs. If I were lifting legs that much I’d substitute that day for a ride or make sure it’s the same day as a ride and reduce the weight and/or number of sets. Would you do 2 VO2Max days in a row every week? I’d equate that to what you’re trying to do with lifting. Your body needs time to recover between hard efforts like that IMO.

I’ll get to experience a newborn in January, so it’s nice to see someone else is still getting training in like what you are.

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What is the 5/3/1 weight training program?

5/3/1 program