VO2Max after Squats?

I just started doing strength work again. Two days ago, Sunday evening, I did a leg workout - squats, lunges, leg curls/extensions. Felt good. Yesterday, my quads were tender/sore, but my 90 min Endurance ride was fine - no issue. Today, my quads are still sore, as expected. DOMS. I can walk ok after a few steps, but definitely feeling that leg workout. I have a 2-hour VO2Max workout. I think I can probably do it. Cycling seems to be better than walking LOL. Give it a try, do it but reduce the intensity factor to like 90%, or swap it out for an easier workout? What do you do if your quads are pretty trashed and have a hard workout scheduled? Thanks for any insights.

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I wouldn’t go hard again til they are better. Vo2 is no good if you can’t get into the zone. Having heavy legs doesn’t mean you will fail a workout but it is literally telling you to recover.

In the future, you should recover faster since your legs will get used to it. But I also do my key workout the day before lifting or do a two-a-day where I complete the key workout at lunch and lift after work, or do the workout and lift immediately after.


Ignore how your legs feel. Do the workout anyhow. Extend the warmup by 5 minutes. Don’t get psyched out by those three 15 second spikes in the warmup. They might feel bad but you’ll be ok: it’s a warmup. The second set of intervals will feel better than the first.

If something holds you back, it’s gonna be your mind not your legs. Go for it!


Thx! I’ll do that! :slight_smile: Appreciate the encouragement!!

He may just want you to suffer :slight_smile:

You will be tougher after


Extend the warmup and you will be fine. I very often have my vo2 stuff on day 2 after heavy squats. A few times a year when i get near max i switch from 5 rep stuff to 15 rep stuff and get massive DOMS for 2 weeks. It does not actually impact performance if you take the warmup seriously and actually get warm. If i just hit the working session like normal, especially if its threshold not vo2 i will mentally break after 1 interval and quit. Maybe try to find a 1:30 version of that same workout without the endurance at the and and add 30min of endurance to the start and make it a long warmup?


Start with a light warmup. If the legs start feeling better then consider doing your VO2 work. If not, stick to something lighter or just take a rest day.

Personally I do my leg lifting after threshold or VO2 workouts (ie post ride on hard days). Upper body I am less strict with, but still avoid on rest days.

Once it’s been a few weeks and you stop getting DOMS after lifting it doesnt matter as much.

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Its a little hard to understand what you’re asking.

But if you are doing VO2Max workout the day after your lifting you should be fine.

If you’re doing the workout on the same day, do the lifting after the VO2Max workout.

If you’re getting DOMs, unload some of the weight or reduce the reps. I started lifting this year with super light weights / body weight only and lower reps. I’ve been increasing weight and reps at a slower ramp rate and didn’t get any significant DOMs.

Thanks! Wow - I learned a lot from today. I was walking “funny” to the trainer from sore quads. But I extended the warmup +5… The first two blocks were pretty intense. By the 4th one, my legs/mind understood the “ask” of those blocks and it was very doable. By the 15 min endurance effort at the end I even increased the level to 108%… just felt like a better sustainable cleanup section. I’ll have more confidence with tired legs next time.


LOL! Yeah, I did have to dig deep. But got it done.

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Good job, @dbrillha! If there were a badge for Grit you would have earned it.

In the strength training world we used to say that sore muscles after your first few workouts was just ‘your couch muscle dying’. I always thought it was important to get sore newbs back on the platform for a regularly scheduled workout…just lift a little lighter. So if it was a 80% workout, do it at 60%. Nobody ever had a problem with that.

A cycling workout is more like a 3000 rep max. So that should be well w/in what a sore athlete can do!

Curious if you took note of your HR/breathing and if they reached the same rates as your normal VO2 workouts?

It can be deceiving sometimes to hit the targets but miss the point of the workout.

I’d say still be cautious with VO2 and fatigue, not that you can’t, or even shouldn’t do it on sore/fatigued legs, but still bare in mind the stimulus you’re aiming for even next time you have to waddle to the trainer. I’ve had more than a couple of VO2 workouts where I was able to manage to Power targets, but I couldn’t get the HR/breathing up to the levels needed due to fatigue.

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Today my VO2Max hit around 147. The last one was low 140s. I did bump my FTP up 5W a few days ago. Interesting that the last interval HR dropped. Probably hit my limit.

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I think as you found, the only real way to find out is to try.

In my experience, how lifting and quality workouts impact each other has more to do with what i’m up to the rest of the week vs. any two individual workouts and how they do or don’t interact.

For example, if i am doing strength maintenance, e.g. heavy lifting once a week or so, there’s not really any impact and i can program as i see fit. Sometimes i’m a bit tired and have challenges achieving quality on a subsequent interval sessions, sometimes–especially with sessions on the same day–i feel even better.

however, if i’m really working to build max strength in the gym and am there lifting heavy or high volume three times a week, then i’m not gonna also be programming vo2max. They work fine next to each other for a little while but eventually i start to have a pretty bad time and one or the other of them starts to suffer (or often, both).

One other thing to note, not having anything to do with weights but just globally, if the power targets here are based off of %FTP, you may need to go harder. 125% FTP is not a hard enough power target for many people to get what they’re looking for from these intervals, and i think teh trainerroad folks even acknowledge that it’s more of a starting point than a strict prescription.

Totally agree. I was more trying to point out to newer lifters that sore and fatigue dont necessarily overlap. An untrained lifter can get a whole lot of sore with little fatigue and do the workout just fine with a slower warmup. A consistent lifter can fatigue the hell out of their legs and make the vo2 work a waste of time with virtually no soreness.

When i finish a block with 5x3RM squats if i try vo2 the next day its not gonna happen but i wont be all that sore. The next week when I reset to 3x15 i will be full on ‘hurts to sit on toilet’ sore but the fatigue will be so much lower the bike workouts will go just fine.


That totally explains my experience… new (again) lifter with first session soreness and not deep fatigue I bet. Thx!

Nicely done!

Though not quite the same, but I sometimes - when feeling super groggy - do a few squats and leg efforts off the bike for 10 mins before hopping on. I find this is just another way of warming up, and given I take so long to warm up it has worked pretty well for me recently, anecdotally at least :slight_smile: