Weights vs extra cycling volume

Intro - I’ve been doing TR (low volume plans exclusively) for about 2 years now, and i the first year I had really good FTP gains, but in the second year I have plateaued and maybe even regressed a little. Looking at my career and the rides in Veloviewer, I notice that before my peak last year I had been doing TTT training, and so I’d been doing longer rides and more volume than any other time recently.

I’ve started going to the gym regularly this summer, and while I can do the lower IF workouts if I give myself a day off after lower body lifting, I’m really sore and I definitely couldn’t do a workout in the gap. My question (and I’m only asking it now because my short gym membership will runout soon and then I have to commit to a year) - would I get faster doing mid volume plans and not lifting, or staying on low volume plans and lifting?
I’m aware of the benefits for health etc, but I can do core work without going to the gym, and I’m going to have to do some running as I’m doing 'cross this winter! If it makes any difference, I’m currently around level 2 in Chad’s system for bench and row, level 1 for dead and squat, and I suck at vertical upper body stuff!

I would prioritise time on the bike over time in the gym if training hours are limited.

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All depends on what your end goal is. If being a faster cyclist is the be all end all concentrate on the bike. If it’s more important to be well rounded and just generally healthy as you get older add a strength routine in. Don’t lose the muscle mass. Your body will thank you later in life.


Absolutely. Faster is great, but healthier is better. I would just dial back the lower body gym work, but keep the upper body work. It will leave your legs fresher for the bike and run, and you’ll still reap the benefits of a stronger body.

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Timely post. I have a similar conundrum. My plan is to go to LV plan but add the weights on the same days as the HIITs. I will just do the weights after the TR workout. Keeping the rest days for recovery only. I only intend to do the weights over the winter at this level. Then back off to once a week on one of the non-workout days and keep two recovery days per week. I will try a progressive overload on the weights to the same cadence as the TR plan; in my case 2:1 work week ratio. So I am anticipating hitting failures on the weights and de-loading. I did hit Chads baseline for a general rider a couple of years back so I am hoping to go there again. Then just gun for maintenance and up the volume on TR.

I’ve been doing leg days on Tuesday and Thursday (or Friday if my weekend ride is Sunday). Ride before work, lift at lunchtime. This morning’s Mount Field was a real struggle with tightness in my hamstrings from lifting Tuesday lunchtime, and if that’s repeated on the weekend after lifting toward the end of the week it feels like I’m sabotaging my low volume plan. That’s especially dispiriting when getting faster might need mid volume anyway (and I dipped below 3W/kg again recently).
Leg day is only deadlifts and squats (plus core depending on time), so unless I reduce the weight I’m not going to be able to reduce the impact they have. I’m happy to experiment, but next week I have to decide whether to sign up for 12 months at £40pm, hence the urgency. I have been doing upper body stuff on the “recovery” day, but that doesn’t feel like it has much effect on the legs - I don’t know if that would have any impact on the recovery process though.
What events do you do? I ask because I’m doing CX, so I don’t really want to detrain now, but strength will be handy.

I’ll be hitting the gym more regularly this offseason or even during cx. A friend of mine went from cat 4 back in March to cat 2 a few weeks ago. He spent a lot of time in the gym in the off season last year and even during the season. Not expecting results like that, but it helps I feel. But everyone is different.

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i’ve tried a bunch of different ways to mix lifting and cycling and this seems to be the only way i can manage. seems counter-intuitive at first, but i seem to fare better putting all the hard workouts on the same day (separating gym & bike by as many hours as possible) then having proper recovery days where i’m doing neither.

i like to lift in the morning (because that’s when the gym is quiet more than anything else) and do my bike training at night, but i’m sure it would work just as well the other way around.

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I just do Fondos… First one is in March next year so I am planning to get the weights down to once a week by then. If you are competing in CX is it wise to be lifting at all?

Also I found that I benefit from doing stretches on the ‘rest’ days. I just do a full leg set: Calves, Hams Glutes, ITB, and Groin. I am a bit old school so it is all static stuff. With the exception of the quads it is all done on the ground. Better control/Less injury Risk.

CX has big gaps in it where the series goes far enough from home that getting there in time for my daughter to race involves getting up too early. But part of the reason for lifting is that CX in the summer beat me up much more than road riding (and TTing) did and so more strength would be helpful. Not as helpful as having more Watts though. :wink:
If I can’t do legs on Thursday and race on Sunday, then I don’t think I can do bike training and lifting at all.

I am an old fart (First time I admitted that … perhaps I should join a therapy group on a subforum). I have been cottoning on to the fact that my recovery takes ever longer. Two days rest would be about the limit for me to punch out a decent ride after a lift or even a hard session in my other sports. In fact I shall get a baseline on that this weekend… RVV sportive on Sunday.

Do you keep the progressive overload going on your weight days. Maybe adding some deloading cycles in there would be the thing to do. Back off 7 kilos every few weeks… You would keep the pathways firing but give the system a bit of ‘recovery’ with a little r. As I mentioned that was my plan for the off season. I was going to deload 7kgs every two weeks on a 3 day a week plan with +2.5kg progression each session. I keep the reps low and just go after form. How many reps are you doing? I never do more than about 8 in a set. Usually only 5.

Plenty of threads on here about this though so I am probably on the teaching to suck eggs trip here…

I think you are right there japes and I like your timetable. My problem is that I have the hour or so in the morning to myself to do the TR workout. Then it is get the kids out the door and myself into work. There is a gym in work and it is usually empty in the morning so I would just go straight in there. Last year I did it on the off days of TR twice a week and that was about manageable on SSB. Not possible on Build. So change of plan this year to try out the system you are on.


I’m 42, so progressing towards old fart status more rapidly than I would care to admit!
I haven’t been lifting long (recently) and holidays gave me an enforced break. I’ve been doing sets of 3x8 - I figured I’d probably do sets of 5 or something with similar weights every 4th week on the maintain intensity, drop volume theory, but I know nothing about lifting theory, so I could be totally wrong! :slight_smile:
For progression, when I can do 3x8 of one weight I increase the last set by 2.5kg. When I can do 8 of those, I start at that level and hope to do all 3 sets. Rinse and repeat. I find it curious how I’ve made almost no progress on pullups and shoulder press (always hated the latter, and haven’t been any good at the former since I was a teenager), but gone up by 5 - 10kg in a 4 weeks on the other lifts.

It’s been done a bit on here but I use the 5 x 5 stronglifts approach. I like the spread of exercises. The maintenance of the reps seems to be a key bit of it for me. In the past I did just as you do and increased the reps then stepped up to the next one. Now I just stick to a 5 for each and if I am coming to the end of a session I might push a few extra reps. I rarely do this though. It is more of a status check if I think I need a rest week. I always start at basically the bar for the main lifts and increase the weight each session by 2.5kg. If I can’t complete the 5 x 5 I just keep the same weight for the next session. When I do it this way I rarely get any DOMS. Even on those days when I fail. The last time I did this seriously I hit Chads baseline in a few months.

I find the idea of squatting 15 sets and deadlifting 1 set a week a bit strange. Especially for me, given my deadlift and squat are basically the same right now (yes, my posterior chain sucks :slight_smile: ). It also feels like 5 is some magic number (6 is too many, 4 is too few, 7 is right out :wink: ). I’m time crunched, so 3x8 is over faster (less standing around), and provides the same number of lifts in a session.
How do you get on with the chin ups using this method? There doesn’t seem to be a vertical pulling component, only pushing.

Yeah chin ups… with my carefully honed Tyrannosaurus Rex arms? :rofl:

I think we need @mcneese.chad to create an “All things Strength” sticky as there are at least one of these types of posts a day right now and a little search function will go a long way.

That said to answer the OPs question about strength vs. bike. The answer depends on where you are in your season. If you’re in off-season, a little more time in the gym is going to help out longer term. If you’re in the middle of build/race, more time on the bike. It’s not a static response.


I kinda had a start with my initial thread last year. It got lots of comments and good info. But as is the way, there are duplicate, tangential and related posts that spring up.

I am less familiar with this area, and tend to keep a light hand on merging ‘Strength’ related threads as a result. I am open to trying to improve this, as I tend to do in the Equip and other Training related threads I know better.

'cross starts in 10 days, so I guess I should be focusing on the bike - I can do my lifting in the gap before the December races and then in the new year.

I did some searching on the forum, but part of the problem is that the category is so broad that the search function gives loads of hits and it’s hard to see if anything answers the question. Maybe we could use a strength/weights tag to group all these threads together?
Can it be suggested when someone types suitable words into the subject line?

I lift once a week, alternating squats and deadlifts as part of a whole body/core routine. I’ve done endurance rides the next day, but not anything intense. I’m currently 65. BTW the endurance rides RPE is way up if right after weights.