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Thread: Strength training in-season

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    Default Strength training in-season

    Greetings y'all,

    Just curious, what folks thought about this. Thinking about doing more myself but do most folks agree it makes them faster? For overall health and more balanced fitness, yeah, I agree, especially as folks get older and need to pay attention to muscle mass and bone density. But does the bike performance improve or suffer? What if you're racing regularly?

    Thanks,
    Hansen

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Can't comment on race performance from experience, but I remember Joe Freel (cyclist's training bible) being in favor of starting weight training any time. I have begun a lot more gym time this year and haven't noticed undue difficulty in my regular riding. I am also learning about gym time that if you are using good form and doing movements that actually help with functional strength, a little goes a long way - you don't need to lift as much or as often as you might think in order to get noticeable results. I have been training every day, but different muscle groups obviously. I think there's a lot more to be gained by taking the plunge and getting into it than waiting. But I don't know your training volume, ymmv, etc.
    Last edited by zambenini; 06-20-2019 at 11:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Need more info-
    How old are you?
    How may hours per week do you ride? Structured program or just riding?
    Do you race? How much, how often and what sorts of events?



    I ask all this because I have come around to the thinking that unless you are young and doing high level racing you can and should do strength/gym/core work 12 months per year for the rest of your life.


    Quote Originally Posted by suhacycles View Post
    Greetings y'all,

    Just curious, what folks thought about this. Thinking about doing more myself but do most folks agree it makes them faster? For overall health and more balanced fitness, yeah, I agree, especially as folks get older and need to pay attention to muscle mass and bone density. But does the bike performance improve or suffer? What if you're racing regularly?

    Thanks,
    Hansen

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    In my experience, strength training definitely made me faster. Directly, it made my sprinting better, but indirectly it helped endurance in races because those short, hard efforts to stay with the group became less taxing.

    Where strength training is a challenge is to mix it in appropriately with training. If I push myself doing squats, I'll really only be able to ride easy for the next two days. Therefore, in-season or when trying to do a lot of high-quality training, it can be tricky to fit that in and still do the quality bike training necessary. As the best compromise I could come up with was to pick a time of year (off season/winter, when you might naturally be riding less anyway) and really try to focus on lot on strength during these times. Then, as your riding picks up, back off on the intensity of the weight training (e.g., maybe do 60% of the weight you had been doing, 2-3 times per week). You'll stop making the kind of progress you were making, but you should be able to maintain much of the strength, and recovery times will be much shorter allowing you to ride more.

    The two types of training complement each other well, but you'll have to focus on managing recovery time in a way that works for your body, schedule, and goals.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Strenght training has made my riding a lot better. More power, more endurance, and no lower back soreness after long rides. I don't race anymore, so I don't worry about dips in performance from lifting. I hit it hard in the gym all year and and my fun riding benefits.
    Weight training is also much more beneficial in every day life than cycling fitness.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    I lift all year and, living in Miami, my riding season is 365 days long. During the time of year when everyone is generally interested in chilling on rides, I lift twice a week. Heavy on Mondays and lighter mid-week. Through the spring, summer and fall, when we're hammering every Saturday, I only lift on Mondays for maintenance and to give me as much time as possible for any DOMS to pass before the next Saturday hammerhead ride (or race). When I take breaks from lifting due to conflicts, travel, etc., I find that I lose some power in my sprint and I get more little aches and pains. The lifting keeps all the supporting muscles strong and makes me more durable on the bike and in life. So, yeah, I definitely recommend lifting in-season, but would also recommend timing it so that you have time to fully recover before any rides or races that matter. And give yourself a month or two to really acclimate to the schedule. If you haven't been in the gym for a while, the DOMS will wreck you at the start.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    Need more info-
    How old are you?
    How may hours per week do you ride? Structured program or just riding?
    Do you race? How much, how often and what sorts of events?



    I ask all this because I have come around to the thinking that unless you are young and doing high level racing you can and should do strength/gym/core work 12 months per year for the rest of your life.

    Well, I'm 45, ride maybe 4 hrs a week, run about 1 hr a week (trail or pavement) and race maybe 5-6 times a year (road and/or CX) depending on what piques my interest. I wouldn't say I have a formal training schedule/program but like to be in race-shape most of the year, which hasn't been difficult at my simple cat 4 status. I just wonder, if I throw in an hour of weights a week and have to drop my riding to potentially less than what I'm already doing now am I going to find myself struggling more in those races? Guess there's only one way to find out...

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    At that riding volume, I would think it's no problem to add weight training without reducing your riding.

    I typically ride about 4 hours of MTB every week ... and have been on routines where I was lifting heavier and harder 2x/week and lighter/more diverse 5x/week and neither really impinged on fun on the bike.

    When I was lifting heavier sometimes I'd feel it on the trail the next day, but not as much as you might think. And now that I'm doing shorter/more intense workouts more often, I have done lots of two-a-days with the gym in the morning and a MTB ride in the evening. It's also been fine.

    Dive in, you're gonna love it. Like Matt said, it makes you more durable.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    She stays in the gym. Sitting box jumps don't look easy.

    Instagram

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Quote Originally Posted by rec head View Post
    She stays in the gym. Sitting box jumps don't look easy.

    Instagram
    Forget the box jumps. The next "story" was her flipping a weight while on a balance board. Damn.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Quote Originally Posted by zambenini View Post
    At that riding volume, I would think it's no problem to add weight training without reducing your riding.
    This. At that volume, you should be able to add lifting without needing to reduce riding volume. Just make sure to space it out so that you're not lifting 1-3 days before you want to be fast. For me, DOMS usually kicks in the worst on day 2 or 3.

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    Ok-
    45 is getting towards old
    4 hours per week is pretty small in terms of bike volume.
    Heck, at 4 hours per week you could even add muscle mass (doesn't happen at 15 hours per week).

    For what you do and what you like to do- You should do gym work.
    I like a balanced program where you spend and much time on legs and also as much time on core as you do with upper body.
    Time legs days so they don't get in the way of your harder bike days to maximize recovery from both-
    You don't need to do an hour of weights all at once to get a lot of benefit. In fact, 1 hour of weights in a single session is a lot of work if you aren't jacking around and looking at your phone after every set.

    Quote Originally Posted by suhacycles View Post
    Well, I'm 45, ride maybe 4 hrs a week, run about 1 hr a week (trail or pavement) and race maybe 5-6 times a year (road and/or CX) depending on what piques my interest. I wouldn't say I have a formal training schedule/program but like to be in race-shape most of the year, which hasn't been difficult at my simple cat 4 status. I just wonder, if I throw in an hour of weights a week and have to drop my riding to potentially less than what I'm already doing now am I going to find myself struggling more in those races? Guess there's only one way to find out...

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    single leg lifts with dumbbells are not a bad idea if you don't want DOMS compromising your cycling.

    I'm a scrawny six one, 158 -- if I do 2 sets of 10 dead lifts at 155lbs, say, then the next day I have some soreness. With 2 sets of 10 single leg dead lifts with a 35lb dumbbell in each hand, the 10th is still the last one I can do, but the muscle damage is much less.

    Not good for the fall and winter -- that's when to go heavy with barbells -- but for spring and summer it's a good way of maintaining some gains, and hopefully enough load on the bones to help with density (my classroom is on the 3rd floor, and I jog 9-12 flights of stairs each day going to the copier and main office, and just getting up to move during my planing and lunch -- I hope that also is putting some load on my leg bones).

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    I do boot camp class on Tues and Thurs, ride the MTB M-W-F, and ride the road on the weekend. My boot camp has greatly strengthened my core, built up my legs with good range of motion by doing squats and lunges with sandbags, and made me more flexible. I've got spinal stenosis so the clock is running on me before surgery, but when that day comes, there will be lots of muscle around the surgery site.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Strength training in-season

    I am 10 years older, and bike quite a bit more. I stopped going to the gym, and got a selection of dumbells to keep at home. Just the simple hand held things. Not heavy weights, 5kg each, but lots of squats, lunges, various bent and straight arm exercises. I do not think it adds muscle mass but it keeps you in trim and you can do it while the coffee is on.

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