Time for something different - weights and cycling

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Xplora
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Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:24 am

I have totally burned out on cycling, after a couple massive events during May so I am enjoying some time off the bike. I am going to be having a go at hitting the gym using a general strength program (squat, deads, bench and overhead press) over 3 or 4 days a week, and the Time Crunched Cyclist plan. The plans somewhat work together - the 531 plan assumes you are doing hard cardio work on the gym off days, and expects you to use a 'no nonsense' get in get out approach, while the TCTP essentially is the same no nonsense approach that can fulfil the cardio, with an assumption that you won't be capable of devoting 1-3 hours a day to the bike. I can't physically cope with the workload of weights and high intensity cycling, but the flexibility of both programs let's me see that they could be concurrent.

A quick note to anyone searching this. I am not seeking to bodybuild, but I will put on 10kgs in muscles. My strength base is poor! I am not seeking to ride NRS either, i just want to be competitive and have the power to roll with A grade and be active doing it - but not necessarily every week.

I have noted the bench and overhead press days (upper body) are much easier for recovery so I will mash these into riding days. I have a Kickr and I am afraid to use it but if we keep the suffering to 30-40 minutes, 2-3 times a week, I can handle that. Maybe. I have delayed my fitness test by two days already! I am hoping the TCTP is able to offer some decent results with little time and physical toll. Club champs in a short while... Could be a good test.

In the meantime, the weights is not negotiable. I keep hearing 'you don't need weights for riding' 'might as well do it all on bike' but here is the thing. It's a hobby. No one cares if I win or finish or place, and I sleep better knowing I am an 11 stone weakling instead of a 10 stone weakling :lol:

I will report back how I go. I have deloaded so much I am able to gauge the freshness better, and I would like to see if I can combine them. Maybe this could help you too. 8)

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:40 am

As Mark Rippetoe says: Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby tcdev » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:56 pm

Coming at you from someone who never has and never will be even considering racing a bike; I took up weight training about 25 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Now I haven't had the opportunity to continue weight training consistently throughout those 25 years, but I vowed to do my best to incorporate it into my lifestyle as far as possible. About 9 years ago I bought myself a power rack and again, forever glad I did.

My routine is a no-nonsense, get-in get-out approach that you tout. The emphasis is on natural, compound movements focusing solely on strength whilst maximising workout efficiency. Just 3 days/week to cover all areas and, depending on the day, it's 45mins to an hour. I do incorporate the same abdominal workouts after each session though.

As BFV alludes to when he quoted Mark Ripptoe, the benefits to all aspects of your life cannot be overstated. Being strong is a feeling you can only appreciate when you are, and you miss it when you're not. It's similar to fitness, but different again. I've had long lay-offs for various reasons, up to 18 months in a few cases, so I've had it and lost it a few times. Each time I return I tell myself there'll be no future interruptions. And somewhat encouraging to know is that I've just been getting stronger each time back, even though now I've just hit 50! For the record I started back in April this year on the back of 12 months off due to the birth of our son, and enjoying it more than ever. But it's a gradual process and I don't expect to be back at my peak this side of the new year.

As for cycling, it can't hurt. Interestingly I just read an article in Bike magazine a few days ago about an Olympic sprinter who incorporates squat and deadlift in particular into his routine. Ah squats, if there ever was an exercise that you could have a love/hate relationship with... a bit like climbing!

Give it a good go - 6 months at the very least. Start light - almost too light - and build gradually - the more gradual the better - and document every session. Enjoy!
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Alex Simmons/RST
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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:39 am

tcdev wrote:As for cycling, it can't hurt.

It most definitely can have a negative impact on endurance cycling performance. But for cyclists like the OP, it's of little consequence because the primary desire is for enjoyment, general fitness, health and well being. The only problem I see is if the reduced aerobic endurance training due to reduced volume because of time restriction and extra recovery demand from gym work results in reduced racing/riding enjoyment. That will depend on lot on natural inherit capabilities of the rider and the level of racing one is doing. Some people's undertrained level is higher than others peak fitness level and that means they are fortunate to be able to race and have some fun even when only moderately fit.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby tcdev » Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:10 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
tcdev wrote:As for cycling, it can't hurt.

It most definitely can have a negative impact on endurance cycling performance. But for cyclists like the OP, it's of little consequence because the primary desire is for enjoyment, general fitness, health and well being.


Yes, I should have qualified that, "As for _your_ cycling,"...

It's worth nothing that the Olympic sprinter I cited was expressly forbidden from doing upper body work in the gym.
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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:50 pm

tcdev wrote:It's worth nothing that the Olympic sprinter I cited was expressly forbidden from doing upper body work in the gym.

That would be unusual, must have been a very specific reason for it. Gym work and track sprinting is the normal situation rather than the exception.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby tcdev » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:47 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
tcdev wrote:It's worth nothing that the Olympic sprinter I cited was expressly forbidden from doing upper body work in the gym.

That would be unusual, must have been a very specific reason for it. Gym work and track sprinting is the normal situation rather than the exception.

From memory this guy was already big, 98kg IIRC. I guess they didn't want any more "dead weight" on him above the waist?!?
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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:49 am

tcdev wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
tcdev wrote:It's worth nothing that the Olympic sprinter I cited was expressly forbidden from doing upper body work in the gym.

That would be unusual, must have been a very specific reason for it. Gym work and track sprinting is the normal situation rather than the exception.

From memory this guy was already big, 98kg IIRC. I guess they didn't want any more "dead weight" on him above the waist?!?

It's possible, just unusual.

Even Chris Hoy said that he didn't want to do too much weight work as the additional bulk would slow him down (eventually the additional mass slows acceleration and adds aero drag).

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby jules21 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:49 am

bigfriendlyvegan wrote:As Mark Rippetoe says: Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.

I have no interest in doing weights. I used to do them when I was at uni and a couple of mates dragged me along to the gym. I wasn't riding and I've always been into physical activity so I just drifted into it. I'll always remember bumping into someone playing competitive basketball and receiving a fearful apology from them! I can't stand muscle boys who lift to intimidate others. I wasn't doing that, but it's hard not to notice that you are able to intimidate people more easily.

I'm happy being a skinny cyclist :)

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Calvin27 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:37 am

jules21 wrote:I'm happy being a skinny cyclist :)


I'm on and off again gym person. Hate it - seems pointless. But upper body, core and non cycling leg work is pretty important for overall balance imo. I hit at least one gym session a week. It's mostly compoun upper body type stuff but I will advise not smashing a gym session before a mtb ride.
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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:00 pm

jules21 wrote:
bigfriendlyvegan wrote:As Mark Rippetoe says: Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.

I have no interest in doing weights. I used to do them when I was at uni and a couple of mates dragged me along to the gym. I wasn't riding and I've always been into physical activity so I just drifted into it. I'll always remember bumping into someone playing competitive basketball and receiving a fearful apology from them! I can't stand muscle boys who lift to intimidate others. I wasn't doing that, but it's hard not to notice that you are able to intimidate people more easily.

I'm happy being a skinny cyclist :)


I don't really have a lot of interest in weights either, but some weights routines are useful for riders. Along with appropriate stretching too which is something people often neglect.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:12 am

My back nearly crapped out today on my 3rd and final week before a rest week on squat day, and squats and deadlifts both failed to shine, and I rode on the weekend. I don't know if it is related, or due to excessive core strength work. Will need to dial it back and rev up the accessory lifts (movements that support gains on the big 4).

Also hurt my ulner nerve... I think it is time to dial it back a bit.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Defy The Odds » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:12 pm

The hardest part managing both cycling and an intense weights session is fatigue. Doing compound movements particularly, uses quite a lot of energy (this is how powerlifters train) although they offer great core strength.

I have also been training on and off for a few years although family and business commitments get in the way. Restarting my program after a month off as of next Wednesday.

I enjoy longer rides (35-50km and over) and I think a bit of strength goes a long way even in endurance rides.

Looking forward to getting back on the bike and the gym, hardest part is allocating time to balance the two... Challenge accepted

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby trailgumby » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:21 pm

I've jsut finished reading Joe Friel's Fast after 50. As in his "Training Bible" series, there is an extensive section devoted to how resistance training (weights) can be a very useful complement to training on the bike.

Weights, just like training on the bike, needs to be periodized - that is, matched to where you are in your training program.

There is a view that it is essential for cycling performance, especially as cyclists age. It helps maintain muscle mass and bone density, especially for the over-50s when muscle-building hormones decline. It also helps address imbalances that can arise through doing just the one thing, and helps you suck less at doing things off the bike as well.

After the Anatomical Adaptation phase (preparing to train, low % of 1 rep max weight), there is a transition phase building up to Max Strength work (low reps, high weights close to 1-rep max, complete recovery between sets), which should not be done any later than early base. and limited to 6-12 sessions max, at 2 sessions per week. Then during late base and build, it becomes either Strength Maintenance, Muscular Endurance or Power Endurance, depending on your personal limiters. Race period, no weights at all so that you can start the high priority races in a fresh state. If doing multiple races, you would return to doing SM, PE or ME work until race week, then stay off the weights again during the taper period.

Movements should be compound (ie, no isolation exercises like the bodybuilders use) and prioritise those muscle groups relevant to the activity.

Yes you will have "dead" legs, most noticeably in the early sessions of MS phase... that's why you use periodization.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:32 am

After going through the Time Crunched plans, I've finally worked out why the Friel programs are so hard to understand for a cyclist in my situation. They require truly enormous amounts of time over long timeframes, and truly sedate levels of effort during the VERY long base period... and they aren't really that adaptable either. I introduced weight training into my diet 2 years ago, and it was really hard to bring that into the picture while racing... but I needed to do those weights to address severe strength deficits. Does a person give up on their events because they need to introduce something new? Periodisation is a great idea, but it is much harder to really program it with the extremely long race season in Sydney (Tuesday night summer racing just ended this week :lol: ) given that we don't really have an off season.

TCTP has shown me that I am asking way too much of myself... my "base" period is actually a build according to Carmichael, and he expects that the performance will collapse after a couple months of this. Wow. All my training is high intensity. I thought I was just doing intervals.

Which makes the programming that much more interesting. A ride isn't just a ride 8)

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby trailgumby » Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:16 pm

Xplora wrote:After going through the Time Crunched plans, I've finally worked out why the Friel programs are so hard to understand for a cyclist in my situation.

I disagree.

Friel is trying to teach you how to fish, rather than just giving you the fish like Carmichael does. I do agree that it is more difficult to digest and requires more work to come up with a workable plan, but I don't believe it requires massive hours in the saddle.

Including my commutes, I am typically on the bike for 8-11 hours a week for "on" weeks and 6-7 for "off" weeks, with maybe an hour a week on free weights and 1 1/2 hours work weekly at home before work with bodyweight to maintain functionality in some areas in which I am weak.

The Time-crunched training plans don't work for me at all. Learning that Carmichael's claim to have trained Armstrong during his TdF "winning" years was BS was the final straw for credibility, and I threw the book in the rubbish.

I do have an "off season" - two a year actually, dictated by work demands around financial reporting season, so maybe that contributes. I don't do weekly races, maybe 4 or 5 events a year with the occasional club race thrown in for some fun. If I did weekly races, they would just be a high-intensity workout in the schedule.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:33 am

It's not that hard to train smart, for goodness sake. :roll: Look at the time you have pick out the best things that work for you and setup you training plan yourself. :?

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:01 pm

TG, We have very very different schedules and you've prescribed 50% more hours than the TCTP dictates. I agree that it wouldn't work for you, because there is a serious lack of riding in Carmichael's plan. There has to be enough recovery to train like that.

Friel is so busy teaching you to fish that he forgets to show you what the rod looks like, and he doesn't really explain how easy it is to peak early and some reasonable recovery period afterwards.

I don't think Carmichael's book would be that valuable an insight without having read 2 Friel books and hunter Coggan .. Already.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:09 pm

Finished my first month with very little riding until week 4 - easy week. Hit up a VO2Max test on the bike while lurching through the last couple workouts in the cycle.

Despite hitting my usual supplements, I had reduced Max efforts on the lower body in week 3, I suspect from excessive core work. I have cut back the number of exercises to focus harder on the big 4 lifts, to give enough space for riding. I'm also going to limit my 'failure' set (last big lift set is as many as possible) to 10 to ensure I'm not overdoing it. 102.5kgs for 10 deadlifts was challenging but I can move 6 hours later.

Whole session is also only 45 minutes now. Today was 3x5 deadlifts with a Max effort set, then 3x10 good mornings superset with 3x10 deadlifts at 50% 1repmax, then 3x10 hanging leg raise superset with 3x10 an wheel. All done. Easy spin tomorrow, hopefully a hard climbing ride the day after and bench press in the evening. Or maybe leave the bench till the day after. We shall see.

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Re: Time for something different - weights and cycling

Postby Xplora » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:33 am

Close to finishing month 2. It's quite difficult to schedule everything, the reality is that you can't have 2 top priority goals. The good thing is that adjusting the program with better 'accessory lifts' (extra exercises that support the bench squat deadlifts and overhead press ) has worked, fatigue levels are lower and I have been able to have a crack at some decent interval sessions on the bike. I have resolved that I have to work very strictly with the TCTP so I don't overdo the intervals.

I'm definitely low on energy though and notice if I have 2 low food days. Can barely move, let alone lift etc!

Hope this helps

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