Strength Training

Shoulder hurting on and off the bike? Do this simple 15 min routine

While posture and shoulder health have a huge impact on our overall well-being and can have significant and far-reaching effects, those effects are not always felt before it’s too late in the game.

This is especially true for Road Cyclists, runners, and triathletes, as their sport, by design, requires the body to work for long periods of time, preferably as energy efficiently as possible.

Why do Endurance athletes see gains from CrossFit?

CrossFit has opened the eyes of the Endurance sports community that Strength Training MUST be a part of their training....but WHY does it work?

Why I'm Crushing on KettleBells

***To begin 2018 I'm trying a less formal blog-post format, more "what's on my mind" posts than "planned and researched" posts, although we will have a good number of those. Let me know what you think of the new format in the comments below!***


As those in the Northeast bunker down for the next 2.5 months of winter (sorry all, I think it'll be the end of March this year folks), one thing that I'm happy for, aside from a great Islay Scotch and my Chemex Coffee maker, are my collection of Kettlebells. 

Why do I love the Kettlebells so much? Because they serve us endurance athletes to a high degree. Just one or two Kettlebells of varying weights allows us to add external resistance to some basic moves we should be able to master, or at least take time to work on, in order to keep our body in a happy balance. 

These moves are:

  • Shoulder Press
  • Eastern Squat
  • Kettlebell swing (these are killer!)
  • Bent over rows/ supported rows

 

These 4 movements allow us to have a fighting chance to make significant strides towards balancing out our bodies hip and shoulder joints- two joints that are often made a train wreck thanks to the sport of cycling hours on end in a closed-off position. 

They are a fantastic way to begin to work on maximizing your on-bike performance, although there is much more that goes into a properly balanced Strength Training program of cyclists.... But you'll have to stay tuned for more on that!

Don't forget to subscribe to the HVTraining Youtube channel for some really interesting and higher level videos on how to tune in your Nutrition so you can maximize your on-bike results. We'll be covering a nutrition topic that many endurance athletes have been neglecting over the last 10 or so years....
 

Strength Training for Cycling & Triathlon....Which days and how many days a week?

If you're a beginner LIFTER (less than 2 years of strength training) forget "sport specific" movements/work, as our first job is to help make you GLOBALLY stronger at the Basic 5 movements:

Top 3 rules for Strength Training for Cyclists

Are you guys as stoked about the TrainerRoad video on Strength training as much as I am?
I doubt it!

Not only is TrainerRoad a great tool to help Cyclists and Triathletes who aren't ready for 1 on 1 coaching to get some solid fitness, but it also has a great reach into the endurance community. 

While I've been talking about strength training for cyclists for the last 9 years, knowing deep down that the time for change is ALMOST here.....this video with currently 69,000+ views, tells me the time IS here. 

Today we hit on the TOP 3 RULES when it comes to Strength Training that you MUST keep in mind!

 

There are some rules to Strength Training for cyclists...

While the blog post that goes along with the video says there are no "hard and fast rules when it comes to strength training for cyclists", there are quite a few rules that apply to strength training in general that we MUST keep in mind. These are the top 3.

 

1. Specific Adaptations to imposed Demand
 

Whatever you program the body to do, is what it will do. This is super important as we get into strength training, as when we start off coming from loads of time on the bike, we must make sure that we work to find a happy balance for our joints, so they can perform on the bike, and stay healthy off the bike. 

If you're looking to improve your strength for riding, or anything for that matter, you must impose that demand (do strength training) at LEAST 3 days a week in order to see results and progress. This means finding the right balance for YOU and YOUR needs for the different times of year. Simply hitting the gym 2x a week for a 2 hours strength session may be enough to help you see some small increases for a short time, but it won't be enough to stimulate the changes you're seeking!

For true beginners in the weight room, 2x a week for 60-75 min quality sessions may prove to be enough, however for the vast majority of us we will require 3 days a week regularly in the gym, in order to see results. More is not always better, and we must also keep in balance your riding,. Many riders with whom I've worked have found that a 60 minute gym session with a good 10-15 minute warm-up has allowed them to have absolutely fantastic results, and to maintain their abilities on the bike.

Find what works for you, and stick to it. You should see progress regularly and consistently, and be feeling better after your strength work, not worse.

 

2. Training is useless if your recovery sucks

We don't get stronger from the workouts we do, in fact, we are actually in a weakened state afterwards. We get stronger by getting the nutrients and rest we need after a workouts, so that the body can repair and adapt. 

Strength training 4x a week PLUS riding 12 hours PLUS working 40 hours PLUS.... if you're not getting your sleep and nutrition on point, you'll see poor (if any) results.

 

3. Progression, progression, progression!

Many of the exercises shown in the video are very advanced, and require large amounts of range of motion, stability, and strength to perform properly.  Specifically the Pistol Squats and Spiderman Pushups require an immense amount of core strength AND mobility at the hips. 

While the mobility at the hips is a long post in and of itself, the core strength is a big issue for many of us, as we tend to have poor connection of the ribs and pelvis, leading us to perform these exercises with poor technique which can lead to pain,discomfort, and loss of time on the bike- something we very much want to avoid.

 

4. (BONUS) Work within the Range of Motion you have, SetTing yourself up for success, not injury

This is something many athletes, regardless of sport, tend to miss. While it is really good to go through a full range of motion for an exercise, pushing beyond YOUR range of motion to where you lose technique or proper alignment of the joints and body parts is only going to make your risk of injury increase. 

There are a large number of Triathletes and Time Trials in particular with whom I've coached (after they hurt themselves), and seen in the weight room trying to "mimic my position on the TT bars".
There is a time and a place for being as "sport-specific" as possible, but with weight lifting exercises, especially ones such as the deadlift and bent over reverse flies, are not them. 

"...Just as with scotch & wine, there are many different "flavors" and within those flavors, many different variations from which to choose from."

"...Just as with scotch & wine, there are many different "flavors" and within those flavors, many different variations from which to choose from."

Strength training should be done in the ranges of motion you have, and IN POSITIONS THAT SET YOU UP TO SUCCEED. This is something that Loren Landow really impressed upon me during the week or so I spent with him back in 2014. It's something that many cyclists and athletes as a whole, struggle with. 

Simply: If you cannot maintain a good posture and alignment for an exercises, set yourself up for success by either staying within the positioning and range of motion you CAN safely work through....or change the exercise. When it comes to exercises, just as with scotch & wine, there are many different "flavors" and within those flavors, many different variations from which to choose from. 

For example, If you cannot keep your spine straight for a barbell deadlift from the floor, raise the bar up off the floor using plates or risers to a point where you can keep your spine straight, abs & lats tight, and use your glutes and hamstrings, NOT your back. 

Set yourself up to win, and you'll reap benefits. 
Try to go outside of your abilities, and you'll find yourself injured or in pain.
You have tons to gain and tons to lose (pun intended), set yourself up to win. 
 

 

The Trainer Road video is a testament to the work that coaches who have been teaching the immense value and necessity of Strength Training for cyclists carries with it, like Harvey Newton and myself, which has helped to push the world of cycling forward in it's realization that proper strength training for cycling is a MUST.


We are finally entering the time where the average athlete is ready and willing to take heed, and finally hit the weights. This video is a fantastic step forward to getting the message out to the masses, and to get riders EXCITED about lifting. I just want to try to ensure that many folks won't try these exercises and wind up putting themselves into positions they can get hurt.

ALWAYS start at the lowest level of an exercise, and work your way up. If you're not sure about an exercise, start small, and slowly work your way up. Remember, being injured only sets you back, "Keep the money on the field". 

If you want to learn more about Strength Training for Cycling and Triathlon, sign up for the Human Vortex Training Newsletter to receive expert tips and advice.

 

Breaking down 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence's Favorite Strength Set PART 1 The WARMUP

"Just any trainer" and "Just any strength coach" will NOT do it for endurance athletes, as you have a very unique blend of demands on the body- especially triathletes. Simply because someone holds a credential and passed a test, does NOT mean they have the right skillset and knowledge that YOU need, in order to have the strength training match your needs.