Episode 21 – Strength Training for Professional Cyclists: Special Considerations

The strong savvy cyclist & triathlete podcast

Strength Training for cyclists itself requires a unique view on how to build the training year.

BUT When building a training program for a professional cyclist the rules DO change quite a bit!

Constant travel & racing, recovery  and adaptation need to be at the forefront of planning for the individual, yet we also want to maintain and build strength. How do we do it?

While the majority of the Strength training base will be done in the 3.5-4months the athlete has at home, we still want to build and maintain some strength through the spring classics season.

In todays episode we talk through what a Strength Training program would look like, and some considerations that need to be take to build a solid training program for best results.



Speaker 1:

Human Vortex Training and Menachem Brodie present, The Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathlete podcast, where we talk strength training, physiology, psychology, tech and much more, to help you get fitter, faster, and stronger in and out of your sport, giving you expert insights, talking with other leading experts. And now your host world-leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes, Menachem Brodie.

Menachem Brodie:

Hi everyone, and welcome to this episode of The Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathlete podcast. As I’m sure you can hear I’m a little bit under the weather today, drinking my puer tea and having a little bit of honey cake to try and get past this thing. I missed the boat and I missed the warning signs my body was sending me to get [inaudible 00:00:55] going and the [inaudible 00:00:56]. But I am doing well, but it allows me to play one of my favorite sound bites of all times. So some of you will recognize this, but this is pretty much how I feel, except I just love doing this podcast. So I am here even though I am run down just a little bit and feeling under the weather.

Ferris Bueller: Who is it?

Principal Rooney: It’s Principal Rooney. I’d like to have a word with you.

Ferris Bueller: Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t come to the door right now. And I’m afraid that in my weakend condition, I can take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further school absences.

Principal Rooney:  come down here.

Ferris Bueller: You can reach my parents at their places of business. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your concern for my wellbeing.

Principal Rooney: I am not leaving until you come down and talk to me.


Menachem Brodie:

But you’re here talking to me. I just love that movie. I don’t know who doesn’t to be honest. But today we’re not going to do so much a Ferris Bueller’s day out and just go and just rip and tear through the city. Well what we’re actually going to do is we’re going to talk today about professional cyclists and getting the strength training in that they need throughout the year. Now, this is something that I’ve been getting a growing number of emails, thinks a large parts of the writing I’ve been doing for PezCycling News, as well as for trainingpeaks.com, and the courses, Strength Training for Cycling Success, that I have on Training Peaks University. Now, before you triathletes turn this off, this still applies to you. A lot of it applies to you because many of you are traveling or working long hard hours, and what we’re going to talk about today are questions that I’ve been getting from coaches who are very forward-thinking. They started off actually in the spring, coaches who had started taking my course last spring, 2019, as well as those who are taking it through the summer here.

So this is going to cover a lot of information. I go into more detail in my strength training for cycling certification course, which will be released in the fall or winter of 2019. So if you were listening to this, before it’s released, make sure you’re getting onto the HV Training Newsletter because you guys on the newsletter are going to get a very special offer that’s not ever going to come around again. So if you’re interested, make sure you go over to the humanvortextraining.com and sign up.

But for today, we’re going to get into with some puer tea. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a very strong, smokey black tea. It’s very unique, kind of like the scotches, like [inaudible 00:03:20]. I don’t always drink scotch, but when I do it’s delicious and in small amounts because I don’t do it as often. So these bottles last decades actually at this point. But let’s get into the topic for today. One of the things that we want to think about with our athletes, so these emails have been coming primarily from coaches, although I’m sure some of you out there are professional cyclists, or up and coming, going to Europe and racing in [inaudible 00:03:44] and trying to get your racing legs ready to go and make that push to the next level. When we’re talking about professional cyclist, we have to remember that most of you are going to be fairly young. So when we’re talking about chronological age, male or female, although females tend to be a little bit older just because that sport thankfully is finally catching up and catching on with women around the world.

Mostly the male cyclist we’re talking about going professional are somewhere between the ages of 17 and 22. Now I worked with the Pitt Cycling Team, that was the first team I ever coached before I moved abroad and worked with White City Racing. And most of those racers were the ages of 18 to 22. So we had quite a few good bit of success there, and a lot of that has to do with the coaching philosophy, but also with the athletes who were in the club at the time and how open they were to having it be a two-way street, not the old school of the coach tells you what to do you just shake your head and go. But it’s very much, “Here’s what we’re doing here, here’s why we’re doing it. Let’s try it for two weeks,” and then as we’ve spoken about on this podcast, it depends and finding what works for that athlete.

Now with that younger age comes the challenge of many of us that want to go pro, get into cycling at a young age. So for example, in Pittsburgh Team [inaudible 00:05:00] was founded by Mark Bedell, another cycling coach and Fred Goh. And their target were essentially kids. So we’re talking about individuals who have been riding bikes, racing bikes, probably for four to six years by the time they turned 16, 17, if not three to four years. I had one of my first clients actually was 16 and he was very interested in going professional for cyclists coming from a ski background. And we got him quite far. And then he decided he wanted to do something else. He also was Eagle scout. That was my first public presentation that was non coaching and that was a wonderful presentation to be there and a part of it. So Drew, I’m proud of you, if you’re listening to this out there. I’ve been following you. And he’s now working in the industry as they call it, another industry.

So back on track here. When we talk about these kids essentially, and we do need to keep in mind, they are kids, we’re talking about individuals who are going to through anatomical adaptation. Also they’re going to go through a little bit of hypertrophy. They’re at this point in their lives where we can literally change the trajectory of their professional career by teaching them good strength training habits, and how to balance it throughout the season. So we’re going to start with the first obstacle that we have, and this is one of the most common questions that I’ve been getting from coaches of professional cyclists. Let’s give an example. For example, our rider left from home and then in the beginning of February, raced in Belgium, and then at the end of February traveled over to Spain, sorry, Italy, raised in Italy for a little bit, and then came back to Belgium most of the Strati, for the most part of March. They had a break for training for about two and a half to four weeks. I’m just using a couple of different examples of what was emailed to me.

Then they took most of April followed by Altitude Camp or Teen Camp, depending on what this athlete was doing. Then they had two blocks of the World Tour in may to July. Again, two different examples being mashed together. And during this time we organized a training camp for them to prepare for these in the middle. Let’s see. And then they were talking about getting ready for worlds for time trials as well as for World Road. So this is a combination or a concoction of about three different emails I’m getting from forward thinking coaches. So first of all, kudos to you because you’re thinking ahead, you’re thinking about the athletes obstacles, you’re going through that process, which I kind of zoomed through in the strength training for cycling success course. But I get in more detail in the assessment part for strength training for cycling certification course, as to you have to look at the athletes demands and think about their season.

So the best part of this is is that even though this is concoction of three different emails that I just threw together here, they all come down to the same question. And it boils down to, so how do we fit anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy strength, and race specification into our window of having this athlete from the end or beginning of September until February? And the answer is you don’t, you can’t, that’s the whole point of having these training years laid out and understanding the different phases you have to go through. So that’s our first tackle for today. And I know we’re about seven and a half, eight minutes in, and we kind of went through a lot of different stuff, but bear with me here, because this is really important. And this is where even though as endurance sport coaches, we really think ahead about the athletes needs. And I see this or saw this rather a lot when I was coaching basketball in the middle school and high school level back, way back when it was a challenge because a lot of coaches, when we would talk about their training programs, they didn’t think further than two weeks. They knew the pre-season, then you do a lot of running, but they didn’t really have an annual training plan.

So as endurance coaches and athletes, we have great annual training programs. But as I cover in the certification course, which will be released here, is that we have to think about the full year. We need to work backwards from where we ultimately want to be, but we need to be much more flexible. And we actually need to do our programming in 60 to 90 day chunks. So if we know, so for example, we had [inaudible 00:09:10] was a professional runner with us. Raised over in Europe, raised in the United States in California, raised in Europe again. So what did we do for her strength training once she was abroad? Number one, is body weight bands. And once she had a home base essentially, Kettlebells, and that was it. Because for her to get to a gym was a lot of energy. She had to ride. So she was actually in Belgium. So that meant that she had to ride, or sorry, Netherlands, which means she had to ride to the gym and ride back. And when you’re racing so much, we have to remember that it’s still stress. The strength training is still stress. There’s life stress, there’s travel stress, which a lot of coaches I think with up and coming professional riderss forget about is that stress.

So we actually look at the time that we have the athlete, we can’t fit all of these different phases in. We have anatomical adaptation. Well, first and foremost is transition. They have to have at least seven to 14 days of not doing anything. I go out of my way to connect with that athlete and figure out how I can give them permission or confirm with them that taking seven to 14 days off the bike completely and being essentially a couch potato is okay. Now the thing is, is that with the individuals, they never wind up being a couch potato. Most of them wind up going bowling or spending time with their family going hiking. They’re just active people. But I tell them you are forbidden from throwing a leg over your top two of your primary mode of racing for the next week. No, no road bike, no time trial bike, whatever your primary mode of racing is, you’re not allowed to put your leg over the bar at the top two. A lot of them looked at me like I’m crazy, Bro I’m gonna lose fitness.” Exactly. You’re supposed to lose fitness. This is the time of year that you are meant to digest. You’re allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to rest and digest. You need that. You have to have that.

Remember our four pillars of athletic progression, you have to have that. So we don’t even go into anatomical adaptation like we do with our amateur riders. And those of you have listened to a couple of the podcasts here, if they’ve been released or not talking about the base period of year and developing the aerobic engine, we talk about the transition and some people you can go right into the weight room and start with the anatomical adaptation, body weight exercises, light sets of 12 to 15, having them starting to learn their movements. That’s okay. That is fine. But when it comes to our professional riders, we have to remember that we need to give them at least seven days to decompress. Now, if they are a new professional, it tends to be that they want to go ride, especially if they didn’t have a good season and you have to pull the reins back. If things didn’t go as they wanted to, or the Director Sportif lets them know that they’re disappointed, the type of athletes that go professional in cycling are very intrinsically motivated. They’re there not just for others, but much more so for themselves.

So we have to pull the rain backs and give them very specific directives, “Do not ride your primary.” That doesn’t mean they’re not going mountain biking or cycle cross, but we also give them, or I give them at least, you cannot or should not hit a heart rate above, for example, 155, unless it is life or death. And I’m not talking about life or death because you want to win the $50 bet of the town science sprint, I’m talking about, there’s a car in front of you or behind you and God forbid, you need to move quickly, then you can of course move. But the rest of it should be easy peasy. People are passing you but you should feel fast and you should feel like the Kentucky Derby winner being pulled back at the reins, even though you feel like you want to push. Because now’s the time if you’ve played your cards right, the athletes should be mostly recovered, but we need to give them that mental recovery from that pressure.

So let’s say you give them seven days and they’re getting antsy, okay, we’re going to start the anatomical adaptation. We’re going to go about two weeks for this individual two to three weeks, let’s say they’re 18 years old, it’s their first season back from Europe, a couple of minor crashes, aches and pains. Maybe they had a couple of stitches because they fell, but no concussions, no, nothing like that. So we don’t need to worry too, too much about getting deep recovery. And that’s a whole another podcast episode. Remind me those of you who want that, write me and remind me to do that.  Because it’s not in the queue right now, but if there’s interest, I will make it for this fall as opposed to next. Okay. Once we’ve gone through that seven days, let’s say they’re really ready to go, we’ll start anatomical adaptation. I generally like to do this as a part of lightweights.

So before they go to Europe, we usually know, unless you’re in the rare position where an athlete comes to and they’re kind of like, “I have kind of been self coached. I’ve had really good results. My parents and I saved up, or I saved up to go to Europe to try and have a go at it. Or I got picked up by the juniors development camp at USA Cycling,” whatever it may be usually we have a run-up of about six to eight months. We kind of know the athletes going down that road, right? So we should have been doing already a little bit of weight training. Let’s say we haven’t, and remember if you know an athletes going down that road and you can tell that it’s going to be beneficial for them to go to Europe next year, don’t hold back on the strength training. Strength training is a year round thing. And this is part of the answer to the question.

So let’s say they didn’t start. Let’s say we just kind of athlete had an exceptional season, took a couple of podiums, excelled. They were being coached by someone else or self coached and now they’re coming to you. So number one is anatomical adaptation. Let’s start them out, learning the movements. We want about 30 minute sessions. We’re going to start off with five minutes, three to five minutes of soft tissue work. Then we’re going to do a little breath work. Then we’re going to do yes, you got it, dynamic warmup. Right there is half of our session, 10 to 12 minutes, easy right there. Now the next 15 to 18 minutes for the rest of the session, and there’s a reason we keep it this short, we are working on the primary movement pattern, number one, that the athlete has issues with. For a lot of cyclists, it’s going to be an overhead motion. So we’ll do something like a landmine press or we’ll do something that’s going to aid them to get better movement from the landmine press. And then we’re going to do a hinge pattern.

So this usually I like hover kettlebell deadlifts because it’s teaching from the top down or double hover kettlebell deadlifts. And the reason is simple. We’re able to get six to 12 repetitions. We’re going at a nice tempo. We’ll use a little bit of tempo. So maybe not three, one, three, one, but we’ll go like two to four seconds negative, pause for a second and then two seconds up. We want to teach the athlete it’s control and stiffness at the places that we want that we’re after. Then once we finish that, we’re going to go about, I don’t know, we’re going to say three weeks, two to three weeks of anatomical adaptation. So once we finished the hinge and the press, we’re still going to work on push by the way. And this is neglected by a lot of coaches. We are in a reaching position on our bike oftentimes, and that means we need to teach the athlete how to properly press horizontally, press the overhead press, the vertical press, we’re not really going to get into. But the horizontal push, we need to teach the athlete how to stabilize, how to be able to manage that position.

So that means we’re going to do like blackburns. So if you look at the HV Training YouTube channel, you’ll be able to find that and we’ll do wallscape slides or something of that nature, whatever the athlete needs. So that’s about two to three weeks for anatomical adaptation. Then we’re going to take them into hypertrophy. During these two to three weeks, we want the athlete to leave the strength training session saying that they can and want to do more. And we need to teach them to reserve that energy. We are building a reservoir of energy. We are restocking everything. And this is a big challenge for a lot of riders who go to the World Tour the first year. Usually you’re doing a lot of riding. We’re talking about pitting on a number and racing between 45 and 60 days a year. A lot of beginners are probably going to be between 45 and 50. That’s a lot of racing days. That’s a lot of training stress and we need to refill the reservoirs. And if you want a first person account, check out the book by Charly Wegelius called Domestique.

Regardless of what do you think about him, as a rider, the book is a really, really, really great insight as to what it’s like as a professional rider, granted, it was written at the beginning of the 2000s and Team Sky has changed a lot of things. He wrote for Liquid Gas at a time that Liquid Gas was the original Team Sky. Liquid Gas is a first team that actually had money put into it, really started having nice buses, staying at nicer restaurants. And then Team Sky took that and elevated it five more levels. And now that’s kind of become more of a standard for the professional riders. Read that book and read about how drained he was at the end of his first season. He didn’t even want to look at his bike. We want to refill our athletes, teach them new challenges, challenge them in new ways, and allow them to see that, “Hey, you may be getting really good at the bike, but there’s a lot more you have to learn here, and you can get better at that.” So we’re going to balance that.

Then the hypertrophy stage, that’s going to be most of the time they’re going to be with you. So we’re already down a month. We have three and a half the four and a half months with this athlete before they fly up abroad again, unless you have a base in Europe in which case you can see the athlete. But even then maybe the athlete is going from town to town or country to country, where they’re not really staying put, they don’t have access to a lot of equipment. This is one of the reasons why we have the muscular hypertrophy stage that’s going to be the majority with you. We want you to be able to coach the athlete. We’re talking about five to 15 repetitions. This is where 10 to 15 is where most cyclists things they’re doing endurance work, which is complete BS. We’ve covered that in the five stages of stress adaptation, which was posted before this. And the thing is the hypertrophy stage, there’s a lot of fun for the athletes because then they start to see that, hey, especially for the first time, if it’s their first year as we spoke about in again, previous episodes, we’re talking about the athlete going up and up and up and up. Episode 19, will have talked about that.

We’re talking about the athlete comes in at 35 kilos for a front squat, then 42 kilos the next week, and then 55 kilos the week after that. And they’re thinking, ‘Oh, you’re the best coach ever.” And you’re very and honest with them, say, “No, you are an athlete. You know your body best. You’re producing stiffness at the place that you need to in order to produce motion at the places that you need to. And this is neurological adaptation, this is your body figuring it out.” So this is a huge boost. And for a lot of individuals who are coming back from their first year in the professional Peloton, it’s a huge boost to their confidence that they, especially if they had a bad year, they’re going to feel a lot better about themselves. They will be, “I can do this.” And for some of our riderss who tend to be a lot more introverted and not really connect with us as coaches, even though we’re doing the best we can, you can tell, they’re looking forward to the strength training exercises or the sessions with you or on their own, and that allows you to really make a connection and boost their confidence and building I’m up for next year. And this is paramount.

So this is going to be between… I like for the professional cyclist, six to eight weeks. Why only six to eight? Why don’t we go a little bit longer? We can go up to 12. Well, number one, they’re at the professional level. So we do want to be careful about the energy systems that we’re using in the weight room, as well as how much weight, especially if we have riders who are pegged to be climbers or are natural climbers. We need to be very cognizant of this and conscientious of how much hypertrophy we are causing. So it’s not that we don’t want any, if they’re relatives of watts per kilo are coming up with what they’re doing in the weight room, totally cool bro, or broette, that’s okay. We want that. If their relative numbers are coming up, but they’re absolute are dropping or staying stale then we have a problem and we have a big problem if they’re climbers. So we need to be very aware of what we’re doing in the weight room. And that means we’re going to do more programming toward the neurological side as opposed to the metabolic side.

And we’ll get into this at the end. We’re going to tie that all together and we’ll talk about the energy systems. But we do cover this in the strength training for cycling certification quite a bit because it’s a continuum. There is no crossing. Either you’re doing neurological work or you’re doing metabolic work and you need to be careful with your professionals, especially as they get closer to race season or peak season. Now we went through a week off seven to 14 days off. Then we went through anatomical adaptations for two to three weeks. That’s our first month. Then we have hypertrophy, let’s say eight weeks. That’s three months. Now the last four weeks, four to six weeks that you’re going to have the athlete for, between three and a half to four and a half months you have the athlete. Now we’re going to get into max strength. So max strength is going to be our opportunity to really allow the athlete to tie things together and for us to be able to see some of the weaknesses or the cracks that they may have when they get into the season as they travel.

So the max strength, remember you are working with a professional, they are getting paid to ride their bike. You are going to allow them to have some deviation that goes a little bit further along that spectrum than the amateur athlete, because it is their job. It is their livelihood. And because of that, you also need to be really smart. This is going to mean you need to really dial in to that athlete’s abilities to recover, tissue resiliency, and really understand the nervous system and read the athlete on that day at that time in front of you. You need to be very careful with this. And it’s always better to leave some gas on the tank than to go, Oh crap. You don’t want to have an oh crap. You don’t want to do that. So if you’re ever unsure, err on the side of one less rep or one less set, leave a little bit in the tank, it’s going to allow the athlete to be more resilient. It’s almost always, no, it is always better to leave them in the tank than to go too far and the athlete’s sore or beat up. We don’t want that.

So the max strength four to six weeks, that means we’re probably they’re there for four weeks. We’re probably going to keep the same programming and then we’re going to ramp them up just a little bit towards the end. And then the travel week, the week we know that they’re flying, I generally like to have them one to two days before they fly is when we’re going to do their last strength workout. And a lot of them are already going to be focused on the bike and they’re going to want to go out for the long rides. Why do I like that one big last one? Is it allows you to make that connection with the athlete, reinforce the patterns they’ve had, as well as give them one last, and you tell them this, “We’re giving a one last kick to that energy system,” or not the energy systems, to the nervous system rather not the energy system because you’re going to get so much energy system work as it is when you’re racing. And then they’re going to fly.

The week that they fly, so let’s say they fly on Friday just to make this easier, Tuesday or Wednesday I want them in the gym for a heavy session. And we’re going to tell them, “You’re going to do a nice endurance ride, after for about an hour a recovery ride. And we’re really going to push in the gym. We’re not going to do anything stupid, but we’re going to do something to have your weights that we’ve done. We’re going to go based off of your technique and we’re going to feel good by the time you leave here. And we’re going to make sure it fits you and what your needs are.” So when they’re done with that before they leave, I’d like to do one more, depending on how early in the race or how early in the season they’re going to race. So if they’re doing the Spring Classics, like the Strada, we’ll do some V02 max all outs and just kind of want to see what they’re like before they leave.

And then when they get to where they’re going, and this varies widely, it depends on the athlete. Sometimes I’d like to have them do three to five days of easier riding, just because of the travel stress. We don’t know what the living situation is going to be like. Are they going to get along with their teammates? Are they housed with someone they were with last year? Are they in the same room or something else going on? And don’t underestimate that like the roommate who they’re with, there’s a lot of factors that are very stressful. So because of that, I tend to err on the side of caution and allow them a little bit of an easier in unless they are racing that week. In which case we’re going to do the same workout before they left, but they’re going to have very clear guidelines as to the VO2 max or the all out or whatever may have been when to cut it.

So when their power drops by X, or if their HRV is Y, they’re going to either skip the session, they’re going to do one or two, or they’re going to have a very clear guideline as to when to cut it. Now, when it comes to strength training, they’re going to do movement sessions. We don’t need development once they start racing, we need stimulation, that’s it. When you’re in season, we’re going to pretty much not be doing super, super heavy weights. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to. If they are at a home base, so they are in, let’s say Eindhoven, Netherlands, and they know that they can get to the gym in 15 minutes and their bike is safe to be locked up, or maybe the gym staff lets them bring it in, we’re going to do probably once a week minimum heavy weight lifting, within reason. And heavy is relative. And you have to remember when you take that stimulus away, especially for deadlifts and squats, we’re not going to do any good for the athlete. So that’s where we need to make sure that we’re allowing them to have enough stimulation for these heavier lifts that will allow them to progress, but not so much that due to the tissue changes in their sport demands that’s going to put them at the risk for injury.

So what they may have been doing before they left with you, let’s say they sumo deadlifted off plates 90 kilos, when they are beginning the season, that can be 85 or 80. When we get it into, after the Spring Classics getting into June, that could be 70. Think about that. That’s, that’s pretty much it it’s a 32% drop-off in what’s considered heavy for them. This is where rated perceived exertion is important. You have to abide by this. And that perceived exertion started with you before they left. So back when you started the hypertrophy, the anatomical adaptation, you’re teaching them the perceived exertion. Because remember the tissues are going to change to the primary, excuse me, stresses that are placed on it. We don’t want them to be able to lift heavy things extremely well if they’re a professional during the season, but they do need to have that stimulus. So we want to proceed the exertion of about seven for their last set, and they’re going to do roughly three or four sets depending on their time.

And because we want a neurological adaptation, we’re talking about a set of six or a set of eight as warmup, a set of six, a set of four, a set of three. That’s it. And the last is RPF seven, maybe seven and a half for deadlifts off of blocks, let’s say. So they’re not going through the full range of motion. If their technique is off or they don’t feel good, then they bring the blocks higher or they bring the weights down lower. That’s something that’s going to be very individual for the athlete. And then as you get into their peak part of the year, and this is where it’s tough for professionals, some of them are going to wind up racing races that they never thought they were going to race. Say that three times fast. This is something we have to keep in mind. Sometimes they’re not going to be slated to ride, but because someone gets injured or they’re riding a specific way, or they’re strong for a particular type of feature they’re going to be called on.

And this is where the strength training is once or twice a week, 30 minutes maximum because we really want to remember that our goal for them is adaptation and recovery, in that order, they need to be able to adapt through the racing that they’re doing. And this is where some of the old pros would call it racing yourself into fitness. There is something to be said for that. But the other part is adapting. And that requires hormonal balance, as we talked about the four pillars of athletic progression, neuromuscular, cardio-respiratory, metabolic and hormonal, all of those need to be together to allow the athlete to progress. So strength training is going to take a back seat. Now, what if you don’t have a home base, the athlete is in their first year and the team is zigzagging them across Europe? Or maybe they’re going to the Tour Down under, and then coming back to here, what do you do then? Number one, life stress, and training stress, and travel stress. You have to remember all of this. Make sure you gauge where your athlete is, not just based off of power numbers and heart rate, but also by talking to them.

So this could be a text message, it could be voice messages. It could be a phone call. It could be Skype. It depends on what the athlete prefers. It could be an email. Some athletes don’t really communicate with you and that makes it a lot harder. And that’s where you need to talk with the Director of Sportif or figure out how to best manage this athlete while they’re away from you, because they tend not to talk as much, they don’t like technology perhaps. You don’t have a home base? Cool. We are going to use bands, we’re going to use TRX. Now the thing is a lot of people with TRX are going to tell you, “Oh, get it into the most challenging position as possible or go until it burns.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We need to be very, very aware of the metabolic stresses we’re placing on this athlete.

If they need help boosting their lactate threshold ability, so let’s say they feel during their time trial that their upper is getting very tired, which for an athlete who doesn’t have a strong midsection, maybe a possibility, or if they’re pulling on the bars too much, we may need to do TRX style like we talked about in episode 19 or 20. We may need to do some metabolic strength training, which means we’re going to be doing some tempo work, but we need to be aware of what muscles we’re working on, what energy systems. And this is where I really like inside. It allows you to really tap into the athletes energy systems and see what’s going on. But at that level you’re playing at that level, you’re literally playing with an athlete’s career. Especially in cycling, it can be very short. We’re talking to your contract, super fierce, lots of people trying to come up. So you need to be on the balls of your feet for that.

So be on the ball for this, a little bit less is more, but you should be doing at minimum, at minimum, if you’re afraid to screw up the athlete’s energy systems or you’re afraid to hurt them because your first year, start with three to four times a week, 10 minute dynamic movement sessions. This is where you go through three to five minutes of soft tissue work, if they’re with a good professional team, if they’re at the World Tour level, that’s the one nurse so you don’t have to worry about that. I can’t ever pronounce that properly, but that’s what I said. And they’ll go through some movements and the movements are going to be essentially strength training exercises that are going to mitigate their weaknesses and allow them to continue. And that’s going to depend. So I’m not going to give any examples of that.

So that’s the end of their max strength. That’s it. And if you think about it, it’s not really max strength, we’re barely do anything. We’re in the gym, if they have access to one or they have a home base once a week, twice maximum. And it’s only 30 minutes, it’s not that much time. The time to get to and from is much more, the reason we keep it down to a half hour session is we want them soft tissue work, three to five minutes, dynamic, five to eight minutes, get in your A’s. And B’s. If you have the energy or the time, or it’s written for you, you seize and then you go home. Because that hour, that is an hour for most of these athletes to get to and from the gym and to get a half hour work in it. That’s all we want. It’s energy management.

And remember training is efficient when the least amount of energy and the least amount of time is being spent in order to evoke the desired response. That’s what we’re after, the least amount of time. And if you don’t have access to a gym, TRX, bands. I’m not a huge, huge fan of body weight, but we’ll use it if that’s all we have, or the athlete loses the bands or they break, but usually it’ll be like a hip loop, a medium to light band for the knees, and then we’ll do something like a two and a four inch bands. So they have four bands that they take with them. If they have a home base, you a kettlebell that’s moderate enough that they can do upper body. And then if they need it, we’ll do a heavy enough for lower body. But it really depends on what the athletes needs.

The race specialization that’s going to come… You’ll know that ahead of time usually. The Director Sportif will tell you, “Hey, this is going to be your primary race for this year. This is what you’re going to do.” Especially for the world tour. These guys and women know well in advance, what race they’re preparing for. They know that the end of the year, they know that in September, what they’re racing for. So, and the race specialization will be cutting down. You’re doing two to three dynamic movement sessions, and it’s just getting enough stimulation for them. And then during the World Tour your energy management, and they may not get much strength training at all. And every team has a different approach for this. I haven’t been at that level yet. I plan on being there in the very near future working with some of those athletes on the World Tour.

But I can tell you if I were there, knowing what I know now, and let’s be honest about it, I’m going to say that I probably don’t know shit for shout about that. If it is what I think it is, but yeah, based upon what I’ve seen, seeing the juror at a tie here for the start, seeing the Tour de France three years ago and paying attention to what the teams are doing, I would venture to guess we’re talking like two to four exercises, mostly focused on rotary stability, mostly at the beginning, unless they’re having some aches or pains, and even then most of it’s going to be allowing athletes to recover. That is a guess, and I’m probably wrong. So I’m not going to sit here and pretend to you, “Oh yeah, just do this, this and that.” I can’t stand that about people. If you don’t actually have experience there, don’t tell me with certainty. Be honest, say, “I think this is what it would be like, but I’m probably wrong.”

So I think this is what it would be like, but I’m probably wrong. And I’d be interested if any of you are athletes or riders at that level, share with me, send me an email. Brodie, B as in boy, R-O, D as in dog, I-E @humanvortextraining.com, or you can hit me on Instagram at HVTraining, and tell me, what is it like during the World Tour or those long two week or 10 day races? What does your strength training look like? If anything, does your team even believe in it? Do they discourage you from it? Let me know what you think. We’re going to return after this short little intermission, we’re going to talk about programming and how to accomplish this for professionals, because a lot of people feel the need and each one of these several emails I received, they’re really trying to focus in and do too much in one program. So we’re going to talk about that after the break.

Speaker 1:

Want to learn more, check out humanvortextraining.com for more on this topic from coach Brodie and today’s guest. That’s it for this episode of the Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathlete podcast, with world-leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes, Menachem Brodie. Don’t miss an episode. Hit that subscribe button and give us a review. For more exclusive content, visit humanvortextraining.com, or get the latest expert videos from coach Brodie on the HVT YouTube at HV Training until next time, remember to train smarter, not harder because it is all about you.

Menachem Brodie:

All right, welcome back to part two. I know part one was a little bit long and it seemed… I’m listening back through it to edit it a little bit, and it seems at first when you listened to it, there’s a lot of things I kind of repeat, but there’s a reason for that. I specifically wanted to pull out certain things. So I’m going to make it very simple for you here as we begin part two. Number one, you cannot jam a full year’s worth of training planning, or training program into three and a half to four and a half months. That’s like having a cyclist come to you and you say, “Well, you’re a professional cyclist, we’re going to do all of your training from September until February. And then you’re only going to ride your bike when you really have to at that point.” And some coaches will do that. Some coaches do do that. They just say, “We’re going to do really heavy training load. And then you’re going to raise yourself into fitness. And you’re going to recover in between.” Not really assigned to that, but you can do that with strength training, you’re removing the training stimulus.

So maybe a better comparison would be okay, you’re doing all of your training between September and February, and then you’re not doing anything at all until next September. And that’s what most cyclists do with strength training, but that’s incorrect. That’s not we want, that’s not how we’re going to make you a fitter faster, stronger, more resilient cyclist. What we actually need, as to build your training year, knowing we can get anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, maximum strength, all in those three and a half to four and a half months, or three to four and a half months that you have at home before you fly out again to Europe or down under or to the States to California, or whenever that season starts. You can get in it, and should be getting an anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, and at least four weeks of maximum strengthening. And then from there, it’s essentially maintenance and race specific strength, and the sport conversion, I should say rather.

So after the maximum strength, the sport conversion. And that’s pretty much why it’s built that way. That’s why Tudor Bompa and the book Periodization wrote it that way. Is because that’s what well most athletes have. You’ve got about, and professional basketball players by the way, a lot of people think that it’s easy, they’re like, “Oh yeah, working with cyclists must be really hard after working with our professional basketball players.” Actually, pro basketball players, if they make it to the finals or the semi-finals, we only have like two months to get them up and running, and then they’re out there and they’re practicing four to six days a week and playing. So it’s actually a lot harder to train professional basketball players than it is for, and amateur basketball players, than it is for cyclists. Believe it or not.

For cycling, we have a pretty good idea. We can look at the topography, the winds, the weather conditions, past year’s performances from the Peloton, especially now with power. And we can pretty much get a good estimate of what the training stress is going to be and mitigate for that. Whereas with a professional basketball player, you never know. There’s one player that I worked with here. He didn’t really get more than four or five minutes throughout the season. Playoffs came, they changed coaches, I think right before the playoffs or in the playoffs. He wound up dropping, I think like 38 or 39 points and playing all but two minutes in one of the semi-final games. And that’s from not playing all season. So here we have a player who can lift hard three days a week throughout the season and get some conditioning stuff in as well to make sure he’s ready, but then during the playoffs, it was like, “Dude, you need to calm down. We’re doing one strength training session a week, maybe, but you’re definitely doing it two movement sessions to keep you moving well, and we’re not doing any conditioning.”

And they played well. I mean, and he’s really moved up because of that. But it’s hard like you and professional soccer players, same thing. You only got six to eight weeks max with these guys and women. It’s not easy. With professional cyclist, we’re pretty much guaranteed three and a half to four months out of the year, unless they’re traveling for some reason. So those are the two big takeaways. Number one, you cannot jam pack a whole year’s worth of strength training into three and a half months. You can however, set a foundation so that when they leave you they’re transferring over to sports specific strength, but in the early part of the season, like February, when they’re doing those harder spring races, that’s actually from a physiological perspective, and again, I haven’t worked with enough professional cyclists that are racing those races yet to say this with 100% certainty yet, it’ll happen. It’ll happen the next couple of years and I’ll probably come and say, “Hey, I was wrong.”

But from a physiological and stress on the body perspective, with what I know now, my programming would be something along the lines of half hour, just what we talked about. Half hour, three to five minutes off tissue work, targeted. So I’m not doing whole body, we’re doing very targeted. Eight to 10 minutes dynamic warmup, and then we’re doing A1B1, A1A2, B1B2, that’s it. And B2 is probably going to be a rotary stability of some kind with anterior challenge rotary challenge, a double kettlebell front rack walk or a farmer’s carry. And then A1 would be whatever their biggest weakness is or the biggest area that they’re going to need. That’s it. And that would be twice a week.

And I would say with the Spring Classics, from what I’ve seen from the riders that I have worked with is that this is reasonable, but not always possible. Sometimes it’s we’re going to get one session and we’re going to do soft tissue work, dynamic warmup, A1A2, B1, and that’s it. But we’re still keeping a little bit of training stress and it’s neurological. So we’re really paying attention to how much we are or not challenging the metabolic systems. I haven’t talked about that too much here. When we release, I think it will be before this episode, 19 and 20, perhaps if we do the aerobic base building with strength training, we’ll talk about how you can and should use different training factors as you go through to build that athlete. And we talked about the four pillars, again, neuromuscular, hormonal, metabolic, and cardio-respiratory. You can work on each of these a little bit differently, but we want to avoid the training monotony.

This is where a lot of people get into overreaching or over-training, and then they burn out in the middle of the winter and they say, “Oh, it’s just the winter. I just don’t want to get on the trainer. I don’t want to suffer.” There’s definitely a mental aspect to not wanting to get onto the trainer and suffer. We all go through that. If you don’t you’re probably lying or you just came back from somewhere that had a super inspiring terrain that was warm and nice where maybe you’ve seen the huge gains from the trainer. I mean, Andy and Samson, Samson hated the trainer. But when we were working through the first couple of years, he’s like, “I do it because I saw the results and I know that I’m going to be so much better from doing this.” And Andy really took to it. And he’s like, “It just makes me better than other people because they’re not willing to suffer as much.”

He was one of the first riders I worked with and this was early. This was all Andy. I had nothing to do with this, but he picked up a [inaudible 00:40:50] trainer, an axle driven trainer when the biggest craze was a flywheel trainer, the magnetic trainer and he was early on that because he recognized the feel was much better. It’s a flywheel driven, a resistance trainer. Those were back in the ’80s and early ’90s. They were popular rather. And that’s why they’re called the [inaudible 00:41:08] because that’s what he made, and now they’re coming back into Vogue with the [inaudible 00:41:11] and kicker and everything like that. But for most of us, we want to have that balance of strength training. We need to have that balance of strength training, but we need to be aware that when you’re doing sets, essentially over five and especially, especially taking short rest periods, and this is something that at the beginning of my career, strength training cycles, it used to drive me crazy. And now at the point where I’m like, it’s not their fault. They don’t understand what we’re actually after.

A lot of people think you pick up the weight, go as hard as you can get out of breath and then keep going. And there are tons of personal trainers out there who are doing exactly this, “Oh, you’re a cyclist. You need more endurance.” No, they don’t. You’re already getting so much freaking endurance out on the bike unless you’re being a total Fred. And I will say that because I was one of them where I’m pedaling, pedaling, and [inaudible 00:41:56]. And I pedal, pedal, pedal and [inaudible 00:41:57]. We spoke in previous episodes about how I gave Andy the assignment of, “Dude, you’re writing a triple and you’re to keep your cadence above 100 all winter. No matter what the train trip.” And he got made fun of and he had a breakthrough year because we were training the nervous system. And that’s what I kept telling him. We’re training the nervous system. We want to see a nice, smooth power file.

And over the course of the winter is amazing. It looked like a little brick road instead of spiky, like the voice files I have here. Most of your training files that you have at home, and this takes a lot of practice. It’s a different type of training stress. And going into the gym and just simply winning yourself and pushing yourself as hard as you can, you’re now doing another metabolic workout. You’re doing an energy system workout. You can kid yourself and tell yourself that you’re making yourself stronger. Maybe you are, maybe you’re making the local or used muscles to be stronger to go for that period of time. But you’re placing more training stress on yourself, just like you’re already getting on the bike at least six hours a week. We want to balance it. We want neuromuscular adaptations. We don’t want metabolic. Not yet at least. We are laying the foundation. That means you need to rest between three and four minutes in between your sets and slow down your repetitions.

There are so many cyclists and triathletes are even worse where they’re going too fast. So this is the second question that I got, is how hard should it be for my athletes, during this time that I have them at home, how hard should these workouts be? One specifically says, do I want them crawling out the gym? Another from another coach asks, should it be where they kind of feel they haven’t really done much except for the specific set itself? On the other says, I have no idea. I just know that I’ve been giving them sets of 10 to 15 which is total hypertrophy work. And I now understand from your course, it isn’t really true. And I kind of knew that from looking at my athletes, I’m like, there’s got to be a better way, that’s why I took your course, Training Peaks University.

So the answer is, is that this is kind of like a conjugate method, right? So the conjugate method Louie Simmons is a really popular power lifting coach. If you want to read stuff and really go down the rabbit hole for strength training, pick up his books, they’re expensive. They’re about a hundred bucks a pop, but he’s one of the best out there to do it. Now he’s training with power lifters and you need to remember that. Now power lifters, just like Olympic weightlifters, and a lot of people don’t realize this are very wary about their weight, because we are divided by weight class. And this is how I really went down the road. I first went down the rabbit hole of really strength training, not just working out and lifting weights. So I went from sneaking into the weight room at the age of 12, 13 and reading Men’s Health and Muscle and Fitness, or Muscle and Fiction as I like to call it now, and a bunch of other stuff. And just sneaking into the weight room and doing stuff, into working out with my friends in middle school and high school. And then at the end or middle of high school at grade 10, I got into actual power lifting.

And I thought you’re just going to pick up stuff and get as big as you can. And my coach was like, “No, you want to think about your weight and what your numbers are, and you want to stay within that weight class because you don’t want to have to drop weight too much.” A lot of people forget this. So that’s a book that you should definitely pick up. Now when it comes to the actual programming, this is where we have to tell our athletes, number one, is slow down. We’re not looking just to pop up and down out of the squats as fast as you can. We want [inaudible 00:45:02] hypertrophy where the actual contract all fibers that increased strength, allow us to be able to get stronger, connective tissue strength, the fascia, the tendons, everything, and we also want to have stiffness and control through the movement. So this is where we like to use tempo.

So that one will definitely be released before this one is. So I think this is going to be a number of 21 or 22, depending on how things go here. But essentially what we’re looking for is we want to teach the athletes to slow down and go through the movement in a good fashion. So this is where the sets of five, we’re going to get a more neuromuscular and hypertrophy response and getting time under tension. And then as you go through this with the programming. The other thing that all of these coaches asked for, can you give us some more sample programs? And the thing is yes and no. If you’re asking for more sample programs and I really mean this, go back and look through, watch through the dynamic warmup, watch through the core or the big bulk of the training session. Watch those modules again, the strength training for cycling success course. Because I give you everything you need. The sample programs aren’t going to do too much for you.

The sample program that was in there, it took hours to put together because it’s trying to teach you through something simple. And this is where three of those emails, the coaches mean well, and I’m not calling you out. I’m saying that this is a mistake all of us make, because I made the same mistake when I first started this. 12 years ago, 11 years ago, almost sorry. When I first started working specifically with cyclists and triathletes, I made the same mistake. ABCDEF, I was doing F guys, I was doing five, five, five pairs of exercise. They say, I want to work on push, pull, squat, hinge, press, rotary stability, while keeping it simple. And we’re going to do two to three days a week. And we have five sets of exercises. ABCDE. No, no, no. And each one of them, what’s very, I think telling is each one of these sample programs that they sent over all had some type of rotary stability and a regular front plank. You don’t need to do both, choose one. You don’t need to do both. You need to teach the athlete how to move differently.

So just popping in the front planks because they’re familiar with it can actually derail your progress with this athlete because you’re trying to teach them new movement patterns, how to move better. So we need to take that out. We need to think about that. That’s number one. Number two, is think less is more when we talk about keeping it simple, we’re talking about essentially, when we’re doing two days a week, we want a full body routine. When we’re doing three days a week, we can do a full body with a focus, a little but more on where their weak parts are. I wouldn’t do four days a week with a professional cyclist in the strength department, unless they had major issues. We’re talking ITB syndrome, major arch issues, back issues, and even then two of those days are going to be stimulation. One of them is going to be active development, we’re really pushing heavy weights. Excuse me. And then the other one is going to depend on where the athlete is for that week and in their training block.

But we only need ABC, that’s it. All the rest, a lot of the corrective stuff that I also included, I’m not saying just the coaches that are emailing me, some of you, some of the athletes out there emailing me. It’s not just you. I made the same mistake. Well, there are better ways to use our time and there are ways that we can get continued repeated exposure to these quote, unquote correctives. I had a couple people over the last year have sent me these emails with their programs, asking me to kind of can you just give me one or two pointers is what to do? And they have literally 12 or 13 corrective exercises. And I’m looking at this, I’m like, this looks familiar because when I first started, I wrote the same thing. I did 12, 13 correctives, and we have like 10 minutes for strength training. And I’ve called myself out on it, here on the podcast in the past.

A lot of the correctives, choose the two or three that going to be really beneficial for this athlete, they’re going to help address, help them learn or relearn movement patterns. Put that into the dynamic warmup, and then the end of the dynamic warmups should be preparing them for that day session, depending on what they have. But we don’t need ABCDE. ABC maximum. That’s going to be the vast majority of our athletes. Rarely, rarely, unless an athlete has a lot of time on their hands, whether they’re not employed or maybe they’re a high school kid, or maybe they’re not taking college courses, maybe if they’re getting great recovery and adaptation to the wrong bike stuff, maybe we’ll add in D, but that’s going to be pretty rare to be honest.

That’s one of the great parts about being able to teach people and share with the courses and the certification course, is I want you to get through and pass these mistakes as quickly as possible. And some athletes it’s not a mistake. Let’s just be honest about it. Let’s just be honest. Let’s call it for what it is. There are going to be athletes, although they are an exception, not the rule, who do need that much corrective work, because they’re not body aware or they’re coming back from major injury and they can’t really do stuff. But there’s always a work around that you can do. There’s a number of things when an athlete is injured, I have a collarbone and broken hand program up on Training Peaks. It’s not popular, but when people purchase it and they go through it, they’re like, “Wow. I never thought that I could get back into shape. I tried to get on the bike and I just thought I wanted to have a training program.” And your said collarbone, broken collarbone. I was like, “Okay, this is a shot. And at first I sculpted it because it wasn’t that much. But after the third week, I was feeling so much better. And by week five of the program, I just felt like I was back almost to where I was before injured the body before I broke my collarbone.”

This is common. That’s something that you can find a work around because a lot of athletes or coaches, they go, “Just get on the trainer and keep riding hard.” You have to understand the healing process and what the body needs to go through, tissue wise, energy system wise, energy demands on the body. When we’re talking about broken bones and that takes a lot of energy. And a lot of riders the first couple of days they still have their bodies in the hyper drive because it’s a fight or flight, it’s a major injury. But day four day five, after you break a bone, I’m telling you man, you’re tired. And to push through that, your primary objective at that point is to recover. But now we’re getting a little bit off topic.

So when it comes down to actually getting the athlete that programming, we’re talking about ABC, so don’t overdo it. We’re going to talk about first is soft tissue work, three to five minutes, maximum targeted. Whenever it happens to be worked on. They shouldn’t spend more time than that. Then we have the dynamic warmup. And in that dynamic warmups start off with the first three to four exercises or two to three exercises being the same for all three or four days a week that they’re coming in and strength training Again, four is going to be very rare, but it can happen. So those three days a week they’re coming in, the first three exercises are targeting their biggest issue that they need to get. So we’re getting it three days a week, not twice a week. And then from there we get three, maybe four dynamic movements that are preparing them for the specific workout for the day. And then we’re doing A1A2, resting for three minutes, repeat however many sets you have, B1B2, rest for three to four minutes in between however many sets you have, and then C1, C2, and then they’re gone.

We’ll do some cool down at the end. I like to do breath work, especially if you’re just beginning with me, we’ll go through a breathing exercises. Although nowadays, a lot of athletes tend to work on their phone and get out. It is important, especially during the season to get that little bit of cool down. That’s it. So it really is that simple. And I think a lot of people are kind of losing that. Now that we’re starting to realize as a whole, for both cyclists and triathletes, as I start to lose my voice here, now that we’re recognizing as a whole, there are way better ways than what we’ve been seeing to do strength training for cycling. But the problem is, is that when it comes down to actually finding those resources, it comes down to something like this.

Speaker 5:


Speaker 6:

[inaudible 00:52:48]. Adamson.



Speaker 6:




Speaker 6:

Anderson, Anderson.



Speaker 6:

Bueller. Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.

Speaker 10:

He’s sick. My best…

Menachem Brodie:

We’re going to stick with the Buehler thing. That’s what it’s like when you’re looking for good strength training programs or information for cycling or triathlon of mine. And that’s what pushed me to make these courses because it was just, for lack of a better term, I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. And some of it frankly me off. I’m like, “Why are we doing stuff from the 1970s and ’80s when we were so much further ahead?” I’m not going to get on the soapbox today. But when it comes to planning for your professional athletes, that’s what we’ve got. All right. So to recap for today. It was an awesome episode. Wasn’t it? We really covered a lot. And we went into depth on some of the stuff, and I can already sense there are a couple of questions that I didn’t answer, but I’m going to let you guys and girls contact me with those because it’s going to be very specific to what you or your athletes are needing.

So number one, we covered at the beginning, you’re not going to jam a full year of strength programming into three and a half months. You’re going to get into a transition. You’ve got to get that. I can’t stress that enough. Especially if your athletes coming back and they had a great year, it’s energy management, you’ve got to refill the reserves. You got to. You got to give them something else. You got to. Sometimes you have to be explicit and say, “Your heart rate is not to go above 150 beats per minute ever, unless it’s life or death. And if it’s life or death, I wouldn’t witness it.” Right? You got to be very explicit with them, and you have to explain to them. Again, they’re young. They don’t have as much experience and understanding that they need to refill those energy stores because next year, especially if they have a good year, there’s going to be a lot more work for them to do, it’s going to be a lot more demanding.

It’s not going up half a level, you’re going to be taken up another two levels. Expectations are higher. You’re now in your second year, which means you’re a contract year and that’s a lot of pressure. And you’ve got to refill the mental and physical energy stores. So that’s number one, seven to 14 days off the bike, the primary type of bike that you ride or away from biking altogether, go swimming, go hiking, go do something else. Don’t put them at risk for injury. And some athletes, yes. Be a couch potato for a day, for a week or a week in a day. It’s not going to kill you. You’re top end is going to fall off. It’s supposed to, and then build back up. You’ve got to go through that and restore the energy, the systems, and the mental energy in particular.

Then you’re going to take them through hypertrophy. Again, I’d like to do about eight weeks. So we get two months there. So that between the transition anatomical adaptation rather is about three weeks. So we have two weeks off anatomical adaptation at three weeks, hypertrophy eight weeks. We’re now up to three months and a week. And we’re going to have essentially max strength. We’re going to get at least two weeks in before they go. If you’re having an athlete that really is only home, and this is rare. They’re only home for three months, anatomical adaptation for two weeks, unless they’re brand new, which case you would keep it at three, hypertrophy for six, and then max strength for four. And that’s going to fill up your three months. Hopefully your riders’s going to be home a little bit longer than that.

At that point again, they’re going to know what their specialization for the year is, when they’re going to go to different parts of the world for training camp, as well as when the team is going to have different things for the different squads that they’re going to be running through, either recon or going to get in shape. So you’re going to generally know that well in advance. Now for the lower level professional teams, it can be willy nilly. They shoot from the hip. “Hey, so-and-so had a great race this weekend. I want you to next weekend. And they have [inaudible 00:56:22] Cup.” “What, I wasn’t slated to race that.” “But you’re riding better than three other riders. So you’re going to go.” “Okay.” Again, energy management, the least amount of energy, the least amount of training to get the desired response. That’s what we’re after.

So once we go through that, so we have, again, one to two weeks off or transition, doing something else, definitely not on their main bike, definitely not. And that doesn’t mean take out your old bike. It means if you’re road racer, don’t ride the time [inaudible 00:56:50] bike, ride a mountain bike, or a gravel bike, something else. Then we have the anatomical adaptation, two to three weeks, hypertrophy, anywhere from four to eight weeks, then we have max strength at least three weeks before they go. And then when they travel, that week before they travel and the week that they arrive, it’s going to be dynamic session, stimulation I like to call it. And once you’ve gone through that stimulation you can, if they have a home base and it’s available to them, or maybe they took kettlebells with them or purchased kettlebells, you can go back to some max strength type work.

And this can be some Olympic lifts with the kettlebell, if they have the technique for it, if they don’t, there are different ways and it will depend. I can’t give you an answer for that. And then you’re going to do the transfer over to sports specific strength while maintaining again, hopefully they have a base with a gym that’s within reason half-hour workout one of the twice a week. Remember the tissue quality is going to change as you go through the year. So maybe they were able to do a hundred kilos at the end of the time with you up until February, but if they’re pulling 70 and this is why a perceived exertion is so important, if they’re pulling 70 and their perceived exertion is the same, it’s a seven and a half eight as it was for the 100 kilos when they left you, that’s what you go by. Because they should be losing some of that strength because they’re on the bike.

And when it comes down to it, they’re going to go through their race specialization. You should know when that is. If you don’t really know when there is one during the year, you don’t have to take them through that. You can go through maintenance through a whole year. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t have one peak race, if they really are working their way up to that top professional level, they may have a bunch of important races. In which case your again, least amount of work to produce the desired response. That’s it.

Then part two, we spoke about how do we go through actually building the program? Well, we want A, Bs and CS, we don’t really need much more than that. And the thing is a lot of people and I think that’s what it is, is overlooking the dynamic warmup and the soft tissue work and the breath work at the beginning. You can get a lot done with a half hour strength training session three days a week, if you are paying attention to what the athlete needs are and you’re writing your programming well. Now that takes years to get to that level for just ABC or AB rather, but most of you out there are smart enough. Some of the questions I’m getting are just excellent. I can see the thought process and how far along you are. And it sounds a lot of you have been thirsty or looking for the courses and the certification course that I’ve been putting out for quite some time. So it was almost like you guys were waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak and really waiting for this to happen. So I’m very, very excited to see that.

And the thing as we go through to finish here is don’t think that you’re going to have the perfect program, but know that every time you go to write a program, you want to get 1% better. So this is where keeping track, keeping everything in a local place is very important, getting an athlete feedback, teaching them to guide their exercises and the weights selected by perceived exertion, not by definite weight. We don’t want absolute weight. How much you did that is irrelevant? However, the intern intramuscular coordination that it takes and producing movement by creating stiffness and control in the places that you needed in order to execute that is 100% what we’re after. So that’s the last take of it. And actually maybe it should have been the first, teacher athletes to go based off of perceived exertion and don’t try and jam in a whole year’s worth of strength training into the little bit of time that they’re with you.

Now, some of you may be saying, “Coach Brodie, you contradicted yourself because you said you can’t fit in anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, and max strength into the time they’re with you, but yet you did.” I did, but that maximum strength should actually continue a little bit. So for the riders who have a home base in Europe, or they know where they’re going, and if there’s a gym close by that they can use, or that they had kettlebells that they purchased or can’t have at the house, they should continue that strength training. And again, I talked about when they’re getting up to their peak race, we want once a week of heavy strength training, but it’s A1, A2, B1, maybe B2 and that’s it. They’re in and out in 25, 30 minutes because it’s energy management, and recovery, and adaptation. That’s all we’re after.

So it sounds like I contradicted myself, but I promise you when you get in and you start kind of toying with this a little bit you are going to see that I didn’t, that it is in fact, you can’t smoosh it all into three and a half months. It’s got to go through the training. You’re going to get most of the work done. That’s why it’s called base. That’s also why they have that time off. But by no means, is it like what it is for professional basketball players. You’re going to get a lot accomplished, but the maximum strength phase should continue up until the end of the Spring Classics essentially, end of April, would generally be where we would transition to strength maintenance, or transfer over to sport specific strength, so to speak, where they’re really focusing on the bike. But even then, I generally liked for the females at 24 and an eight kilo kettlebell, 24 for deadlifts, the eight or 12 would be for upper body work or squats. And even for the 24, some of them can use it. They’re really strong, man. They got great posture.

And then for the guys, I generally like a 32 kilo kettlebell, 24 to 32, depending on the athlete, and an eight or 12. So it’s the same for both sexes because we’re dealing with cyclists. We don’t need massive upper body strength, but we need enough as well as those three to four bands we talked about. A two inch band, a four inch band, the hip loop, and the medium mini band. And that’s a full gym that they can use during the season. Now, is it strength training? Absolutely. Is it the type of strengthening that I would do with them if I had access to them and they had one spot that they were living from and had a gym around the corner? Now I’d fly in probably two or three times during the season to have sessions with them and see how they’re moving and make sure that they’re getting what they need.

So that’s it for today. I’d like to hear your questions, comments, maybe you have some complaints. Maybe I went on too long and certain things that didn’t cover others. Let me know. You can email me Brodie, B as in boy, R-O, D as in dog, I-E @humanvortextraining.com. Follow us on Instagram at HV, as in Vortex Training, and then also on Facebook, facebook.com/HVT412. Those are the numbers, 412. And you can also find us on YouTube at HV, as in Vortex Training. That’s it for this episode of The Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathelete podcast. And I must bid you adieu once again with just a little bit of Ferris Bueller.

Speaker 3:

You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.

Menachem Brodie:

That’s it for today. So until next time, remember train smarter, not harder, please like share and give us a thumbs up and positive review wherever you downloaded this fine podcast. And remember it is all about you.


Picture of Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.


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