As endurance athletes we tend to think big, hard workouts are how we improve, but when it comes to strength training for cyclist & triathletes, that can torpedo your results.
A large part of the psyche of cyclists and triathletes is this “how much can you suffer?” mentality.
Can you blame us?
Why in the world would anyone want to wake up at 530 am on a random Tuesday in July, to go ride or run hard up one of the longest climbs in the area….3x.
Trying to better pace ourselves each time up, and not “break” in the last 500m.
The hardman/hardwoman mentality is killing your strength training results
There is no way to sugarcoat this, and even if there was, I wouldn’t, as you haven’t come to the HVTraining website to have things sugarcoated. You want to truth, the “pro insight”, so there it is.
The biggest complaint cyclists and triathletes have about their strength training is that they are too sore to get quality in-sport training in, which is the largest reason why they stop strength training right when they need it- as the season gets going.
The last few weeks I’ve also begun to hear it from those looking into the strength training programs I’m offering right now:
“It’s interesting, but I think I’ll wait until I’m further along into base… I don’t want to skip or miss workouts because I’m sore, not in base.”
It’s not these cyclists of triathletes faults, much of their hesitation comes from cycling and triathlon coaches who don’t really understand strength training and how it should work, doling out “strength training for workouts/programs”.
These programs usually follow a bodybuilder style approach of 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, loading the athlete up with volume and weights that their tissues are not prepared for, and thus causing tons of soreness and central nervous system fatigue that could easily be avoided.
Not to mention sending the hormonal system into chaos due to this huge, big, new demand for a different kind of recovery. Add to this that the nutrition of many endurance athletes is already falling short of meeting their demands, let alone for strength training where 1.6g/kg of protein is a MUST if you want to see progress, not just soreness, and you have a prime recipe for one frustrated endurance athlete….who will, of course, blame the strength training.
I try very hard to keep my writings and material positive, yet the lack of knowledge in this realm really makes me mad….. which is why I built the Certification course. I’m not linking to it here, as this isn’t a sales pitch. It’s me sharing with you that I was unhappy about what I saw, so I DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
And you can too.
Let’s look at what YOU can do:
Say no to "cycling specific movements"
No, you do not need to only do more lunges, front planks, or squats. You’re getting ten’s of thousands of repetitions of these in your sport.
What you need is a program that helps address weaker areas in your body, such as your ability to resist rotation, gives your upper body the strength it needs to keep great positions and postures for your sport, and allows you to stay healthy when you’re not doing your sport.
If you see a program that has:
- Tons of Squats
- Lots o’ lunges
- Planks for Days
- Hamstring Curls galore
- and not too much else
Turn heel, close the browser tab, and look for another program.
Do not get me mistaken, these movements ARE important, and we DO need to get better at them. However the main focus of a strength training for cycling or triathlon program should be working on your weaknesses (ahem rowing, pressing overhead- although this should be done with special considerations), and helping you move BETTER AS A HUMAN BEING, not harp on the movements we get thousands of times in our sports.
The SECRET ingredient to strength training having carry over to cycling & triathlon
But even with those programs that DO actually help make you better as a cyclist or triathlete, and build up your weaknesses and support your strengths, you may not see the results you’re after.
Why is that?
Because you’re not consistent enough.
The consistency of 2-4 days a week of strength training is the key to seeing yourself improve as a cyclist or triathlete. This is simple, but not easy.
Some days consistency looks like a 15 minute strength workout that hits the major points for your focus at that time.
It’s this consistency in the approach that will help you see the gains in strength & performance on the bike, or out on course that you deserve.
Until next time, remember to Train Smarter, Not Harder, because it IS all about YOU!