Off season strength acquisition

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by bulaboy, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    3
    For the past few years cycling has been the focus of my training. As time goes on it gets increasingly difficult to increase my FTP and so to improve my power to weight ratio I got my body weight down pretty low. At 5'10" I weighed in at 150lbs mid season. When the cold and snow rolled in this fall I couldn't bear the thought of climbing on the trainer for another season of indoor riding. I was burned out. Besides my overall strength had been getting rather pathetic, and I wanted to add some size because I get cold easily, but I wanted to do it the right way. Pretty sure my testosterone levels were in the toilet as well. Don't ask me how I deduced that. So for the past 7 weeks I've been doing barbell training, w/the focus on squats and dead lifts - the big compound lifts. It's fun to see such quick returns on my work outs. As a cyclist I have a flat power curve. Very little anaerobic power. I've read many of the threads regarding lifting and cycling, and there is apparently little evidence that one benefits the other. But I am interested to see if I don't become a punchier rider. I have long contended that in a group the punchier riders have the easier time. Those anaerobic bursts are great for closing gaps and climbing the steep little kickers we have around here. I'm going to keep lifting but I'm also going to start indoor training again. Spring is only 3 months away! S/B interesting.
     
    Tags:


  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    As you have already concluded, you won't find many well-informed cyclists who advocate weight training to benefit cycling performance. Of course, there are other reasons to lift and many cyclists do also lift. But, if you want the biggest payoff for your efforts, you might want to try a relentless diet of anaerobic efforts over the winter. The gold standard anaerobic effort is 5mins at ~120%FTP (or whatever you can do). You can in fact get in a nice balance of anaerobic/aerobic with a whole series of 5min efforts + 5mins recovery. For example, 5min warmup plus 10 repeats of these 5min efforts. Your NP will probably be low SST due to the weighting of the 5min VO2MAX efforts, and some studies suggest that you can get a nice bump in FTP with nothing but anaerobic efforts. In fact, I regularly use these types of workouts on my trainer to break up the monotony of long, constant power rides.
     
  3. smaryka

    smaryka Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    8
    Do some plyometrics if you want to try and become a punchier rider. Stuff like box jumps, etc.
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    A lot of bicyclists do weight training. Most do it on their bikes - low rpm on long hills. Power output is not as important as torque. Lots of torque. I am happy with 100-110% FTP at 90rpms.

    On the other hand anaerobic power is also about heart rate and cardio/vascular systems. Whatever time you can spend near your max heart rate is benficial. I am happy with 90-95% LT heart rate.

    ---

    My winter training seems to be 30 minutes a day. 100-105%FTP at 90-95rpm. About 20 minutes above 90% LT heart rate. Good for building strength and getting the heart in shape. At least for me this year.
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    As RDO already pointed out, lifting weights won't help lots on the bike - training on your bike does that. If you have another reason to do it, do it - just don't expect you to make it faster unless you're "fixing" a problem by lifting.

    For the "punchy" efforts, intervals of varying duration will help. Efforts of 5 minute, 2 minute, 1 minutes and 30 seconds help with the shorter bursts and with subsequent recovery. I used to do a session that was similar to this during late winter, early spring.

    10 minute warm up
    2 x 5 minute hard, 2 minute rest in between
    5 minute rest
    5 x 2 minutes hard, 2 minute rest in between
    5 minute rest
    8 x 1 minute hard, 1 minute rest in between
    5 minutes rest
    10 x 30 seconds flat out, 30 seconds rest in between.

    Cool down, regain consciousness and make sure that there's a bucket real close...

    You might want to start off with a few less reps on each set until you get the hang of it and maybe easy back a little on the 5 and 2 minute efforts. The 30 second efforts are flat out. I preferred to just chuck it in a fairly large gear and smash it - but the last time I did these in earnest was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I had gear levers on the down tube. Now I'd probably put it in 53x14 to start and take it from there. More revs, less mash.

    These are best done indoors on a trainer. If you have a program on your computer that'll keep track of the efforts for you then all the better as your mind will be in an altered state at the end. If it isn't, then you just haven't gone hard enough. Once the weather warms up enough, do similar efforts out doors on some hills riding out of the saddle.

    I used to find that gains came pretty quick - in about 6 weeks - but they tended to be fairly short lived unless I'd had a nice 12 week block of hard miles in my legs (typically 2 to 3 hour rides at somewhere close to a hard 50 mile TT effort). However, you did say you were bored and gains are gains... If it means that you'll be on the bike training and not suffering brain death via L2 on the trainer then it's a moot point really. Get on the bike and hammer yourself into anaerobic death and love every single minute of it.

    One caveat for this work is that you have to be fairly fresh to make it worth your while. Coming into a session like this with dead legs pretty much makes it a waste of time. Take the day before off and get plenty of rest.

    Big fan, towel and bucket required. Enjoy.
     
  6. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    3
    You guys really know how to sell it you know?

    "relentless diet of anaerobic efforts"
    "5mins at ~120%FTP + 5mins recovery 10 repeats"
    "Cool down, regain consciousness and make sure that there's a bucket real close"

    Maybe I'll take up billiards.

    Seriously I know it takes a lot of work. I appreciate your input. I need to find my mojo again. Either that or content myself w/doing the "Old Farts Ride". I'm going to eat Christmas cookies and consider my options.
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    There's only one option if you want to go fast. Man up and do some real work! ... Either that or go steal some EPO. ;) While it sounds grim, you only need about 6 to 8 weeks of solid intervals to start seeing noticeable gains.
     
  8. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm back from the edge of the abyss. After a 7 week hiatus form cycling I rode the trainer this morning. The first 10 minutes I felt like I was riding in wet cement. But overall it went better than I thought. There is plenty of time for me to get my FTP back to a respectable level before spring, and while I'll do some L5 on the trainer I'll probably do most of my L5 efforts outdoors on group rides, where my willingness to suffer is bolstered by my competitiveness.
     
  9. bradg

    bradg New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm not sure that it matters, but wouldn't a 5min effort still technically be mostly aerobic? If I recall from my rowing days, a 2000m test would range anywhere from 5:45 (Olympian) to ~7min (average Masters level male), and the breakdown between energy systems was anywhere from 70-80% aerobic vs. 20-30% anaerobic.

    Even as a guy who has an odd fascination with the Kilo--an endeavor that indulges both my Quixotic and Sisyphean tendencies--I still do a fair amount of easy riding and some SST simply because the event has a sizable aerobic component to it (not unlike the 400m dash). A 5min effort would still be as much as 60% aerobic, correct?

    Technicalities aside, the OP would benefit from listening to RDO and I've known more than a few guys who benefitted nicely from these sorts of hard intervals during the winter months. One local guy more or less walked through the Cat 4 ranks during crit season off of this approach.

    As for weights: they'll help, somewhat, but likely not in the ways that you'd expect. Since I got a real coach, I've seen some improvement in absolute peak power, but have benefitted more from the drastic improvements in the 15s, 30s, 45s, and 60s durations. Like a 30% improvement at 15s, for instance, which is great for pure sprinting. Lots but not not too many maximal sprints composed most of the training. Did the weights that I do help? Sure, I guess. But, I'm squatting about as much as I did six months ago, deadlifting less I think, and my peak 1s, 2s, and 5s are still higher than ever, by about 20%. If this is something you're interested in, PM me and I can recommend someone.
     
  10. cyclightning

    cyclightning New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    2
    Quote: I'm not sure that it matters, but wouldn't a 5min effort still technically be mostly aerobic? If I recall from my rowing days, a 2000m test would range anywhere from 5:45 (Olympian) to ~7min (average Masters level male), and the breakdown between energy systems was anywhere from 70-80% aerobic vs. 20-30% anaerobic.

    Not sure about rowing, where the effort is peakier (there is no effort during the return stroke) but a 5:45 effort in cycling is almost completely aerobic.
     
  11. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Yes, but... I was keying in on the OP's basic objective of handling the short anaerobic surges typical of group rides and races. Pure focus on anaerobic work capacity (AWC) would call for efforts <3min at more than 120%FTP (depending on the rider's current AWC). But, this is the off-season, when one would normally focus on building FTP with lots of SST/L4 efforts. So, I was suggesting a hybrid approach, with a pattern of anaerobic efforts plus recovery that still yields a pretty good NP for the total workout duration. When you do <5min efforts, you still need 5mins to fully recover from each anaerobic effort, so as you go down the duration curve with the anaerobic efforts, NP tanks because of the ratio of recovery to anaerobic effort. My guess is that the surges that are putting him in difficulty are close to VO2MAX. Anything he can do to adapt to the burn-a-match+recover+burn-a-match... pattern typical of races, the better off he will be.
     
  12. ambal

    ambal Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    32
    I dunno, the strength requirements in cycling are tiny. I wonder do you have a degenerative disease causing your low test levels and pathetic strength? besides aging that is.

    Some tests to see if you have enough strength to meet the requirements of competitive cycling could be;

    • Stand up from a seat using just your legs
    • Walk up a flight of steps without legs collapsing

    All the best guys I train with are rail thin. The bulky muscled guys who look fitter to the untrained eye, get hooped hours before the skiny frail looking riders.
     
  13. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    I can pass both of your "strength" tests.

    But I have a local 15% 1km hill. I cannot get up it in a 53/11. Not enough strength. I know that I lack strength because I can do the hill easily in my 34/25.

    ---

    You seem to be using a definition of "strength" that has no meaning in bicycling. A lot of people do that and draw the wrong conclusion. The definition of strength that these people use is lacking some measure of time that one can apply that force.

    Much like sustainable power which decreases as duration increases, sustainable force decreases as duration increases.

    There is some idiot who thinks that instantaneous power production has some importance in bicycling. He even has test results that shows a 10 year old can put out 500w. No one should claim that test is relevant to bicycling.
     
Loading...
Loading...