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Introduction to strength training for the endurance athlete

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Introduction to strength training for the endurance athlete

Old 12-10-16, 11:56 AM
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Introduction to strength training for the endurance athlete

Carmichael Training Systems has begun putting up a series of strength training articles on their website. These articles are designed to introduce endurance athletes to the concepts and methods of strength training appropriate to any endurance athlete. I've been strength training for over 50 years and these articles IMO offer sound advice. My guess is that, while these principles are certainly based on scientific research, they also have produced results for CTS-coached athletes. Here are the first four. I assume that more will follow.

Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training?
Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training? - CTS

5 Things Cyclists Don’t Understand About Strength Training
5 Things Cyclists Don?t Understand About Strength Training - CTS

Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes
Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes - CTS

Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete?
Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete? - CTS
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Old 12-12-16, 11:18 AM
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I'll read the articles when I find the time, thanks for them.

I've been following a program (similar to Stronglifts 5x5) for about 6 months, and eating to build muscle. Obvious results. Beth is very happy. My cycling VO2max has fallen by 9 ml/kg/min because lifting has taken time away from cycling. But I've been doing it with the goal to build muscle, not simply to be a more rounded individual, which would require less time investment.
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Old 12-12-16, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I'll read the articles when I find the time, thanks for them.

I've been following a program (similar to Stronglifts 5x5) for about 6 months, and eating to build muscle. Obvious results. Beth is very happy. My cycling VO2max has fallen by 9 ml/kg/min because lifting has taken time away from cycling. But I've been doing it with the goal to build muscle, not simply to be a more rounded individual, which would require less time investment.
When mama's happy, everyone's happy. The last couple years, I've been doing basic bodybuilding work until Jan. 1. Then I switch to a Norwegian pre-comp cycling program with less time in the gym but the same workout twice a week. Then April 1, I switch to fewer workouts, sets, and reps and only 1/week and do that until August. Then I start up again in October.

My bodybuilding workouts are 4 X 12, then 3 X 10, each exercise to failure on the last set, but since I only do each exercise once/week, that works. 1 minute between sets. A Norwegian study found that using powerlifting timing and taking 3-5 minutes between sets resulted in both increased weights and injuries. With the Norwegian programs I have a lighter day, not to max, and a failure day. Though I don't actually fail my squats! I just take it to where I'd fail the next one.
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Old 12-14-16, 10:54 AM
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Nice articles. I usually lift once the clocks change and there is not enough light to ride longer distances after work. My routine consists of full-body bodybuilding exercises twice per week.


The biggest challenge I find is that I add muscle mass back in the cycling offseason, but when it is light out again, I sacrifice my lifting so that my legs are not tired when I ride. This creates a difficult annual cycle where each fall I need to retrain my muscles how to squat, deadlift and press all over again.
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Old 12-14-16, 02:20 PM
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This is great stuff. Thanks, folks!
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Old 12-14-16, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ajkollme View Post
Nice articles. I usually lift once the clocks change and there is not enough light to ride longer distances after work. My routine consists of full-body bodybuilding exercises twice per week.


The biggest challenge I find is that I add muscle mass back in the cycling offseason, but when it is light out again, I sacrifice my lifting so that my legs are not tired when I ride. This creates a difficult annual cycle where each fall I need to retrain my muscles how to squat, deadlift and press all over again.
A couple years ago I started following a Norwegian program which keeps the athlete lifting during the whole season. There's a pre-competition program which I use from Jan. 1 to April 1. Following that, there's a competition season program which I use from April 1 until the end of my season. The comp period has only 2 sets of 5, once a week, for half squats, horizontal rows, back machine, one-legged press, bench press, hip flexor, and one-legged standing calf raises. This amount of work doesn't bother my legs. October 1, I start over with more exercises, more reps, more sets and of course I haven't lost everything, just some.
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Old 12-14-16, 05:52 PM
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I've added lifting and have noticed it on the bike. (not that i am that fast or anything)

I keep it super simple, using full body move and opposing muscle groups and two groups to do alternate days

warm up first...prefer 20 min interval on rowing maching (2 min warm up 30sec hard, 1:30 sec easy, repeat 8 time, 2 minute cool down)

workout 1 (5x5 reps each, 5 times)
Hourglass squat
bench press
Bent over Rows

workout 2 (5x5 reps each, 5 times)
Hourglass squat (or if no rest day, overhead squat, no weight, really stretches everything out)
Lat Pulldowns (until I can do a pull up)
Clean and press

simple and seem to cover everything ymmv
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Old 12-15-16, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
A couple years ago I started following a Norwegian program which keeps the athlete lifting during the whole season. There's a pre-competition program which I use from Jan. 1 to April 1. Following that, there's a competition season program which I use from April 1 until the end of my season. The comp period has only 2 sets of 5, once a week, for half squats, horizontal rows, back machine, one-legged press, bench press, hip flexor, and one-legged standing calf raises. This amount of work doesn't bother my legs. October 1, I start over with more exercises, more reps, more sets and of course I haven't lost everything, just some.

Would you mind sharing the name of the program? This sort of scheduled tapering might be just what I need!
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Old 12-15-16, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Ajkollme View Post
Would you mind sharing the name of the program? This sort of scheduled tapering might be just what I need!
I assume you mean the workouts post-January 1. I've attached 3 PDFs. The attachments were designed for my wife and I to workout together, hence the 2 columns for each week. My weekly schedule has our gym workouts on Tuesday and Thursday in the prep period and only Thursday during the comp period. That lets me recover before and after the weekend rides. All these exercises are intended to be done to failure once/week on the last set, meaning that another rep cannot be done while maintaining perfect form

I got these workouts from some studies of Norwegian elites which looked at changes in quad muscle cross section area (CSA) during these periods. The CSA increased during the prep period and did not diminish during the comp period.
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Old 12-16-16, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Carmichael Training Systems has begun putting up a series of strength training articles on their website. These articles are designed to introduce endurance athletes to the concepts and methods of strength training appropriate to any endurance athlete. I've been strength training for over 50 years and these articles IMO offer sound advice. My guess is that, while these principles are certainly based on scientific research, they also have produced results for CTS-coached athletes. Here are the first four. I assume that more will follow.

Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training?
Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training? - CTS

5 Things Cyclists Don’t Understand About Strength Training
5 Things Cyclists Don?t Understand About Strength Training - CTS

Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes
Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes - CTS

Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete?
Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete? - CTS
Thanks for this ... I'll have a look through them.
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Old 12-16-16, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Thanks for this ... I'll have a look through them.
You've been strength training for a long time, too. Let us know what you think.
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Old 12-18-16, 07:59 PM
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I overdid it last week. I think it was the dead lifts with the 80-lb barbell. My lower back got pretty sore. Then yesterday and today, I shoveled snow, which made it worse. My shoulders hurt, too. I'm doing tons of stretching now, which helps. I'm also taking ibuprofen, which also helps. I'm walking around like an old man, very slowly. I don't want to make any sudden moves, because they can cause spasms. On the other hand, I am swinging my hips farther than normal when walking. Walking seems to help.
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Old 12-18-16, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I overdid it last week. I think it was the dead lifts with the 80-lb barbell. My lower back got pretty sore. Then yesterday and today, I shoveled snow, which made it worse. My shoulders hurt, too. I'm doing tons of stretching now, which helps. I'm also taking ibuprofen, which also helps. I'm walking around like an old man, very slowly. I don't want to make any sudden moves, because they can cause spasms. On the other hand, I am swinging my hips farther than normal when walking. Walking seems to help.
It's a long slow process. I know just how you feel because I feel the same way a fair part of the time. You're in the earliest phase of muscular conditioning. That's the first thing: just building some endurance into the muscles so they can do many repetitions. There's always a desire to go right for the big stuff: benches, deadlifts, squats, that sort of thing. The problem is the the many muscles involved in doing those complex lifts are not all equally strong or conditioned. So the big muscles kind of beat up on the supporting muscles of which you may not have been aware. Ouch.

The way out of that is to do a variety of exercises which target the various muscles in different ways.

I've attached a couple more PDFs. These are the exercises I start out with each year, ~Oct. 1 and use until Dec. 1, so 8 weeks. Could easily be longer. 8 weeks is barely enough to get on familiar with the exercises. For each exercise, you can find detailed GIFs on exrx.net and videos on youtube. DB = dumbbell, Incl = inclined, squats are only half-squats, leg extensions only between ~150° and 180°, Roman Chair = one set of bent leg lifts to exhaustion with knees going higher than hands, calf raises = one set one-legged standing calf raises to exhaustion using full range of motion, back machine = 3 sets of what feels hard, this kind of machine -
max range of motion the machine allows.

These are the basic exercises which get the muscles ready to work hard later. Not that these are easy if done properly and to exhaustion. Reps are high to force you to keep the weights down. Only 1 minute rest between sets, again to force you to not use too much weight. You're after exhaustion, not high weights so much.
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File Type: pdf
Gethin Fundamental Tuesday.pdf (16.0 KB, 22 views)
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Old 12-18-16, 11:16 PM
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Wow, this is helpful. Thank you.
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Old 12-19-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Wow, this is helpful. Thank you.
Well then, the attached are what I do in December. This completes the series all in one thread. Conveniently, all these PDFs are just under the BF size limit for this attachment type.

The months I happen to do each of these exercise series may have nothing to do with your schedule. I happen to change from the prep stuff to the Norwegian stuff January 1 because almost every year I do a hard winter ride series which starts the first week in January. Thus this schedule works for me, but each person should adjust according to their schedule and how their legs are feeling.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Gethin Momentum Tuesday.pdf (15.8 KB, 15 views)
File Type: pdf
Gethin Momentum Thursday.pdf (15.8 KB, 4 views)
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Old 12-19-16, 04:42 PM
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Thank you again.

Is that you in the video?

I went back down from 80 to 40 lbs in the overhead press. I did 30 reps, which was all I could do, so I figure there is benefit in doing that.

My upper body has always been weak, and my aim is to remedy that. It's interesting that as I progress, I'm getting stronger on the bike with hardly any leg workouts. My legs have always been good. I've done a few squats in the last week, and I don't know if this is correlated, but hill climbing is getting easier, and I was already a good hill climber.
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Old 12-19-16, 04:44 PM
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In the video you posted of the back exercise, it shows to start the weight without bending over much. That explains my difficulty. I did dead lifts from the ground up, at 80 lbs, which is too much for me, for the reasons you state.
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Old 12-19-16, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I overdid it last week. I think it was the dead lifts with the 80-lb barbell. My lower back got pretty sore. Then yesterday and today, I shoveled snow, which made it worse. My shoulders hurt, too. I'm doing tons of stretching now, which helps. I'm also taking ibuprofen, which also helps. I'm walking around like an old man, very slowly. I don't want to make any sudden moves, because they can cause spasms. On the other hand, I am swinging my hips farther than normal when walking. Walking seems to help.

Here are some tips for when you deadlifting:


Make sure that your form is perfect. If you not sure then ask some experienced lifter or even hire a PT and have them explain it to you. Back pain form deadlifting is often a result of not using a proper technique and/or doing too many sets and reps and/or not warming up properly...Don't over do it on this exercise, deadlifting once per week is plenty enough...Keep your reps on the lower side when deadlifting, about 3-5 reps for 5-8 sets for a total of about 14-24 reps is ideal. Take 3 minutes rest between your sets...Make sure to warm up before your lifting, the best way to warm up for a dead lift is with a deadlift. Do a couple of warm up sets starting with an empty bar and then slowly add weight until you are well warmed up and your body is in the groove and then do your working sets...The type of shoes you wear is very important when deadlifting. Avoid running shoes and avoid any shoes with thick soft soles. The best shoes are flat with a hard sole, you want as much contact with the ground as possible, some people even deadlift barefoot. I prefer to wear weightlifting shoes for deadlifting, squatting and overhead pressing, Chuck Taylors are also good shoes for deadlifting and many power lifters use them.
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Old 12-19-16, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
In the video you posted of the back exercise, it shows to start the weight without bending over much. That explains my difficulty. I did dead lifts from the ground up, at 80 lbs, which is too much for me, for the reasons you state.
I didn't post a deadlift video. The one I did post shows a trainer (not me) using a back extension machine. Here's a video about deadlifting by a guy who's very good on technique.

Ideally when you deadlift, someone should be able to put a straight edge on your back and have it contact your entire back plus the back of your head. Spine needs to be in column.
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Old 12-20-16, 03:37 PM
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I usually do 3x5 squat, deadlift, bench, seated row, leg extension, leg curl. Plus a few different workouts here and there, 1-2 times a week especially in the winter. The weight will vary from 75-85% of my one rep max depending on the time of year, but mainly focusing on building strength/power. A kinesiology degree doesn't hurt with all this good stuff haha.
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Old 01-01-17, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Carmichael Training Systems has begun putting up a series of strength training articles on their website. These articles are designed to introduce endurance athletes to the concepts and methods of strength training appropriate to any endurance athlete. I've been strength training for over 50 years and these articles IMO offer sound advice. My guess is that, while these principles are certainly based on scientific research, they also have produced results for CTS-coached athletes. Here are the first four. I assume that more will follow.

Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training?
Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training? - CTS

5 Things Cyclists Don’t Understand About Strength Training
5 Things Cyclists Don?t Understand About Strength Training - CTS

Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes
Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes - CTS

Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete?
Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete? - CTS
Thanks for sharing, I need this! Cheers!
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Old 01-01-17, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Carmichael Training Systems has begun putting up a series of strength training articles on their website. These articles are designed to introduce endurance athletes to the concepts and methods of strength training appropriate to any endurance athlete. I've been strength training for over 50 years and these articles IMO offer sound advice. My guess is that, while these principles are certainly based on scientific research, they also have produced results for CTS-coached athletes. Here are the first four. I assume that more will follow.

Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training?
Do Cyclists Benefit From Strength Training? - CTS

5 Things Cyclists Don’t Understand About Strength Training
5 Things Cyclists Don?t Understand About Strength Training - CTS

Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes
Getting Started Strength Training Workout for Endurance Athletes - CTS

Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete?
Will Strength Training Weigh Down a Cyclist or Triathlete? - CTS
Thanks! Will check them out when I get home. I usually see articles like these at Supplement Stadium discussing about the same, and in addition, tips about vitamins and other supplements along with the training.
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