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Polarized training (PT)...Good for low volume rider?

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Polarized training (PT)...Good for low volume rider?

Old 02-08-21, 01:28 PM
  #101  
rubiksoval
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Random thoughts on the topic: maybe strength training can help for people who specialize in U.S.-style criterium racing.
Anecdotal as always, but I specialize in crits (only meaning I suck less at them relatively speaking than I do at other things) and always have, racing elite and pro crits from the age of 20, back when I spent the winter months in the gym, until now when I don't.

The things that made me better at crits, in no particular order: 1) race craft/pack flow, 2) much higher ftp and longer duration CPs, 3) high cadence, high-power efforts rather than standing up and sprinting out of turns.

The latter single-handedly took me from getting dropped an hour in to a PRT crit to a top 15 in that same crit the next year.

More importantly, and more easily measured, my power at every single duration, from 1 sec to 5+ hours, improved significantly after I stopped using the weight room in the winter and instead focused on on-the-bike workouts. And I was 20-22 at the time and had been riding for 4-6 years versus my mid 30s now. 1 sec went from 1351 (once) to just over 1500 ( a few times, over 1450 many more).1 minute went from 700 - 738. 5 mins from 394-434, 20 from 330-372, 3 hour from 280 - 302.

Now for me personally, the above power comparisons are slightly moot, because I don't have any time or energy to go to the weight room (though that would make for an interesting comparison if I wanted to take the risk and try it out), but even if I did, the only thing I would change about my current training is that I'd spend 14-16 hours on the bike instead of 8-12. And I still wouldn't go to the weight room. Or do any core. I think core is a massive waste of time going for anyone that's active and without actual core issues, but that's an entirely different can of worms.

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Old 02-08-21, 01:33 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I want to qualify this first to say I don't intend to feed the troll above at all in this topic, but "plank" is almost a meme level visual of semi-serious racers all the way up to pros for keeping a strong core. Lots of folks do "meme" like pics of them stopping mid-ride in the middle of a climb or route planking randomly.

Good core, more power to pedals, less wasted motion.

It's an exception for most people, as not many TT, but if you're going to do stuff like setup a TT bike for time trial and not long course triathlon you may find more of your forearms on the pads than the tips of your elbows. Meaning, any amount of lasting core strength you have can be handy as you're reaching.

I feel 100% better in my TT position recently after taking up some daily plank and pushups.

YMMV.
I agree with this 100%.

But, this isn't what that cube guy was saying. He's talking about climbing a 20% gradient while seated and implying that the limiting factor was his maximum strength rather than his ability to hold a position comfortably over an extended period of time. Or at least, that was my understanding.
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Old 02-08-21, 01:40 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Definitely still strength training. Are they doing it during the classics, yes I imagine they are. In the middle of a 3 week stage race, probably not. I would image it is done in training camps. I don't think the absence of 3 weeks changes invalidates the idea that they're doing it year round. That's reaching pretty hard for a technicality IMO.
ETA: I'm sure typical strength work is still done, just at a lower volume/intensity so as not to interfere with one's riding schedule.

One of the biggest detriments to performance in the master's athletes is a loss of muscle mass. If you want to maintain as much ability for as long as possible, I'd suggest including lifting in your training. Particularly if you care about performance in anything requiring high power outputs. https://youtu.be/StnxjISyeWg?t=348
The three week stage race may be an outlier, but when combined with training camps and lots of on the road travel, it becomes a significant part of the year. I, for one, do not think people do core year round. Or some, ever.

I'd actually like to lose some muscle mass. I'm a bit bigger/wider than many of my racing peers, and it's always irked me.

As far as performance with high power outputs, it's not my ability to hit high power that's the issue. Never has been, and I suspect will not be for any forseeable time (maybe in 10-15 years when I get to my 50s?. My ability to hold high power, however, is definitely the issue.

And as I keep repeating ad nauseum, strength is not what holds me or anyone else back in that regard.

There was a great article about Amber Neben (?) and Tim Cusick describing how in her 40s she wasn't improving max power at any particular duration, but was improving how long she could hold any particular power. That sounds good to me!
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Old 02-08-21, 01:51 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
The three week stage race may be an outlier, but when combined with training camps and lots of on the road travel, it becomes a significant part of the year. I, for one, do not think people do core year round. Or some, ever.
I'm sure there are pros that never do any strength work. That's why I'm not 100% sold on it either. But it does seem to be the majority do at this point. Certainly most coaches that one hears about support the idea.

But I'm not sure why you think it wouldn't be done during a training camp? I would expect it to be.

Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I'd actually like to lose some muscle mass. I'm a bit bigger/wider than many of my racing peers, and it's always irked me.

As far as performance with high power outputs, it's not my ability to hit high power that's the issue. Never has been, and I suspect will not be for any forseeable time (maybe in 10-15 years when I get to my 50s?. My ability to hold high power, however, is definitely the issue.

And as I keep repeating ad nauseum, strength is not what holds me or anyone else back in that regard.

There was a great article about Amber Neben (?) and Tim Cusick describing how in her 40s she wasn't improving max power at any particular duration, but was improving how long she could hold any particular power. That sounds good to me!
Late 40s and on is precisely the age range I was referring to in my comment on this.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:02 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
I'm sure there are pros that never do any strength work. That's why I'm not 100% sold on it either. But it does seem to be the majority do at this point. Certainly most coaches that one hears about support the idea.

But I'm not sure why you think it wouldn't be done during a training camp? I would expect it to be.

Late 40s and on is precisely the age range I was referring to in my comment on this.
I don't think it would be because of how much more substantial the training stimulus likely is and how much more they need to focus on recovery.

But holding power longer isn't a strength issue you'd improve upon in the gym.

If anything, it's why it's even more important to focus on the bike and work on extensive training (training to increase the duration of power) at various levels, notably sub and threshold.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:26 PM
  #106  
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Moderation post cubewheels Please leave the thread and stop quoting rubiksoval in your posts. Thank you.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:28 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I don't think it would be because of how much more substantial the training stimulus likely is and how much more they need to focus on recovery.
I'm not suggesting that they're doing a bunch 5x5s or anything like that. What strength work would be done likely wouldn't be a significant drain on recovery. Enough that it wouldn't be done during a race, but not enough to seriously disrupt other training.
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
But holding power longer isn't a strength issue you'd improve upon in the gym.

If anything, it's why it's even more important to focus on the bike and work on extensive training (training to increase the duration of power) at various levels, notably sub and threshold.
Strength absolutely matters for being able to hold power for intervals that are less than a few minutes. My understanding is those kind of intervals are pretty common in bike races.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:38 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Strength absolutely matters for being able to hold power for intervals that are less than a few minutes.
Holding power is the very definition of endurance, and we know endurance doesn't depend on the maximum force muscles can produce.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:41 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
and we know endurance doesn't depend on the maximum force muscles can produce.
This is just wrong.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:44 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post

There was a great article about Amber Neben (?) and Tim Cusick describing how in her 40s she wasn't improving max power at any particular duration, but was improving how long she could hold any particular power. That sounds good to me!
The more I think about this, the more silly of a comment I think it is.

If I go from being able to hold x watts for 1 minute to being able to hold x watts for 2 minutes, there's absolutely no way I can't do > x watts for 1 minute. At the very least, I could sprint all out for the last 10 seconds and marginally improve my average power.
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Old 02-08-21, 02:49 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Strength absolutely matters for being able to hold power for intervals that are less than a few minutes. My understanding is those kind of intervals are pretty common in bike races.
How do you reckon? And why a few minutes? You think your legs aren't strong enough to hold your one minute power for 1.5 minutes?

What about 10 minute power for 20 minutes?
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Old 02-08-21, 02:49 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
The more I think about this, the more silly of a comment I think it is.

If I go from being able to hold x watts for 1 minute to being able to hold x watts for 2 minutes, there's absolutely no way I can't do > x watts for 1 minute. At the very least, I could sprint all out for the last 10 seconds and marginally improve my average power.
That's an extremely literal way of looking at that comment.
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Old 02-08-21, 04:10 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
My answer is on-the-bike; that's what elite cyclists have done as long as the sport has been around.

Egan posts in February. But in June?
In February you build the foundation.
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Old 02-08-21, 04:14 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
O.K. so maybe skiing isn't a good analogy for cycling after all.
Maybe, but for sure not for the reasons you think. You try skiing even 2km while putting in max force on every push because you apparently don't know how to control the force when skiing and would need a gear to do that for you. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-21, 04:23 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Maybe, but for sure not for the reasons you think. You try skiing even 2km while putting in max force on every push because you apparently don't know how to control the force when skiing and would need a gear to do that for you. Good luck.
It's a bad analogy, but you've completely misinterpreted it. In cycling, the rider can reduce the force needed to move forward up a steep grade by choosing an appropriate gear. In skiing, lacking gears as you say, the skier must produce a certain minimum force or else they won't move up the steep grade at all. Thus it might make sense for the skier to train to increase maximum force.
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Old 02-08-21, 04:58 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
In February you build the foundation.
Sounds like general fitness...
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Old 02-08-21, 05:05 PM
  #117  
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The science is still unclear on whether the ancillary benefits of strength training actually improve endurance performance or not and the issue is, if they do, training interventions which work on average might not give a positive impact on everyone (which is depressingly common with all sorts of workout interventions, where you get some who respond extremely well, some who respond negatively and all sorts of responses in between) so there's still a question of what works or doesn't work for you specifically.

Personally, I find doing a bit of strength training worthwhile, but while I did become able to move more weight I just don't see that it did anything for my 10s / 1 minute / etc power on the bike where you'd be expecting to see gains, hence I'd be quite reluctant to say that it was the weights which helped with 10, 20 or 60 minute power as opposed to simply riding more. I do feel stronger in a practical sense, that my durability improved and I get less aches and pains after running. I am inclined to attribute being able to maintain a lower position on the bike for longer as well to it, but that could be just due to more training.

That said, I typically only do about half a hour of weighs per week so it doesn't take away much from riding / running - I have weights setup and ready to go in my living room so I can do a quick session after an easy ride or run which acts as a warm up, without spending time going to the gym. If you're going to spend a hour driving to the gym and back and faffing about, that cuts a big chunk off available training time which is probably going to impact performance negatively as opposed to spending a couple of hours extra on the bike.

My training "budget" time wise is typically about 10 to 12 hours per week (a good chunk of it being the weekend ride which I find just to be enjoyable on it's own merits) so trying something quite close to polarized or pyramidal (like polarized except with more Z2 work near threshold and less Z3) works out for me and I can fit in some strength work in there on top. If I could do more hours I'd do more Z1, but also if I could only do six then probably I'd try for two interval sessions plus two longer easy rides and let the training time distribution land where it does.

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Old 02-08-21, 05:23 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Here's a 10 year old Slowtwitch thread you may enjoy. Has quite a few people in it who know what they're talking about, with quite a few who don't.

I don't know if this has the specific bit asgelle is referring to as I haven't read through this entire thread yet, but there's a lot in there that goes along with stuff that's been posted on this site for a few years. The stuff from Alex Simmons is very interesting.

https://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/S...61939/?page=-1
Thanks for the thread link. I scrolled down it about halfway before I decided it was a waste of time. It's just people arguing opinions, no facts. I saw two links to papers. One was a 404 and the other completely incomprehensible and having zero to to with cycling, plus the exercise being discussed is useless except for tendon rehab anyway.

I see the same thing here, too many people arguing opinion, those opinions formed 20 years ago before much at all was known about how to apply strength training to cycling. It's a niche subject, seldom studied, and even more seldom studied without researcher bias. What rather gripes at me is the people arguing the other side simply don't read the papers to which I publish links. That makes them not useful as interlocutors. It's like a parental ego relationship where that parent says, "I know how the world works and you don't, so do what I say." Except that's how it worked 20 years ago. Not that way anymore, folks. If you don't keep up, you fall behind. On top of that, you sneer at a penniless rider who has figured it out, has applied the science and found that it worked as predicted even though he doesn't have a gym or the latest equipment and makes do with what he has. That kind of nonsense just drive me nuts.

If anyone wants to discuss strength work further, I'll only discuss this with people who give enough of a crap to actually do the work. I've spent a couple decades studying and applying what I learned. It works like a charm if you do it right.
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Old 02-08-21, 05:24 PM
  #119  
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Deleted - not worth the bother.

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Old 02-08-21, 06:31 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
It's a bad analogy, but you've completely misinterpreted it. In cycling, the rider can reduce the force needed to move forward up a steep grade by choosing an appropriate gear. In skiing, lacking gears as you say, the skier must produce a certain minimum force or else they won't move up the steep grade at all. Thus it might make sense for the skier to train to increase maximum force.
A cyclist also requires a minimum amount dictated by the lowest gear. Thus it might make sense for the cyclist to train to increase maximum force.
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Old 02-08-21, 06:34 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
A cyclist also requires a minimum amount dictated by the lowest gear. Thus it might make sense for the cyclist to train to increase maximum force.
Except we know the maximum force required to ride the steepest paved grades* with readily available gearing is less than what you need to step up on a normal staircase.

*excepting perhaps some highly exceptional cases over 25-28%.
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Old 02-08-21, 06:42 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Thanks for the thread link. I scrolled down it about halfway before I decided it was a waste of time. It's just people arguing opinions, no facts. .
Maybe you're not familiar with the "people". Some world-renowned scientists and coaches are in that thread. I.e., the people that get paid a lot of money to ensure that the most talented individuals in the world are successful. And they've got quite a track record.

Just because it's not published in a peer-reviewed paper, doesn't mean it's not legitimate. Those papers are produced by academics, not the actual coaches doing the work.

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Old 02-08-21, 06:49 PM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Maybe you're not familiar with the "people". Some world-renowned scientists and coaches are in that thread. I.e., the people that get paid a lot of money to ensure that the most talented individuals in the world are successful. And they've got quite a track record.
And then there's Frank Day
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Old 02-08-21, 06:54 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Except we know the maximum force required to ride the steepest paved grades* with readily available gearing is less than what you need to step up on a normal staircase.

*excepting perhaps some highly exceptional cases over 25-28%.
But skiing is harder than going up stairs?
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Old 02-08-21, 06:54 PM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
And then there's Frank Day
Well... yeah. That's... yeah.
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