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recovery and improvements when strength training

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recovery and improvements when strength training

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Old 10-20-05, 10:42 PM
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youngster
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recovery and improvements when strength training

hello to all,

i started a bit more than 3 weeks ago to lift some weigths at home. After reading the bible and a couple of other books suggested by Koffee (thanks a lot by the way it really helped!), I built myself a stength training program. since the end of september I've been doing the same exercices : lunges, squats, bench and shoulder press, calf raises, some abs and a couple of other ones for the back. I figured I'd start with that for the first month-month and a half to accustom my body to it, using light weights, 3 sets including 1 for warm up and 15 reps per set.

I am questionning myself on the recovery aspect. When riding my bike and doing intervals, my legs would always let me down first, but the day after, I felt some pain that would rapidly go away. Therefore, I was able to do 3 hard days per week w/o any leg pain when I started the training. But with strength training, it takes a longer time for my legs to recover, sometimes even up to 3 days...which makes me wonder: what am I doing wrong?

Is it normal that it takes that much time for the pain to completely go away? Am I pushing too hard even if I'm using light weights? (2 sets x15 reps x60 lbs for the squats and 2 setsx15repsx 2 dumbells of 10 lbs for the lunges). Should I cut down on the reps, the weigth or the sets?

Most of all, I am wondering what will make me improve faster. I originally planned to lift 3 days a week but I've had to cut back to 2 days a week so far because I want to recover completely from the previous workout before starting again. I think that 3 days a week would be more benefitial. How do you know when to go at it again? Do I have to wait that my legs are 100% or can I start sooner?

As you can see, I have a lot of questions. I'm just getting started with weight lifting. I'm really motivated and looking forward to gain a lot of strength because it's what I believe will take me to the next level : racing next summer and doing well!!! I haven't figured out my goals for next summer, but I want to maximise the time spent when strength training. Any comments will be greatly appreciated
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Old 10-22-05, 10:57 PM
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I think you're overworking your muscles and doing way, way too volume of intensity. The amount of weights are fine, you can stand to increase them to the 8-10 rep range within a couple weeks. However, the weights along with intervals is too much.

The other half of strength-building through the teardown of muscles is recovery and rebuilding them; you're not letting them build up fully before you tear them apart again.

If you're planning on racing next summer, then you really need to cut back on the biking (no intervals or sprints). No more than 100-150miles/week of medium aerobic riding but not anything above your LT. Save that for the gym.

You'll want to stick with 3 days of weights, but gradually make one day more intense with more weights and lower reps. Each week, add more weights to this day to lower the reps by 1-2 per session. By the end of Nov. you'll have one day where you're doing 3-5 reps. Don't increase the weights any more after this, keep this one day at this level.

While you're increasing weights on the 1st day, do the same for the 2nd day and work down to 8-10 reps. The 3rd day, do easy at 10-15 reps like you're doing now. Be sure to give yourself a full rest day in between with easy aerobic riding.

In Dec., transition to speedwork on the weights. Gradually add more rapid and explosive pushes to the motions on your most intense day (don't increase the weights, but stay at 3-5 reps). On your 2nd and 3rd days, you'll find that you'll have to increase the weights just to get a workout at 8-15 reps, so go ahead and gradually increase those.

Riding trainers and rollers between sets would be a good idea as well. By early Jan, you should be done with all weight workouts. If you can start doing LSD rides outside if you can, if not, do 1 hour of trainer rides indoors at your LSD. Transition into small rollers and hill-intervals in late Jan-early Feb. Then work into flat-intervals and hill-climbs in Feb. Transition into full-on sprints and pyramid interval sets late-feb early march. You might even want to do two days of sprints per week in March.

Taper off for a week or two and you'll be ready to kick some serious *ss !
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Old 10-23-05, 01:00 PM
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thanks a lot danno, I really like your comments. it helps us beginners a lot and makes us save a lot of time!

You mention that I should be done in the gym by january and start riding again, but over here in Montreal we have snow until...march at least, so the roads aren't really an option untill late february at best. I could still ride on the trainer, but could I extend the period of time spent in the gym and improve even more of it, or will it just be a waste of time? For the months of january-febr., would cross training like cross country skiing and hockey be some good options, or is it a lot better to jump on the trainer by january?
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Old 10-23-05, 01:05 PM
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Well you can plan accordingly to your weather and race-schedule. Around here, the season-opener is at USD in mid-February, so I try to get on the bike at least 8-10 weeks before that with at least 4 weeks of sprints and intervals beforehand. So target your first race and work backwards to give yourself enough time. Cross-country skiing would be perfect to work on base mileage and develop the energy systems. Then follow up with hockey which is the equivalent of intervals. Do some sprints on the skates and you'll be fine.
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