Coachcast Title Card With Image Of Chris Lee

Building Strength and Durability in Endurance Athletes With Chris Lee

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk and Chris discuss the need for a year-round strength program, how to adjust training across seasons, and the ideal timing for incorporating strength workouts to enhance performance.

Chris Lee is a leading strength coach renowned for enhancing athletic performance through comprehensive strength conditioning. He is the founder and Director of Sports Performance at Kinesis Integrated in Boulder, Colorado, where he specializes in working with endurance athletes, ranging from amateurs to elite competitors.

Dirk Friel digs into Chris’ approach to strength training. His philosophy is underpinned by thorough body movement assessments, identifying and targeting an athlete’s limiters, and a belief in the vital role of strength work for injury prevention and performance improvement. He points out that he advocates year-round strength training tailored to each phase of an athlete’s season.

Lee holds a physical education and exercise science degree and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA. With almost a decade of experience and has worked extensively with endurance coaches to integrate effective strength programs.

In addition to coaching Dirk’s strength training program, he is also an advisor to new strength training features being added to TrainingPeaks, providing guidance and feedback for new tools coming to the platform in early 2024. Over 90% of TrainingPeaks coaches prescribe strength training through TrainingPeaks.

Standout Quotes

“Endurance sport by nature is catabolic. It breaks you down. Now our goal is to reduce how much breakdown we have and mitigate that. So, a year-round strength training program is very, very important. One, you’re mitigating injury, and [two] you’re maintaining strength — which force production can equal performance.

“Plyometrics, I think, are a must for everyone for bone health, for tendon health, for just honestly, everyday life, no one gets hurt going up the stairs. They get hurt coming down the stairs.”

“Here’s a great way to think about [strength] too. Everyone’s so afraid of losing fitness. Right?. If I stop running, I’m gonna lose fitness. Well, guess what? When you have a stress fracture and you can’t run, you lose fitness.”

Chris Lee On Strength Training Year-Round

“It’s not about what’s happening in the weight room. Whatever your coach or your sport demands, that’s what your season looks like. So as a strength coach, it’s kind of a fun job…every cycling season is different from a triathlon season, which is different from a swim season. So you have to figure out how to dose based on someone’s season. So if you were to break it down into four categories. You have your offseason. Your preseason, it’s when you start training, but there’s no competition. Then you have your in-season, your competition phase. And then you have your championship phase.”

“What is your biggest limiter? And let’s try to work on that. Right? So, that assessment is so important. If you just jump into something and assume you know something about someone’s body, you’re probably missing the big picture.”

“Masters athletes, that is actually what research has shown, that it is the most important for masters athletes to strength train. Over time, we lose the capacity for being able to generate force very quickly. And we lose a little bit of that natural athletic dynamic coordination. And there’s also the plyometrics, right? We need to still load those tendons. We have to be wary of, you know, if someone has lost cartilage or, you know, bone deposit in their knees or something, we have to be aware of that, but, strength for masters athletes, especially with eccentric exercise and the ability to control multi-planar movement is going to be probably the best thing for performance and longevity.”

Kinesis Integrated and Chris Lee Online


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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile