Strength Training for Road Cycling
Strength Maintenance (SM) Phase
PURPOSE: Maintain muscular strength.
FREQUENCY: 1 time per week (in Build and Peak periods).
EQUIPMENT: Either free weights or machines.
Load/Resistance: First set at about 60% of 1RM (moderate load). Second set is about 85-90% of 1RM. This should be the heaviest load possible for 3-6 reps. When you can do 6 reps on second set, add more weight. It's OK to initially estimate loads and then adjust them as you progress, but start conservatively. (Note the exceptions under “Exercises,” below).
REPS: 12 (set 1) and 3-6 (set 2)
RECOVERY between sets: 1-2 minutes.
SPEED of movement: Slow-Moderate.
PROGRESSION: Do all sets of each exercise before progressing to the next.
EXERCISES: See The Cyclist's Training Bible for the details.
PHASE LENGTH: Throughout the Build and Peak periods (but not race week).
WARM-UP & COOL DOWN: Warm-up on stationary bike/trainer or by running easily for 5-10 minutes. Cool down for 5-10 minutes spinning at 90+ rpm in light gear/resistance.
On a mostly flat to gently rolling course or indoor trainer warm-up for 20 minutes at a perceived exertion of 3-5 (on a 1 low to 10 high scale) by gradually increasing intensity. Then do several powerful, all-out, 8-pedal-revolution "jumps"--count one leg only or a total of 16 both-leg pedal strokes for each jump. Do some of these in the saddle and some standing on the pedals. These are 10 on a 10 scale--max effort. Recover for at least 5 minutes after each jump. If form breaks down take a longer recovery or stop doing the jumps. How many jumps you do is up to you. It's possible to do too many. 8 max is probably adequate. Otherwise ride easily in zones 1 and 2. The purpose of the jump is to see how quickly you can reach max speed. Cool down at a perceived exertion of 3-5 for the remainder of the ride.
On a mostly flat road or indoor trainer warm-up for about 20 minutes. Then do 3 x 15 minutes at heart rate zone 3. Recover for 2 minutes after each interval by pedaling easily in zone 1. Cool down for the remainder of the ride in zone 1.
BT: After warming-up 20 minutes do 3 x 15 seconds all out (perceived exertion of 9-10 on 10-high scale) sprints with 15-second recoveries between them followed immediately by 3 minutes steady at perceived exertion 7. Take 3 minutes of easy spinning for recovery and then repeat this sprints-steady effort pattern 2 more times. High cadence throughout. Ride in the handlebar drops/hooks for the high-intensity portions. Long, easy cool down in for the remainder of the ride.
Very easy recovery spin on a mostly flat course (or on indoor trainer) in small chain ring. Heart rate in zone 1. Light on the pedals. Comfortably high rpm focusing on pedaling skills.
Race or Group Ride.
Do one of the following optional workouts.
OPTION #1. BT: Race. Do a C-priority local criterium. If racing tomorrow instead reverse these Saturday-Sunday workouts. Ride before and after the race to get in the planned time/TSS today including warm-up, race, and cool down.
OPTION #2. BT: Group ride. Ride how you feel today: If tired, sit in at low effort; if fresh ride with race efforts in all zones. Be smart. Start the ride conservatively to monitor how you are feeling. Test yourself if feeling good.
OPTION #3. BT: Racelike Ride Solo.
Warm-up by gradually increasing the effort for 20 minutes. Then randomly do long tempo efforts (10-20 minutes) at a moderate effort (HR zone 3), muscular endurance efforts of 5-10 minutes (zone 4), anaerobic endurance efforts which are above your threshold (RPE 8-9), and sprints at max effort. Mix these as you feel like it. And recover between these high efforts as you feel like it. Cool down for the remainder of the ride.
Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Steady State.
BT: Warm up 30 minutes. Then ride 1 hour steady at about 30 beats per minute (+/- 2bpm) below the lowest HR in your 5a zone (LTHR). Observe perceived effort at this intensity. Long, easy cool down. Over time the effort should feel lower at this heart rate.