Chapter 6: The Plan

Before we jump into the specifics of our plan, let’s pause to call attention to two essential training concepts. 

1: Nutrition Underpins Progress

If you’ve spent time on this site, you’ve read about the role nutrition plays in fueling your best days on the bike; of course, many of the same sports nutrition principles for cycling apply to strength training [45].

In simple terms, you need adequate carbs and protein to fuel and recover from high-quality training on the bike or under a barbell. 

If you’re not meeting the energy demands of your training (especially after adding heavy strength work), improvements in strength and cycling performance are likely to stall [46].

Take time to review your nutrition strategy while ensuring your food choices support your overall training volume and intensity. 

2: Concurrent Training Requires Flexibility

Trying to improve endurance and strength at the same time (concurrently) is challenging. Here’s why:

  1. Evidence suggests concurrent training can generate an “interference” effect, which will likely reduce your gains in strength [47, 48]. That’s a fancy way of saying that your strength progression and capacity will be blunted by all your time on the bike. If you’re comparing your strength gains to an athlete not spending hours on a bike, you’re not realistic. 
  2. On the flip side, fatigue from strength training can impair your cycling performance [49]. In a practical sense, training strength and endurance concurrently require flexibility and purposeful planning. Ham-handedly forcing strength training on top of whatever you’re already doing on the bike isn’t likely to improve your cycling. 

When we acknowledge the complexity of concurrent training, it’s clear we need a few strategies in our training toolbox to help us smartly integrate strength and endurance throughout a varied season. 

Strength Phases

Here’s an example of how one might shift between three different strength phases throughout a season, flexibly supporting other training objectives in strength and on the bike.

In our plan, we’ll divide strength training into three phases:

  1. Adapt to new movement patterns
  2. Build maximal strength
  3. Maintain the strength we’ve worked hard to build

In these three phases of strength training, workout frequency, exercise selection, set/rep scheme, and target intensity will be tailored to meet our strength objectives while providing space to accommodate our primary performance objective of getting stronger on the bike [31].

Let’s jump into the details. 

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