How to maintain strength gains from gym workouts
Today, we wrap up our ongoing series featuring excerpts from the Strength Training for Cyclists approach developed by Cody Waite with Sessions: 6 Sport Performance. We’ve previously covered:
- Why strength training is important
- The adaptation phase of strength training
- The strength phase of strength training
- The endurance phase of strength training
- The power phase of strength training
Now we take a look at how to maintain your strength gains during the season, so that you have a steady baseline when it’s time to ramp gym workouts back up next fall. Here’s what Cody has to say on the subject:
Most endurance athletes should maintain strength training throughout the majority of their season. The heaviest strength training volume should be performed during the offseason while spending more time indoors training and not competing.
Once the race season begins, strength training should taper some to allow for more recovery and fresher muscles for key sessions. Strength training should be maintained at least once a week, often twice per week, for the majority of endurance athletes.
The reason being is so you can continue to increase your strength over the course of many seasons as opposed to training only in the off-season, not at all in-season, and then starting again from scratch when your next off-season rolls around.
By maintaining strength year-round you start your next off-season ahead of the previous and can continue to make gains. Reducing training volume and maintaining resistance loads (as opposed to gradually increasing them over the off-season) will minimize stress while maintaining strength throughout your season
Cody Waite has identified exercises that develop muscles specific to the sport of cycling (including road cycling as well as mountain biking). These movements help you produce more power when: pedaling, pulling on the bars, controlling your bike through rough sections of trail, and keeping your core stable.
Here are examples of three supersets (ie exercises done in conjunction with one another) suggested in the Strength Training for Cyclists approach.
SHOULDER PRESS Lower weights to just above shoulder height. Press weights above head. Use dumbbells or Olympic bar for added weight.
SHOULDER SHRUGS Begin with arms at your side. Lift shoulders up towards your ears. You can also perform a circular motion alternating inward and outward “shoulder circles.” Use dumbbells or curl bar.
HIP ABDUCTION From a neutral standing position, extend outside leg outward keeping leg straight and using the outer hip muscles. Use stretch cords or cable weight machine attached at the ankle.
HIP ADDUCTION From a neutral standing position, pull with inside leg outwards across stationary leg, using the inner hip muscles. Use stretch cords or cable weight machine attached at the ankle.
MEDICINE BALL V-CRUNCH Lie on your back with your feet extended towards the ceiling and hands over your head grasping a medicine ball. Bring the ball over your body and towards your feet using your stomach muscles. Pause before returning to start position.
CROSSED-LEG OBLIQUE CRUNCH Lie on your back with hands behind ears and legs bent with one leg crossed over the other. Using your oblique muscles, bring the opposite elbow to the opposite knee while pivoting on the other elbow. Pause before lowering to start position.
ALTERNATING SUPERMAN Lying on the ﬂoor with arms stretched out in front in a “ﬂying” position. Raise left arm and right leg, pause, and lower. Repeat with alternate arm and leg.
Want to dive deeper? For $29 you can download Cody’s complete 16-week program.