The strength phase of strength training

During these winter months, we’ve been featuring excerpts from the Strength Training for Cyclists approach developed by Cody Waite with Sessions: 6 Sport Performance. We’ve previously discussed why strength training is important and the adaption phase of strength training. Today, we turn our attention to the strength phase of strength training.

This type of training requires the highest levels of resistance, most amount of sets and lowest number of reps per set. The goal with these sessions is to develop maximum force production.

A typical session includes an adaptation set as a warm-up (1x12 @ 50% of your 1 rep maximum) followed by two to three sets of eight repetitions at 85% of your 1 rep maximum.  The movements of the individual reps should be slow and controlled to minimize stress and chance of injury.

The exercises chosen for cycling (including road cycling as well as mountain biking) are specific to the movements involved with producing more power on your bike, including pedaling, pulling on the bars, controlling your bike through rough sections of trail, and keeping your core stable.

Exercises are identified as developing propulsive force, recovery strength, and stabilization for the particular movement. The propulsive and recovery movements are performed together as a “superset.” The stabilization exercises are performed following the propulsive/recovery sets.

Here is one “superset” followed by a stabilization exercise.

Propulsion: SINGLE-LEG LEG EXTENSION Perform a standard leg extension with one leg at a time. Use machine found in your gym or stretch cords at home.

Recovery: HAMSTRING CURL Perform a standard leg curl. Use machine found in your gym or stretch cords at home.

Stabilization: HIP ADDUCTION From a neutral standing position, pull with inside leg outwards across the stationary leg, using the inner hip muscles. Use stretch cords or cable weight machine attached at the ankle.

As a specific focus phase, the strength phase can last as long as several weeks, in addition to being utilized throughout most endurance athletes’ annual training plan to maintain strength gains throughout the year.

Want to dive deeper? You can download Cody’s complete 16-week program.

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