Strength Plateaus

posted on February 21st, 2011 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Strength Training by Stephen

Fairly often I have people that hear about the success of my client(s) and then asks me for a set workout that they can do, or to make a few changes to ‘mix-it-up’ for the program they have been doing……
I can do that, but I can not keep this workout from creating a plateau for you. No one can. In fact the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A ‘set’ workout plan is not much different. If you go to the gym & do the same machines with the pin pushed into the same number each time you are there, then you can expect the same as last time. The fact is that although you may be stronger than not doing anything, but you also are not using your gym time to it’s fullest potential.

National Elite Track Pursuit Champion Daniel Holt demonstrates a side plank:

You have to keep mixing things up and keep the body guessing. If you do the same things repeatedly then the body adapts and continually attempts to do the same amount of work while recruiting less muscle fibers. This is actually the reverse effect that people are looking for as I wrote about in Cycling Strength.

If you are finding that you are in a Strength Plateau, then you should consider if you are over-training, or getting in-sufficient recovery. Are you going to hard or riding too hilly a course on your easy days? How is the hydration? the nutrition? too much volumn? too much intensity?

A workout program must have a progression of challenging exercises to get the desired results on the bike. If I got someone to do the hardest workout the first time they came into the studio, they may not be able to walk back in 2 days later. Thus, in order to get different results, your workouts have to change and continually challenge your body. Only through challenging your body and recovery do you get strength gains.
So, we start with the basic exercises, and see how the body responds and adjust accordingly.

Next we make sure that both legs are putting out an equivalent amount of energy into the pedals.Then we go for dramatic strength increases, so that we can do plyometrics which will add the explosive power to this increased strength.

Going through this phase of exercises takes several months. Only through proper challenges and recovery do you get optimal strength gains that allow you to break through strength plateaus!

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Stronger cycling

posted on August 10th, 2010 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Reviews, Ride Reports, Strength Training by Stephen

I have taken a week long break away from cycling in the Atlanta heat. It was a nice break during a heat wave that came through the South eastern US – good timing for me.

I spent two weeks in the gym working out again. This re-visiting squats, lunges, core exercises, and total body circuit training helps the balance the body back out from too much of a good thing (cycling) and allows you to tone up and hopefully drop some bodyfat % – ALL of that will create a stronger cyclist.

Now that I have been getting back on the bike I am starting to get in more climbing again. I have been getting out on rides that only had only a few people in the group. I have been able to do this on the Mt bike the past couple of weekends, but now I’m also getting some of that climbing with groups.

Last night I did the Smyrna Bikes Monday night ride. This is a fun group to ride with, and although the pace is not ‘race pace’ it is definitely NOT a recovery ride. For this ride, my goal was to ride how I felt, but climb in a harder gear than I usually would while attempting to stay with a group, this is possible with this ride because after each serious climb they will re-group. That allows me to work on my leg strength with out worrying about being dropped by the group or getting too tired to keep up with the group later in the ride.

A buddy of mine commented that I always seem to climb in a seated position. This is true, and not by chance. 1) For a non-climbing rider, you can usually put more power into the pedals being seated. Where-as a lighter rider is usually able to use his own bodyweight to add more power to the hills while standing.
2) staying seated on a climb keeps my heart rate lower than standing, I will stand to accelerate or stand just to get over steeper sections of a climb.

If you have compact cranks you can still do this type of hill training, the key is to use a harder gear than you usually would. Most people that have compact cranks end up spinning all the time. This is good on race day or Big events, but it does not create stronger legs. If you truly want to get stronger while cycling you have to mash a harder gear in training.

Remember train your weakness, but race your strengths.

Climbing hills in a harder gear than you are used too will give you ‘on the bike’ leg strength that is needed for stronger cycling. What happens is that you to fatigue your muscles, and only by stressing the muscles and allowing for adequate recovery do they get stronger. As you continue to do this, those mountains will become more like hills.

So get out there and hit the climbs.

Get the System that I and my clients use to become a Stronger Cyclist. In this ebook I will give you a system of how to set-up your training in a way that allows you to focus on 1 of the 4 parts of the puzzle at a time AND in the correct order. This will ensure you become a Stronger Cyclist.

Download this ebook instantly and get started today on becoming a Stronger Cyclist!
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