Elite endurance athletes know the importance of strength training. To take your performance to the next level you need to do more than just ride. In this episode, Wahoo Sports Scientists Jinger Gottschall and Jeff Hoobler take on the subject of bodyweight strength training. They’ll introduce your brain to the posterior chain, highlight the importance of core work, and give you expert tips on how to improve your functional strength without hitting the gym.
Bit of a question. In this podcast you said that it’s ok to do a bike session straight after a strength workout, but on a previous podcast I think a 4 hour gap was recommended. Is that more to do with the type of bike work being done? ie something neuromuscular (cadence builds, GOAT etc) is ok straight after a strength session as it’s complimentary, but something more endurance based (I think endurance was referenced in the previous podcast) is better separated out by 4+ hours, and ideally not really done on the same day as strength?
Hey @Reynaldo_Lopez , Great question. The answer is yes, you should back it off. Especially if you are going nuclear. However, continuing with some lower level sessions to keep you activated and moving in good patterns is recommended. I’d drop down and do a few level one sessions this week, during the tour and the week after before ramping back up.
Hi @TTDragon, Sorry for any mixed messaging there. The time between workouts somewhat depends on the type of strength training and the overall load that you put on your muscles during the session. In general, if you are lifting weights or doing resistance training that takes you to near momentary muscular failure in a set or in a series of sets (ie. traditional strength training) AND you plan on doing a cycling workout it is best to have 3-4 hours between workouts. If you were to try to do a NM session directly after a heavy strength session, you will likely find that the quality of the work in the second session is poor and will simply make you tired but not getting any benefit out of the bike session.
In regards to body-weight strength sessions (similar to what you find in SYSTM) the loads are generally non-maximal. Even if you are doing some jumping. So, doing a sprint or cadence session back to back is ok and will still allow for adaptations to both sessions. However, if you have to space the sessions apart, due to time constraints, that is ok.
I hope this clears things up a bit. Thanks for your question.
First, I really enjoy The Knowledge Podcast so thanks for doing them! I have a follow on question to the one from the ones above.
As info, I currently do my strength session then jump on the bike and due the scheduled cycling session which is usually NM focused. I notice that my legs usually feel a little fatigued/sluggish when I start the cycling session but usually perk up by the time the warm-up is over. Is that how I should be feeling going into the cycling session? And, out of curiosity, why is a NM session recommended?
My second question is about timing. The explanation you provided above was great and helped answer most of my question but I recently read a paper the that doing aerobic and strength training in the same session or concurrently are not the best for developing “expulsive strength”. The paper suggested separating them by several hours (3-6) to achieve optional adaptations. I believe the study was using more transitional weight training vs the body weight training Systms utilizes so does the same concept you explained above apply or is the development of explosive strength addressed by doing a NM working in conjunction with the strength training? I would prefer to keep the two sessions together but also want to make sure I am maximizing by training. Thanks!
Great questions. For the fist question about why your legs feel a little sluggish at first and why Strength is often paired with NM bike workouts… It is absolutely normal to have your legs feel sluggish at first, especially if there is a break between workouts. One reason is that depending on what strength session you did, you may have been moving in different patterns than what you are doing on the bike and it just takes a few revs of the engine to get firing patterns back, this can be the case even if you are doing similar motions, ie. lunges, where the pattern is mostly the same but firing rates are completely different.
Similarly, this is one reason that we pair strength with high cadence or high force efforts, ie. standing starts. These sessions match up similar stimuli to give a better training impact. This leads to your second question.
You are correct that studies show that having >3 hours between strength and riding workouts is better than doing them back to back. However, there are a couple of important concepts to look at.
First, most of the research that explores concurrent training looks at adding endurance training to established strength training routine; for this situation the research shows that endurance training attenuates strength training benefits. However, if you are primarily an endurance athlete that is adding strength to your established routine you are not likely to see diminished returns on strength (simply because you probably weren’t doing strength to begin with)
The second piece of this puzzle is that most of the research out there is done with external loads that take you to close to momentary muscular failure and pairing these types of strength sessions with “endurance” type efforts, ie. long sessions that further breakdown muscle tissue. These “endurance” efforts are what interfere with the strength adaptations. (why we pair strength with NM type efforts)
There is obviously more to the equation and it depends upon your strength routine but in general it is good to line up NM days with strength training and keep the rides short on strength days.
Thanks! That is very helpful. I can see the benefit of doing the strength training in my improved numbers and it is good to know that I am incorporating the strength correctly and why it is done the way it is.