I’ve been asked a few times recently how to set up a Performance Management Chart on TrainingPeaks for weightlifting. It’s that time of year when strength work is a major focus of training for many athletes. If you know what you’re doing in the gym it’s a way of developing greater muscular force for the coming season. That force can eventually be converted into power as your sport-specific speed skills should also be rounding into shape now. So it’s a good question.
Let me start by saying that if you do decide to track weightlifting that you do it with a PMC separate from your others. In fact, all PMCs should be for a single sport only—except for one. I’ll come back to that one shortly. So, for example, if you’re a triathlete and manage your performance in this way you might have four separate PMCs—one each for swimming, cycling, running, and weightlifting. If you’re a cyclist or runner you’d have two PMCs. These PMCs would primarily reflect what’s happening to your fitness (CTL), fatigue (ATL), and form (TSB) in each training mode.
But, as mentioned, I’d suggest you have one that shows only fatigue (ATL) for all stressful training activities. That would be five for a multisport athlete and three for single sport athletes. Why not combine them all into one chart showing everything you do? Because the fitness benefits are not equal across the board. Let’s say you’re a triathlete. You may do a lot of running, riding, and weightlifting, but never swim. How good do you think your swim fitness would be? Poor. Right? But a combined chart wouldn’t tell you that. It could say that, in general, your fitness is great. But specifically, it isn’t when it comes to swimming. A combined chart is simply too general. It doesn’t tell you what’s going on with each sport.
So what I’m suggesting is that fitness (and also form) is specific to a sport. You can get into great shape with other sports, but how great is the benefit for a sport you never do? That brings us to the topic of specificity of training that I’m not going to get into now. It’s covered in some detail in my Training Bible books.
The one PMC that combines everything stressful that you do, including strength training, is only effective for one of the three metrics—fatigue (ATL). You can do a hard bike ride today and be tired tomorrow no matter what that day’s activity is. So this would make up the fifth PMC for a triathlete who lifts weights and the third for a single sport athlete who also lifts.
That brings us back to the topic of charting weightlifting with a PMC. I’ll return to that topic in Part 2 of this post.