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numerous new scientific studies point out that "concurrent training" helps to boost endurance performance. it is perfectly working with heavy strength training and HIT as the peripheral and central components of our cardio vascular system are highly adressed.


My feeling is lifting light weights is fine after cycling and usually at night to keep the metabolism running efficiently. If you have power/weight numbers of 4.5 or higher and you could get to 5.0 by losing weight instead of putting on arm muscle, maybe keep the weights very low and reps very high. we all know almost all great climbers have no upper body, but lifting in shoulders, triceps, abs, etc....i'm sure can be beneficial if you don't drop your power to weight numbers.

Jeff Dorminey

I decided a while back I'll never be a pro cyclist( being 58 don't help) but I would like to be able to continue living an active life as I get older(God willing) so to me lifting weights is worth a little muscle weight gain if said muscle will help keep me from silly injuries like tearing a rotator cuff while getting out of a chair (it happens). Plus lifting has proven to strengthen bones, just be smart about lifting and don't hurt yourself in the gym.

Zakhar Bolshakov

Dear Joe, I purchased at www.trainingpeaks.com your plan a marathon, but I don't quite understand how lifting weights fit into the schedule. Should be done on R&D days or after run workouts the same days? Some weeks have more then 10 hours. Lifting weights in addition?

Joe Friel

Zakhar Bolshakov - I don't know which plan you've got, but if it calls for lifting weights that is best done after a run, not before.


Dear Joe,

While the science may be shaky, the methodology is sound. Cyclists who lift weights in Nov-Jan, probably are spending less time on the bike. That's a good thing for 99% of us.

Justine Viera

Excellent topic Joe. I advocate lifting weights to some degree for everyone. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

Weight lifting is very beneficial to maintain and build soft tissue strength. However, weight lifting does not necessarily improve bone density in the way that cyclists would like to believe. Wolff’s Law (paraphrased here) states that bone responds to the demands placed upon it. In a nutshell, bone is a living tissue and it is lazy. If you use it bone will remodel to become stronger, if you don’t use it bone will resorb and become weaker. This is a concern for astronauts on extended zero gravity travel. Our long bones (femur, tibia, humerus, ulna, radius) and vertebral bodies of the spine are designed to function optimally under axial load such as standing, walking, carrying heavy items in our hands with our arms down to our sides, or, if you’re adept, carrying the day’s harvest to market in a large basket perched atop your head.

The general knowledge that is accepted in the orthopedic implant industry is that our bones become denser (stronger) under axial impact loading. The bad news is cycling does not provide the type of loading that induces significant bone remodeling and therefore increased bone density. Even the epic pedal mashing to gain the KOM/QOM title in a local club ride or sanctioned race is not effective enough to elicit a desired bone strengthening response. Off road cyclists may have better arm bone density than roadies because of all the impact from the handlebars. Runners have better bone in their legs and spinal column simply because of the steady and frequent impact loading due to the foot striking on the ground.

Jumping rope and boxing are two simple and amusing ways to create an impact load on the associated bones. Pushing an old fashioned reel lawn mower will stress the arm bones and give you a good cardio workout too.


Joe, what I find difficult to gauge when I lift weights as part of my winter training is TSS score and the level of intensity as related to Cycling activities.

TSS is a relative score and sports specific. It doesn't totally make sense to use a TSS for weight lifting in the same performance management charts as Cycling because a 100 TSS for cycling is different and places a different stress on your body than a 100 TSS for weight lifting.

I used to track the 2 together in an attempt to have a total activity stress management score. But, that didn't seem to work so well because what I noticed was the LTS score and fatigue was not in alignment with how I actually felt.

I've just kind of resigned myself to having 2 different Management Charts, 1 for cycling and 1 for lifting. And, I intuitively know that they will impact each other's performance and fatigue levels in some way. I just can't quantify it.

How do you manage a total activity level with your athletes?

Joe Friel

Tim--Yes, that's a problem many mention. Happens to triathletes all the time. What I advise for them is to keep separate PMCs for each sport but to have one that combines ATL only for all sports since fatigue (proxy for ATL) is cumulative regardless of sport.


Hi Joe, have followed a weekly weights program as per your recommendations since 2007 and find the only problem is if I miss a few weeks I start to lose muscle. Also do you recommend foam roller sessions after daily rides? Guess you may cover this in your new book, copy is on the way from Amazon, so some good holiday reading ahead.

Joe Friel

David - Yes, missing a weight workout is the same as missing any other workout. There is a slight loss of fitness. Many athletes use foam rollers after a hard workout to promote recovery. Seems like it can be quite beneficial, altho I know of no research on the it.

Patrik Hast

Hi Joe!

Im doing my second year in MTB and have since I started gained about 8kg muscle weight, which in my case is not good. I would rahter loose some weight but still want to do weight training. What training should I do, AA, ME and SM?

Joe Friel

Patrik Hast - I'd suggest SM as it will maintain muscle and is less likely to add more mass. Good luck!

Keith Berube

Joe, I hope you see this, as it's a dated thread.

I am getting back into cycling after a 6 month hiatus (newly wed, new job, etc).

I've identified force as one of my limiters, and it was confirmed when I went to the gym. (Squat is at 125lbs, DL at 135). And I was so unbelievably sore for 4 days after lifting that I wasn't able to walk, let alone do bike workouts.

My question is, should I just continue the on-the-bike training (ftp is within 15% of my max FTP from peak of last season already), or should I add in the weight training and keep the weight lower, gradually increase the weights.

Is it too late in the year to try to get more strength off the bike? I was looking at your weight workouts, and if I follow each phase, I'll be in the MS phase right when I should be peaking for my race.

I'm 14 weeks from my first A race, and currently in base 2 training. I'm on target to surpass last years peak FTP (from looking at last years numbers). I feel good, but I think I could definitely benefit from getting my squat and DL numbers up.

What would you recommend?

Joe Friel

Keith Berube--You didn't say when your first race is. If it's less than 20 weeks away then I'd recommend not starting a strength program now _unless_ you omit MS. This might be the a good way to get started this year. Save MS for when you have a full base period remaining (about 12 weeks).

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