Strength (Weight) Training Guidelines | 80/20 Endurance

Strength (Weight) Training Guidelines

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  • #13312
    tedc
    Participant

    I looked in the Resources section but couldn’t find a summary of guidelines for how and when it’s best (and best not) to incorporate strength training in the training weeks. I have a collapsed disc (L5S1) and have my own set of exercises from my Dr and PT that keep my posterior chain in good shape, hopefully keeping spinal fusion out of my future. This week I had a recovery week and threshold tests. Tues I had RAn1. Wed was easy cycling and then 35 min weight training (upper and lower body circuit with a bench and adjustable dumbbells.) Thurs began 3 days of threshold tests (CT Thurs, STT Friday, RT Saturday.) I was really fatigued on Thurs and failed to meet my expectations all 3 days. I think doing strength the day before the 3 day session was part of the problem. Made me think I should have some guidelines for how I schedule my strength training so I don’t continue to mess this up

    Here are a few things I have picked up along the way reading the book, the forums etc.
    * Recovery day is an ok day for strength training
    * Recovery week – reduce volume of heavy lift sets by 50% but keep weight

    What other guidelines can we establish? Here are some ideas, looking for reactions and suggestions from David, Matt and/or AJ.

    * do not strength train before a run or swim workout (because form in the run or swim will be compromised)
    * do not strength train the day before or day of a threshold test (RT, CT) or the day before the 3 day CT/STT/RT block begins.
    * allow at least 2 days without strength training of the same muscle group(s) between strength training days
    * Do not strength train after (on the same day) zone 4 and zone 5 interval bike and run (e.g. RAn1) workouts
    * Race specific phase – reduce volume of the most intense weight exercises. Any guidance/rule of thumb for this reduction?
    * Race week gets modification – what kind of modification/reduction?

    Do you agree with each of these guidelines? Are any of these too rigid? What am I missing? What other moments in a training plan, besides recovery weeks with expectations of threshold tests, and race week should get special consideration.

    Thanks!

    #13316
    David Warden
    Keymaster

    Ted, great question.

    There are a few universal truths with strength training, but like most components of a training plan, there are many factors. What is a “rule” for Athlete A training for Distance B on Week C of the plan is not a rule for Athlete D training for Distance E on Week F of the plan. There are certainly strength rules that could apply to an individual all the time, but perhaps not universally for all athletes. Let me address what I can here. You’ll need to reference Chapter 18 of the book Triathlon Science for some of these terms and descriptions.

    do not strength train before a run or swim workout (because form in the run or swim will be compromised) Yeah, that’s universal for upper body strength training. If you swim with fatigued arms, form will go out the window. Form is disproportionally important in swimming compared to running and cycling.

    do not strength train the day before or day of a threshold test (RT, CT) or the day before the 3 day CT/STT/RT block begins. Depends on the phase of training. Performing sets of Anatomical Adaptation, Strength Maintenance, Competition Maintenance training is fine the day before a test. Those are light sets that fatigue very little. Maximum Transition and Maximum Strength sets are risky the day before a test, but can be performed by some athletes the day before. This is where genetics comes in. Some people recover easily from strength training, some do not.

    Also depends on the total load for the week and preceding week. Strength training the day before a test during a 18-hour week is a very different experience than during a 6-hour week.

    Regarding the CT/STT/RT pattern you’ve pointed out, I would not consider the STT fatiguing and a consideration (other than don’t strength train upper body before before a swim). You could perform the STT1 or STT2 every day and not have it impact fatigue. It’s really just 2 days of testing that introduces fatigue.

    allow at least 2 days without strength training of the same muscle group(s) between strength training days Yes, this is a good guideline for just about every athlete. I use this rule with almost no exceptions.

    Do not strength train after (on the same day) zone 4 and zone 5 interval bike and run (e.g. RAn1) workouts I’m very comfortable strength training after an interval workout in the Anatomical Adaptation, Strength Maintenance, and Competition Maintenance phases of training but yes, never before. Interestingly there is research that strength training before an easy long ride or run has some benefits.

    Race week gets modification – what kind of modification/reduction? I discuss this at length in Chapter 18 of the book Triathlon Science. An easy rule here would be to a) if you are unsure, just drop strength training the week of the event, b) just follow what AJ has written in the Premium plans or c) read that Chapter and create your own custom strength plan for race week. Strength training the week of a race is an advanced technique. If you do it well, it works. If you screw it up, you’re in trouble.

    If I were to write my own universal strength rules, it would be:

    – Strength training benefits every endurance athlete
    – It should be periodized
    – It should be functional (no cross-fit)
    – It should primarily promote slow twitch muscle
    – It should be the maximum effective dose
    – No upper body before swimming
    – No strength before intervals
    – There should enough recovery between sessions. This is the core of your question, how much recovery do you need? It really depends.

    David

    #13381
    tedc
    Participant

    Thanks, David! I am a happy owner of a copy of Triathlon Science and will reread that chapter of yours. I think a significant error I have been making is that I have been doing 10 reps at a certain weight where that 10th rep is basically the last rep I can do, so I’ve been going all out. I did a weight session yesterday with the same weights and stopping at 8 reps and I was able to do RCI3 today and didn’t feel as bad this morning. I also look forward to learning more about how to adjust for the strength training in the different phases of training so I can continue the training in an optimal manner as I progress through my training plan.

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