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I am Walt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Without getting into whatever one’s specific training routine is on the bike, what is a decent, 1x per week “Leg Day” for the gym that will complement the on-bike training?

And a second, related question: Is it better to do said Leg Day earlier in the week (Mon/Tues) or later in the week (Thurs/Fri), given a typical riding routine of mid-week (Weds) HIT, a couple other days during the week of Z1 rides, and long MTB rides on Sat/Sun?

I lift hard in the gym 3x per week, but all upper body, because I’ve always figured, “I ride a lot so I don’t have to do legs”, but am considering switching one of my upper body lifting days for a Leg Day to help my riding. Appreciate any input!

FWIW, I am primarily a SS endurance rider/racer (solo 12/24-hour, marathon distance) and am getting into stage racing (on a geared bike, of course...LOL).


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Up In Smoke
Dirt Roadë
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I prefer to get my leg workouts done twice a week on the eve of a rest day. That's usually after a good morning workout on the bike. Nothing crazy, just some deadlifts, squats, and lunges. If I had access to a full gym I might do some more isolated exercises though.
 

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During Mtn Bike season, I continue to squat 3x a week, but with only a single “heavy” day following a complete rest day. Sessions 2 and 3 are both “light” days with the 3rd session being a Deload. I cut the volume back significantly and use triples instead of 5s for my “heavy” work sets.

Heavy day squats:
2x3 (two sets of three) at maximum effort
1x5 back off at a 10-12% reduction in weight

Light day
2x5 (two sets of 5) at 20% offload of heavy day’s work sets.

Deload day
3x5 at 50% offload of Monday

Heavy triples allow for high intensity but are not near as fatiguing at “heavy” sets of 5. During Mtn Bike season, I may add weight to the bar every 2 weeks or so while making progress for the first 4-6 weeks, however, eventually, I’ll start to get weaker as I add an increasing amount of Bike volume. At that point, the goal is just to maintain as much strength as possible for as long as possible. Finding the right combination of intensity vs. volume for “in season” is going to be highly individual deplaning on your age, sex, and training background.

I use this template 3x a week with a day between sessions 1 and 2 and 2 days off after session 3.

Day 1:
Heavy Backsquat
heavy Press
Light pulling (power snatches)

Day 2:
Light Backsquat
Light Press
Heavy pulling (deadlift)

Day 3:
Deload Backsquat
Medium Press
Medium pull (power Clean)
Accessories: Chin ups and Dips


Eventually, biking volume builds to where I drop strength training to 2x a week, where it becomes Heavy/Light:

Day 1
Heavy squat
Heavy press
Heavy pull

Day 2
Light squat
Light press
Light pull
 

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I lift hard in the gym 3x per week, but all upper body, because I've always figured, "I ride a lot so I don't have to do legs", but am considering switching one of my upper body lifting days for a Leg Day to help my riding. Appreciate any input!
Lol, nice excuse.

As a cyclist and if you are just gonna do 1 workout of lower body per week I would suggest to focus on muscle imbalances caused by cycling.

You need to offset the quad imbalance with hamstring and glute exercises.

Best that come to mind are dead lifts and glute bridges. Since you are gonna do them only 1 per week it will be fine if you do both of these in the same workout.

Next in importance is the lower back, since you work the upper body you might already work it, but if not you should incorporate some exercises for this area.

Supermans, barbell rows, good mornings(very technical).

However since you are already working out your lower back with dead lifts you might be better off leaving these exercises for cycling days, take 5 minutes do 5 sets of 30 seconds and you are done.

Third and last, I would focus on lower core exercises, plenty to choose from, you can do the deadlifts and glute bridge and then do a lower core workout routine. As a cyclist I don't think you need anything more.

A lot of knee pain issues come from super developed quads, I have experienced it, my friends have as well. Hard to correct, might take more than 1 workout per week.
 

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Since you're primarily a single speeder, you are already getting more leg "workout" than the typical mtb racer.

I'd still do some leg work, especially in the off season. Mine mimics Train Wreck's:

"Nothing crazy, just some deadlifts, squats, and lunges."
 

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Up In Smoke
Dirt Roadë
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I recently came across this interesting diagram that could be helpful, especially if you're interested in doing some isolated movements.

Colorfulness Circle Diagram
 

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Have you seen the Norwegian cycling/lifting studies?

During race season, they had a control group lift one day a week and had improvements not seen by the "riding only" group.

Their lifts were simple, 4 sets of 10 of:
-Bar squats
-Squats, one leg at a time
-Cable leg raise (to simulate pedal upstroke?)
-Calve raise

I can't remember how they integrated the weightlifting into training week, but IMO it's best to do as a second workout after intervals, or night before a rest day. If it's a low volume week then it can replace bike workout for that day.

I like to give TSS for weightlifting in Training Peaks just to account for the added load. Some weeks it seems like the hardest workout!
 
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