Coach's Column with Andy Applegate: Core and Strength Training During the Race Season - Yes or No?
Question: I have been doing strength training and core workouts throughout
the off-season, should I continue with both into the race season?
Answer: Wow, a question I can almost answer with a single word: yes. BUT
there are a lot of considerations to account for as well. Core strengthening
work should certainly continue year round. You may want to attenuate the amount
of time you spend on it during the season though. Generally doing 15-20 minutes
of core work 2 or 3 times per week during the heavy training and racing part of
the season is plenty.
For the full
body strength work, you can continue some throughout the season, however you
will want to cut back substantially as the ride training increases and your
races approach. Also, you will want to change your mindset for the goal of
these sessions from "building strength” to "maintaining strength”. The sessions
should become shorter with less exercises and less overall stress. You could
move to 2 or even 1 session per week in order to accomplish this maintenance
you are riding a lot and training hard on the bike, minimize the strength
exercises that work the cycling prime mover muscle groups (hip extensor
exercises in particular such as squats, dead lifts, leg press etc). Do however
continue to work support muscle groups like back, shoulders and even
that in the heat of the ride/ race season, strength work should be secondary to
on-bike training. If you are fatigued and need to cut back on workout time,
don’t be afraid to skip that extra strength work before cutting any important
Andy Applegate is a Pro level coach with Carmichael
Training Systems. He has over 20 years of racing experience and has been
coaching cyclists full time since 2001. His passion is endurance mountain bike
racing. We would like to welcome Andy to our amazing group of elite coaches.
You can find out more about Andy and his training programs at www.trainright.com