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Strength training. Soreness and other questions...(27 posts)

Strength training. Soreness and other questions...Kristin
Jan 10, 2003 7:59 AM
I just started a strength training program and holy cow am I sore. My hams felt like they were an inch long yesterday. Stretching is my new best friend. Is there any reason I shouldn't do a circuit today if I'm still sore from Wednesday's workout?

The program I'm using has 6 phases:
AA: anatomical adaptation
MS: maximum strength
PC: power endurance
ME: muscular endurance
PM: power maintenance
EM: endurance maintenance

Is this program used only by cyclists, or by all kinds of atheletes?

Why a phased program? Everyone in the gym seems to think that more that 15 reps is BAAAAAD.

I can't complete all 6 phases before I begin my spring training schedule. Should I break of strength training before beginning the spring schedule (which calls for AA strength training)? Or should I adapt the spring schedule to accomidate the strength phase I'm currently in?
The soreness is normal; here's the rule...retro
Jan 10, 2003 8:29 AM
The mechanism of resistance training, somewhat simplified, involves breaking the muscle down a little by working it, so it grows back stronger. Soreness is normal--you may have overdone it a bit, but it's not a big issue. Aspirin or ibuprofen will reduce the discomfort; Tylenol works less well because it doesn't help against inflammation.
As a rule, if the soreness goes away as you warm up, it's fine to work out. If it gets worse, or if it's in a joint rather than along the muscles themselves, then you may have an injury and you probably should give it a rest.
Some general things...Wayne
Jan 10, 2003 8:37 AM
I assume those terms are from Friel, I don't know if he made them up or got them from someplace else, but I don't think they're universally used (I use to lift alot, some powerlifting, etc. and I don't remember those terms being used).

That being said, his system is for people who don't lift year round or are coming into it after not lifting for awhile so it makes sense to take some time to ease into it or you will get incredibly sore. Obviously you didnt ease into it quite light enough! I think that's the main reason for the phased program.

Common opinion used to be to not train a muscle again if it was still sore from a previous workout.
Yes high reps, like above 12, do relatively little to increase the size or strength of the muscle so most weightlifters avoid them like the plague.

I would recommend doing 10 to 12 reps of exercises that target cycling muscles (quads and glutes, and to a lesser extent hamstrings, calves, spinal erectors, abs). Start off with a light weight that you can do 12 reps no problem, do a couple of sets of each exercise. Gradually increase the weight for the next session until you get to the point that doing the last rep is very hard to complete. Maybe keep increasing the weight and lower your rep goals to 8 to 10, then 5 to 8. If you can do the highest rep goal in the range, increase the weight, if you can't even do the lowest rep goal you've using too much weight. Soreness should peak about 24 ot 48 hours after a session, and then gradually decrease. If it's there for more than 3 or 4 days you're probably over doing it. It's not much more complicated than that to produce size and strength gains. Just stress the muscle by having it produce sufficiently high forces and it will get stronger and bigger.
Functional Weight TrainingJon Billheimer
Jan 10, 2003 8:53 AM
The periodized program which you're considering is probably from Joe Friel's work. His work, however, is based on the classic work of Tudor Bompa, who is the father of periodization and functional sport-specific strength training. This kind of training is definitely different from either powerlifting or bodybuilding type of training. Most elite athletes when strength training follow some version of Bompa's template.

My advice would be to go ahead and follow your program until you start your century training, then go with Gale Bernhardt's program, which by the way, also follow's Bompa's periodization model. In your current AA phase go easy and give your body time to adapt; that's what all your soreness is telling you.

Finally, the reason the gym rats think 12 or 15 reps is way too high is that they follow the general bodybuilding oriented program which emphasizes muscle hypertrophy only. High reps and light weights enable your body to neurologically "learn" to lift without placing undue stress on joints and connective tissue. Later on you will enter a phase--if you stay with the program long enough--which includes 30 rep sets to build muscular endurance, while the strength and power phases feature much lower repetitions. Hope this helps.
Hmmm...more questions.Kristin
Jan 10, 2003 9:18 AM
The plan is written by Gale Bernhardt, but after visiting I see that she and Freil are in cohoots. I'll show you how it looks. I'd love your opinion.

Phase AA (anatomical adaptation)
4-10 weeks
2-3 days/week
40-60% max
3-5 Sets in Circuit
20-30 Reps
1-1.5 minutes RI
Excercises: 1)Squat, 2)Seated row, 3)Back extension, 4)Setup-up, 5)Bench press, 6)weakness option: knee extenstion or leg curl, 7)Cruch, 8)Lat pull

Phase MS (maximum strength)
3-6 weeks
2 days/week
80-95% max
3-8 Sets
3-6 Reps
2-4 minutes RI
Excercises: Step-up, Seated row, [Back extension or chest press], heel raise, knee extension, leg curl, or abs]

Phase PE (power endurance)
3-6 weeks
2 days/week
65-85% max
3-5 Sets
8-15 reps
3-5 minutes RI
Excercises: Step-up, [Seated row or Abs], [heel raise, knee extension, leg curl, or back extension]

Phase ME (muscular endurance)
2-8 weeks
1-2 days/week
30-50% max
2-4 Sets
40-60 Reps
1-2 minutes RI
Excercises: Step-up, Seated row, [Back extension, chest press], heel raise, knee extension, leg curl, or abs]

Phase PM (Power Maintenance)
2+ weeks
1 days/week
65-85% max
1-3 Sets
10-15 Reps
3-5 minutes RI
Excercises: Step-up, Seated row, [Back extension, chest press], heel raise, knee extension, leg curl, or abs]

Phase EM (endurance maintenance)
2-3 weeks
1 days/week
40-60% max
1-2 Sets
30-40 Reps
1-2 minutes RI
Excercises: Step-up, Seated row, [Back extension, chest press], heel raise, knee extension, leg curl, or abs]
I found out why I was so soreKristin
Jan 10, 2003 9:19 AM
I misread the program and completed a circuit of 13 excercises (some advanced that I should not be doing), in stead of just 9! Oops.
Hmmm...more questions.Jon Billheimer
Jan 10, 2003 9:27 AM
I thought you realized that Gale Bernhardt is one of Joe Friel's staff coaches. The only part of the Bompa program that I personally have found difficult to cope with is the muscular endurance portion, since it features very high volume at the same time usually that you're also increasing the volume of training on the bike. This may be partially due to my age, however. Again, follow your body. If the strength training is taking too much out of you to the point that it's compromising your on-bike work, cut back either in volume or frequency. Use a little common sense and you'll be just fine.
Jan 10, 2003 11:27 AM
This is an excellent program. You are starting a little late but its ok as long as you dont have an early peak season. Otherwise, I started a similar program about 2 1/2 months ago ad have seen HUGE improvments. With the exception of naturally strong and usually heavier riders, weights are imperative to great performance. Use a 12-27 andhigh cadence for your legs to keep them fresh until racing starts or keep the 27. Also try doing more " core " strengthing too, lower back, cruchs on the side and adding weight over time. Perfext proggram just follow it 3 x a week and make sure you have a rest day with no bike and no gym
re: Strength training. Soreness and other questions...PEDDLEFOOT
Jan 10, 2003 8:50 AM
If you are as sore as you indicate by your description I would reccomend you take one more day off of the strength training and do some light cardio low impact with stretching after the workout.Don't stretch the muscles cold especially if they are sore.Do a lght warm up if you want to stretch before the workout.

If you are sore 2 to 3 days after a new workout it usually means that you over did it.Let the muscles recover from the stess before lifting again.No pain no gain attitudes usually result in injury.Be careful.
Everyone is different--Listen to your body, get pro adviceContinental
Jan 10, 2003 9:15 AM
I'm not an elite athlete. I have done strength training 24 of the last 28 years (4 "lazy" years during which our 3 kids were born). At 44 I have 9% body fat and can chin myself 12 times. Using standardized programs never gave me optimum results because my body rebuilds slower than average. When I tried to follow "by the book" weight lifting programs I got good initial gains, then fatigue would set in and I would actually lose strength, and my legs were so dead that my aerobic workouts suffered. I worked with a personal certified trainer and I got better results by working less intensely and less frequently. On the other hand, I have seen people follow some very intense training regimens and get amazing increases in strength and power while losing many pounds of fat. My advice is to try the regimen and push yourself hard. You should see weekly increases in strength. If you lose strength and energy, talk to a competent certified fitness instructor. And watch out, there is more bad advice given out in gyms than there is on Wall Street.
More thoughtsvindicator
Jan 10, 2003 9:39 AM
I can't claim any special expertise, esp. re strength training for cycling, but I've read Friel and have just started a program for myself similar to yours, and I used to strength train quite a bit in connection with running in days gone by.

It sounds to me like Wed.'s workout may have been your first workout with weights ever? If that's the case, I can't imagine you WOULDN'T be sore no matter how easy you took it. The whole point of AA is to ease your body into resistance training, so I'd put the emphasis on ease. Maybe take one extra day off this time and then ease back in by starting at the low end of everything - 2 days a week, not three, 40% of max, not 60, 3 sets not 5, etc. Maybe even 2 sets the first week. Within a couple of weeks, keeping the weights at the low end, try increasing to 3 days/week and/or the number of sets. Once you're at the max for sets and frequency, slowly increase the weight once per session if you can complete 30 reps of that particular exercise each set and not be really straining on the last one.

As for Spring, tough question. Friel definitely recommends against cutting any of the phases short. Maybe pick MS, PE, or ME depending on which you think will help you best eliminate your limiter. Complete AA, then whichever one phase you pick out of MS, PE, or ME, then go into maintenance during your season. Then next year, start AA in October/November or so and you'll have time to go through all the phases before the season starts. This is what I'm doing, and I'll just do MS this year after AA is done.

My suggestions, FWIW...
re: Strength training. Soreness and other questions...Spunout
Jan 10, 2003 9:55 AM
If your goals are mainly century riding, I'd drop the MS portion. What are your weaknesses? Strengths? You could customize that program a bit.

Do as much AA as you can fit in.

BTW, here is some interesting reading that may blow holes in your current program:

If you want to be a weightlifter, then lift weights. If you want to be a cyclist...
I think it's perceived effort that confuses...Wayne
Jan 10, 2003 10:21 AM
so many people. They think it hurts climbing a hill or even sprinting up one, in much the same way it may hurt at the end of an intense weightlifting set and conclude (wrongly) that the same limiters are at work. Even in a sprint the actual force the muscle is producing is so much less because of 1) fatigue 2) the force-velocity relationship and 3) the amount of time that force needs to be maintained (or repeated) than when lifting weights at anything more than a very light load.
I use to think weightlifting was pretty much a waste of time if your goal was to improve your cycling. But there have now been a couple of studies showing it may improve very short term peak power. But then again I suspect doing sprints or high-power efforts on the bike would be as or more effective.
Agreed. But then...Spunout
Jan 10, 2003 10:43 AM
Maybe we should gather our resources regarding 'on-bike' strength training and see what we come up with.

My suggestions:

Any kind of Hill-ervals: High cadence, low cadence, ultra-low cadence and big gear, etc. Repeat with a bigger gear and lower cadence(is this a Lance workout?).

Sprints: from spinning your recovery gear(39/17), hit your 53/12 and jump on it until you are spinning at 140 rpm. Recover. Repeat until you vomit a lung.
Jan 10, 2003 9:59 AM
ok, I am by no means an expert what-so-ever! From my experience and inquiries, it seems that by doing more reps (at what ever weight makes that possible) you are definately increasing your muscular endurance, but not necessarily increasing your muscle mass - just recruiting more muscle fibers to work for you. Some world class alpinists have written on the subject and believe a training program with high repetitions will increase muscular strength and endurance but not mass - obviously important for something like ice climbing or rock climbing where you are doing many 'pull up' type motions repetitively.

I guess you need to figure out what your training goals are - programs will be different based upon your need for sheer explosive strength, body mass increase or decrease, body toning, or endurance.

It certaintly is an interesting subject and like most things, the more knowledge you can get the better you can figure out what works for you.

man, I really need to get back to the gym!
Weren't you starting a new cycling program recently?dzrider
Jan 10, 2003 10:27 AM
It seems like a lot of new things at the same time. IMHO the mental side of exercise is, over the long haul, more significant than the physical. I believe it's why, at 54, I'm still at it. Your body will not work out until your mind first decides that you want to and gets your ass out of bed or off the couch to do it. The programs you've found will certainly work to get you in great shape, but my mind would have no enthusiasm for getting out and doing them. I think all this stuff should be fun.

Don't fear a little muscular soreness. It's an inevitable part of progress. Set goals and find programs that will help you reach them. I don't know what your goals are, but IMHO it's a mistake to struggle with fitness programs designed for competitive athletes if all you really want is to stay in decent shape and be comfortable for long rides.
Weren't you starting a new cycling program recently?wasabekid
Jan 10, 2003 11:50 AM
Good basic common sense advice!!!

Sometimes people forget to make an honest assesment (baseline) of their personal capabilities let alone start a training program based on a book that is catered to already trained/sometimes well trained athletes, then set a (realistic) incremental achievable goal over the longterm of the program.

Simply put: go slow, have fun, avoid unnecessary risk to injury (too much too fast, will just slow you down), injury free training with tangible progressive results will keep you motivated.

This then will put you on a self-perpetuating cycle:
the more you feel good/strong --> the more you are motivated --> the more you like training --> the more you feel good... and so on...

Good Luck!

Who was this book written for?Kristin
Jan 10, 2003 12:25 PM
I agree with everything you said, but I'm going to call you on one comment--just because its one of my pet peeves.

"let alone start a training program based on a book that is catered to already trained/sometimes well trained athletes..."

What book am I using?
Who does it target?
Sorry, I forgot to add some smiley's so you don't think I'm blowing a gasketKristin
Jan 10, 2003 12:38 PM
Sorry, I forgot to add some smiley's so you don't think I'm blowing a gasketwasabekid
Jan 10, 2003 1:16 PM
I do regard your response as fair and you further lightened up the mood with this last post.

Not having specifically read your book, I was speaking in general terms. Because when I started cycling again 4 yrs ago, a lot of the books I looked at seemed to be "supplemental" training books for "already" trained athletes. Until I found Carmichaels' book which addresses fundamental assessment and the range of recommended training program is such that you can design one yourself
depending on how slow/fast you want to go, how much time you have, how your body responds.

In short I think he is saying:

I don't really know who you are but I will teach you how to design a training program for yourself and how to asses whether it's working for you and to adjust accordingly.

The disadvantage of web posts' communication is does not give justice to the nuances such as facial expression, body language, tone of voice & speed of speech a personal conversation would.

In short I can post:


and you may take it to mean a lot different than I would in person ;-))

Cheers, W.
Yep. I'm starting that program in the spring. nmKristin
Jan 10, 2003 12:22 PM
Stretching during your workout?Matt Britter
Jan 10, 2003 10:37 AM
I have been following Friel program since Oct. I after re-reading his book for the forth time (also subscribe to web site) I missed the part about stretching DURING the workout. Since I do a yoga classes four times a week I never really payed attention to this in his book, figured I got enough stretching already.

Well it makes a big difference on how you feel post workout. So, during your rest between sets stretch that muscle you just worked!
Agreed, spend time 1:1 weights:stretching. Yoga rocks! nmSpunout
Jan 10, 2003 10:47 AM
Yeah, I just started Yoga. I'm loving it.Kristin
Jan 10, 2003 11:10 AM
My winter schedule for the first 6 weeks will be:

Monday, Strength AA
Wednesday, Yoga
Friday, Strength AA

But I'm going to implement 15+ minutes of stretching 5+ nights a week, followed by 5-15 minutes breathing/relaxation.

I used to keep my Palm Pilot by my bed. I had some games on it and would play them before falling asleep. Gave me bad insomnia--would wake up at 2am every night. Since meditating at night, I'm sleeping at least 8 hours.
Well, then this ought to be a fun experiment, eh?Kristin
Jan 10, 2003 11:03 AM
It sounds like there is much debate between the elite level coaches about what is and what is not important/useful. So, it will be interesting for me to see if I feel whether or not this program provides any benefit...though how can it not? I'm so out of shape.

What are my goals you ask? Core strength and flexibility.

Core strength. My first two years on the road bike were rather uncomfortable. While this is hotly debated, I do believe that part of my discomfort comes from the fact that most of my muscle groups (besides my Quads) are pretty weak. My Abs and Glutes are very weak and my Lats are non-existent. While I agree that cycling is the best training for cycling, it stands to reason that various mucles groups will acclimate and strengthen at different rates. The primary leg muscles get worked extensively when I'm on the bike. But do my Lats? No, not really. So their weakness becomes my misery. Its my hope that stronger Lats, Abs and Glutes will save me from placing so much weight on my pelvis and hands when I ride, and therefore will releive tension from my lower back/shoulders, neck and hands. Could a cycling only schedule increase my core strength? Sure. But I it would take much longer than doing a strength program using weights.

Flexibility. I believe that most of my injuries stem from a lack of flexibility. Getting on a good stretching regimine should help me avoid some of those injuries going forward. (Crossing my fingers).

I've been off the bike now since November (same as last year), and am in roughly the same shape I was last year at this time. So this is a good time to do such an experiment. I'll post another report specifically at the start of my riding season to let you know what, if any, changes I feel while on the bike.
Generality vs. SpecificityJon Billheimer
Jan 10, 2003 11:42 AM
The specificity rule applies for the most part to already fit athletes who wish to improve their specific sport performance. However in order for one to reach that level of sport proficiency one needs to be generally fit and conditioned. So a generalized strength training program for most of us is going to be of benefit, even though it is true that once fit strength training per se will not make you faster on the bike.

As you describe yourself, Kristin, this program will be of great benefit to you. Consistency and progressiveness are the keys to any program. As long as your program has these two characteristics you will become stronger, fitter, and more athletic.
Well, then this ought to be a fun experiment, eh?snapdragen
Jan 10, 2003 8:37 PM

If you are going to a gym, check and see if they have a Pilates program. This did amazing things for my core - more than any crunches/situps/whatever.