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Weightliftin and Cyclo-Cross(3 posts)

Weightliftin and Cyclo-CrossBAM MAN
Sep 17, 2001 8:38 AM
Yo...I'm trainin for the cyclo-cross season and was wondering when to lift weights...Should i do my squats, leg presses, etc...on the days i ride, or the days i dont, or everyother day...Also...do you know any good trainin rides that i could do that would improve the strengths I need for cyclocross...Thank you
Yo, Bam Manrollo tommassi
Sep 18, 2001 4:32 PM
I would assume that you are currently carrying good form from a regular season, so that is what I basing these suggestions on.

Cyclocross events are notoriously fast and furious. A typical event may only last 40minutes. Whew! Needless to say, this event is all about anaerobic conditioning. As this point in the season, your anaerobic level should be very good, so the transition from road to cross has more to do with fine tuning, peaking, and techniques specific to cross.

With that in mind, I would not reccomend weight lifting as a means to an end in regards to cross training. Certainly you can begin a lifting program, probably 2 or 3 days per week. However, it is best not to overload the body to the detriment of being able to perform at high anaerobic levels. Generally, on the days you do lift, you can ride, but only in total light light LIGHT (did i say 'light'?) gears. Recovery is as important as intervals.

So, if racing cross on Sunday, one schedule could look like this:
Sunday - race
Monday - off (or light light light ride) or only upper body/trunk weight work
Tuesday - lift (with or without light spin, even on trainer)
Wednesday - longer ride, medium intensity, no more than 2 hrs.
Thursday - intervals (on bike or running) 1 hr max, or lift.
Friday - cross specific drills (dismounts, runups) about 1 hour
Saturday - can be like Monday, or total rest if you feel like it. No lifting.

The one thing about cross is you have to practice the dismounts and the running with the bike on shoulder. I've seen the strongest riders around look like drunken bulls trying to do a clean dismount at speed. Funny, but sad! Build your own barricades - use cardboard first, that way it won't hurt so bad when you biff it - start slow and work out the moves.
re: Weightliftin and Cyclo-CrossWayne
Sep 19, 2001 4:44 AM
I would stop lifting with legs right now. If there is one training principle that is pretty well founded it is the one of specificity. If you want to run a marathon don't train for it by doing 100 meter sprints. Lifting legs at anywhere near the intensity to produce strength and size gains is going to leave little in the tank for Cross specific bike training. I lifted for years before I started cycling and continued to do so when I first started competing, I stopped last year as cross began and noticed a huge improvement in my ability to do high-intensity (i.e. intervals) bike workouts and my racing improved. Additionally, it takes alot less to maintain muscle mass than to build it, the forces you generate doing sprints, are probably sufficient to maintain any lower body mass you've developed through weightlifting. If doing well at cross is you're primary goal than train for that, if not and you really enjoy lifting legs then keep doing it, but I think you're cross performance will suffer.