Archive for December, 2018

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Over the last five years, we’ve seen the mainstream endurance world do a complete 180-degree turn related to the use of strength training for performance. This is a huge step in the right direction, and as we, a sporting culture, are beginning to better discern the bad information from the quality information, we should expect large strides in unlocking a whole new level of performance for the average cyclist and triathlete.

Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege to present at the USA Cycling Coaching Summit. It was a fantastic opportunity to help coaches and athletes get started on the right foot in the realm of strength training.

I also realized in my time at the conference, that there is a big focus in the cycling world on “specificity of movements” such as those we already use tens-of-thousands of times every ride. While the intention is to employ the S.A.I.D. Principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands), we might actually be missing the target high and wide.

So what should we be concentrating on instead?

When it comes to the general population, there is a focus on building bigger, stronger muscles, and much of the schooling for new personal trainers is geared towards this group. But, when it comes to training endurance athletes, we should actually have different intentions: performance and longevity.

To reach those outcomes, we can break things down into three primary goals:

Keeping the body in balance
Injury prevention
Increase performance

The order of these goals is incredibly important as focusing on keeping the body in balance will help us prevent injury and increase performance. Shuffle these around and you can quickly find yourself fighting unplanned battles that you simply don’t have the time or energy to win.

Taking these rules into consideration, we can begin to see how a limited strength training plan, which concentrates only on exercises like squats, lunges, hamstring curls, leg presses, and front planks, puts these goals at risk. Eventually, such a plan may lead to massive muscle imbalances and overuse of specifics muscles and joints resulting in a subsequent decrease in performance.

But, these exercises still have a place in strength training for cyclists. There is just far more that must be included in a well-rounded plan, especially for the upper body.

Incorporating the “Fundamental 5+1” movements

In order to see the most positive results, we have to think about working the body in ways that will help keep the joints in balanced positions. Doing so will will help the muscles function properly; this is quite literally “functional training”.

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That’s where the “Fundamental 5+1” movements come in. Every well-balanced strength training program should include all of the movements in order to build a better, more injury-resistant athlete:

Push
Pull
Squat
Hinge
Press
Rotary Stability

Notice anything? Only two of these movements are lower body dominant, and a third requires the upper and lower body to work together. That’s why a training plan that only concentrates on the lower body can ultimately be detrimental to an endurance athlete in the long term.

There are hundreds of exercises you can choose from for your athlete, and the most challenging part is to figure out which tool is best for that athlete at that time. My challenge to you is to build more well-rounded strength programs and make sure every exercise is leading to a more balanced athlete.

How are you planning to incorporate balanced exercises into your strength plans this year?

The post Where Endurance Strength Training Programs Often Go Wrong appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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All too often, athletes and coaches are strapped for time and looking for new training methods to get the most our of their workouts. If you are familiar with polarized training, you already know that a smart mix of high- and low-intensity workouts might be the perfect solution. But, are you actually approaching polarized training all wrong?

Dave Schell and Cody Stephenson sat down with renowned academic Stephen Seiler to discuss his research, how he applies it in his own training, and why you might be overcomplicating polarization.

   

Resources:

Stephen Seiler Twitter
Stephen Seiler ResearchGate
2018 Endurance Coaching Summit featuring Keynote Speaker Stephen Seiler (use coupon code CoachCastECS20 for 20 percent off)

The post CoachCast: Intelligent Intensity with Stephen Seiler appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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It’s that time of year again when it’s chilly outside and race season seems far off in the distance. Off-season has officially arrived. It’s the time when motivation dips and you can’t seem to get into your usual training groove. It seems like just about everybody can find an excuse to get out of a workout these days. We’ve all done it—and we all regret it.

To avoid the excuses from the start, set yourself up for success by working with a coach to develop a custom training plan just for you. Having a plan, even in these low months can be extremely motivating. Take the time to learn from your coach, ask questions to help you understand why certain workouts are incorporated into your schedule, and the purpose of each in your overall goals for the year. Knowing how that particular workout affects the others and what role it plays in ultimately meeting your goals is a huge motivator in and of itself.

For the times when that’s not enough and you still find yourself offering excuses, well now’s the time to start anticipating them and crafting your plan of attack. Here are some common off-season training excuses and solutions to get you back out there:

Excuse: I had a bad day at the office and I’m mentally and physically drained.

Solution: Move your workouts to early mornings. Not only will the cool air feel good, but now you will feel energized the rest of the day and have the evening to relax and prepare for your next workout.

Excuse: I have to watch my kids.

Solution: Investing in a running stroller, putting your bike on the trainer at home, or having the kids help keep your splits at the track are all great ways to get the family involved in your training. The kids will have a great time helping keep you on pace.

Excuse: I get injured when I workout. What’s the point?

Solution: First off, talk to your doctor to make sure you are clear to run before you start your comeback. Then, right away have your running form analyzed by a professional to make sure you are wearing the proper shoes. A number of running related pains and injuries are a direct result of running in the wrong shoes. Also be sure to incorporate cross training and strength conditioning to build a strong core and lower body strength.

Excuse: It’s too dark before and after work to train.

Solution: Get some more gear! There are great headlamps out on the market right now with progressive lighting that are powerful and lightweight. Invest in a reflective vest and warm, layered clothing to be sure you’re seen out there on the dark road and you’re toasty while you’re doing it.

Excuse: I’m too tired.

Solution: You likely need more sleep. Go to bed early. Give yourself time to relax in the evenings before going to bed to help ensure a better night’s rest. Shut off the electronics an hour before bedtime, read a book and drink some chamomile tea. Sleep is a valuable, and often overlooked, aspect of recovery.

Excuse: It’s too cold.

Solution: It very well may be cold out there. But that’s just another reason to dress for your workout. People train in all types of weather just fine using some smart preparation before they head out the door. And once you start moving the cold air usually starts to feel good. If it’s truly too cold outside, then simply head indoors.  These indoor training workouts are great ways to stay on top of your fitness no matter what it looks like outside.

Don’t worry if you fall victim to one or two of these excuses during the off season. It happens to us all. Now is the best time to set yourself up mentally for a strong year and if hitting the snooze button once or twice helps, think of it as your reward for the amazing season you are starting to dream about.

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