Monday, February 15, 2010

Strength Training

You either like it or you don't. I am one of those that enjoy strength training. I usually begin hitting the weights around November and continue through March/April performing 2 days a week, and then reduce to 1 day a week once the season gets officially under way.

This off-season I will be working more on one of my weaknesses than I have in the past. I normally don't put too much effort into the "power" exercises (considering power is not that critical in ultra-endurance events). However, with the increase in age comes a decrease in power. I am just finishing up my final week of max strength workouts which focus on very heavy weights (80-90% of 1RM and few reps (4-8). Combining this with more skate skiing this winter, I have noticed a significant increase in strength. It will be interesting to see how this transfers to on-bike strength gains. Max strength workouts are great because not only are you making strength gains, but also burning fat at an extremely high rate. Timing of certain nutrients is more critical than most would think. As a rule of thumb, it's ideal to consume protein 60 min prior and within 60 min after workouts; the amount varies depending on body size. This time of year is when burning fat is most important, not during the season. Maintaining proper nutrition is also important, because what you put in your body now will affect how you feel in 4-6 months.

I have also been using a piece of strength equipment called TRX, which utilizes two straps attached to a wall (or door), for developing overall balance and core strength. TRX can give you a very functional workout because you are using your own body weight as resistance while incorporating full-body movements. TRX was designed by a former Navy Seal. For more info: TRX Suspension Training

My training volume on the bike this winter has been much less than in previous years because I have noticed that I get a little burned out towards the end of the season. Unfortunately, the months of July, August and September are when most of my priority races occur so I wanted to take a different approach this season and do more cross training. So far I can say I have enjoyed getting up to the mountains more often than usual. Besides, the days of riding the trainer have become much more of a chore than enjoyment. I figure if I can't ride outdoors due to weather conditions, I will use that time more efficiently.

Thanks for reading.

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