Now I’m a few weeks into Phase 1 (!) my off season plan I thought it time for an update. You may remember that back in July I posted Part 1 of my off season plan. By way of a recap I have included the November and December timetable below.
I was able to start the prep phase a week earlier than planned. This involved doing the same main lifts that I was aiming to do later only using less weight and number of sets. This phase was still painful though and I felt like my legs in particular were taking ages to recover. If you don’t do regular weight work then I can’t stress enough that easing yourself into it is a good idea. Firstly I think its sensible from an avoiding injury point of view. Secondly I think mentally it’s easy to carry on with something if you can still walk the day after doing it. Being in so much pain its hard to even walk round the office is not likely to have you rushing back. Having said that though you will still hurt, but to be fair a little bit of pain never hurt anyone. 😉
After 3 weeks of gradually increasing the number of sessions, the number of sets and the weight, I got to the point where I’m now doing the 4 sessions a week that I was aiming at. 2 sessions are strength/power and 2 are muscular endurance. I decided that the hypertrophy period wasn’t so important to me as my goals are stronger for longer not bigger legs. The sessions I’m doing are as follows, I’m really only going to go into detail (kinda) for the main lifts but I will include a list of all the exercises I’m doing.
This is clearly the main element of what I’m doing and is the only body part that is worked routinely in every session.
Monday & Thursday is Strength/Power, lifting in a 5×5 routine. (5 reps per set, 5 sets). Normally one “warm up” set at the start with slightly reduced weight, then 4 heavy sets.
Tuesday & Friday is Muscular Endurance, lifting in a 5×15 routine.
Exercises are Rack Squat, Leg Extension, Leg Curl and on Tuesday and Friday Calf raise (5×20).
During the prep phase I experimented with the order of these sessions and found that my legs recovered quicker from the 5×5 lifts than they did from the 5×15 lifts, hence the reason for doing the 5×15 on the day when I’m still recovering from the 5×5.
After I have done legs each session I’m also do a few upper body lifts; 2 or 3. The goal there is to strengthen my upper body generally, specially my core and back (as these are used heavily in cycling) but also to provide some balance for shoulders and chest. These are all done as 5×5 lifts and spread out over the week.
Exercises are Incline Bench Press (dumbbells), Bench Press (dumbbells), Shoulder Press (dumbbells), Barbell Dead Lift, Pull Up, Body Weight Inverted Row, Rear Delt Fly and Tricep Dips.
At the end of a session I also do some mini circuits normally involving 3 exercises. They are all generally core based and are performed one after another with no rest in between.
Exercises are Side Plank, Plank, Scissor Kicks, Russian Twist, Incline crunch, Weighted Hyper-extension, Quadruped Hip Extension and Glute Bridge.
On The Bike
Generally speaking I’m hardly riding the bike at the moment. I’m still commuting of course but other than that I’m not really riding evenings or weekends at the moment. This has reduced my miles considerably but I feel I’m getting the rest I need between the gym sessions. The gym sessions are quite intensive compared to what I’m used to, so proper rest in between is vital for my recovery and general well being. The last thing I want right now is the man flu. I’m currently doing about 60 (easy) miles per week.
The one thing I would say about this is that it is annoying to not be riding, after all its the joy of riding that has brought me here in the first place. I just keep telling myself that training is about making you better at stuff. Riding my bike for hours and my Cardio Vascular system are all pretty good, it’s always my legs that give out before my heart and lungs do so train the bit you aren’t so good at. In my case it’s the strength and muscle endurance so I need to do the gym work and in 6-8 weeks can start riding again and be faster for longer than ever before… lets hope so anyway.