Why resistance training?
Carmichael doesn't prescribe weight training to gain power, only to gain strength. Power is then obtained through specific training -- i.e. training on the bike. That is why he uses the term "resistance training" rather than just "weight training".
On-the-Bike Resistance Training
A good warm-up and proper form are essential in on-the-bike resistance training (and work in the gym) to avoid injury. HR is irrelevant in all of these workouts. There are three types of on-the-bike resistance training workouts:
These increase peak power. The rider begins at a dead stop in a big gear (one of the largest gears on bike) and then, out of the saddle, pedals as hard as possible for about eight seconds (until he/she just barely begins to get on top of the gear). Form is critical in this exercise. The transfer of power must be from the hips and down. The rider is out of the saddle with the hips square to the direction of motion. The upper body should be relatively quiet.
This workout will produce some soreness. It can put severe stress on the back. It is not as dangerous to the knees as might be expected because being out of the saddle opens up the angle behind the knee, reducing patellar stress. This workout must be performed on a bike, not on a trainer, due to the dynamic motion required.
There should be no more than six or seven efforts per workout, with full recovery in between. If the rider is using a power meter, then he/she should definitely end the workout when peak power drops more than 5% from one effort to the next.
These increase sustained power. They last from 15 to 20 seconds, and thus will produce some lactic acid build-up. They are painful, but the training helps the rider learn to better tolerate lactic acid.
The first stomp interval workout should begin with the rider rolling at about 15mph in a big gear on flat terrain, then he/she starts stomping while remaining in the saddle. As the rider becomes stronger, the efforts are lengthened from 15 to 20 seconds, and then the starting speed is reduced (which also makes the workout harder).
Stomp intervals can be done on a trainer. They can be quite stressful on the knees, so care must be taken. There should be no more than six repetitions, and generally three or four is sufficient. There must be full recovery between efforts.
This workout is for sustainable strength and recruits fast twitch muscle fibers while athlete works aerobically. The workout consists of pedalling at very low cadence (about 50rpm) in a big gear up a hill or on a trainer for five to 15 minutes at a time in the saddle, focusing on leg strength and power. The workout should remain aerobic in terms of heart rate. There should be a full rest between efforts -- generally the rest period should equal the length of the work period.
Muscle tensions workouts can be stressful on the knees and lower back.
Due to the low cadence at the start of each effort in power starts and stomp intervals and throughout muscle tension efforts, the rider can pay good attention to improving pedalling technique by applying more power as foot pulls across bottom of pedal stroke and kicks over the top.
Weight Training Movements
Upper body pulling exercises
Upper body pushing exercises
Generally athletes should only do one or two pulling and oneor two pushing exercises per workout. Carmichael often prescribesa little more upper body work for women.
Upper body work gives athletes a better sense of balance andreminds them how weak and over-specialized they are.
Lower back exercises
Lower body exercises
Carmichael prefers leg presses to squats for safety. Squats can be done safely if the athlete is experienced enough but, given the short number of weeks the athlete is in the gym, it is generally better to play it safe with leg presses, which provide similar benefits. Both strengthen the quadriceps, which are prime movers for cycling, and also the important hamstrings and butt muscles.
Generally, squats and leg presses should be performed only through the same range of motion as in cycling. Too much knee flexion can over-stress the knees. Leg (knee) extensions should be avoided because they put a dangerous load on the patella.
These specific exercises Carmichael recommends are simple and give good results. If the athlete is experienced with other exercises that also provide results, they can be used instead. The key priority in the gym must be avoiding injury.
Carmichael used to not believe in stretching, but now views it as beneficial. Flexibility in the hamstrings, lower back and quadriceps is important. It can help the athlete ride in a more aerodynamic position and also avoid overuse injury.
Periodizing Resistance Training
Resistance Training Transition Phase
Resistance Training Foundation Phase
Strength Training Phase
Gym work has ended; all resistance work is on the bike.
While resistance training is very important, Carmichael will reduce or even drop resistance training if it is interfering with needed aerobic workouts. He assesses the overall training by constantly asking:
Note that strength gains will deteriorate once resistance training stops; this is inevitable. To maintain or rebuild strength and power, on-the-bike resistance workouts can be cycled into training in-season. When this is done, the proper order -- power starts workouts, then stomp intervals, then muscle tension workouts -- is maintained.
Notes hosted by Century-SBCG.