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Strength training pros and cons

 

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mauricemaher

Oct 2, 12 13:50

Post #1 of 103 (5511 views)
Strength training pros and cons Quote | Reply

I found an old thread on strength training from 2008, and was wondering if we could start up the debate again, perhaps with opinions on new research etc.

I am hoping to hear form athletes, coaches and some of those folks out there with a few letters in front of their names

The old thread kind of turned into a "good vs bad" argument with no real conclusion either way. Lots of one liners, you're wrong-I'm right etc.

So, I was hoping that when people voice their opinion on strength training they could describe, in more detail what they are "fore or against" and perhaps back it up with studies, personal experience and what has worked for coaches out there.

For example, I consider physio (strengthens inured joint structure), big gear on the bike (could help with power on the flats) and hilly trail runs (helps with stabilizers, and running strength) to be a form of "strength" training.

Thoughts?
Maurice

http://www.multisportsolutions.com


Aqua Man

Oct 2, 12 14:35

Post #2 of 103 (5455 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The pros and cons are going to depend on what your goals are for strength training.

If you think doing lots of squats will make you faster than it's a con since you are wasting your time doing squats instead of biking.

If you are looking to improve joint stability and thereby reduce your risk of injury then it's a pro.

It should definitely be a huge part of your pre-seaon training as a means of improving your overall fitness. And it should be made a smaller and smaller portion of your training as you move closer to your A race.

At the end of the day triathlon is an endurance sport so make sure the focus is endurance. Your ability to squat 500lb once matters little when you will be peddling 90 rpm for 6 hours.

Also keep in mind that things like "hill training" and "big gear work" are closer to VO2max work, and not strength training in the traditional sense of the word.


FrançoisM

Oct 2, 12 14:41

Post #3 of 103 (5440 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Cons: takes time away from training. If you have an hour to spare, you're better off swimming, cycling or running.

Pros: those doing strength may end up cross fitting and leave triathlon. Less congested courses.

--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.fmcoaching.com / http://elpasotricoaching.wordpress.com


cannastar

Oct 2, 12 14:43

Post #4 of 103 (5435 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Strength training helps reduce chances of injury and has marginal performance improvements. However if you are not training st least 15hrs a week, that time would be better spent doing proper training.

A good compromise can be 15mins of core/stretching working before a swim or after an easy run. That's what I do.

__________________________________________________
http://willrc91.blogspot.com ---- http://twitter.com/willrc91


David B

Oct 2, 12 14:58

Post #5 of 103 (5404 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [cannastar] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

As a strength coach I tell my people who do tri/running up front that they are better off spending their time doing the things they are training for, not spending the time in the gym lifting stuff with me. However, often I'll spend about an hour a week with them going over their training plans, working on "core" strength and any other joints they need strengthened or even just going over technique and thresholds. I'm a firm believer in strength, but I'm also a firm believer that if you want to be faster at swim/bike/run then you have to do that first - a lot - and get good at it.


Strength coach and post rehab injury specialist. Check out my blog at http://www.paradigmfitnessottawa.com.


Aqua Man

Oct 2, 12 15:02

Post #6 of 103 (5394 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [FrançoisM] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

FrançoisM wrote:
Cons: takes time away from training. If you have an hour to spare, you're better off swimming, cycling or running.

Strength training is also going to make you tired/fatigued which will impact your main training sets. Some times it's better to rest. If you are going in and doing huge leg sets it's going to have an impact, similar to if you went and did a bunch of hill repeats. That fatigue is going to carry forward into your next few workouts.

I rank it in importance with laundry. If all my clothes are clean I'll go to the gym. If there is a lot of crap at home piling up I'm better off doing chores.


mauricemaher

Oct 2, 12 15:14

Post #7 of 103 (5366 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Aqua Man] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Aqua Man wrote:
The pros and cons are going to depend on what your goals are for strength training.

If you think doing lots of squats will make you faster than it's a con since you are wasting your time doing squats instead of biking.

If you are looking to improve joint stability and thereby reduce your risk of injury then it's a pro.

It should definitely be a huge part of your pre-seaon training as a means of improving your overall fitness. And it should be made a smaller and smaller portion of your training as you move closer to your A race.

At the end of the day triathlon is an endurance sport so make sure the focus is endurance. Your ability to squat 500lb once matters little when you will be peddling 90 rpm for 6 hours.

Also keep in mind that things like "hill training" and "big gear work" are closer to VO2max work, and not strength training in the traditional sense of the word.

Good points,

For me the goal for strength training is two-fold: injury prevention on the run and power development at certain intensities on the bike.

You are correct in that big gear, hill/trails on the run and paddle on the swim have a heavy aerobic (or anaerobic depending on how you do them) component to them, but because there is also a sports specific strength component to them, I loosely describe them as "strength" workouts, usually implemented after all of the "non-specific" work (early-mid april)

http://www.multisportsolutions.com


Aqua Man

Oct 2, 12 15:30

Post #8 of 103 (5322 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

mauricemaher wrote:
power development at certain intensities on the bike.

For this don't waste your time in the gym. If you consider that on the bike
power = torque x rpm, where torque = force x distance
power = force x crank length x rpm, where force is what you press on the pedal, so

force = rpm x crank length / power

You can plot this on a chart known as a quadrant analysis
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/...adrant-analysis.aspx

What's really interesting is that as you pedal slower and slower you eventually get your maximum applied force, which is essentially the most you could possible push in a leg press. That number tends to be up around 800. But when you're biking you're never actually doing that, and the force you apply is closer to 200.

The point of all this is that spending 2 hours in the gym doing squats will certainly raise that maximum force, but won't actually translate into better cycling. If on the other hand you spend 2 hours a week doing things like VO2max work (high intensity intervals) you'll increase that 200 number, which is where you'll be biking.

Make sense?


TriTrev

Oct 2, 12 15:48

Post #9 of 103 (5289 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

If its an addition to training its a pro, if it reduces your training its a con.........If you are a realitively injury free young athlete, otherwise.....

When you are on reduced overall training (off-season) hours, and during base training, two short weekly strength training sessions 30-60 mins is all you need to start to see a difference in your body, a little more shoulder strength, a little more back, maybe some stronger hip/glutes, work on those hamstrings.....Individualised functional training, not the gym standard heavy squats/bench presses...most athletes know where their body is weak, but do nothing to address those areas

As athletes age (I'm 50) I think these sessions grow in importance, both for performance and injury prevention, and should be continued year round, only being reduced to very short maintenance sessions in the final race prep stage of training prior to taper.

My experience, it won't do anything to help lower leg running type injuries, but it will make those hard swim sessions more manageable, that hard long session on the bike just a bit more manageable,and in the later stages of races, a little more muscle mass seems to stop the wheels coming off, it doesn't on its on make you any faster, but the increased training you can do because you are stronger does make you faster. Being stronger hopefully means you can recover just a little faster too.

The biggest Pro for strength training........Your "other" non training partner likes a harder stronger body ;)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>X
If you run long enough....something is bound to happen


wkwong

Oct 2, 12 18:52

Post #10 of 103 (5186 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [TriTrev] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I used to think that weight training was a waste of time for cycling but I've seen the light, especially after I turned 40. You don't need to bulk up but you need to minimize your muscle mass loss as you age.


Nick Mallett

Oct 2, 12 18:59

Post #11 of 103 (5163 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [wkwong] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

wkwong wrote:
I used to think that weight training was a waste of time for cycling but I've seen the light, especially after I turned 40. You don't need to bulk up but you need to minimize your muscle mass loss as you age.

-----

x2

People here seem to always relate everything to "peformance" instead of looking at the big picture which for most is general health and the holding back of the aging process.By being stronger I am able to deal with more training,more physical stuff and more of life in general......and seriously anyone can do some resistance training at home with 20 mins a day and some imagination,it need not cut into anyones precious tri-training time.

---


B.McMaster

Oct 2, 12 19:12

Post #12 of 103 (5145 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Strength training keeps you're wife and kids from kicking your a$$. All aerobic makes a man with very small arms. I believe that is sufficient reason to strength train. Bench your weight 10 times is a good benchmark assuming you have a balanced training program. It does help to not weigh much :)


Big

Oct 2, 12 19:13

Post #13 of 103 (5141 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...............NOT THIS AGAIN


Nick Mallett

Oct 2, 12 19:16

Post #14 of 103 (5136 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Big] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Big wrote:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...............NOT THIS AGAIN

------

Well now that we aren't allowed to talk about Lance what else is there to argue about....

Gooooooo Crosssssssfiiiiiiittttttttttt....We can all be warriors!!!

---


Big

Oct 2, 12 19:41

Post #15 of 103 (5113 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Ultra-tri-guy] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ultra-tri-guy wrote:
Big wrote:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...............NOT THIS AGAIN


------

Well now that we aren't allowed to talk about Lance what else is there to argue about....

Gooooooo Crosssssssfiiiiiiittttttttttt....We can all be warriors!!!

---


Good point


Big

Oct 2, 12 19:50

Post #16 of 103 (5092 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Ultra-tri-guy] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In that case let me chime in...N+1...............Strength trained before getting in triathlons = No injuries, Stopped strength training for about 3 years and did a LOT of swim biking and running (14 to 16 hour weeks) = every overuse injury in the book, Started strength training again = no injuries and feel more durable than ever and still training around 8 to 10 hours (no IM's)...........Overall - very little change in performance either way.....I would say I am faster now because I have been at it longer so performance isn't really static with respect to being an indicator of whether or not it increased MY performance...

but I do feel 10x better....


mauricemaher

Oct 2, 12 22:08

Post #17 of 103 (5026 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Aqua Man] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Aqua Man wrote:
mauricemaher wrote:
power development at certain intensities on the bike.


For this don't waste your time in the gym. If you consider that on the bike
power = torque x rpm, where torque = force x distance
power = force x crank length x rpm, where force is what you press on the pedal, so

force = rpm x crank length / power

You can plot this on a chart known as a quadrant analysis
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/...adrant-analysis.aspx

What's really interesting is that as you pedal slower and slower you eventually get your maximum applied force, which is essentially the most you could possible push in a leg press. That number tends to be up around 800. But when you're biking you're never actually doing that, and the force you apply is closer to 200.


The point of all this is that spending 2 hours in the gym doing squats will certainly raise that maximum force, but won't actually translate into better cycling. If on the other hand you spend 2 hours a week doing things like VO2max work (high intensity intervals) you'll increase that 200 number, which is where you'll be biking.

Make sense?

Some good points,

I have four basic goals with strength training as it relates to the bike.

First find balance left vs right, if an athlete is one leg dominant (former soccer player, snowboarder etc) and their distribution patterns are more than 2-3% off then we work on that first.

Next is stability or looking at joint structure strength (stabilizers etc), lots of body weight stuff, band stuff, some plyo stuff etc on an unstable platform to work joint structures in a way that hopefully makes an athlete "bomb proof" in terms of injury resistance, but also as efficient as possible so like you said above when they "apply force" they are doing so in the most efficient and economical way possible. The least work in with the most work out so to speak.

Once these two are met then we move to power development, this involves "cut downs" on the leg press and other machines.

For example when we do leg press we find a weight where we will fail on about 20 reps, then we pull a plate (about 15-25% of total) go to failure again then pull a plate repeat etc.

The end result is about 60-80 reps in a 1:20-1:30 span and by the end my HR gets up to about 180 (95%) and you have gone to failure 4-5 times within the set.

Full 4 min rest or so then repeat for a total of 3-4 times. I like these because by the end of the 6-8 week cycle a lift load which was once purely anaerobic, becomes easy enough that the action is more aerobic or has a higher than initial aerobic component.

I track power within this time period to see if we are "proving" the program (IM and threshold) to the best of our ability.

Fourth is making it specific by doing big gear stuff on the bike in the spring.

Having said that, stuff like this represents, 2-3 hours a week which some athletes are way better off spending else where. I consider the strength stuff as it relates to balance and injury prevention pretty critical across the board for all athletes and as some have stated, the power stuff more for the advanced athlete looking to break the plateau (icing on the cake) but who also has the time (ie no kids!)

http://www.multisportsolutions.com


gsmacleod

Oct 3, 12 2:11

Post #18 of 103 (4904 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

mauricemaher wrote:

I track power within this time period to see if we are "proving" the program (IM and threshold) to the best of our ability.

And what have you found?

Shane

ScotiaMultisport


Salmon Steve

Oct 3, 12 2:22

Post #19 of 103 (4889 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [mauricemaher] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

 
It depends....

To the person that says if you have time to do a strength session you'd be better off going for a swim, bike, or run. What about if you don't have time for those - what if you have time to quickly get in a strength session using your own body weight in front of the TV whilst cooking dinner? But don't have time to pack a bag and head out to the pool?

What about if you're incorporating your strength training within your current plan, ie paddles, big gear work (why would it just help with power on flat?) and hills on the run.

But I don't have letters in front of my name.

Don't complicate things - do hard stuff every day...different hard stuff..but hard stuff.

Don't read threads from that far back - these guys change their minds as often as their socks. They'll be telling you next year not to do bricks - it's cyclical.



Lance,


David B

Oct 3, 12 2:38

Post #20 of 103 (4871 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Big] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Big wrote:
In that case let me chime in...N+1...............Strength trained before getting in triathlons = No injuries, Stopped strength training for about 3 years and did a LOT of swim biking and running (14 to 16 hour weeks) = every overuse injury in the book, Started strength training again = no injuries and feel more durable than ever and still training around 8 to 10 hours (no IM's)...........Overall - very little change in performance either way.....I would say I am faster now because I have been at it longer so performance isn't really static with respect to being an indicator of whether or not it increased MY performance...

but I do feel 10x better....

It seems this is the experience with most people (at least the ones I encounter). Does anyone know of a study that actually tracked injury rate over time with strength trainers versus non-strength trainers? I realize there would be huge amounts of variables so likely nothing like that has been tracked properly.


Strength coach and post rehab injury specialist. Check out my blog at http://www.paradigmfitnessottawa.com.


Nick Mallett

Oct 3, 12 3:02

Post #21 of 103 (4846 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Salmon Steve] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Salmon Steve wrote:

It depends....

To the person that says if you have time to do a strength session you'd be better off going for a swim, bike, or run. What about if you don't have time for those - what if you have time to quickly get in a strength session using your own body weight in front of the TV whilst cooking dinner? But don't have time to pack a bag and head out to the pool?


----

Mate have you been peeping in my living room windows.I do exactly that for 20/30 mins pretty much every day at dinner time.It is when I catch up on news and current affairs on the tv.

----


(This post was edited by Ultra-tri-guy on Oct 3, 12 3:03)


Ex-cyclist

Oct 3, 12 6:25

Post #22 of 103 (4733 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [gsmacleod] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

gsmacleod wrote:
mauricemaher wrote:


I track power within this time period to see if we are "proving" the program (IM and threshold) to the best of our ability.


And what have you found?

Shane

I'd like to know the answer to this as well. How would you possibly differentiate training effect from weight lifting effect in an N=1 scenario.



Heath Dotson
HD Coaching:Website |Twitter: 140 Characters or Less|Facebook:Follow us on Facebook
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stringcheese

Oct 3, 12 8:10

Post #23 of 103 (4656 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [FrançoisM] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

FrançoisM wrote:
Cons: takes time away from training. If you have an hour to spare, you're better off swimming, cycling or running.

Pros: those doing strength may end up cross fitting and leave triathlon. Less congested courses.[/quote

Welcome back :-)

**************************************

Making the most of zero talent but plenty of time to train.


FrançoisM

Oct 3, 12 8:13

Post #24 of 103 (4648 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Salmon Steve] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Salmon Steve wrote:

It depends....

To the person that says if you have time to do a strength session you'd be better off going for a swim, bike, or run. What about if you don't have time for those - what if you have time to quickly get in a strength session using your own body weight in front of the TV whilst cooking dinner? But don't have time to pack a bag and head out to the pool?

What about if you're incorporating your strength training within your current plan, ie paddles, big gear work (why would it just help with power on flat?) and hills on the run.

But I don't have letters in front of my name.

Don't complicate things - do hard stuff every day...different hard stuff..but hard stuff.

Don't read threads from that far back - these guys change their minds as often as their socks. They'll be telling you next year not to do bricks - it's cyclical.



Lance,

That's different. You're actually swimming, cycling, and running. I think the OP says strength training meaning weights. If you just have 15min to spare, I guess you're better
off spending it making sure dinner doesn't taste like crap ;-)

--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.fmcoaching.com / http://elpasotricoaching.wordpress.com


mauricemaher

Oct 3, 12 9:39

Post #25 of 103 (4572 views)
Re: Strength training pros and cons [Ex-cyclist] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ex-cyclist wrote:
gsmacleod wrote:
mauricemaher wrote:


I track power within this time period to see if we are "proving" the program (IM and threshold) to the best of our ability.


And what have you found?

Shane


I'd like to know the answer to this as well. How would you possibly differentiate training effect from weight lifting effect in an N=1 scenario.

Program start:

Started at 180 (then 135, 90, 45) lbs on the leg press, lifted just over 18000 lbs for 3 sets, just over 6000 lbs per set.

IM power just over 160 watts at 155-160 HR

Program end 8 weeks later:

Started at 270 (then 225, 180, 135) lbs lifted just over 30000 lbs for 3 sets just over 10000 lbs per set.

IM power 200-210 at 155-160 HR


About the same results for my GF who started lifting at 12000 pounds per set and finished where I started at around 18000 pounds 8 weeks later.
Her results went from IM power of 140 watts to just over 165 watts. 3 other athletes did this program with the most seasoned year over year athlete achieving about 8% gains in IM power.

Peak tested VO2 power (power at the end of a 20 min Vo2 max test) was only moderately changed for both (350-370 for me, 280-300 for her) so top end did not change as much as low end. VE (lung volume) was unchanged, O2 (vs Co2) patterns were changed for the better.

The training program on the bike was only about 2-3 hours/week (with some longer IM tempo intervals) as we were doing our longer stuff outside on the skate skis, the whole program had pretty minimal intensity at this point.

The thing I take away from these is that the weight I lifted at program start was purely anaerobic, where as at program end I was lifting that same weight (180 lbs) at the 1 min mark. So a change for the better, in terms of systems used at a given load.

Regarding the N=1 comment, this is possibly true. We took 4 years off from IM "focused" training. I have always found that there is a certain amount of residual fitness just "sleeping" there, so once the hours go up and your fitness starts trending for the better it is a bit hard to say was it the weights? Or just getting back into it, also when you start from a relatively low point in terms of IM power (myself and GF) gains are seen usually right away as there is a pretty big "getting back into it" effect. We'll try this again in Jan, to see how it works for us now that we have year over year fitness.

http://www.multisportsolutions.com

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