We’re celebrating our 15th Anniversary season of our annual Base Builder Trainer Series!
Thank you for the support over the years.
Thank you for the support over the years.
Strength Training, that is training with weights in the gym (or at home), has become more widely accepted in the endurance sport world over the last 5+ years. There are still some hold-outs on the subject of the benefits of Strength Training for endurance athletes, but most athletes and coaches will agree there are valuable benefits to be gained from lifting heavy weights within an endurance sport training program. The intent of this article is not to spew out the benefits of Strength Training (you can read a previous post that covers all those points); rather my intent with this article is to point out the value of YEAR-ROUND strength training and, more specifically, focus on lifting weights within your competitive racing season.
If you’ve gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’re on board with Strength Training (ie. lifting heavy weights for performance gains), at least as part of your off-season training program. The majority of endurance athletes do some form of strength training in their off-season as part of their preparation for their next race season. Then what seems to be very common is many athletes cease their Strength Training program once their more competitive race season begins. The reasons I hear for dropping the strength training modality are often:
I’m here to encourage you to not stop your Strength Training once your race season begins. In fact if you do stop, I can tell you you’re leaving performance gains on the table!
When you Strength Train for 2, 3 or even 4 months of your off-season, you spend the first few weeks working through the soreness of training the muscles and then you begin to make some gains in actual strength of movement. These improvements to your health & performance as an athlete include:
With Spring around the corner, most athletes are putting the final touches on their off-season Base Builder training. Following one of our Base Builder Programs, athletes have gone through an extensive strength building program in the gym combined with a progression through the six primary aerobic energy systems we utilize on the bike, from lowest intensity to highest intensity:
Depending on when they got started with their Base Builder training and how much time available for building Base, athletes went through a 12, 18 or 24 week progression; in 2, 3 or 4 week blocks dedicated to each energy system mentioned above. Regardless of your exact Base building protocol you may have followed, as you come to the end of your Base phase you may be asking yourself this question:
With my Base now built and general cycling fitness established, what comes next?
Where Base Building is general fitness development; Race Preparation is specific fitness development for your A-priority event(s) of the year.
Our 12-Week Base Builder Plan is our most condensed Base Builder Plan option. We’ve found the relative short duration of 12 weeks is just enough time to progress through a complete Strength Base Build in the gym, and run through each of the six primary energy systems we target on the bike in all of our Base Builder plans:
In the 12 week version of our proven Base Builder Plans, you get to spend 2 weeks in each of the six energy systems, getting 4 sessions per system to make the necessary gains in base fitness as you begin your build towards your next event season. In the gym, you get three 4-week cycles of strength, building up towards peak strength in week 11. Within the 12-week plan, we find testing once at the beginning the plan to set baselines, once in the middle of the plan to check progress and increase numbers as needed, and a final test at the end to again check progress and set zones for the forth coming Race Prep plan you choose.
Here’s a ‘deeper dive’ into our Base Builder methodology: DEEP DIVE
Over the last 14 years we have formulated, tweaked, and perfected our off-season Base Builder Trainer Series to make this years 15th Annual Base Builder Trainer Series the most effective off-season programming to date!
Building your Aerobic Base on the bike through the Fall & Winter months is critical to Spring & Summer racing success. Gone is the old-school theory of long, easy miles as the only way to build your aerobic base on the bike. Long easy miles can be effective; however the time commitment and ability to put in those miles with limited daylight hours and less than ideal winter weather, long slow distance is rarely the most effective strategy. By replacing those long easy miles, with shorter, more focused, highly structured workouts mid-week, combined with a longer weekend ride(s) you can maximize your aerobic base building progression in the least amount of time (and workable around just about any family, school, work, and life schedule).
Our 24-week Base Builder Program is built around six 3-week training blocks (with a recovery week between), with each block focusing on a progressively higher intensity energy system:
This progressive build of power through ascending energy systems allows for highly effective adaptation to each energy system and subsequently establishes a strong base of aerobic fitness upon the conclusion of the off-season program. Targeting the specific HR and/or power numbers as structured intervals within each block allows for maximum control of the workload that is designed to increase with the adaptation. Upon completion of the Base Builder Program a rider has trained every energy system in systematic order and now ready to take on their event-specific Race Preparation training program as they head into the Spring & Summer competitive-season.
It’s the off-season, time away from high-priority events, that is the time to focus on improving your weaknesses. For most endurance athletes, their weakness is their weakness in terms of muscular strength. The fall & winter months are the time to build “off-bike” strength & mobility to not only improve ability on the bike for next years competitive-season, but also to improve whole body health by adding variety in training modalities, improve body composition, improve bone, soft tissue and hormone health, and offset muscle imbalances; all of which help keep injury at bay. Every endurance athletes should include a focused strength training block within their annual training program, and our Base Builder Strength Program is made just for this!
We have an ‘in-house’ option for those that live near our Lakewood, Colorado training facility at Sessions:6 Sport Performance (map). Join twice a week, Mondays & Wednesdays, for coach-led training sessions that builds your strength base progressively from October through March. Leaving you stronger, healthier, and producing more power in the bike come Spring.
Don’t live nearby or can’t make our class times, we offer our same progressive Base Builder Strength Program as a downloadable training plan. Included with the plan is our training load calculator to prescribe the exact progressions & loads for your program, as well as links to our YouTube Channel with every single movement demonstrated in video so you know you’re doing things right. Plans are available in 12, 18 & 24 week durations to fit your base training needs.
Don’t neglect the gym this off-season. There are huge gains to be made in both overall health and performance that in the end lead to improving your power on the bike for 2019!