Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Huge life decision ahead and winter training

After returning from Oregon, my PhD mentor with whom I've worked for this last year sat me down and told me that she got an incredible job offer as the director of a new cancer research institute at Notre Dame.

Now, the question of British punk band The Clash is on our mind.

There are lots of incredible career advancing and debt reliving benefits to accompanying her. But, it ain't so bad around here either. Anyway, big decision.

In terms of winter time and physical activity, I always hit the weight room this time of year. When I played Lacrosse in college, I learned how to squat, deadlift, press, and clean and IMHO those are about all you need in terms of lifting weight. One thing I learned early, is that even if I'm eating 4000-6000cal/day, I don't build ridiculous amounts of muscle...I just get stronger. Which for a power-endurance athlete is great.

Over the last year I have gotten much better at assessing weaknesses and understanding what I need to do to correct them. In general, I find that the key to a cyclist's lifting program is mobilizing the tissues which limit range of motion, e.g. hips (mostly stretching flexors and strengthening/activating extensors and rotators), ankles, and shoulders.

My sessions consists of about 10 minutes of foam rolling and digging into any tight areas with a lacrosse ball...see here. Then some dynamic exercises like high knee walks, lunging around, push-ups, etc. Next lifting. Right now my goal is to strengthen just about everything and stretch/mobilize the hell out of my hip flexors and quads.

My plan is 6-8 weeks of a 4 day per week split. 2 days will be 'full-body' days, one dedicated upper body, and one lower body only. Here's a sample for those that care:
Full day 1:
A) Front Squat for Speed: 6x2 at 60-70% of 1RM, 45s rest between sets
B) Stiff leg romanian deadlift: 3x10/side, 40X0 tempo (time for: eccentric, bottom, concentric, top)
C1) Alternating Low Incline DB Bench Press: 3x6/side, 31X4
C2) Chest-Supported Row, Pronated Grip: 4x6, 40X0

Lower Day:
A) Snatch-Grip Deadlift on Podium- Initially perform 10 sets of 3 reps on a 50X0 tempo, resting 3 minutes between sets. Keep the weight constant until able to perform 10 sets of 5 reps; then add 5 to 10 kilos (11 to 22 pounds) to the bar so back to 10 sets of 3.
B) Barbell Reverse Lunge — Front Squat Grip: 3x8/side
C1) Pallof Press Isometric Hold: 3x3/side (10s hold at lockout)
C2) Glute-Ham Raise (un-assisted: 3x8

A1) Bench Press: 5x5
A2) Neutral Grip Pull-up: 5x3
B1) 1-arm DB Push Press: 3x8/side
B2) Seated Cable Row — Neutral Grip: 3x8
C1) Ab Wheel Rollout: 3x8
C2) Side-Lying External Rotation: 3x10/side

A1) Back Squat: 4x6 (form just like that video, but slower eccentrics)
A2) Feet-Elevated Push-up: 3x12
B1) Standing 1-arm Cable Row: 3x12/side
B2) Walking DB Lunge: 3x6/side
C1) Landmines: 3x5/side
C2) Supine No Money w/Band: 3x4 (10s hold on each rep)
D) Farmer's Walk: 3x40yds

Since the role of abs/core in cycling is stabilization this program emphasizes that. Actually, I challenge you to find any sport or real life activity in which a crunch or sit-up actually leads to better performance. The anti-rotational and stabilization function of the 'core' absolutely trumps trunk flexion for injury prevention, low-back health, and performance.

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