Rebooting Training With Strength Work and Aerobic Base

This past year was not good for me from a fitness and nutrition standpoint… Throughout the summer, I was down to 1 to 3 rides a week and doing almost nothing from a strength standpoint. I completely ignored a rational diet and gained a lot of weight. In fact, I’m currently the heaviest I’ve been since 2012, even after losing a few pounds over the past couple months. A couple years ago, I was actually down to and maintaining about 148 lbs. I would drop to 146 a few times, but 148 was pretty consistent. I honestly felt better around 152 or felt stronger anyway. I was recently up over 175 for quite some time and now hanging around 173 as I get back into structured training.

My diet was terrible this past year as well. I let the world around me take over and was reactive to everything vs being deliberate when it came to a lot of things. I can’t say it was a bad thing across the board… I was burried and focused with the shop and that’s a good thing for Cyclova as we’ve made a lot of progress and have some great things going on. It’s going to be a really exciting year for CyclovaXC.

However, now that I’ve got a handle on Cyclova… It’s time to refocus a bit on what I was building with Endurance Path and my own fitness. I’ll likely do some racing throughout the year, but my primary focus is the fall and anything between now and then is bonus fun.

I’ve had a habit in the past of racing a whole bunch and never really putting in a full on focus for any one race. I’ve spent a lot of time resetting and digging out of a hole because I jumped into a race I wasn’t ready for. I plan to keep myself in check this year.

Kicking Off The Strength Work

I went back to the beginning and started off with a clean slate. I spent 4ish weeks doing a circuit that hit most parts of the body, alternated with really easy spin days on the bike. Remember, I was smoked after the Marji Gesick and I just needed a reset. My plan was to start from scratch and error on the side of easing into things versus going into it too fast.

Here was the circuit I put together

  • Front Squat
  • Pull Up
  • Step Up to Balance
  • Push Up
  • Calf Raise
  • Bent Over Row
  • Bicycle Floor Crunch
  • Romanian Deadlift

I would do 2 to 3 sets of 16 reps on 2 to 3 days per week. The loads were light and designed to get the body moving again and slowly prepare the joints, tendons and muscles for larger loads later. After 2 to 3 weeks, I slowly increased the weight and started reducing reps. I like to alternate lower/upper body when it comes to circuits. It keeps the workout moving efficiently while giving some rest to the other muscle groups.

My workout schedule for the week looked something like this…

  • Monday – Strength Circuit
  • Tuesday – Easy Bike
  • Wednesday – Strength Circuit
  • Thursday – Easy Bike
  • Friday – Strength Circuit
  • Saturday – Easy Bike
  • Sunday – Easy Bike

Now with that said… Don’t believe that all of those workouts happened every day like that. I think I only had a couple weeks where things went as planned. I missed a strength circuit or bike session here and there, but I did consistantly get in at least 2 of the strength circuit sessions and 3 of the bike rides in per week. I also got out roller skiing a handful of times.

The bike workouts were simple… Some were spin up sessions, but many were just keeping my legs moving and working toward 60+ minutes of aerobic threshold work.

Moving Into Max Strength Work

My strength workouts eventually migrated into full on Max Strength work with very few excercises and looked something like this… But, no longer done in a circuit.

  • Deadlift
  • Push Ups / Planks
  • Single Leg Squat
  • Bicycle Floor Crunch

I dropped the circuit work and was doing 4 to 5 sets with 4 to 8 reps on the Deadlift and Single Leg Squat. I was doing the pushups, planks and crunches to seperate out the heavy leg lifts and maintain some core work. I was not doing pullups as I was having an issue with my elbow that I believe stemmed from the polling action on pavement while roller skiing. Even the pushups were difficult, but way more doable than pullups.

These Max Strength routines were done only twice per week. I was on an 8 day rotation that looked something like this…

  • Day 1 – Max Strength
  • Day 2 – Bike Easy Spin
  • Day 3 – Bike Aerobic Threshold
  • Day 4 – Bike Easy Spin
  • Day 5 – Max Strength
  • Day 6 – Bike Easy Spin
  • Day 7 – Bike Aerobic Threshold
  • Day 8 – Bike Easy Spin

I guess it’s more like a 4 day rotation, but rolling it to 8 makes the point of it not being a perfect 7 day normal week. Day 1 was a Monday on the first week, but the next Monday would end up being recovery with Day 1 of week 2 starting on Tuesday. When those Max Strength workouts are done right… that next day spin needs to be easy. It was basically a 3 to 4 week focused Max Strength period. Those Bike aerobic threshold workouts were key also as I was building up to 2 hours of spin time. The recovery rides or easy spins would also include some light spin up work as well, but I kept the wattage really low. The goal was to build strength and begin re-establishing some low end base aerobic endurance before moving into some more intensive aerobic work.

As I mentioned about the previous routine…. Don’t think it happened exactly as planned. I missed some workouts, but that 8 day schedule was the overlaying plan.

The Next Phase of Training

I’ve since moved into another period of training and about to wrap up a block of it in the next week, which I’ll share in the future. I might circle back as well and expand more on the aerobic base work I was doing on the trainer. It was boring, but there was some purpose to it maybe someone will find it interesting or helpful.

I’ve written a lot of race reports in the past and the ones that people appreciate the most are the ones that they can get something out of for themselves. I’ll likely be sharing more training reports like this in the future, but hope to do so in a way that somebody out there can pull something out of it for themselves.



  1. Steve Meyer on February 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Steve, I think I can relate in a different fashion. Life threw me tons of curveballs this past year and a half. I’m trying to reboot myself. Maybe I can share my story with you the next time I’m at the shop.
    Awesome article
    Steve Meyer

    • Steve Hamlin on February 7, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      For sure Steve. We just need to go for a ride sometime. It’s been a pleasure getting to you know you this past year.

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