From The Coaches: The importance of strength training as we age

Hi @Coach.Spencer.R

I am currently doing Intermediate 1-3 2 weeks on/ 1 week off strength plan.
I would like to start an All Purpose program (Indoor & Outdoor) in a week (after Half Monty - Full Frontal Double). Thinking of doing the Advanced one since I usually accumulate more than 5 hours of riding per week (metric century on the weekends).

My question is; should I start anew the strength program to start with the All Purpose OnRoad program?

Would you recommend going with Intermediate Level to have 2 weeks on/ 1 off as the strength program OR to modify strength plan to be 3 weeks on/ 1 off (first time doing strength intermediate) ?


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Hey @Reynaldo_Lopez,
You definitely want to sync your strength program to your training program. If you go with a 3 on/1 off training program, do the same with the strength. I would advise doing the Intermediate 1 to 3 again to simply because you are adding an extra build week with your advanced plan. Does that make sense? Have fun with it.



I will start both programs - All Purpose Road Advanced + Strength - right after current STR rest week, to add the extra week of build up.


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I’m curious, is there any scientific data on what weights one should use to achieve that stronger bones benefit?

I guess there is some sort of threshold because, in the cyclists’ world, climbers are said to have more fragile bones than, for example, sprinters. And we know that climbers actually always have a lot of low cadence strength work when they hm… climbs))

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Hey @alexwtan,
Here’s a nice review if literature which cites a multitude of studies if you want to drill down even further.

The stimulus for inducing bone mineral increase is very site specific along with hormonal and nutritional inter dependencies.

Thanks! Great article to start with.

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Just to follow up (I’m a little fuzzy on this).
If I’m on a 2on/1off does your comment mean “sessions should follow suit” mean that the strength sessions should be 2on/1off on the same days, or across the week? Thanks

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Hey @made.101,
Welcome to the forum! When you are on a recovery week with your cycling, your strength training should also be recovery/deload sessions as well. Does that make sense? Cheers!

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Great article, and I love that the references are links which pop up, if I want to read those as well. Thank you so much for the reference.


I am in my late 60s, and have started with the beginning level 1-2 strength training. Based on a little research I have done, it seems that plyometrics, cross fit, and a few reps with heavy weight, are recommended for aging athletes.

Do you agree with these recommendations, and does the SUF strength training eventually get to those types of exercises?

I am 50+ and CrossFit was helpful for me for strength and cardio. Note that it takes time to acclimate. I did it for 4 or 5 years and gains were gradual so you certainly want to start slow. For SUF I generally do the strength training which I like and there a lot of benefits with body weight exercises. I mix in a few other exercises (squat, dead lift, cleans …) too. For cycling keep in mind that it is not a one lift sport - it is many “lifts” as you spin the pedals. So I generally stick to higher rep counts and lower weight. You probably want to get some coaching for the lifts. It is very easy to create issues with the wrong form or too much weight.

I understand that cycling is a not a one lift sport, and the problems with heavier lifting.

Nonetheless, the evidence seems to indicate that that heaver lifts with fewer reps helps older athletes minimize their neuromuscular decline. More reps, with lighter weight does not do that. It seems to help with the speed and strength of muscular contraction.

I know SUF strength training does not include weight lifting. I was wondering if it included plyometrics and cross training.

That being said I have yet to see anybody really quantify what the exact rep/weight trade off is. The other issue is what is the definition of “master athlete”. I have seen ages all over the place. The original post of Coach Spencer R said over 50. I have seen other numbers, including differences between male and female athletes.

Hey @Heretic,
Good questions. Everything you ask about is dependent on your goals, strength training experience and time available to train. The best program is one that works best for you and aids in improving health and performance. SUF Strength will continue to evolve with new movements ( including plyometrics) I’ve been involved with strength training over 45 years and the more I learn the less I know. I don’t mean to be glib, but it all starts with performing the movement as perfectly as possible. Start at the level you’re at, then progress. The key to any program is recovery and improvements in reaching your goal(s).

Thank you.

It is my intention to continue the SUF Strength training to level 6. I look forward to the revisions to strength training. Is there any timeline for that happening?

Excellent! I’m not sure on the exact timeline, but it’s in the works. In the meantime, once you progress to the end, you can always explore other strength training modalities. Keep asking questions, we’re here to help.
And let us know how you are progressing. Cheers!