a good article here and me doing a little bit of venting...
Gale Bernheardt recently had an article on active.com about an injured athlete she was working with. He could not do threshold intervals or tempo intervals for long periods. the collar bone injury was to much.
However, the athlete could do short very intense intervals. 20-40 seconds. so max efforts were prescribed. article here. At the end she notes improvement in not only shorter duration efforts but longer ones as well.
This is a good read. worth the 5 min.read. EK Endurance Coaching athletes will read this and say i did. "yeah! I was doing this 3 years ago!"
It is another case confirming recent studies with strength training (they finally use trained cyclist instead of random couch potato #1-2-3) and my own less scientific study I did over the last 2 years on this topic.
the short of that experiment:
Weights= max power gains of 2%
On the bike strength work= 10% gain in max power (in half the time as with weights)
This article also sounds like...
This and this the presentations I give about weights being a waist of time for cyclist and triathletes and ... OK that's enough of tooting the EK E.C. horn.
But Eric his max power didn't go up in this case? why?
Most likely because of his injury he wasn't ablt to really go ALL OUT on these shorter efforts. but rather at a 1' -5' mean, maximal power out put. still the results are great. also when doing on the bike strength work you get the added benefit of... well, riding! your effort, the strength your building is specific its... here's that word, "functional". AND... while these people are building "strength" they are also getting many endurance adaptations like capillary growth, mitochondrial density and, the big one here, better neurological function.
This is almost like doing one workout with two effects...
lifting weights is great. for lifting weights. I was having a conversation with 2 personal trainers a few weeks ago on a ski vacation about this. someone asked us in the bar
"do you think P-90X really works?"
"hell yeah" i said.
"confusing muscles, making them adapt and grow all the time sure it works, but for what?" I said. "what are you gona do with this new strength? if its pull ups, flinging ropes around, doing shoulder press while standing on one leg, yeah. if its a bike race or 1/2 ironman. no way"
My new friend Mike (a personal trainer for years) chimed in
"yep. he's right. I see people, alot actually, who improve greatly on leg press but when they go to do squats, nothing. no improvement, it doesn't transfer"
I had never heard this example before but it made perfect sense to me. still it sounds hard to believe...
his friend, another personal trainer, looked over and said. "all of my muscle is for show only. if i help a friend move or something, i'm the first one to get tired". We all laughed. funny but true.
A Few things I have heard some highly respected coaches and personal trainers say/ talk about:
~There is no such thing as cross training. (cross working out maybe)
~Functional strength work is the only way to go.
~Weights might help but at what cost? how much time is it gona take to improve 1%?
~If your weakness is week enough it will hold back everything else.
~Even if your weakness is not race specific it can be the cause of you not reaching your goal.
~X-country will make you stronger at x-country skiing, not riding. you'll stay "fit", happy, and it'll keep you from gaining weight. but it won't directly make you ride faster.
~Fitness is in the muscles! your lunges don't get bigger!
So... miracle intervals? not really, just smart training.