I’m getting older, so regular strength training is even more important for me now than it was when I was younger. I enjoy it more these days too. Olympic lifts are fun, and sometimes it’s nice to train indoors where it’s dry and warm.
Many endurance athletes worry about strength training. I think their concerns are linked to bulking out and getting heavier, and with balancing the limited amount of time they have for training with sport specific versus non-specific training.
Many endurance athletes are built like me. We’re skinny, we don’t have a huge amount of muscle, and we have lots of slow twitch fibres. I train for an 8 week block with very heavy weights, failing on the 3rd rep of lifts repeated for 5 sets. Its hard, and it takes up a lot of time because of the long rest periods. For large parts of the year I focus on 5 sets of 5 reps of Olympic lifts. I live in the squat rack, but I also do weighted pull ups, cleans, shoulder presses and whatnot. My arms, back and shoulders get worked on with my legs, core and posterior chain. I’m not doing lots of reps, and I’m lifting heavy or fast.
So why, this year, are my arm warmers so baggy?
It seems to be true that us ectomorphic endurance athletes really don’t put on bulk. I’m lighter than I’ve ever been, I’m as strong as ever, I’m in the gym every week, and my arm warmers are getting baggier. There are many advantages to strength training so don’t be put off by worries of getting heavy. It’s unlikely!
I’ve ordered a pair of the smallest cycling arm warmers I could find. And cyclists are a skinny bunch themselves.