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Strength Block Review

Strength Block Review

I'm cutting the last week of my planned strength block. My right AC joint has been hurting, and I want to focus on getting it healed & strong again. I think I tweaked it doing bench presses during my hypertrophy block. It's mostly been fine since then, but it's been hurting this week and I really want it to be solid by the time I start racing.

So, I feel like that's a solid decision. It's a good time to switch my focus to on-bike gains, and put the barbell stuff into maintenance/prehab mode.

But I didn't feel good ending the block on that note... until I started looking at the numbers.


  Before After
weight 198.2 195.0
calf 15.75'' 15.75''
thigh 25.25'' 25.25''
hips 41'' 40''
waist 39'' 38.25''
chest 42'' 41''
biceps 14'' 14''

I'm pretty happy with that. I've managed to trim down a bit without losing the mass I built during the hypertrophy block. My waist got trimmer, I dropped ~4#, and everything else got stronger.


I feel a bit silly, but I managed to put together a workout that made it pretty difficult to quantify progress.

I pushed my deadlift from 165# to 235#. That's pretty clear. But box jumps and pull-ups are harder.

I can feel how much stronger the box jumps are. I don't have a proper plyo box, so I'm jumping onto a 16'' bench. However, over the course of the last 6 weeks, I've jumped from farther and farther away onto the bench, and felt stronger and stronger doing it.

And the barbell complex I've been doing now feels like a warm-up at 85#.

Ditto for planks, farmer walks, and Jefferson curls. The objective loads haven't changed, but the RPE has gotten steadily easier.

So, I feel really good about the progress I've made, even if I can't really quaitify it. The proof will be in how the on-bike training shakes out.

When I started this block, I was noticing a lot of fatigue & some discomfort in my low back, and that's now completely gone. (I credit the Jefferson curls & farmer walks.)

And my body weight has dropped from 198# to 194#, so I'm down four pounds in 6 weeks, which is fine. (I'm watching my waist measurement and my weight, so as long as I'm getting leaner, I can deal with the number on the scale not being what I planned on.)


I did not supplement with protein for this block. I added more fat than I wanted during the hypertrophy block, and I that got in my head a bit. I probably traded some strength gains to get leaner, but the strength gains I did make were plenty.

Aside from that, I just kept to my normal diet: minimal sugar, protein at breakfast, etc.

Long-Term Goals

The Cyclist's Training Bible lists target loads for some fundamental exercises as a guage of progress:

  • squat: 1.3 - 1.7 x BW
  • leg press: 2.5 - 2.9 x BW
  • step-up: 0.7 - 0.9 x BW
  • seated row: 0.5 - 0.8 x BW
  • standing row: 0.4 - 0.7 x BW

At the moment, I'm well below those targets. So I've got something to shoot for.

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