The other day I got a great question on my Facebook Fanpage asking if is there a point at which strength is optimized, and endurance/ cardio training becomes the priority. While there are a lot of factors at play and the specifics can change based on the athlete and their situation, in general I think that there is a level of strength where the effort to increase it further starts to outweigh the benefits you’ll get.
For example, once you have a 2 X bodyweight deadlift then the amount of time and energy it would take to increase it to 3 X bodyweight wouldn’t be worth it. You’d be placing a lot of wear and tear on your joints and using a lot of energy to pursue an increase in strength that won’t make nearly as much difference on the bike as getting your deadlift up from 1 X to 2 X bodyweight.
It would take away from your sport specific training and the increases in performance wouldn’t be as big. So while there is no such thing as “too strong”, there is a non-linear nature to the results you will get from “getting stronger”.
You just have to weigh the pros and cons based on where you are at.
However, this doesn’t mean that you get to the point where you stop devoting time to “strength training”. I don’t think you want to cut back on your strength and mobility training as much as your focus shifts to refining your movement and efficiency.
You don’t always have to lift more weight – you can get closer to perfection with a given weight and what you gain from that can be as or more valuable than what you would get just always pursuing more weight. So, at first you do need to focus on getting stronger but eventually it will become more of a “movement practice” than “strength training”.
BTW, this is one of the problems with the term “strength training” because it gives the false impression that “strength” is the goal when it is actually a symptom of improved efficiency and training to improve that efficiency should be the goal in the first place. Check out this article on Why I hate the Term Strength Training for more on what I think training is really supposed to focus on.
So you always need to devote time to “strength training” but your focus during that time can and will change as you get stronger. Just remember that at the end of the day strength training is really about improving your ability to move with more strength and efficiency on the trails while remaining injury free.
Hope this article gives you something to think about when it comes to you strength training program. If you have any questions about this subject or anything else MTB training related be sure to send it my way, I always love to hear what is on your mind.
And please feel free to share any of my blog posts with a fellow mountain bike enthusiast who could benefit from the info.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems