I recently wrote that hills are a cyclists best friend. They strengthen legs, resolve, and technical proficiency. Well, if hills are my best friend, then the leg press is a twin.
During the off-season, I lift a couple of times a week. I have done this for years with a variety of workouts depending on my understanding of how best to achieve the results I was looking for. Light weights with high reps. Heavy weights with low reps. Short rest periods betweens sets. Long rest periods between sets. Full-body workouts. Leg specific workouts. Core workouts.
This year, I have changed things up. Again. I’m lifting heavy weights with low reps until I fail. Until I cannot lift any more. Until I fail. I’ll do 6-8 sets of an exercise including 2-3 warmup sets with progressively heavier weight, and then 4-5 sets with weight close to my maximum. I keep adding sets with fewer and fewer reps until I can’t lift any more, completely exhausting the muscle group.
Is this the best training technique? I have no idea. I do know that after 3 months of lifting like this, I am certainly stronger. How strong? Apparently, I have “Superior” Leg Press strength for my age and weight, according to a 1997 study conducted by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. That’s almost 20 years ago so who knows if it is still relevant. I’d like to think it is.
If you are interested in how you fair, divide the maximum weight you can leg press for 1 repetition by your weight. This is your strength/weight ratio. Then, using the table below, find your relative strength for your age.
The Physical Fitness Specialist Certification Manual , The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas, TX, revised 1997
The real question is do I have sufficient leg strength to complete the 2016 Whistler Gran Fondo is a reasonable time? Can I climb for what amounts to 40 km after racing 80 km over a hilly terrain?
Only time will tell. I’m certainly stronger today than I was 3 months ago, and I intend to continue lifting heavy until race day.