Increased Relative Strength = Immediately Increased Endurance

“Many of the cyclists Pete Morris races against don’t even know his real name. Criterium announcers refer to the muscular, flowing-haired Team Clif Bar rider as Thor, God of Thunder. Turns out Morris is also a sports nutritionist and cycling coach—and a big believer in strength training.”
— 3 Ways to Boost Your Cycling Power With Squats by Becca Schepps

The main key to programming strength training for endurance sports is understanding the concept of relative strength. Relative strength is the ratio of your body weight to maximum strength.

Maximum strength improvement and neural integration improvement are basically the same thing. So effectively athletes and coaches can understand relative strength to be the ratio of an athlete’s body weight to his neural integration level.

The lower your body weight, and the higher your max strength, the higher your relative strength.  To quantify relative strength you can take your max in one of the main lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, press, snatch, clean & jerk) and divide it by your body weight.  When lifting your are the mover, and the bar is the weight.

In endurance sports your body is the mover and the weight.  This is why relative strength is so important for endurance athletes.  If your body feels like a lighter weight to you, every single step or turn of the pedal will be easier. Simple. This is the foundational idea behind all strength training for endurance sports.

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