Category: Training

My own training programs or reports

Strength Training for Cyclists

The research done to date on the effects of strength training for cyclists has brought mixed results. The study done by Ben Hurley at the University of Maryland had 10 sound men begin several exercises. They did chest presses, hip flexors, knee extensions, leg curls, push-ups, leg presses, lat pull-downs, biceps curls, standard squats, and bent-knee sit-ups for 12 weeks. Eight other healthy men served as controls. Following 12 weeks, the strength trained men had enhanced their endurance cycling at a force of 75% V02max by 33% with increased lactate threshold of 12%.

These men were untrained before the study and did not complete consistent cycling workouts during the study. The pertinence of this study on strength training for cyclists to genuine competitors is faulty at best.

Strength Training for Cyclists can cause a significant performance improvement with intelligent protocols
Strength Training for Cyclists can cause a significant performance improvement with intelligent protocols

Strength training for cyclists – Study #2

The study did by R. C. Hickson and his partners at the University of Illinois at Chicago was significantly more applicable. In that examination of strength training for cyclists, eight accomplished cyclists included three days every week of quality strength training to their training schedules over a 10-week period. The strength training was fairly basic. It concentrated on parallel squats (5 sets x 5 reps every workout), leg extensions (3 sets x 5 reps), leg curls (3 x 5), and calf raises (3 x 25), all with a fair amount of resistance. The only variable allowed in the study was to increase resistance as strength increased.

The strength training for cyclists regimen had a significantly positive effect on cycling performance. Following the 10 week program, the cyclists enhanced their ‘short-term endurance’ (their capacity to working at a high intensity for short time periods) by around 11%, and they additionally extended the measure of time they could pedal at a force of 80% V02 max from 71 to 85 minutes, about a 20% increase.

Strength training for cyclists – Study #3

On the negative side, we have research on strength training for cyclists, completed by James Home and his associates at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Seven endurance cyclists were studied. They had an average of around 200 kilometers of cycling every week. They introduced three strength training sessions into their ordinary training schedule. The training program was moderately simple. They did three sets of up to eight repetitions of leg curls, leg presses, and leg extensions. They used fairly heavy resistance.

Following six weeks, the training had created rather amazing increases (on average more than 20%). Though actual cycling performance was not enhanced. On the contrary, they were worse than before the strength training for cyclists study. 40-K race times increased from 59 to 62 minutes The study cyclists complained of feeling drained after their workouts.

Why did Hickson’s study reveal clear increases connected with strength training for cyclists, while Home’s work uncovered the converse?

Nobody knows for certain. This leaves it open to interpretation. It appears to be likely that the training completed by Hickson’s subjects enhanced endurance fibers in their muscles. This allowed them to persevere longer both amid high-force tests of perseverance and delayed endeavors at a submaximal (80% V02max) power. Its conceivable that Home’s protocols sent his competitors into the overtrained state. The perception of fatigue began not long after the start of training. The competitors demonstrated they were essentially doing an excessive amount of work.

Home’s cyclists were averaging 124 miles per week riding when they began their exercise study. Hickson’s competitors were logging significantly fewer miles. One might recommend that strength training for cyclists can deliver real advantages for low-mileage cyclists. It does a great deal less for experienced, higher mileage contenders who have developed impressive performance gains solely by riding. It likely wasn’t the strength training alone which hindered the cyclists. The aggregate sum of work they used in their weekly protocol might be to blame.

Another issue that was not kept controlled in the studies was diet and supplementation. This likewise would have a real effect. It is my own conclusion that strength training for cyclists gives favorable results when done correctly and matched with the right diet, supplements, recovery protocols, and when the load is adjusted to suit the competition and riding schedule appropriately.

A very low impact Band Strength Training Program you can do anywhere anytime

Article courtesy of guest blogging, edited to suit this format

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Preparation

Ice Climbing Training? It is indeed that time of year. So let’s get this show on the road. I promised a few weeks ago to post my current ice climbing training program.

Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training
Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training

I know from previous years that six weeks of good hard work set you up for a much more successful and fulfilling season out on the ice. Ice climbing training is way worth a little bit of effort for about 6 weeks, or more if you have it. I think if you get into a late season, or are mainly going to Ouray, this program could be done for eight or more weeks and work great.

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Program

It’s the one I’m actually doing right now. Though I am using slightly different weights for it. For myself I’m really posterior chain dominant. That means I can train hamstrings and glutes all day long and get a lot of bang for the buck. So whereas in this ice climbing training program when it says something like 8 x 8 @ 50% – for me that might be more like 8 x 8 @ 100% (the % being percentage of bodyweight for the training load). For example, like with Leg Curls where I’ve actually maxed out the machine at the gym I currently go to. I say that not to impress, but rather to explain that there is a lot of variance in this program. If you can recover fast enough, there is plenty of room to do a lot more weight in the shoulders and chest exercises.



I promised this first to my newsletter subscribers, so if you want your copy, please sign up now and get one without the waiting. It’s a 4 day a week program you can use in just about any gym, even a well stocked home gym. There are a few different options listed, but if you need more let me know and I’ll make a revised version and send it to my subscribers.

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If you’re looking for a more generic, long term training program, I’ve had quite a few people contact me about my latest training manual Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging

It’s 16 weeks that will get you in amazing shape. Check out the reviews.

Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task
Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task

Treadmill Training for Hills

Why would anyone consider treadmill training for hills?

Here are some of my favorite reasons:

  • Recovery from injury
  • Meeting specific goals
  • Controlled environment
  • Weather
  • Time
  • Local terrain

Let me take a few minutes to examine each of these reasons or excuses for treadmill training for hills.

First of all is recovery from injury. I myself am currently in this group. About a month ago I went for a hike with some 18-20 year old guys I know, and we ascended Mount Royal in Frisco CO. It was fun, but then they all decided to run down and I, like an old man in denial, decided to keep up with them. I did set a PR, but part of that is that I rarely run down, deciding instead (wisely) to preserve my knees.

Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO
Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO

So now, yeah, my knees are thrashed. I took a few weeks off, tried to get back into running, but the trails I can get to easily are all up and down, and the downhill was killing me. My knees would never recover on those trails, so I’ll be doing some treadmill training for hills.

Why? The steady incline allows me to set vertical goals without having to endure the descent. This will allow me to maintain some mileage while giving my knees a chance to heal.

Second advantage to treadmill training for hills is that it facilitates meeting specific goals. If you have a goal that includes speeds, or elevation gains, or heart rate, it’s a lot easier to measure, monitor, and track on a treadmill. Need to go 3.0 miles at 5%? Just set it and forget it on the treadmill.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S treadmill training for hills
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

If your goal also includes a heart rate, such as with Anaerobic Threshold Training ARTICLE HERE you can set the watch up in view and then adjust your speed up and down to maintain your heart rate in the prescribed zone. That’s a lot harder to do outside.

Third, it’s a controlled environment. You can wear whatever you want, the incline can be as steady or varied as you want, the speed can be anything you want. There is a bathroom just down the hall. You can refill your water or supplement bottles all you want.

Fourth, is weather. Treadmill training for hills avoids a lot of the complications of the weather and time. When it comes right down to it, if you want to practice being completely and totally soaked and frozen, with sheets of ice on your pants, then it’s probably a lot of fun to go do that outside. But you can’t promise that you will be able to maintain your pace, distance, heart rate, or any of your other goals while struggling for survival.

Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks
Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks

Fifth is time. This is a big deal for a lot of people. Sometimes that awesome hill climb route is an hour or more away, You can’t really justify taking that much time out of your day when there is a treadmill in your own home, your own apartment complex, or the gym on the way to work.

Sixth, is local terrain. There are a lot of people who have contacted me with the sad fact that there are no hills in their area. There is a lot to be said for running 5 miles at 6% incline. You can’t really duplicate that experience with stadium running, which really does use very different muscles. For hiking that would be great, but not for running. Some people advocate hill repeats on a 50′ hill, if you have access to one. That might work great for sprint training, but it doesn’t quite duplicate that same type of endurance that 5 miles at 6% does. Treadmill training for hills solves that problem in a very handy, easy to find, easy to use method.

How to use treadmill training for hills

Vertical training protocols are the main focus of my book “Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging” and I really suggest you get one if you’re serious about planning a program around vertical goals. It takes you from “the couch” to nearly 4,000′ of vertical per week over a 16 week period, which I feel is a worthy goal for most anyone who is not used to hills.

Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly
Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly

While the book is specific to hiking, the goal charts include vertical and horizontal goals that you can also achieve through increasing the speed on the treadmill while running on it. That also means you can spend less time on the treadmill, since you’ll be moving twice or more as fast. In my own training I use a similar set of protocols.

Here is a sample of a treadmill training chart as used in the manual, adjusted for 4% inclination, rather than the goal incline of 15% used for hiking:

Week 5 6 7 8
Target Weekly Vertical Ft 1,130 1,255 1,395 1,550
Weekly Miles at 4% 5.349 5.943 6.604 7.338
Incline Miles Per Session (x4) 1.337 1.486 1.651 1.834

As you can see, if you’re a runner it’s really easy to get these miles in every week. If you’re a beginning runner it shouldn’t be too hard either.

I wanted to introduce you to the idea of treadmill training for hills, and give you a few of the best reasons for doing it. I also wanted to show you an example training goal chart, modified for running from my training manual.

In an upcoming article I will explain how to adjust all the charts in the manual for running, rather than hiking, and talk a little bit about using VAM for training goals.

VAM is the abbreviation for the Italian term velocità ascensionale media, translated in English to mean “average ascent speed” or “mean ascent velocity”, but usually referred to as VAM. — WIKI

Thanks, and let me know if there are any questions or things I did not explain adequately.

Treadmill Training for Hills in my own garage
Treadmill training for hills in my own garage

Nordic Walking Training

Nordic walking training might seem to be simply walking with trekking poles. It’s much more complicated than that though. When I was in Russia for Elbrus Race 2013 I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the women members of a Russian Nordic Walking group that stayed with us and did some training at altitude on the slopes of Elbrus. I enjoyed watching their morning stretching routine and certain aspects of that portion of Nordic walking training made its way into my recent book Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging. CLICK HERE

Nordic walking training dynamic stretching move
Nordic walking training dynamic stretching move

If you cringe whenever you see someone ambling, shuffling slowly, poking forward with their poles, and their straps on wrong, you’re a Nordic walker.

The point of this 16 week program is vertical training, and is well suited as Nordic walking training. Many of the photos in the book feature trekking poles as part of the exercises. I think that by bringing up your vertical and horizontal speed and endurance you can achieve greater things in your sports goals. Most of my speed ascents are done with poles and I suggest training outside with poles at every opportunity.

Tips: Some things to keep in mind include rhythm and placement. If you can coordinate your arm and leg rhythms you’ll become much more efficient. I’ve found that if you are moving on steep terrain with shorter leg motions you can use shorter faster pole placements. If you’re using longer steps you can alternate pole placements in patterns of two or three steps each and reach further forward. If you’re moving very quickly you might want to actually place the tips of the poles near the outside edge of your foot with the pole angled toward the rear as you pass quickly.

Nordic walking training on the slopes of Elbrus in Russia - 2013
Nordic walking training on the slopes of Elbrus in Russia – 2013

I think a good Nordic walking training program also includes a bit of strength endurance for the upper body, particularly the lats, shoulders, and chest. These muscles work together to provide strong and fluid pole placements essential for Nordic walking efficiency.

Nordic Walking Training Video Example Close Pole


In this example I’m running at about 9:00 pace (nine minute mile) on snowshoes, and due to the speed and short steps I’m using the close pole technique. Notice that I don’t really reach forward much but push to the rear in short powerful strokes. I experimented with this technique after watching Nordic skiers in the last Olympics.

If you’d like to see the best Nordic walking training for vertical and horizontal goals (vertical feet gained and miles) check out my book on Amazon, both Kindle and Paperback. Eligible for Prime and Kindle Unlimited.


What’s Broken in Your Training – Survey Results

It’s up! I went through the survey responses, compiled them into a spreadsheet, sorted them, and then added it all up. Here for you now is the video I made to reveal the responses and give you a few hints about upcoming webinars and articles, just for you.


Be sure to subscribe [HERE] if you have not already done so!

TRANSCRIPT NOW AVAILABLE: Broken Training Survey Results

Remember that right now my Webinar Host only allows me 25 attendees per session so be sure to sign up before they are full. You can only attend by registering at the link I share when I announce each one.


Charles Miske - online coach and trainer. Let me help you achieve your goals
Charles Miske – online coach and trainer. Let me help you achieve your goals

Hope you have great training days ahead of you 🙂


Stand Up Paddle Board Cross Training

Stand Up Paddle Board Cross Training

First of all, let me tell you, my hips hurt. Right where my lower obliques tie into the iliac crest. Yep. And I owe it all to stand up paddle board training. I had a chance to try the Stand Up Paddle Board at Keystone Lake near Mountain House Base Area. I used to canoe a lot when I was in my 20’s. I canoed several hundred miles on rivers and lakes in Wisconsin, Utah, Montana, and Nevada. In the past few years I’ve had the chance to also canoe and kayak on Keystone Lake and when they got a stable of stand up paddle boards I became curious.

stand up paddle boards all in a row
stand up paddle boards all in a row

I have a friend who volunteers in my BSA group who is a river guide, and he said that he uses a stand up paddle board while teaching beginner kayak skills. At a recent BSA week long camp out, we had a lake day, and the life guards were all on stand up paddle boards. So I was really curious now. So I arranged to go try it.

a beginner stand up paddle board
a beginner stand up paddle board

Stand Up Paddle Board as Training

I didn’t know there were different stand up paddle boards for different skill levels, but I had to start on a beginner board. It was weird to say the least, but by keeping my knees low and using my hips to drive the paddle with stable shoulders, I was going about 2 + MPH and getting in a good workout. I then switched to an intermediate stand up paddle board. I actually liked it a lot more.

an intermediate stand up paddle board
an intermediate stand up paddle board

That first day I did a little over .8 miles with an average speed around 1.7 MPH. Not too shabby and it felt great on my shoulders, lats, and core. Here’s my Stand Up Paddle Board session from Movescount (Suunto Ambit2 S GPS Heart Rate Monitor – CLICK HERE).

Movescount Stand Up Paddle Board Statistics Day One
Movescount Stand Up Paddle Board Statistics Day One

I went back the next day for another session, I had so much fun. I went back to the intermediate Stand Up Paddle Board and booked it around the lake. I worked on improving my technique and speed and did several laps around the fountains and buoys and got in 1.2 miles.

Stand Up Paddle Board stats from Strava
Stand Up Paddle Board stats from Strava

That’s the view of that workout on Strava, synced from my Suunto. I averaged 2.3 MPH over that 1.2 miles. Much faster than the previous workout.

Movescount stats for Stand Up Paddle Board workout day two
Movescount stats for Stand Up Paddle Board workout day two

Then this morning I had some business meetings to attend and my side hurt quite a bit so I did some mountain bike riding as my cross training instead. The fact that I was hurting proves that I have some weakness there to address. I have to admit though that I’m hooked and will most likely do quite a bit of stand up paddle board training for as long as the lake is open.

Though I am by no means an expert on this topic, I recommend a low balanced stance keeping light on the balls of your feet. Set the paddle into the water in as straight a line as possible to keep from having to switch from side to side with it so often to stay in a straight line while paddling. Try it, it will make sense in motion.

Stand Up Paddle Board on Keystone Lake at 9,300' in Colorado
Stand Up Paddle Board on Keystone Lake at 9,300′ in Colorado

For cross training, these are the muscles that come into play while ice climbing. The lats and core get quite the endurance training session out of this. If someone does know more about cross training with the stand up paddle board and would like to share, please, message me below.