Best tech for building a hybrid human and A/I strength and cycling program measuring strain load from all workouts

Hi all,

I’m evaluating both and the FasCat Coaching app A/I solutions, for building me a program that combines cycling with year-round strength training workouts. I have a (human) strength coach, and I’m hoping to use A/I for my cycling plan. The A/I needs to track and consider the total strain load for both strength training and cycling. Hopefully the A/I will then be able to generate appropriate rides, progressive overload, recovery, and improved fitness in cycling over time, without me getting under-recovered or injured. My experience is it’s very tricky to do both strength work and cycling year-round. But also very necessary.

I’m wondering if anyone else is doing this, and if so what wearables and services are you using and how are you connecting it all? I have a Whoop strap, but it’s painstaking to enter in each and every set for strength workouts. Besides that, the Whoop only seems to export sleep and HRV data but not workout data to TrainingPeaks. Manual entry might be required to get an accurate strain load rating, but I wonder if there is an easier way or if a Garmin watch can do it better. I’m also wondering if a different service (like Garmin Connect) with a Garmin watch could track strength workouts and cycling workouts from my head unit or virtual rides.

Basically, I think the strain calculation needs only to be accurate enough that the A/I can build me a plan or modify my cycling workouts as needed based on how I am recovering from both strength and endurance workouts.

It seems that FasCat Coach doesn’t import historical data from TrainingPeaks, so that’s a drawback. But, it does have interactive A/I built in so you can ask it to modify your week’s workouts when you strength train. That is after the fact so it’s less than ideal. Athletica will connect with Garmin or Strava but not TrainingPeaks. That could work because I’m also a Strava user. When I told Athletica I want to weight train on Tuesdays and Fridays and ride four days per week, it actually did build me a hybrid plan for both strength training and cycling, which is pretty impressive. But it put in only one day per week for strength training, and gave me an extra day of rest. It might well be smarter than me and maybe I should do only one day of strength training instead of two. It also filled in the strength workout specifics which is amazing, but it doesn’t know I’m working with a personal trainer for that. It also has me doing an FTP test the day after strength training, which seems odd.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this!

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I read a book names Hybrid Athelte or something. Alex Viada was the writer. I think it has few good ideas on programming when it comes to combining endurance and strength sports. Also i’ve done concurrent training thing for almost a decade, so i think i have decent hands-on experience on the matter.

One of Hybrid Athelte book’s best ideas was that basically you have high intensity day, moderate intensity day and volume day. You don’t spread out intensity sessions and strength sessions to different days but do them during same day.

  1. Hard days hard and easy days easy. As usual. you need to dare to hop on bike right after strength session and start to do intensity.
  2. Intenisty day would be Maximal strength and Vo2max training. You might want to cut volume to 75% on both.
  3. Moderate intensity day would be 8-12 rep sets and sweetspot/tempo training. Again idea is to finish strong.
  4. High volume day, which is basically just a long ride. In my mind after long ride you can do strength training session if you failed to do so earlier on. Thou very tiring long ride can punish strength levels to some degree.

Riding is easy to combine with strength training, you won’t cause damage if you overshoot. Running is much-much more tricky. I caused myself several injuries by running too long runs after strength session with too tired muscles.

Personally i did ditch the 8-12 rep sets and just do more 3-5 rep sets twice a week. Just aimed at 12-15 sets per week. Over 5 rep sets cause huge soreness for me and it’s difficult to do anything on bike after those for couple days and soreness is mentally draining. So i focus quite solely on 3 reps sets.

There has to be a ton of testing how your body reacts to different types of training. For example i can deadlift 100% after hard session on rower or bike, i PRd my deadlift after maximal 10k rowing test. But i squat just around 90-95%. So i might even break sessions down so that i’d squat before going to rower, do session on rower and return to deadlift. Things like that, which just has to be stumbled on.

Body responds differently to strength training. I follow my HR-data by Polar. Atleast with endurance training several days of poor HR-data i can surmise that i’m overtraining, but on strength side not so much. At some point you just start to develop joint pain, tightness or minor injuries.

Any endurance training related strain metric doesn’t work well with strength training. And there are no good indicators for how straining strength training is or what is your recovery status. People have tried grip strength tests or vertical jump tests, but they don’t work. You just have to be able to track your performance and progression with weights.


@antti.hankonen thanks very much for your detailed reply. There is a lot for me to think about here.

One thing is, I’ve tried to do strength training and cycling intervals on the same day a few times. I can do it OK but then I’m so fatigued and sore for the next three days that I can barely move. And there’s no way I can do further training until I recover. Are you able to recover the next day after doing a double high intensity workout like that? The other option is to do is an easy zone 2 ride on the same day that I lift weights. Then take a rest day the next day with no training.

I like the 3-5 reps idea, that seems like it will be less fatiguing than more volume. In fact I am beginning to do that protocol this week. You’re right that there is currently no good way to measure and track strain load from strength training. I think there will be in a few years though. Also, what some coaches do is track the total weight load and how much time it took to lift that much weight, and use that for a strain measure. I think that could work pretty well if the calculation also takes into account which exercises you are doing (heavy squats and deadlifts are very fatiguing compared to bench press, for example). But I would have to enter this manually as there’s currently no way for a wearable device to know which exercises I am doing or how much weight I’m lifting.

One question I have for you – are you doing 3 days of endurance training per week? Or more? If you are doing only 3 days, how are you able to get enough endurance volume? So far, I have needed to do 4 days of endurance training to get enough volume. I think I could do it in 3 days but I would have to do a 3 hour ride on the weekend, which is a lot for me.
Thanks again.

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I keep volume so that i can recover, 3-5 set of 3 reps for me gives results but doesn’t cause soreness. I don’t like 5+ rep sets because they cause severe soreness. Same goes for high intensity training, i find the volume i can do without severe soreness.

Main idea is that you have to find what you can tolerate and follow that. I used to squat everyday minus sundays, 2-3 set of 2-3 reps at maximal weights (some would call it’s bulgarian style). I was bit sore daily, but consistency was good at getting really high workload… Now, i didn’t progress that well because i went for maximal weight each time (keeping it at 80-85% would have been better), but learned that i might be better off with higher frequency.

This might be interesting video

As example i nearly maximized my deadlift with just by 3 sets per week. But this can’t be looked at in isolation. I seem to have good response from high torque work on bike to deadlift. And i hammered my squat at the same with with a lot more volume. There are just so many variables at play, strength training is really individual because people have different leverages and body portions.

Issue with measuring speed is that it has been studied by vertical jump height in relation to squat (if i recall correctly), so basically power production vs force output. It has little to none correlation with strength levels. After all you don’t need ability to produce huge power to lift heavy.

But issue with being endurance athlete is that our speed might be much more impacted by our endurance training than out ability to produce force. So we might be slow, but it might have nothing to do with our strength training.

I think most reliable way to monitor training strain is by looking at progression of weights and recording RPE of each set. If it stalls, or RPEs start to turn into 9s and 10s when they should be 8, then there is too much strain. Adding speed of the lift to that might complement it, so i can’t argue against it.

There are some AI apps by strength coach businesses i know of which base on RPE with given weight and reps, but i know very little of them.

I train between 16-19 hours per week, so daily. So i can’t advice you on that other than that frequency and consistency are important. You should try to find best way to make it work, you already have ideas what causes too much soreness so there is one answer.

I hope i could say if you have to be 3 hour long rides. Value of long ride is something i question almost all the time.


@antti.hankonen thanks for your additional thoughts. I think I will need to experiment more to find the right stress load in my strength training days.