How does one find a strength training coach?

I’ve been listening to Fast Talk Labs for two years and I became convinced that strength training is a must. I have never lifted weights and I am a little concerned about getting injured. I live in the Metropolitan DC area where one can typically find any service. However, there are a lot of individuals posing as strength coaches, personal trainers, body builders, etc, and they are all trying to sell their services. Its not clear what their level of competence. I have hired one of these coaches three months ago, and regardless of how much I try to emphasize what I need ( specific strength training aimed at improving my cycling,) I keep getting the type of training that is intended to make me bigger. How do I sort through the information zoo? where do I look for some one that can help? what buzwords should I be looking for that will help me decipher the code…

Find someone that is not just a strength and conditioning coach, but someone who is also a therapist, who can prescribe s and c training. Or look for someone who is on this list

When you are new to strength training, the training someone gives you should NOT be for cycling in my opinion. It should be to balance out everything cycling (and life) might be messing up with your body (imbalance).

First strength train to be more athletic, more balance, more injury prevention, better coordination.

All of the above will make you a better cyclist.

Then once you have some years of lifting under your belt, and some cycling specific goals, then maybe you could start to have the strength tailored a little more towards cycling.

Less is more.

Consistency will do wonders.


Steveneal, thanks for your opinion. Twenty years ago when I raced triathlons, I found a great running coach and all he wanted to do is to improve my running and told me to minimize my cycling and swimming. I had a dilemma back then because he was very good. It seems that I now have the same dilemma given that major aspect of strength training I am undertaking is leaving me tired for up to 2 days after the strength session. My primary interest is cycling and I am looking to improve my cycling through strength training, but these sessions are leaving me beat. That is the reason why I am asking for help in trying to figure out how to find a strength coach who knows how to work with cyclists.

If you are tired for two days and it is interfering with your cycling, the load is too high in the gym for you.

I like my athletes to be able to ride the next day and be productive.

Getting used to the strength training load does take time…but if after a few months you aren’t adapting, then the strength programming is likely off, or your cycling is too hard.

That is the key reason why I asked “how do I find a strength coach that has experience training cyclist”

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Check out “Dialed Health” podcasts, videos, and strength programs.

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Finding a strength coach that understands the demands of an endurance athlete is going to be difficult. A properly structured strength training program progresses through periods just like a cycling training program (ie. You don’t want to be working heavy barbell squats during race season, but it makes sense in the middle of winter). So I would recommend looking for a cycling coach who understands strength training (more and more of them these days!) will be able to not only instruct you on proper form but also write out a periodized training schedule.

If you’re self-coached and understand periodization and linear progression, you can likely do a bit of research and develop your own program. Much of this is covered in coach Friel’s books (Cyclist Training Bible). You could also purchase a cycling-specific strength plan online from someone like Derek Teel. If you go this route, you could hire any strength coach and tell them that you are simply interested in learning the basic movement patterns. There are five basic movement patterns that apply to any weight-lifting movement. Learning how to brace and perform each of these movements will set you up to apply them to any weight-lifting movement.

  • Squat
  • Pull
  • Push
  • Hinge
  • Carry
    Any competent strength coach is familiar with this list and knows some basic exercises to help you learn the foundations of each one. If the strength coach is only interested in writing a generic plan, then move on to another.

Finally, as noted above; don’t get too hung up on cycling-specific exercises. Unless you’re paid to ride a bike, total body conditioning will add more value to your life than an endless diet of squats, single-leg deadlifts, and Bulgarian Split squats!

Best of luck!

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Really helpful discussion. I’ve been wondering how to balance improving my cycling via strength training whilst also improving my general strength for overall health etc. (I get that may also have benefits to my cycling in being less likely to get injured etc). It sounds like for a beginner to strength work (like me) that probably doesn’t work?

I bought a copy of Menachem Brodie’s book ‘strength training for cyclists’ and (I think) he talks a lot of sense there (and on his pod too). To the OP that might be a helpful resource for you. Afaik he also does coaching but not for many people.