Faster Biking with Strength Training – Steve Neal

Strength, Master’s Athletes, Cycling, Stretching, WKO4
This episode features a conversation between Steve Neal and Peter. Steve was Peter’s mentor in coaching and also his long-time coach for mountain bike racing. Steve has influenced many athletes and coaches over the years. His passion and knowledge is evident as they catch up and go over topics ranging from stretching to power training, testing to marathon mountain biking.
A big topic is the use of other sports and exercises to benefit cycling. Steve has been doing this for years and we are still years from this becoming common practice. Enjoy!



Steve Neal is a cycling coach and strength training expert based in Ontario, Canada. He runs ‘The Cycling Gym’ in Toronto with ex-Road-Pro Andrew Randell where clients utilize both personalized indoor cycling and strength training workouts to maximize their training time and achieve personal bests. He has coached athletes to National and World championships and masters athletes to personal bests.

Social / links 







1) BIO –   what you are up to, who you work with, what is the business you run.
-> Al Pilcher xc ski influence – slow training with fast training (3-5 years)
paul kobbam (sp?)- steve’s first client, got sick
– lactate training-> to help recover from overtraining
– used 1 type of training for many years (the fact / tempo based philosophy )


“have to believe in program” – philosophy, volume or intensity
– road community -> suffer fests only benefit fast, only move up thru commit to self-progression
– mix fun/friends, won’t get thru, improve


HOW TO UPGRADE or Ride in group above you – not always just ride more in existing group/race, have to do training for you


 TSS and Training stress – how do you manage the mature athlete? (work, kids, time limits)
  – ctl, atl -> PMC , chronic intensity load (Intensity factor)
 – limit to 1-2 hard a week
  – stress -> not just bike stress, have an honest conversation -> How is that working for u?
 – why do you ride? they don’t ride because you do?


 The Cycling Gym – 3 years in, what have you learned?
  – easier training
  – free monthly testing-> if not
  – free consult
  – can improve as age


You have worked with many athletes that have had success and also very good longevity in the sport. What makes an athlete last longer in a sport?
  – too much intensity = burnout
 – almost undertraining,
 – have goals, show path to get there-> not make do anything, their path may diverge (not always linear)


How much cross-training do you use with your clients? Are there particular types you have found success with?
– steve didn’t’ ride his bike and did stretching / CrossFit and raced best he could
 – cycling becoming like running with frequent injuries
 – strength and mobility ( LINK STEVE STRETCH / HAMSTRING )
 – example – 40-year-old exec., gran fondo goals, knee injury left out of fondo and take summer off= back on bike with yoga/stretch and ride when feel good
 – need to do something to counteract sitting/inactivity


Steve workout today
 – ride 15min, sandbag pull, wall ball rotate for 2hrs (hr file still ‘steady’ )
 – why not jump off and do something mid ride
  – mixed load training (upper lower body training called =” lactate shuttle? ” )


peter rope hang by steve neal
Peter hanging during a CrossFit Workout with Steve in 2008/2009
  – Peter talks about tempo w. burpee between to move blood/lactate above => specific mtb workout?


 – crosstraining helpful for higher HR? for an efficient cyclist to improve may need to do other sport where not as efficient.
    – pole running, CrossFit, running, strength  to improve


 how to start on strength as an endurance athlete? 
=> goblet squat -> best ROM and ring rows and aerodyne (or bike)
squat, pull, cardio (not bike)


Testing – Nerves? You do a fair bit of testing. How do you handle the nerves athletes get around power and testing?
– understand why
– test often, not as planned
  -> why do people come to failure? 90% of people could keep going after (not max)? mind?
            -> you have 60% more!
– variable terrain-


 what tests are you using these days?
  – wko4 webinars – Tim Cuisak aerobic recovery


What are you up to with classes/coaching?  WHERE / WHEN? (if there are upcoming registration dates / courses etc. this is good time to plug)
  = challenge to come into gym for bike prep off bike
  contact Steve
   = keep coming in during summer to get quality work out


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