The current study investigated the effects of 8 wk of strength-training cessation after 25 wk of strength training on strength- and cycling-performance characteristics. Elite cyclists were randomly assigned to either 25 wk of endurance training combined with heavy strength training (EXP, n = 7, maximal oxygen uptake [V̇O2max] 77 ± 6 mL . kg-1 . min-1; 3 × 4–10 RM, 1 to 2 d/wk) or to endurance training only (CON, n = 7, V̇O2max 73 ± 5 mL . kg-1 . min-1). Thereafter, both groups performed endurance training only for 8 wk, coinciding with the initial part of the competition season. Data were assessed for practical significance using magnitude-based inferences. During the 25-wk preparatory period, EXP had a larger positive impact on maximal isometric half-squat force, squat jump (SJ), maximal aerobic power (Wmax), power output at 4 mmol/L [La], and mean power in 30-s Wingate test than did CON (ES = 0.46-0.74). Conversely, during the 8-wk competition period EXP had a reduction in SJ, Wmax, and mean power in the 30-s Wingate test compared with CON (ES = 0.49-0.84). The present findings suggest rapid decline of adaptations on termination of strength training during the first 8 wk of the competition period in elite cyclists.
Rønnestad, Hansen, and Ellefsen are with the Section for Sport Science, Lillehammer University College, and Hollan, the Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Lillehammer, Norway. Spencer is with the Dept of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway.