Maintenance for weight lifting

Hi all

I’ve decided to cut back from my weight lifting routine due to the 10lbs I put on since I started again back in September. I look like a gorilla on a bike now, which doesn’t help with my cda or climbing.

That said, is lifting once per week enough to maintain my maximal strength and stave off bone density loss?

Most places will say that a full body workout once a week should be enough to maintain your maximal strength (or at least significantly slow any loss). Though if plan on losing that 10lbs (assuming it was mostly muscle) then you should expect to also lose some strength but definitely not all of it.

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I wish it was all muscle. My appetite grew significantly when I started weight lifting again, according to my Withings scale my BF% went up from 25% to 28% since September.

I have the same problem, gaining weight, not all muscle when hitting the weights. I have settled on one total body workout/week. I’m planning a long touring trip this summer, and don’t plan to do much except ride for 2 months. I’m hoping some of the extra will melt off. My weight numbers are above what Coach Chad expects for everything but a sprinter.


I’m interested in this too.

I’ve been using Chad’s strength levels as a guide, and looking at how hard the sessions have been - particularly the ones I‘m failing reps on. At the moment I’m think L2 weights at 5x5 should be enough for maintenance.

Too long between sessions hasn’t worked well for me though, so I may stick with 2/wk.

Regarding weight gain, the type of lifting might impact there - you say gorilla, which sounds like hypertrophy rather than strength. I’ve had no significant change in weight or body composition since starting in October.

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Its tricky isnt it! I was into bodybuilding before getting into triathlon recently and have found fitting in weight training is hard! especially legs as it just ruins my bike sessions.

I’ve listened to some youtube videos which usually quote decent literature (cba to find it now though) and the message seemed to be 10 sets per muscle group per week at moderate to high intensity is usually enough to maintain most muscle (as long as you’re not in too much of a calorie deficit).

For me: i’ve gone down to 1x per week full body (only lunges for legs though) and i’ve done ok for dropping weight, improving cardio and still not losing too much muscle.

I want to increase to 2x per week with 1 session after swims. But as my TR program gets more intense i probably need to cut it out all together and actually use the rest day for recovery.

Tis a hard balance muscle gain and endurance sports. :thinking:


Regarding weight gain, the type of lifting might impact there - you say gorilla, which sounds like hypertrophy rather than strength. I’ve had no significant change in weight or body composition since starting in October.

My body type seems to be geared towards heaviness and I have a pretty broad frame. For example, my bone density is about 9x the average male adult my age and my shoulders are 21" wide (I’m told I give off a great draft, I wouldn’t know :stuck_out_tongue: ). When it comes to weightlifting, I lift heavy and rest lots to limit hypertrophy; e.g. 3x3 2xBW deadlift with 3-5 minutes rest between sets.

I guess I’m just destined to be a heavy cyclist?

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Welcome Mitch, I’m guessing that you’re used to lifting much heavier than necessary for triathletes then? :grinning:

Chad’s targets are 1x5, and for an 80kg male as below:
L2 Targets

60 Squat
30 Overhead Press
80 Deadlift
45 Bench
45 Barbell Row
10 Pull Up

I’m above these goals in 5x5, but it’s become a struggle after a hard run session. You need four hours before bike, or after run IMO. Swim can be affected by the OH Press in my experience.

I plan to back off the Row and Bench, but I still think there is more to come with Squat, Deadlift and Bench. And then drop to 3x5, 2/week:


80 Squat
40 Press
100 Deadlift
60 Bench
60 Row

I lift once per week (Coach Chad recommendations) and I find that my strength maintains extremely well, even if I miss a week.
Maintenance I define as, I can still lift the same stuff later.

I have done max 2 sessions per week though and gradually added weight over long time.

I came across a figure once, the important thing for maintenance seems to be how much you drop.

For example, going from 3 workouts and 5 sets to 1 workout and 3 sets is a significant decrease.
From 1 workout and 5 sets to 1 workout and 3 sets, not so much.

Ha you could say so.

I used to be so caught up with increasing strength and hated missing a weights session. I avoided cardio for fear of losing gains. Now im trying to lose this muscle so i can bike and run faster. :joy:

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