Quads Thrashed after SSB Mid Vol 1


First thing that jumps out to me is cadence and gearing. Are you in erg or resistance? Do you try to stay over 85 as prescribed? If you are mashing through every pedal stroke this would happen.


@berto2cj I am in Erg mode on my kickr. Cadence around 82, Trying to improve there but not there yet.


Keep trying. We are on the same plans at the same spots and I think this has been a big improvement for me this year.

It will get easier


I just finished my rest week of SSBMV1. I’m 47 and I’ve never worked this hard over the winter. For the past 6 weeks I’ve felt that every workout left a deep sting/fatigue in my legs but surprisingly, I’d finished every workout as planned. Admittedly, I took brief breaks on some of the over unders. I figured I’d power through until I absolutely couldn’t finish. Up until today, I thought there was no way I’d be fresh enough for a ramp test on Tuesday (it’s Sunday now). But miraculously, I felt great today and look forward to my test. For 6 weeks my quads had a deep down fatigue and every workout kept me on the fine line between too much and just enough. But I’ve been mindful of my diet, rest, and even supplements. I may be down a couple pounds but I think the dual purpose of dieting, extra work, and training this hard is a dangerous mix… like digging a hole so deep, you’ll need a week off to catch up (* a la chad). Anyways, take a week of rest and get back at it.


that’s the way! :muscle: as long as you get positive adaptations and you’re not overwhelmed by fatigue go for it.

but before you dig yourself into a DEEP hole … better adapt the plan for more recovery :stuck_out_tongue:


Schmidt, your words were prescient. I just wrote that my ramp test after six weeks was a total failure because of the built up fatigue that I’ve accrued. At 47, I need to plan on more rest and recovery.


What size of flywheel does your trainer have? The reason I ask is because a trainer with a smaller flywheel will have less inertia, which means that during the dead spot in your pedal stroke or the point of rotation you are putting out the least power, the flywheel will slow down more than a trainer with a larger flywheel.

The result being, that you could become more reliant on your down stroke and pushing, which could put more strain on your quads.

I had quads that died during any session when I had a turbo trainer with a 1.5kg flywheel, and since I have changed to a direct drive trainer with much more inertia the issue is no longer present.


My Quads are thrashed no longer. :slight_smile: I took a 3 day complete rest. Hit the Ramp test prior to my SSB MV2. 13% bump. Will see how things go. :slight_smile:


@janerney I don’t know the flywheel size but I have the latest 2018 Kickr. It does have a larger flywheel from what I recall.


Of course this is highly specific to your position, but could you mention some tips for engaging the glutes? In my self-diagnosis (I will get a proper bike fit in a couple of months), lack of glute engagement seems to be the reason my quads are complaining so much.


Yeah??? Try it with lil cycling background at almost 50 with 2 young kids! :scream::scream::scream:

Keep it up!:grinning:


I had exact same issue one year ego. I can suggest to look at your recovery: overall carbs intake, recovery drink with protein, stretching, foam rolling. Try extending your workout cool down and/or do light spins to help lymph circulation. Perhaps your training zones are off, and sweet spot is actually threshold. Good luck.

  1. Set up your trainer so that you have no load on your wheels. i.e. 0 watts. Clip in and try to pedal at 20-30 RPM. Start understanding how your muscles want to fire vs how they should fire. Try to build up to 5 min at a low cadence. Then start to up the cadence. This exercise SUCKS and is utterly frustrating (more so than rollers).

  2. Sit down on a chair slowly. Think about what muscles you’re engaging. When you get to a position that mimics your position on the bike really think about where your body weight is and how engaged your quads are vs your glutes.

  3. On the trainer clip in and put your feet at 3 + 6. Sit up straight. Pop your butt out slightly. Arms are parallel to the ground. Roll your shoulders back (Really its like pinching + rolling your scapula). PIVOT down to the hoods. Most people (including myself) have a tendency to fall into the hoods.

  4. Work on your glute strength especially gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. There’s plenty of simply band exercises that take less than 5 minutes. If you’ve never done it start with clam shells.

  5. Every time you step up onto something (stairs, bed, chairs, small woodland gnomes) try to think about how you engage your glutes and start to think about how that can be applied to the bike.

Here’s my thought (I stole it from a guy in Boston Ed Sassler): Humans evolved to move upright. We get places by walking. We’ve spend almost our entire lives trying to keep ourselves from falling from an upright position. Riding a bike isn’t walking. Riding a bike isn’t running. Why would you fire your muscles in the same way? The concern of falling is completely different.

Learning the firing pattern w/out load starts to re-train your muscles. Paying attention to the every day things you do that are similar to riding a bike helps you understand the feeling you’re going for on the bike. Often enough all you need is to become aware of what you’re doing and you’ll correct it (I’m assuming this is why Chad reminds us to pay attention to our breathing, knee tracking, etc.)

Hope this makes sense.


This, to me, is more about balance and setback vs. how to engage glutes. Steve Hogg recommends a drill (paraphrasing) where the rider rides close to threshold (IIRC) while hands in the drops. While still pedaling the rider swings hands next to hips. Picture nordic ski jumping. If the rider falls forward this can be a clue either that the riders position is too far forward and/or the riders core is weak. While not bulletproof, as someones core can override an unbalanced position, it’s a very good indication for the vast majority of riders. Again, paraphrasing.

But in case I totally missed what’s going on and this is some sort of glute activation drill what is the significance of falling onto the hoods? How are you activating the glutes doing this is what I’m trying to understand…Or are you saying move back to help activate glutes if you fall forward?

I still think @ktimesk problem is most likely due to really tight hip flexors. Probably an overuse situation as I think (he/she) is new to trainer training. Obviously, overuse of quads are a function of too far forward. To help get the hamstrings more in the picture move back. JMO


@Landis I think you are right. I do have really tight hip flexors. I have recently started a stretching regimen. I also have really tight Quads, hammies, calves, and Glutes. I have been indoor training (For the most part only during winter) since the winter of 2013. I then ride outside.

I do notice that when I do long rides outside (70-100 miles), I do feel soreness in my glutes which I think is due to recruiting them. This recruitment does not seem to be happening indoors. I will try and move back my seat a bit. Thanks for the tip.


@ktimesk same bike indoors and out? If so, and you feel the glutes outdoors yet quads indoors then I think it’s a trainer inertia thing. Maybe something else too. Something seemingly simple like not enough riser under the front wheel…

If different bikes then yeah I’d check the position and make every attempt to get them as close to each other as possible. If the indoor bike position is actually way forward then for sure move it back to help.


Makes a lot of sense, thanks!

Will definitely try all of this.


Same bike.


I’m also 47 and I’ve found that during the recovery weeks I’m better off stacking a few workouts to give me 3 full days off. At the end of SSB MV II I was pretty trashed feeling. Finished it on a Sunday and then Monday, stacked the 60/30 minute rides planned for Tues/Wed onto Monday. Then I took Tues-Thurs off and finished the week feeling fresh. That worked so much better for me I think I will just keep that rolling as I progress through other phases.

Good luck!


Sorry maybe I didn’t explain well enough. The idea is to set yourself up to pedal properly. Falling forward implies a lack of control when you move from sitting upright to putting your hands on the hoods. Pivoting forward implies that you’re moving from a specific point and you’re making that movement with control. The idea is to set up your body so that the right muscles engage properly (rotating and pulling your shoulders back helps with breathing and combats the shrugged shoulders you see a lot of cyclist sporting).

What I’ve seen is that when people don’t pivot at the hips they roll into an aggressive (re:sporty) position. The spine kind’ve looks like a French curve with a bit more curve at the base. To me this looks a lot like butt wink (just google it)

OK, now gimme a bit of latitude because I’m at work and haven’t thought this completely through.

Butt-wink is generally considered bad form and dangerous, right? Part of it is caused by a lack of flexibility I think this is what you’re getting at @landis. I don’t mean to completely rule out flexibility issues. But B.W. also to happens when people load up the bar outside of their comfort zone and forget how move properly.

My co-worker is a good example: He can pyramid from 135 - 225 with good form. If he can move 225x5 he should be able to do 245 or 265 for a 1 or 2RM. But what I see is that his form breaks down at that weight. On top of that there’s a slight shift of weight forward when he comes back up. It’s not as much as moving the bar from behind to in front but its enough to shift some of the work from the glutes to the quads. To get an idea what I’m talking about load a bar with a little bit of weight and do a normal squat then do a front squat – the quads do more work with the front squat. The butt-wink seems to transfer a bit more of the load to the quads and, if you watch closely, folks tend to rock slightly forward when they return to a standing position.

If you’re butt-winking on the bike that means you’re not using your strongest muscle group effectively and your quads are going to tire out faster. Then you get more slower-er-er.

Back to setting up your position: If you’re used to starting off in a bad position and pedaling in a bad position it’s really hard to feel the problem and hard to correct it at that moment. You need to start from a good position and “check in” often. Completely resetting helps so much – it’s the way a lot of strength coaches teach complex lifts. Once you’re in the position and you’re working on #1 and #2 from my previous post, it gets a lot easier to activate and push with the glutes.

I hope this makes sense.