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Nov 23, 2021

This week we are joined by Dr. Matt Smith, Founder EverAthlete. Matt walks us through the importance of strength training for gravel cyclists.

Presented by: Competitive Cyclist

Join The Ridership

Episode Transcription (please excuse the typos):

EverAthlete - Dr. Matt

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel rod podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the show, we've got Dr. Matt Smith from ever athlete coming to talk to us. About the importance. Once of strength training for cyclists. 

[00:00:14] Before we jump in, we need to thank this week. Sponsor competitor. cyclist. 

[00:00:18] Competitive cyclist is the specialty online retailer of road, gravel and mountain bikes, components, apparel, and accessories. 

[00:00:26] Featuring some of your favorite brands like pock, Castelli, Pearl Izumi on the gravel bike side. They feature frames from evil Niner. Ibis. Really creating a big selection of gravel bikes for your perusal <unk>

[00:00:41] But the real difference that competitive cyclists are the gearheads equal parts customer service cycling fanatic gear heads are former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned cyclists. With years of experience. All available by phone, email, or chat for personal. Product recommendations and hard won advice. 

[00:01:00] Last week you heard me talk about my personal experience. With Maggie. I brought her through an exercise to help me find the. Perfect gravel bike for 2022 and perfect for me not. Perfect for what they had in inventory, or really put her to the fire and asked her a lot of tough questions. About designing a bike that was going to fit the type of writing that I do as an individual. So it's not like I was building, a bike for someone. 

[00:01:25] In a different part of the country or a different part of the world. She really listened to me. And as I tried to point her to bikes that I thought were flat. Flashy or good-looking. She reminded me that those bikes were all good, but based on what she told me about the riding I was looking to do. She would recommend that I 

[00:01:42] key in on a couple specific bikes. And to be honest, she was spot on all the bikes that she recommended. I think it was the IBUs haka. To a lesser degree and the pivot we're spot on for the types of. Bikes that i would want to ride here in marin county.

[00:01:58] One of the things that might be a concern for any product you're buying online would be returns. Competitive. Cyclists has a. A hundred percent guaranteed returns. So you can shop in confidence, whether it's a component or bike, anything you need competitive. Cyclists, this has your back. So go to competitive 

[00:02:16] Slash the gravel ride. And enter promo code the gravel ride to get 15% off your first full price order. And free shipping on orders of over $50. Some. Some exclusions apply to go right now and get 15% off. Plus free shipping. slash the gravel ride. And remember that. 

[00:02:37] Promo code is the gravel ride. We very much appreciate their sponsorship and appreciate that they're sending a discount your way. 

[00:02:45] Would that business out of the way, let's jump right into my interview with Matt from ever athlete. 

[00:02:51] Matt. Welcome to the show. 

[00:02:53] Dr. Matt Smith: Thanks so much for having me.

[00:02:55] Craig Dalton: I'm super excited to learn a little bit about, more about your background and about other ever athlete. As I'm about seven weeks into my first program and I'm eager to talk about my experiences, but also look forward to some of the other ride strong programs. So why don't we start off by just setting the stage for the listener a little bit about yourself and then about the.

[00:03:17] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So ever athlete is now an online platform. That's dedicated to helping athletes to perform outdoors on trails in the water on bikes. W our goal is essentially to create longevity to that journey and help people improve their performance. I started out I'm a sports chiropractor and a strength coach and started ever athlete as a sports injury care clinic, actually back in 2015.

[00:03:46] And since then, through the pandemic and a few other things we have transitioned into doing some in-person one-on-one work, we work with a lot of different athletes and. Different people, but, we've transitioned a lot of our efforts to the online atmosphere.

[00:04:03] And I've taken a lot of the lessons that we've learned from working with high level athletes and also amateur athletes and have started creating training programs, recovery tools, and injury rehab programs online. To rewind a little bit, to give you a little bit more background about, how we started, again, we started as an injury care clinics, primarily focused on athletes and quickly.

[00:04:27] Transitioned into strength training as well. We work with a variety of people, but our goal is really to meet any athlete, wherever they are on the healthcare spectrum or the health and performance spectrum, whether they're dealing with an injury or looking to make it to the Olympics.

[00:04:44] That's been the premise of ever athlete since we began. And that's just been amplified in the last few years. So that's a little bit about us. 

[00:04:52] Craig Dalton: That's interesting. When you started, obviously what you went through chiropractic college, did you act as a traditional sports focused chiropractic professional originally, and then see that these were all different pieces of the same puzzle you were trying to solve for your clients?

[00:05:08] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So before I ever went to, I went to a school called Palmer west for grads. And before I went to Palmer and throughout my time going to Palmer I was working as a strength coach. And so I've worked in strength conditioning for about 15 years. And so when I graduated, I went to work at a pretty cool sports therapy clinic out in Austin, Texas where we were not traditional chiropractic.

[00:05:34] So it was. A lot of people think about chiropractic as, if you're going into a chiropractic clinic you're coming in to get adjusted and it's a mill, I've never practiced in that way. I've always been more focused on soft tissue therapy corrective exercise, rehab work in a lot of other modalities.

[00:05:53] And so from the beginning of ever athlete, we've always. W we've always worked in a non-traditional sense with people, going through soft tissue work, teaching exercises and then leveraging for the more functional training and exercise now as a preventative and wellness model. And so it's always been a little non-traditional, it's always been athlete focused.

[00:06:17] Especially from the beginning phases, but initially it was a little bit more like I think of our company as a company that just solves problems for athletes. And initially we were very focused on solving solving the problems that athletes would have when they're dealing with injuries.

[00:06:33] And now we're diving far more into the performance space and also preventing injuries. 

[00:06:40] Craig Dalton: That's super interesting and resonates with me personally. I know the relationships I've had with the chiropractic community, the ones that have been the strongest have always been the ones that looked at my problem or my challenge holistically and never, just simply as a chiropractor, because honestly, as a athlete, I could care less about whether you call it chiropractic work, what you're doing on me, or it's stretching or strengthening or advice.

[00:07:07] I just want to have that session. Get through whatever hurdle I'm going through and learn tools and techniques to prevent me from, arriving at whatever acute injury probably led me through the door in the first 

[00:07:20] Dr. Matt Smith: place a hundred percent. And I think, to, to your point, I've never cared if anyone called via chiropractor, I've never really, I don't know if I fully identify as any one.

[00:07:32] I don't fully identify as a chiropractor. It's certainly a part of what I do and has taught me a lot, but it's like a piece of it. And for me, the chiropractic profession, there are a ton of really great practitioners who do a phenomenal job and focus on educating people and creating self-reliance in patient groups.

[00:07:52] And that was really the big thing for me, especially early on when. Transitioning out of this role of having people rely on me constantly. And, especially with our online stuff, creating more affordable avenues for people to get good high performance, health care and performance training has been a huge form of wellness.

[00:08:15] Whereas a lot of times, if you're thinking about wellness from a chiropractic sense, it's, going to see your chiropractor once a week for, your entire life. And for me, just from a professional mindset, I've never wanted a hundred percent resonated with, having that be my life's work, I've always, really wanted to educate people more and provide.

[00:08:36] More self-reliance through practical resources and that's really what we've evolved into has been fast-tracked due to the pandemic, but but it's been a really interesting, this project, this online platform has been this like second evolution I've ever athlete that have been very stoked.

[00:08:54] Yeah, 

[00:08:54] Craig Dalton: a hundred percent. It's never one single thing. And I think if for the listener, if you've got a relationship with a chiropractor that just feels like they just have to keep coming back in and they're not advising you on how to change your life or how to avoid the situation you're in. And it just becomes this weekly crutch that becomes one expensive and two, in my opinion, just not in your best in.

[00:09:16] Dr. Matt Smith: A hundred percent, and a lot of those models are based off of what insurance companies will pay out for, in terms of getting reimbursed as a professional. And I've always worked outside of those lines, from the beginning, we've never been a part of the insurance game.

[00:09:32] And so it's been, for me, that's forced me to provide value in a way that is. Far different than trying to fit into that type of model. And that's pushed me forward into saying how do we provide maximum value and self-reliance, and, empowerment for people not on a one-on-one basis.

[00:09:53] And yeah, it's been, it's not to downplay Cairo. There's a ton of really great chiropractors out there. There's phenomenal. Hands-on practitioners. And a lot of times, people go through injuries or situations where they need some guidance. But I think the bottom line for me in terms of, what I pride myself on is teaching it's helping people become more resilient on their own.

[00:10:17] And that's really been our focus with every athlete from the. 

[00:10:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think I became aware of ever athlete probably first through Kate Courtney on Instagram, going through her exercise routine. And I'm pretty sure it predated any of the kind of ride strong and run strong and try strong programs that you've put out there.

[00:10:38] So I know when I started to see those things arrive in this online platform that you guys had been working on throughout the pandemic, I guess it really spoke to me in a different way. To see these programs being very specific to me as a cyclist was just one of those pushes that helped me get off the dime and start.

[00:10:58] Can you talk about why strength training is important for cyclists and why it might be important for us to back off a little bit in our riding routine, particularly in the off season, quote unquote and what we should look forward to throughout a strength training? Yeah. 

[00:11:15] Dr. Matt Smith: I think, the conversation about how strength training can fit in for cyclists can go in a lot of different directions.

[00:11:23] I think the, one thing to constantly come back to is the fact that sitting for long hours, Is not like it's pretty new for the human body. This is in terms of our evolution and what we're really designed for. That's not exactly in line, even though it's very fun. It's not exactly attuned to what is most healthy for us movement wise.

[00:11:48] And so it's not to say that riding a bike is bad. It's just to say that there's an expense. And one of the ways that you can combat that expanse. And ensure that you can do it for longer and potentially with more effectiveness, more power is to implement some strength training. And the identification that, Hey, riding a bike, being in a flection posture pedaling for long hours, the posture that you have to be in while you're on a bike is not super beneficial for the overall.

[00:12:22] Human body. And again, one of the ways that we can bring the body back into balance, bring it back to a healthier state is to implement some strength training techniques. And one of the biggest misconceptions when people start thinking about, Hey, I'm an endurance athlete. I, I don't want to train like a powerlifter and I don't want to train like a bodybuilder.

[00:12:44] You know that's, those are barriers that, you certainly don't need to start becoming a powerlifter. If you're going to implement some basic strength principles as a part of your training plan. And you can have a tremendous effect. By just implementing some basic movements, getting some good hip extension, thinking about turning your glutes on and driving your hips all the way forward.

[00:13:05] We sit in hip flection constantly on the bike, and that can be pretty detrimental for the low back long-term and the hips long-term. And strength training is a really great way to start. Counteracting some of the repetitive stress that you'll find on the bike and it doesn't take that much, it doesn't take a huge commitment.

[00:13:22] It's the simple things that you implement over time that can have a pretty tremendous impact on your overall health, but also your performance on the bike. Yeah, 

[00:13:32] Craig Dalton: that makes sense. I think most listeners have probably had one of those days where they've just spent so long on the bike.

[00:13:38] By the time they got up, it was difficult to stand fully around. Yes. And that's a very acute sign that, that's the way your body feels on every ride, probably to some small degree. And I know for one I need to work at a standing desk because I just don't want to add any more sitting position in my life for the amount of time I'm actually riding.

[00:14:01] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. I think that's a super smart move and, . Your comment about, seeing some Kate Courtney's exercises and some of the stuff that she'll put up on, on Instagram, and I've worked with Kate for years now. And I think even with the stuff that she puts out, it's super cool to see what an elite world-class athlete can do.

[00:14:24] But I think when it comes to, the audience, who's listening to this podcast and also just like the endurance community over. There's a lot of really high level endurance athletes that are novice strength athletes. They just don't have, they haven't developed the same skill set that they have aerobically when they're in the gym.

[00:14:44] And, the bang for your buck that you can get out of like really simple things that don't look cool on Instagram. Bodyweight rose and simple deadlifts or even bridges. I think that, the more exposure that we can give to like how simple it can be for people to implement, very effective tools in their training program.

[00:15:03] That's a critical thing because a lot of people think, when they see Kate's stuff or they'll see some of the things that Ali. It's making a little bit more flamboyant than it needs to be. And so a lot of the programs that we put out get to the bare bones of, simple patterns that bring the body back into balance and build a more resilient system overall.

[00:15:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. For the listener, I can attest that in the beginner program, I have not. Balanced on a balance board and brought a dumbbell around my head, like Kate has done in our recent Instagram post. She was just 

[00:15:36] Dr. Matt Smith: doing that 15 minutes ago in the other room. 

[00:15:39] Craig Dalton: That it's awesome. And funny because I do have a balanced board, so I like dream of getting there, but time will allow that 

[00:15:46] Dr. Matt Smith: to happen.

[00:15:47] Yeah. And that's a great, I think that's a pretty good segue in terms of. How you parse out your time? Like how can you, everything costs when it comes to training, right? Like it costs time. It costs energy and how to be most effective for a lot of people doing some like simple stuff, not getting too overwhelmed with balance board stuff or anything like that.

[00:16:10] Stuff is very effective and can be very fun. But starting with the foundational principles of just good healthy positions and movement can be. Equally, if not more beneficial and as much more accessible. So 

[00:16:23] Craig Dalton: for sure. And I know when I reached out to your team originally, and I came in the front door as any other customer would, and it just said, here's the deal.

[00:16:31] I, I'm a lifelong cyclist and may have done some strength training. Many years ago, but essentially I'm a beginner in this, where should I start? And the recommendation was this eight week beginner strength program, which I'm seven weeks into at this point of the recording. And it's been good.

[00:16:48] We started at a very basic level, half an hour long workouts, maybe at this point, they're about 45 minutes long, but they add up and you're not asking. You've never asked me to do any massive weightlifting or anything like that. It's just been about getting these basic motions down and introducing these concepts to my body, which it's been paced out in a great way.

[00:17:13] For me. I've never felt overly sore from an exercise or anything like that. It felt very appropriate and I feel a lot more confident reaching the end of this program about what's next than I did when I first start. 

[00:17:25] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And that's the whole premise. It's one of the most challenging things. And I really commend you for being such an inexperienced athlete and also saying, Hey, this is a new skill set or one that I haven't visited for a long time.

[00:17:42] Let me start with victories. Let's build up some victories in the bank and give myself some things that are fairly simple to do. And I'm just going to continue to hammer them out and take bite. A bite sized approach to the whole thing is really the premise behind the beginners program. It's that the program is designed to be very simple and progress over time.

[00:18:06] And. And what that allows you to do is to reintegrate some of the software programs in your body and your brain that it takes to squat well, or to activate your glutes or to hold a side bridge position or whatever else. The things that you lose from not doing. And especially if you've been riding a lot for many years and have not done any strength work, that's where you get the most bang for your buck.

[00:18:34] It's like integrating these simple patterns in bite ways, and then you can make it more complex and add volume and add more load over time. But that's really the premise behind the beginners programs like to be ultimately accessing. And then lead in to some of the other ride strong programs that we have that give a little bit more specific to positions that you'll find on the bike and get you a little bit more, we'll we add in little, different tempos to exercises, more load increase the stability demands and, we add difficulty in a variety of ways, but starting out with foundational movement where you're just learning good patterns.

[00:19:12] And practicing those things so that you can load them more effectively later without getting injured is really what our goal was when developing that, that 

[00:19:21] Craig Dalton: program. Yeah. That's certainly been one of my focuses is to really look at the instruction and make sure my body to the best of my ability. Is it a hearing to the correct shape and.

[00:19:33] 'cause I know, like anytime we're adding dumbbells in that if I have poor form, if I'm curling my back, if I'm not getting the squat in the right position, that's not going to serve me well, as real weight starts to be added into the equation. Yep. 

[00:19:48] Dr. Matt Smith: And one of the biggest misconceptions, I think that's out there right now is like, there's this like global agreement that strength training is good for endurance health.

[00:20:01] But poor staff, poorly executed strain training could be the absolute worst thing for an endurance athlete. And, you get a lot more out of performing a good unloaded squat or lunge or hinge without heavy loads. If you just do the pattern well, you get just as much, if not more out of that than using really heavy load.

[00:20:26] And having poor form or potentially hitting, faltering in your movement pattern in a way that could injure you. And coming back to Hey, what's the point of all this, the point of all this is to reintegrate healthy patterns for the body and bring it back to balance and then start to add some load to build strength and power is really where we come from.

[00:20:47] Craig Dalton: So as a cyclist, one of the things I noted in this beginner strength program, which I think of your programs, that this is obviously more generic to just get me started, but there is a fair amount of upper body work that goes on. And as a weak upper body cyclist, that was, that's probably one of the bigger transitions.

[00:21:06] Can you talk about why we're working kind of the upper body and arms as well as the legs and these moves. 

[00:21:11] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, in that specific program. So in the beginner strength program, the goal of the program is really just to develop not only strength, but just overall athletics. And a robust system. And so in that program specifically, it's really teaching you different patterns with the upper body so that you get a little bit more balanced.

[00:21:32] And I think when it comes to, our ride strong programs and some of the upper body work that we do more specific to the bike, that stuff is critical. For a couple of different reasons, it's critical in the same way that like building up foot strength is very important for running. In the sense that that's your, it's like one of your primary contact points on the bike.

[00:21:53] And if you don't control well with your provider, if you don't have strength, endurance, grip, strength and solid control of your upper body, especially in gravel riding with the. Amount of time that you're on the bike, you can start running into not only acute situations where you crash or, you just lose control of your bike.

[00:22:14] But also longterm, you can just start running into poor posture on the bike, which leads to all kinds of issues, not only in the upper body, but also sometimes in the lower back in the neck. And building up a certain degree not again, not we're not doing like bicep curls and heavy bench press with our programs.

[00:22:33] It's more like integrating pushups, grip strength from hanging. Pull-ups all these different things that can be very beneficial just in terms of like control, just in terms of like confidence and control on the bike and maintaining healthy posture with your. 

[00:22:50] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that resonates with me. It might be a good time to take a moment and just talk about the type of equipment that is necessary to follow these programs.

[00:22:59] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So we have a variety of programs up on the site, including no equipment programs. So we have we have a body weight strength program that's eight weeks long, and if you're looking for kind of a generic program to follow that will build up, lower body, upper body core strength.

[00:23:17] That's a great one. If you've got nothing available, we also have kettlebell programs that just require one kettlebell that are also generic, very similar to the beginner strength program. But build up overall athleticism when it comes to our ride strong program. There's a pretty good amount of equipment that you need.

[00:23:35] But any, Jim will have these things and then if you wanna, if you want to get pretty robust at home, you can a few of the things that we have in our programs, I'm actually looking up our equipment list right now, but we have everything. Many bands. So there's a little bands that you see people wrap around their legs and do like sidesteps or squats with long bands with handles are one piece of equipment that we use quite often that can wrap around a door handle, or a pole or a pull up bar.

[00:24:06] We use barbells in our new restaurant. So we're currently putting out a 20 week ride strong program. It's like a slow release right now. But we do have a strength cycle in there with barbells. So barbells bumper plates, all that we use dumbbells, we use benches for box jumps and then for a few other exercises.

[00:24:30] And I'm trying to think here, 

[00:24:32] Craig Dalton: what else do we use? Yeah, I've I was lucky in that I already owned a TRX that was gathering dust and TRX that's right. Yeah. And the TRX was useful in that there were some modifications. So if you didn't have a pull-up bar, which I don't currently have a plan on getting you could do a TRX derivative of that.

[00:24:52] And I, the, just FYI for the listener those stretch bands, I think for $29, I got a set of the long ones and the short ones that pretty much cover all my needs. And then I ended up just recently finding a deal on a barbell set. So ended up getting barbells thinking, I'm going to want it for this next stage, but you can take these things in incrementally and that's what I've been doing.

[00:25:15] Just acquiring them when I have the finances to do. 

[00:25:18] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And just to be clear. So last year we put out six months of rod strong program. Actually more than six months, we put out a full off season of red, strong programming that required no barbell. So it was all dumbbell work, all bands, a suspension trainer, and we have all of our.

[00:25:39] The one thing that I didn't mention so far was a Swiss ball. We do Swiss balls, particularly in the registrar program. Good. Because I 

[00:25:46] Craig Dalton: Got one of those and didn't see it in the beginner strength program. So I was hoping I would see it in the future. 

[00:25:51] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, you will see it. If you follow the 20, which I do recommend falling that the 20 week ride strong program that we have coming out.

[00:25:58] Now, if you follow that, you'll see that in core routine. Like we like to play around particularly in like kneeling positions on the ball, using it for hamstring curls and a lot of different drills. Yeah, 

[00:26:12] Craig Dalton: right on. That's actually a good segue into my question. So I've, I've, I'm fortunate that I got the bug early and I'm finishing my eight weeks sort of the beginning of December.

[00:26:22] What would you recommend? I move on to it. It sounds like it's that 20 week program. And if so, could describe the journey that you've created? 

[00:26:31] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And so to be clear, like what I recommend to you now, And really like the conversation should revolve around a goal. So everything that we every th the premise behind everything that we're putting out is to help people set goals and create a path from a to B and so create, do you have any races coming up in the.

[00:26:54] Craig Dalton: I'm sure I will. And here's my challenge in my coachability is it's difficult for me as a family guy to plan out my race calendar. And it's often driven by balancing my desire with family obligations and, ability to travel. But so I typically end up at. Two to four gravel events, big gravel events a year, and then a smattering of local ones that I can drive to.

[00:27:19] Typically they're not going to start until, March or April, I would say. 

[00:27:25] Dr. Matt Smith: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And that's that's pretty common. So if you're finishing up this beginner's program, I was looking at a calendar here and you're in the first week of December, you've got a bow. 12 to 16 weeks until you're actually racing.

[00:27:43] And, you can jump into our 20 week program. I'll send you a note about this offline, but. I do recommend like our 20 week program that we're currently putting out is based on a lot of the work that we've done with pro riders and essentially have taken those concepts and made them more available to amateur and lower level competitive writers.

[00:28:05] And. We start out with a six week stability phase. That's broken up into three parts. So three, two week phases, and then we go into an eight week strength cycle. That's broken up into two different four week strength blocks. And then we finished with a six week power and power endurance cycle.

[00:28:27] And so the way that we've created the program, Is to allow for flexibility. So say you have 20 weeks from an event or versus having 12 weeks from an event, we can clip things out and give you a custom program to have you peaking for your event. Just based on the programs that we currently have out, and we have a few other programs outside of the 20 week program that we're currently releasing.

[00:28:54] We have a five week strength and power blend. We have a six week strength and power blend and we have a 12 week progressive strength program. So there's a lot of different things that we can pull from. To basically figure out what's right for you. And this is a lot of what we're doing with people right now.

[00:29:08] It's we're doing calls with people pretty often. And we include this in our membership where you can set up, you can shoot us an email and say, Hey, here's what I have going on here. My goals, do you have any suggestions for my path? And this is a lot of what we're doing day to day is trying to answer these questions for people.

[00:29:24] So for you, I would recommend, jumping right in, hop right into. Our stability phase one, for this new ride strong program it'll pick up in a similar way with where you left off from the beginner strengths. And, it's in the front half of this thing it's pretty low volume.

[00:29:43] It's the same concept of working on patterns. Some of the patterns in the stability phase are a little bit more specific to the bikes. You'll get that feeling a little bit more. And then the volume starts to pick up as we start getting into the later phases of the stability program and then furthermore, into the strength phase.

[00:30:01] Craig Dalton: For those who are unaccustomed to strength training in their winter of their cycling season is the conflict that if you're if I'm in a power lifting phase of this program, come March and I want to go out and race. I'm just going to be too fatigued and played out to pre. 

[00:30:18] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So the way that our program works is it peaks in volume during the strength phase, because usually during that phase, like we're really timing it with a like a seasonal schedule for say, cross country, mountain biking.

[00:30:34] There's a time when the writing volume is low enough to where we have an opportunity to build up in the gym and we can do a little bit more volume and can boost that there becomes a secondary time in the spring, or like the early, like late winter. We'll say where that's not the case.

[00:30:53] The writing volume kicks up at. We're in full preparation mode for race season to start. And that's when the gym starts to take a back seat a little bit more and our volume needs to go down. And that's really what we do in our power, endurance phase. And we do recommend being conscious of volume.

[00:31:10] Particularly if you are doing, if you're a cyclist who's competitive and you're doing a lot of time on the bike, many hours per week. Then you need to be careful with, overwhelming your system through just too much strength work. That's a huge piece of all this. And pretty much all of the, this 20 week program that we're putting out currently is very careful about volume.

[00:31:33] In reference to Hey, what should I do leading up to a race. If I'm not following the direct timeline that we've written out, you can parse different things. I would take out part of the strength cycle and Mo I would like skip strength B, which is the second four weeks, and then move into the power.

[00:31:49] And during. Psych part of things leading up to your race. 

[00:31:52] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And one of the fears maybe from the listener and certainly in my mind is, okay. I commit to this program. And I think in these, in the strength phase, a it might even be three workouts a week, trying to figure out how to squeeze that in with riding and riding for pleasure.

[00:32:10] I think for a lot of my listeners writing as an outlet, that is, is not. Necessarily about the competitive nature of it. It's like what we crave every week to get out there and get in the wilderness. Can you just talk about, R D would you advocate lifting and riding in the same day? Is there a certain number of rides per week that you think about that athletes would typically have in their program?

[00:32:35] In addition to these, the strength training routine? 

[00:32:39] Dr. Matt Smith: It really depends. This is a pretty subjective. Topic, because different writers who are doing, there'll be writers who are doing high volume on the bike, but really this is like the first time that they've done any strength training.

[00:32:55] Versus there are writers who are not doing as much volume on the bike who are very familiar with strength training and have that cash in the bank. And so their response to strength volumes can be. And the way that I typically like the way that we've structured this whole program is to be two days of strength.

[00:33:13] And then you have, and these days are like 30 to 45 minutes in the starting phases. And then they kick up to about 45 minutes. And then we have a third session each week, which is a 20 minute core routine. And you can repeat that throughout the week whenever you'd like, so you can do it once a week.

[00:33:30] You can do it twice a week. And so you can stack things to whatever makes sense for you. And part of the reason that we did that is we want to have a fairly flexible plan for people because it is, there's just such a variety of. Have, not only people's schedules, but also how they respond to training what their life off the bike looks like.

[00:33:50] Nothing is going to be perfect. And so in terms of, what would be ideal, usually we'll stack strength days on very light low intensity riding day. Is historically what I've done and, I've had other writers that try and do strength and an intense ride on the same day.

[00:34:11] But if you're just a recreational rider, who's doing it for the enjoyment which, everyone should be doing it for the enjoyment, but I would recommend maximize your enjoyment on the bike. Don't let any part of your training program steal that from you. Consider your strength work as like you're contributing to the longevity of you enjoying your time on the bike and don't have your strength work, be so intense that it starts pulling away from that.

[00:34:39] So think of it as a long-term plan, we don't hit home runs with this program is all singles and doubles. And you really if you're starting strength work as a masters cyclist this year, consider it like a 20 year. And don't try and change everything in your first year of doing that. Dip your toes in the water.

[00:34:57] Just add maybe one to two days of strength, per week. And just see, I would say two days is probably the. The like optimal range, particularly for someone who's riding quite a bit add that in and do it in a way that doesn't completely disrupt your writing schedule. Particularly if you're like very comfortable with, a fairly strict writing schedule and you know exactly how you're going to respond to that.

[00:35:21] Just add a little dose of strength. Don't try and go ham on the. Yeah, that 

[00:35:27] Craig Dalton: makes a ton of sense. It's been interesting for me personally, as this eight week period, it just happens to be a period where for whatever reason, I just haven't had a lot of opportunity to ride. So it's been, I don't feel like I've got that.

[00:35:41] Balance yet. So as I enter this next phase and feel a little bit more compelled to get in quote, unquote, riding shape, I want to get out there more. So I'll have to circle back with the listener and inform them how I'm doing on finding that balance between the strength training and the riding I love to do for pleasure.

[00:35:58] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And I think that you're certainly not alone in that it's a. It can be fairly tricky, especially if you haven't done strength work for a long time, or you've never done it. It's this new habit that you it's no one can address it the same way. No one can implement it the same way.

[00:36:20] And so figuring out. What works best for you and playing around with, scheduling and, allowing yourself a little bit of flexibility on the front end to see how you respond to strength, work and see how you feel on big rads after that, taking the time to really observe and see what works for you.

[00:36:38] Not necessarily everyone else is a critical piece to making sure that, strength and recovery work stays a part of your game plan for a long. 

[00:36:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah, right on. That makes a ton of sense. And I think for the listener, check out the ever athlete website, I'll link to it in the show notes.

[00:36:54] There's, as Matt's described, there's a lot of programs there that the subscription is quite affordable. From what I've seen out there, I was really pleased and I didn't get hit by some massive dollar number. So kudos to you and hope you get the volume you need. Cause I know the production values high and the effort you guys have put into designing these programs is quite substantial.

[00:37:14] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, no, we. Our whole goal with it is to make the lessons that we've learned with different athletes and also working from an injury care perspective. Making those lessons accessible to people is that's the. That is the thing. That's the legacy that I would want to leave behind, for my career.

[00:37:37] And so in terms of the dollar, the pricing of our platform will not go up from what it is. It'll probably go down at some point, but. Our goal is to make stuff accessible, particularly for people that we love hanging out with, which includes gravel cyclist, mountain bikers, road, cyclists, like we love supporting people's active lifestyle.

[00:37:56] And in terms of covering our costs and all that, like w we're doing great and more than anything, it's been a really interesting project. And, we're excited to keep. Yeah. 

[00:38:08] Craig Dalton: Thanks so much for all the time and insight matter, really enjoyed the conversation, hopefully for the listener, it wasn't too much of a Greg's journey to strength training.

[00:38:16] I feel like I got a lot out of it, but hopefully it's translated to everybody listening and you can find your own journey. 

[00:38:23] Dr. Matt Smith: Oh yeah. Hey, thanks so much for having me on Craig. This is spot cheers 

[00:38:27] Craig Dalton: Huge. Thanks for Matt for joining us this week, I learned a ton on my personal journey to strength training. I actually just knocked out another exercise before recording this outro. So I'm finishing week eight and feeling good about my journey and continuing on through the winter and hopefully hitting 20, 22 much stronger as a person and as a gravel cyclist. 

[00:38:50] Another huge, thanks to competitive cyclist or appreciate their support of the podcast. Remember, visit competitive gravel ride and enter the promo code, the gravel ride for 15% off your order. 

[00:39:05] Finally, if you've got any feedback for the show or would like to connect with other gravel cyclists around the world. I invite you to join the ridership. Simply visit to join our free community and communicate with thousands of other cyclists around the world. Until next time. 

[00:39:25] Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.