Bicycling Maximum Overload for Cyclists: A Radical Strength-Based Program for Improved Speed and Endurance in Half the Time (Bicycling Magazine)

Bicycling Maximum Overload for Cyclists: A Radical Strength-Based Program for Improved Speed and Endurance in Half the Time (Bicycling Magazine)

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 145 ratings

By: Jacques DeVore and Roy M. Wallack

Purchased At: $17.99

Bicycling Maximum Overload for Cyclists is a radical strength-based training program aimed at increasing cycling speed, athletic longevity, and overall health in half the training time. Rather than improving endurance by riding longer distances, you’ll learn how to do it by reducing your riding time and adding heavy strength and power training. Traditionally cyclists and endurance athletes have avoided strength and power training, believing that the extra muscle weight will slow them down, but authors Jacques DeVore and Roy M. Wallack show that exactly the opposite is true.

The Maximum Overload program uses weightlifting to create sustainable power and improved speed while drastically reducing training time and eliminating the dreaded deterioration that often occurs during the second half of a ride. A 40-minute Maximum Overload workout, done once or twice a week, can replace a long day in the saddle and lead to even better results.

This comprehensive program includes unique takes on diet, interval training, hard and easy training, and sustainable power. Backed by the most trusted authority in the sport, Bicycling Maximum Overload for Cyclists is a book that no cyclist should be without.
The program offered in this book seems like it might be the perfect path by which resistance training can be incorporated into your cycling efforts, however, the need to fill enough pages to make this a "book" added a great deal of frustration... Yes, we all know how challenging it can be to find the appropriate gear... After the third time I read that analogy, I started to lose respect for the authors and editors.

Also, when you are providing a book of this type, I cannot overemphasize the benefit of using table/chart/etc. to communicate certain points... If you are delivering a training plan, illustrating it in a chart provides your reader the ability to digest the whole as opposed to continually flipping pages.... Also, as you are describing workout, including pace/timing/etc., use concrete and discrete language... What is a mini-set? Do mini-sets make up big/full sets? How much rest between efforts? What is the measure to determine how long that rest between efforts should be?

I believe there is some fantastic content in this book... It is unfortunate that the reader has to re-edit it to unlock the value.

- Anonymous

The content is good here. There is a good bit of information that is documented and accurate. No doubt that if you can follow this disorganized mess, you can develop a good workout that will benefit you on the bike. But, this is the most disorganized text I've read in a long time. The editor should find another line of work and the author would do well to find another person to edit this body of information. If I did recommend this to anyone, I would do so with one huge caveat - you CAN glean some good information about a weightlifting plan for cycling, but be prepared to do a bit of a workout making sense of this books bizarre and unhelpful method of organization. It defies logic. (curious that "Bicycling" magazine would lend its name to this text - but, of course, that rag is little more than a shill for the bicycle industry)

- Anonymous

This book has some very good information in it. But you have to read through dozens of poorly written pages and repetitive crap to get to it. I've never seen a book so poorly written and edited that had such good nuggets of information in it.
I boiled down what he was saying into a few sets of workouts and it is definitely having a positive impact on my cycling. It's also very hard -- as it should be. Especially the first few weeks.
If only they had added some tables and charts and used a lot less words. As it is, I think this book rated a pamphlet of about 20 pages not this entire book. I'll use the information but I won't embarrass myself by crediting this book or recommending it. I'll just tell people how the workouts. I'd recommend finding a used copy and saving a lot of cash.

- Anonymous

As the title suggests, this is not a book for casual training. It's not written for everyone and the negative review here reflect that. Not everyone is going to be able to use it as intended. This book doesn't stand on its own for complete strength training for cyclists. It won't give you the skills and knowledge learned from experience, several sessions of personal training, or a coaching program.

That being said, this is a GREAT BOOK on strength training!! long as you have some background knowledge and skill, or are willing to hire some help.

And by that I don't mean it will only benefit racers or seasoned pros. The strength training contained in these pages will benefit anyone, even seniors just looking to stay active on a bike. But no matter who you are, you'll need a few years of cycling and strength training under your belt to be able to digest everything and incorporate it into your training. Or you'll need some additional guidance.

For example, there are some seemingly contradictory statements, like this one:

"The idea here is to get the body used to performing at APO for as long as possible without going to failure. That replicates what happens on a hard bike effort: You push hard, but at a sustainable pace. If you slip into failure, your ride is over; you’re wasted and can’t recover quickly enough to keep up with the peloton. The only time you want to go to failure is at the finish line."

Then in the very next paragraph:

"Once you establish your 6-reps-to-failure weight..."

The author is often prescribing exercises done with enough weight to take you to failure on a number of reps, while simultaneously preaching about NOT going to failure. It's easy to read that and be confused. Like I said, an experienced athlete who rides and lifts will understand how far to take these, what the goals are, and how to do them for max effect. You'll have to read the whole book, not just cherry-pick programs, and you'll have to write it out into a plan that makes sense to you. But all the info is there. And it works.

I was already doing a lot of these exercises and even using some of the periodization techniques, but not to the extent as outlined here. Now, having read the full book, I can see the genius in these protocols, and have re-written my winter training as a result.

With just a few more charts or better-written explanations of specific workout schedules, this would get 5 stars, easily. I should probably give it 5 stars as is, but am a little annoyed that such a smart author didn't spend a bit more time on visual design clarity.

It's a great book for trainers, coaches, and experienced cyclists. Just don't pick this up looking for a quick, easy-to-implement, training program. Think of it as a supplement. It doesn't replace a good coaching program, but it definitely holds its value for those who've already been through a few seasons of smart, organized training, and are looking for next-level strength training.

Wallack, Roy; Jacques DeVore. Bicycling Maximum Overload for Cyclists: A Radical Strength-Based Program for Improved Speed and Endurance in Half the Time (p. 43). Rodale. Kindle Edition.

- Anonymous

I started this workout this week and initially had some questions with some of the direction provided by the authors. I happened across Jacques DeVore's email in another thread and reached out directly to him with some questions. He responded back the very next day and we sat on the phone for 30 minutes talking about the process and Jacques answering the questions that I had about the process.

My background is cyclist by way of rock climbing and crossfit. Jacques and Roy break down the relationship between power and strength and help explain how to maximize performance through weight training in addition to cycling training. It's too early for me to provide any before and afters, but the science is solid and I can see the difference weights made in other sports. This should be no different. Even one week in, I can feel the difference on the indoor trainer.

I'd definitely suggest this book for your off-season training. Also, feel free to give drop Jacques a line with any questions :)

Jacques' DeVore: [email protected]

- Anonymous

The concept detailed in this book is pretty straightforward straightforward enough to be an article in a magazine - it doesn’t need a book. But a book there will be! The end game of the programme is to do loads of explosive walking lunges. This is the power bit and the functional bit of the programme. The weight lifting bit precedes this and is dead lifting to increase strength. To pick these weights up and put them down again without injuring yourself you best sort your core out and your hip flexibility and stability. The secret is don’t bother doing loads of lifts without any rest as the quality will be pretty rubbish. Do less lifts in a “set” have a few seconds rest between (10 or 15 seconds) but do more of these sets. In theory you will do more lifts. This makes a lot of sense - but this concept is hidden in pages and pages of filler and confusing, contradictory and just pretty poor writing . Doing lunges and picking weights up and putting them down again isn’t complicated but it seems that a simple concept explained in a straightforward way wouldn’t sell as well as a complicated idea and plan. This is a shame as the book has a great concept at its core.

- Anonymous

If you have a basic understanding of exercise conditioning, this book presents an interesting and credible approach to strength training for endurance sports. It's gives some excellent ideas to incorporate into a training programme. The core concepts are relatively simple, with good research to back them up. However, the amount of waffle, repetition and irrelevant folksy stories, makes it quite an irritating read. If they'd halved the pointless stories, increased the exercise detail and ensured the photos complemented the text, this would be a five star review. As it is, the substance is worth reading, but you'll need to be patient to get to it.

- Anonymous

...this would be a defining specimen of the genre.

First, potential readers should know the training program presented here is NOT based on scientific principles, but anecdotal experience.
The real world examples cited limit themselves to a handful of protagonists and a very limited number of events.

The basic assumption of Devore is long-proven to be correct: Strength training augments and reinforces cycling performance and helps prevent a host of negative side effects associated with the sport. A facts that is no longer up to much debate.

But herein lies the problem: Popular and wide-spread training literature, such as Joe Friel's "The Cyclist's Training Bible", has incorporated strength training as an essential part of a road cyclist's training season those 20 years and more.
The authors of "Maximum Overload" chose to ignore this fact and claim cycling has, until now, been a "virgin to strength training".
This is plain false and only serves to over-emphasise a pseudo-revolutionary concept that, truth be told, is not revolutionary at all.

The concept itself may well be sound, by the way - I can find nothing particularly outlandish or new about it - but that's it.

On the other hands, the authors demonstrate a sometimes shocking ignorance of basic human physiology - p.e. when they claim that low-intensity endurance efforts are fueled by 95% fat oxidation (totally made up number) - and that fat is a "superior fuel" when compared to carbohydrates, simply ignoring the fact it takes about 30% more oxygen to metabolize.
And don't even get me started on their concept of "The Black Hole".....

This skewed perception once again serves their personal agenda: in this case, to push and grossly overestimate the benefits of a high-fat, paleo-type diet for endurance athletes. Wild claims of becoming a "fat burning machine" while increasing strength, lowering weight and improving endurance performance when "going primal" are simply another fad these days and repeated here without any scientific proof.

Their only "proof", if you can name it so, is the example of pro cyclist David Zabriskie, who in 2013 allegedly experienced a 15% increase in sustainable power output over a four month period while on the Devore program & paleo diet. Sounds too good to be true?
Honestly, this is nothing too spectacular on the pro level of the sport. Pro cyclists peak at considerably higher power outputs than they start their season with. Perfectly normal on that level of the sport.
Also note they freely admit Zabriskie used highly-processed and highly-unnatural nutrition, such as Ucan Superstarch, to keep himself going - how does that fit into being "primal"? Guess you can by now see the elephant in the room.

The fact that basically ALL world-class endurance athletes thrive on a diet rich in high quality carbohydrates is thereby conveniently ignored (for hard facts, not opinion, see p.e. Matt Fitzgerald: "Racing Weight" or "The Endurance Diet").


The book states the benefits of strength training and the risks of omitting it in no uncertain terms.
The program appears to be sound, but not revolutionary or even new. So much for the good.
Otherwise, the authors perpetrate a lot of murky, unproven and muddled ideas on human physique and the nature of road cycling that degrades a basically sound concept into a wild pamphlet of mostly unproven opinion and anecdotal evidence.

Lots of facts - some of them the real thing, many "alternative".

- Anonymous

Maximum Overload for Cyclists is the best training method that is available to a cyclist. i am now 58 year old and since beginning the training methods outlined in this book has seen improvements in my cycling performance - well dramatic improvements. If you follow the instructions in this book you will see improvements that cycling training alone will never give you. I am really shocked to see reviews saying that this is not a scientific training method. I think this is the most scientific one since you get results that you can measure. 5 stars.

- Anonymous

I believe the authors have a concept on weight training that could really work for cyclists.
I agree with many of the reviewers that it is not written in an easily understood format.
The first part of the book was extremely repetitive.
As a chiropractor , I see a lot of patients who have injured the disks in their back doing dead lifts. For my patients,
I recommend the book, but tell them that if they have any concerns about their back then leave out the dead lifts.

- Anonymous

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