SLT Training Program Diagram

Hello Teammates and Fellow Cyclists, Once a month I will be posting training articles and coach notes I have written under "Coach’s Corner with Steve Lehman" on the Tri-Stave Velo website. My hope is that you will find them instructive and informative. For December I would like to start with an outline of my training program and a simplified structure of a training week. I provide this information to prospective clients and find it is a good starting point for my monthly post. Any questions or thoughts you may have may be directed to me at . Let’s get started.

Yours on two wheels,

Steve Lehman


There are many training programs out there to chose from, but what makes one program better than the other? I believe it is the one that works for you. This program is the one that works for me and anyone else I have worked with who has stuck with this program. I have developed my program by combining aspects of training I have learned over the years from good friends and world-class cyclists Lucy Tyler and Elliot Hubbard. Lucy Tyler was the track coach who took me to a World Championship performance in the 2000 Meter Pursuit and the World Hour Record. She taught me the importance of stressing seated power and high cadence in a well balance training program. Elliot Hubbard, a Tri-State Velo alumnus, was a professional road racer with the Navigator team in the USA and eventually the AKI-Safi Team in Europe. I had the benefit and pleasure of training with him over an extended period of time in 1995. He instilled in me the value of endurance riding and recovery to build cardio-vascular fitness in a way that would not prevent me from getting the most out of the next full on training session. We probably rode 80% of the time at 16mph or less, but when we went hard we really went hard. We seldom rode at a speed between easy and flat out. As a result I was able to ride much more, while my legs remained supple.

With what I learned from these two great influences in my cycling career, I have developed a training program that has led me to success in nearly every aspect of cycling I have attempted. My program requires no prerequisite of participating athletes other than a good bill of health. My program is built on four important, supportive and interactive components. Two components, strength/endurance and O2 exercises, induce overload and adaptation, while the other two components, endurance riding and rest facilitate or provide base building and recovery, so you are fresh and ready to overload again. All are equally important and no component will work effectively without the others. Think of this training program as a four legged stool. Remove one leg and the stool will collapse.


The Four Components of the Steve Lehman Training Program :

Strength/Endurance Training (Over Power)– This aspect of my program is strictly aerobic and works primarily on the riders seated power. Seated power is the keystone of the time trial, attacking, sprinting, and nearly every aspect of riding a bicycle. Many riders think of the gym when they think of strength training. Images of squat racks, leg press, hamstring curls, etc. pop into their mind. While these activities can improve strength dramatically, they have not been proven to improve performance for endurance cyclists. Unless you are a track sprinter, you are an endurance cyclist. My training program is more specific to power needs of the endurance cyclist, including road sprinters, than a weight training program would be. My program uses seated climbing in a gear that you can’t possibly spin faster than 60 rpm, thus excluding the benefit of momentum, but more than 45 rpm, so as not to over-stress the knees. At this cadence you will be able to concentrate on the complete rotation of the pedal to deliver maximum power. The object is to put stress on the quadriceps and glutes while working from the hips down, keeping the upper body quiet and concentrating on good form.

O2 Training (Over Cadence)- O2 Training is all about oxygen uptake and efficiency. The higher the cadence the smoother the pedal stroke, the smoother the pedal stroke the more efficient the delivery of power to the stroke. Higher cadence, however, does also stress the cardio vascular system and push the aerobic threshold, thus helping the rider to attain his or her maximal oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity. It is the best natural exercise to keep you at or close to your genetic VO2 max. So, another major goal of my training program is to increase the cyclists VO2 max to the extent that we are able.

Endurance Riding (Over Distance) - My endurance rides are typically pretty laid back, but they should exceed any distance you will typically race during the season. I find that riding at a moderate pace works the cardio vascular system and burns fat without compromising your ability to do the hard work on the power and speed days. A 15 – 17mph pace is satisfactory. I see absolutely no benefit in riding at a 20mph average speed. A fast pace will certainly accomplish the "endurance" goal, but leave you overly fatigued and unable to give full effort to the next workout. If you can’t talk comfortably on these rides you are working too hard. Okay, maybe a township line sprint or a jump over the crest of a hill, occasionally, is alright.

Rest and Recovery – This is extremely important. Rest and recovery should be your first consideration as you finish the workout or ride. You should eat within 30 minutes and get the legs up as soon as possible. I am not a supplement expert, but a whey protein mix would be a good idea immediately following an intense (either effort or time) workout. A quick nap is not a bad idea if your schedule permits. Also, there is no law against and a very good case made for a day off each week. The better your rest and recovery the more effective your next training session will be.

Conclusion – I am confident that if you follow my program you will improve your cycling ability, enjoyment and accomplishments, as well. My program has worked for every cyclist who has stuck with it. Let me show you how it has benefitted me.

At age 45 and without this program I was a very fit cyclist with over ten years of cycling and endurance athletics behind me. I rode my bicycle at least 250 miles per week, belonged to a racing team, had the best bicycle, raced often, but was hard pressed to win a sprint or do a 40km time trial in less than one hour(25mph).

At age 55, after only one year of this program I won a World Championship, set and still hold the World Hour Record for riders over age 55 and rode 40 kilometers in 53:55.

But wait. After eight years of this program and at age 63 I rode personal bests at a short-course (13.2K) time trial, averaging 29.2mph, and a long-course (35K) time trial, averaging 27.6mph. Over the past three years I have won 33 races against riders as much as 18 years my junior.

I am not telling you this to boast. I am telling you this, because my program works and it will work for you.


Simplified Structure of a Training Week:

Rider with limited time (Less than 10 hours/week)

Monday - Power (strength/endurance) Workout**

Tuesday - Easy, low gear at higher cadence* or Rest

Wednesday - Super Max Intervals above Race Pace

Thursday - Easy, low gear at higher cadence* or Rest

Friday - Speed (O2) Workout***

Saturday - Endurance Ride of 2+ Hours

Sunday - Endurance Ride of 2+ Hours

Rider with more time (About 20 hours/week)

Monday - Power (strength/endurance) Workout

Tuesday - Endurance Ride of 3 - 5 Hours

Wednesday - Super Max Intervals above Race Pace

Thursday - Easy Recovery Ride of 2+ Hours

Friday - Speed (O2) Workout***

Saturday - Endurance Ride of 4+ Hours

Sunday - Spirited Endurance Ride of 3+ Hours with Efforts

* Easy, low gear at higher cadence on trainer (22 Minutes)

Easy in 39 x 19

10 Minutes Easy - Heart Rate Under 120

3 Minutes Heart Rate Up To 130

2 Minutes Heart Rate Up To 140

1 Minute Heart Rate Up To 150

2 x 15 second ramp up with 30 seconds between

5 Minutes EASY ! ! !

Note: This is a perfect exercise for pre-race warmup, day off or a quick recovery ride on the trainer

Simplified Structure of a Training Week (continued):

** Low gear hill repeats in largest gear you can spin at 45 rpm but not more than 60 or on a trainer in a 50x14, 13 or 12 with cadence between 45 and 60 rpm’s.

*** High Cadence (130+) riding in a small gear (34x19 or 17) on long flat road or on a trainer with 5 X 3 minute intervals and 5 minutes between intervals




The Secret to more efficient pedaling:

On Bike, Single Leg (OBSL) Training

with no chain (ideal) or smallest gear with no resistance (okay)

Cadence Time/ Leg

40-60 1 minute, left leg

40-60 1 minute, right leg

80-100 2 minutes, both legs

80-90 1 minute, left leg

80-90 1 minute, right leg

80-100 2 minutes, both legs

Repeat one more time

Note: This is a great exercise, done once weekly, to improve the efficiency of your pedal stroke. Early on it will show just how square your stroke is and you will discover muscles in the area of the groin that you never noticed before. Both your pedaling efficiency and sore muscles will improve rapidly.

Steve Lehman Tours, Ltd.
648 West Spring Street
Fleetwood, PA  19522





Thanks for the info.