I usually lift 1-2 times per week year-round. I used to do it for injury prevention, and also power gains (I found it helped 1s-120s power, and just pushing bigger gears for longer - not very scientific but just my experience).
However since early March that has been put on hold because the gyms closed in the UK where I live. I just rode my bike and think I had some extra recovery from not lifting. I made big overall fitness and ftp increases 350w to 375w (393w for 20 minute test, and found workouts set off that new ftp doable). My 10 minute PB went from 365 to 410w too. Lovely stuff. Although my sprint has dropped a bit, from around 1400w to 1250w.
I’ve had a Vo2 max lab test two years ago and came out at 420w so think I may be approaching a genetic ceiling for my ftp. But I am hopeful there are still gains to be made given such big improvements over a short period lately (surely they’d slow down closer to potential?) and I may be able to increase vo2 max with more focused training (such as block periodisation). Moreover, I am 23 so still got some years before my best.
I’m around 72kgs but not that lean, have raced at 65kg before so think I could easily drop a few kgs and improve w/kg if I hit a plateau. Not fussed about that right now just trying to maximise fuelling workouts. Getting race weight in a year with no races seems pretty dumb imo.
Anyway, gyms have no re-opened. my question is: do I start going again? Initially I planned a good 4 week block of strength work (lifting 3-4 days a week, with just steady rides), to regain the strength I had lost before covid-19 lockdown. But I am now having second thoughts. I wonder if going back to the gym will change my muscle fiber composition, and potentially lower vo2 max (and increase glycolytic/anaerobic power). I put on muscle easily, so added weight might be a potential disadvantage (but in the UK more watts is better than a higher w/kg).
I’d like to build on or at least keep my new ftp, but at the same time being able to sprint is an excellent asset. I’m built like a sprinter, and have always been a more punchy rider, but think I have slowly changed that to more of an all rounder through training. I’d like to be good at something though; I think being an all rounder is a sure way not to win races and always fly under the radar getting top 10s.