Question: Is it smart to skip hilly road rides in order to keep a regular routine of squats in the weight room? — John O.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The advantage of building strength by riding hills in a high gear with a low cadence (as opposed to doing squats) is primarily one of specificity. You get better at the activity you’re doing, so riding a bike is better training for cycling than squatting.
Having said that, strength should be built in a sequence starting with weights, progressing through low-cadence/high-resistance hill climbing, and ending with conventional interval training at 90-110 rpm.
I recommend a regular squat (or leg press) routine twice a week in November, December and January, along with one low-cadence hill workout each week.
Then go to one squat workout per week in February plus two hill workouts in a medium cadence and gear.
Begin conventional intervals in March when you stop doing squats.
There can be variations to this pattern, of course. But the basic idea is to build strength in the weight room and then convert it to cycling-specific power.