The Cyclist’s Training Bible (3rd Edition) Review

Joe Friel has been involved in training and coaching highly successful athletes since the early 1980’s. He holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified Coach. He is also a columnist for a variety of well-known sporting magazines and writes his own blog at:  or 

This is Friel’s third edition of this book along with others such as The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible, The Triathletes Training Bible etc.

The Cyclists Training Bible is Foreworded by Dr. Tudor O. Bompa who is considered the “father of periodization”. Periodization is what this third edition is all about.

The book has evolved over the last decade into this its third edition mainly due to the experiences of Friel and the many advances in science, research and technology. I have read the first two editions and can attest to the transitions due to advances. The “Ten Commandments”1. Train Moderately 2. Train Consistently 3. Get Adequate Rest 4. Train with a Plan 5. Train with Groups Infrequently 6. Plan to Peak 7. Improve Weakness 8. Trust your Training 9. Listen to Your Body 10. Commit to Your Goals  used by Friel are his thinking on the philosophy that should be held by an athlete regardless of age or sex  if that athlete wishes to be successful. He explains each individually at the start of this book

The book will take you from testing in the lab onto the road through peaking and recovering (Periodization). Each chapter is specifically written to enable and athlete to design and periodize a training program for themselves. The science of training is discussed with issues such as physiology and fitness, training stress, fatigue and the principles of training detailed. Part III discusses how to test, assess performance and how to apply test results. It also shows the athlete how to deal with abilities on the bike and how to adjust training both on and off the bike in order to strengthen limiters.

In Part IV Friel goes through  how a training plan is to be structured and developed for the athlete. Whether it is a single or double peak Friel details out how this can be achieved. The Annual Training Plan, ATP Workout Categories, Weekly Routines are just some of the items discussed. The book is full of charts and graphs explaining to the athlete what has to be done, such as a training diary, the full periodization chart, racing abilities chart and self-assessment chart for the rider to fill out.

The final Part and Chapters of the book deals with specific training and recovery. Short Term recovery, Long Term Recovery and how best to achieve this. Injuries and recovering from them, overtraining, its signs, burnout and most of the problems that a rider will encounter during the periodized process are discussed. Other chapters deal with Unique needs for the athlete such as Juniors, Ladies and the Masters. Stretching and Strength training is discussed along with Diet, Antioxidant Supplements  and Ergogenic Aids.

The book has a good glossary and index with informative examples.

This book provides a good basis for an athlete who is thinking of writing his/her own training programs to generate a structured program. If it was to be combined with “Training and Racing With a Power Meter” for those who use a power meter it would be a complete system as Friel book does not have sufficient detail on power metering.

Other examples of Friels work;


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1 Response to The Cyclist’s Training Bible (3rd Edition) Review

  1. Pingback: “Power Meter Handbook” by Joe Friel Review | Sports and Exercise Engineering

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