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  1. #1
    Fly on the wall
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    Off Season Strength Training

    Hey all,

    I'm making my way through Friel's book, and was wondering if anyone has any good recommendations for books on strength training for cyclists. I am not new to the weight room but I was looking for something cycling specific, and preferably evidence based.

    Any good book or resource recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Disclaimer: I know some of you don't hold much stock in weightlifting benefiting riding. I'd like to give it a go this year and see how/if it helps.
    Nothing should come between you and your chamois -- lawkd

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    I'm pretty sure it's all in Friel's book. Chapter 12 in the 3rd edition.

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    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kindablue View Post
    Hey all,

    I'm making my way through Friel's book, and was wondering if anyone has any good recommendations for books on strength training for cyclists. I am not new to the weight room but I was looking for something cycling specific, and preferably evidence based.

    Any good book or resource recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Disclaimer: I know some of you don't hold much stock in weightlifting benefiting riding. I'd like to give it a go this year and see how/if it helps.
    what are your expectations? If you think your anaerobic strength on the bike will increase, then don't do it. If you do it to increase bone density and to strengthen your joints, then yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3v1lD4v3 View Post
    I'm pretty sure it's all in Friel's book. Chapter 12 in the 3rd edition.
    Well I'm an idiot. Too bad I can't bring my bike and trainer to the gym
    Nothing should come between you and your chamois -- lawkd

  5. #5
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    what are your expectations? If you think your anaerobic strength on the bike will increase, then don't do it. If you do it to increase bone density and to strengthen your joints, then yes.
    He asked for evidence not opinion.

    Training programs have to be tailored to the individual and you can't say for sure that it won't help. In fact it's ridiculously easy to find evidence that it helps some people.

    Here's some where they add fairly heavy weight training to endurance training with improved results compared to cycling alone. Note this is adding ST to ET, not replacing a portion of ET with ST, which too many people do when incorporating ST.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19960350
    Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Mar;108(5):965-75. Epub 2009 Dec 4.
    Effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area, performance determinants, and performance in well-trained cyclists.
    Rønnestad BR, Hansen EA, Raastad T.
    Source
    Lillehammer University College, PB. 952, 2604, Lillehammer, Norway. bent.ronnestad@hil.no
    Abstract
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), determinants of cycling performance, and cycling performance in well-trained cyclists. Twenty well-trained cyclists were assigned to either usual endurance training combined with heavy strength training [E + S; n = 11 (male symbol = 11)] or to usual endurance training only [E; n = 9 (male symbol = 7, female symbol = 2)]. The strength training performed by E + S consisted of four lower body exercises [3 x 4-10 repetition maximum (RM)], which were performed twice a week for 12 weeks. Thigh muscle CSA, maximal force in isometric half squat, power output in 30 s Wingate test, maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2max)), power output at 2 mmol l(-1) blood lactate concentration ([la(-)]), and performance, as mean power production, in a 40-min all-out trial were measured before and after the intervention. E + S increased thigh muscle CSA, maximal isometric force, and peak power in the Wingate test more than E. Power output at 2 mmol l(-1) [la(-)] and mean power output in the 40-min all-out trial were improved in E + S (P < 0.05). For E, only performance in the 40-min all-out trial tended to improve (P = 0.057). The two groups showed similar increases in VO(2max) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, adding strength training to usual endurance training improved determinants of cycling performance as well as performance in well-trained cyclists. Of particular note is that the added strength training increased thigh muscle CSA without causing an increase in body mass.



    Want to break away near the end of a RR?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19903319
    Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Apr;21(2):250-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01035.x.
    Strength training improves 5-min all-out performance following 185 min of cycling.
    Rønnestad BR, Hansen EA, Raastad T.
    Source
    Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway. bent.ronnestad@hil.no
    Abstract
    To investigate the effects of heavy strength training on the mean power output in a 5-min all-out trial following 185 min of submaximal cycling at 44% of maximal aerobic power output in well-trained cyclists. Twenty well-trained cyclists were assigned to either usual endurance training combined with heavy strength training [E+S; n=11 (♂=11)] or to usual endurance training only [E; n=9 (♂=7, ♀=2)]. The strength training performed by E+S consisted of four lower body exercises [3 × 4-10 repetition maximum (RM)], which were performed twice a week for 12 weeks. E+S increased 1 RM in half-squat (P≤0.001), while no change occurred in E. E+S led to greater reductions than E in oxygen consumption, heart rate, blood lactate concentration, and rate of perceived exertion (P<0.05) during the last hour of the prolonged cycling. Further, E+S increased the mean power output during the 5-min all-out trial (from 371 ± 9 to 400 ± 13 W, P<0.05), while no change occurred in E. In conclusion, adding strength training to usual endurance training improves leg strength and 5-min all-out performance following 185 min of cycling in well-trained cyclists.


    How about improved economy, time to fatigue, force development?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855311
    J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Aug;24(8):2157-65.
    Maximal strength training improves cycling economy in competitive cyclists.
    Sunde A, Støren O, Bjerkaas M, Larsen MH, Hoff J, Helgerud J.
    Source
    Department of Sport and Outdoor Life Studies, Telemark University College, Bø, Norway. arnstein.sunde@hit.no
    Abstract
    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of maximal strength training on cycling economy (CE) at 70% of maximal oxygen consumption (Vo2max), work efficiency in cycling at 70% Vo2max, and time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power. Responses in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and rate of force development (RFD) in half-squats, Vo2max, CE, work efficiency, and time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power were examined. Sixteen competitive road cyclists (12 men and 4 women) were randomly assigned into either an intervention or a control group. Thirteen (10 men and 3 women) cyclists completed the study. The intervention group (7 men and 1 woman) performed half-squats, 4 sets of 4 repetitions maximum, 3 times per week for 8 weeks, as a supplement to their normal endurance training. The control group continued their normal endurance training during the same period. The intervention manifested significant (p < 0.05) improvements in 1RM (14.2%), RFD (16.7%), CE (4.8%), work efficiency (4.7%), and time to exhaustion at pre-intervention maximal aerobic power (17.2%). No changes were found in Vo2max or body weight. The control group exhibited an improvement in work efficiency (1.4%), but this improvement was significantly (p < 0.05) smaller than that in the intervention group. No changes from pre- to postvalues in any of the other parameters were apparent in the control group. In conclusion, maximal strength training for 8 weeks improved CE and efficiency and increased time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power among competitive road cyclists, without change in maximal oxygen uptake, cadence, or body weight. Based on the results from the present study, we advise cyclists to include maximal strength training in their training programs.


    Here is a paper where they actually replaced some off season ET with sprints and explosive jumps. Interesting is that it appears you only need to do about 8-12 sessions and it helps pretty much everyone's jump.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16287351
    J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Nov;19(4):826-30.
    Combining explosive and high-resistance training improves performance in competitive cyclists.
    Paton CD, Hopkins WG.
    Source
    The Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, The Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand. carl.paton@wintec.ac.nz
    Abstract
    In several recent studies, athletes experienced substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when explosive training or high-intensity interval training was added in the noncompetitive phase of a season. Here we report the effect of combining these 2 types of training on performance in the competitive phase. We randomized 18 road cyclists to an experimental (n = 9) or control (n = 9) group for 4-5 weeks of training. The experimental group replaced part of their usual training with twelve 30-minute sessions consisting of 3 sets of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg) alternating with 3 sets of high-resistance cycling sprints (5 x 30 seconds at 60-70 min(-1) with 30-second recoveries between repetitions). Performance measures, obtained over 2-3 days on a cycle ergometer before and after the intervention, were mean power in a 1- and 4-km time trial, peak power in an incremental test, and lactate-profile power and oxygen cost determined from 2 fixed submaximal workloads. The control group showed little mean change in performance. Power output sampled in the training sprints of the experimental group indicated a plateau in the training effect after 8-12 sessions. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (+/-90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: 1-km power, 8.7% (+/-2.5%); 4-km power, 8.1% (+/-4.1%); peak power, 6.8% (+/-3.6); lactate-profile power, 3.7% (+/-4.8%); and oxygen cost, -3.0% (+/-2.6%). Individual responses to the training were apparent only for 4-km and lactate-profile power (standard deviations of 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively). The addition of explosive training and high-resistance interval training to the programs of already well-trained cyclists produces major gains in sprint and endurance performance, partly through improvements in exercise efficiency and anaerobic threshold.

  6. #6
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    snip
    Getting back to your snarky self again?

    time you spend in the gym is time missed on specificity training on the bike. As you acknowledged, all your studies are comparing effects of adding strength training, not replacing.

    None of the following are addressed:

    Most people here have time constraints, and many simply can't add hours on top of their endurance programs

    What happens when the hours spent strength training is replaced by bike specific strength training (i.e. Anaerobic intervals and such), is the difference still as large?

    Above all else, this topic has been debated ad nauseum on the wattage forum, with no conclusive finding that strength training improves performance better than other types of training.

  7. #7
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Getting back to your snarky self again?
    I didn't think I was particularly snarky, I was just disagreeing with your blanket statement. Heck I got in 4 hours today so I'm feeling pretty good. Of course I did, yet again, forget to include jovial emoticons.

    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    time you spend in the gym is time missed on specificity training on the bike.
    All the participants in those studies didn't miss any of what they were normally doing. Are they special?

    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Most people here have time constraints, and many simply can't add hours on top of their endurance programs
    You're using bikeforums members as examples of people who have no free time? Furthermore, failing to do the exercise is hardly proof that the exercise doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    What happens when the hours spent strength training is replaced by bike specific strength training (i.e. Anaerobic intervals and such), is the difference still as large?
    The last paper sort of covered this question and the "what if I replace hours" question. They had people do on-bike sprints and single leg jumps instead of their normal riding. If that's not enough feel free to look stuff up and report it here.

    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Above all else, this topic has been debated ad nauseum on the wattage forum,
    He said evidence not opinion, online forums make for poor references. You also might want to check publication dates, this stuff is fairly new. What is the publication date of your source that says RT is of no use?

    For what it's worth I don't lift weights.

  8. #8
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    What we're dealing with here is a bit of the "big dump" vs. "light parts" argument, which assumes you can only do one or the other, and that all people's output weighs the same. Or that all people will dump at the same time or do the same weight program.

    I'll leave that there for now.

    What gets completely missed is the psychological aspect of varied training. In my case I usually start to fry mentally well before the wheels come off physically. While cross training, being it lifting weights or cross country skiing, might not produce the exact adaptive gains that you could get on the bike, they can certainly produce quality gains in less trained individuals or at least offer maintenance for highly trained folks. I'm of the opinion that it's very productive and refreshing to associate the bike with something other than pain.

    I like weight training and would like to get back to it (haven't done it the last couple of years for a variety of reason). It's different routine, can be done fairly quickly in any weather, provides easy tracking of progress, and lets me work on muscle groups that aid in racing but don't get effectively worked while on the bike.

    My peak sprint output tracks in a very linear fashion to my weight training...more weight = higher peak wattage. That's just me. Your mileage may vary.

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    i agree with racer ex, more training is good regardless of what exactly is being trained. i believe that even my upper body conditioning gives me benefits on the bike. i do a simple bodyweight routine of pushups and pullups at high enough reps that endurance begins to be a factor. alternating days of 100 pull ups and 500 push ups six days per week.

  10. #10
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    While I agree that cardiovascular stimulus is good for cyclists, doing high-weight upper body workouts is a hardly (if at all) effective way to train your aerobic system for an endurance athlete, and the extra weight will certainly be detrimental to nearly all aspects of your on the bike performance.

    Having said that I think that it is important (for us amateurs) to retain balance and that a muscular upper body might prevent that collarbone injury in your next crash. I have hit the deck before during heavy (relatively) upper body lifting periods and just felt solid, enough so that it surprised me. During other periods of my cycling career these types of crashes would have likely resulted in more serious bone injuries.

    FWIW, I do enjoy working out the upper body a little bit by simply integrating pushups and pullups into my biweekly abs routine. I haven't been able to as much since last summer because of torn shoulder ligaments (bad mtb crash), but I still do just a little bit. I still complete my bi weekly abs routine at home, and have for the last 3 years give or take.

    I had a lower body circuit (step-ups, squats and presses) that I did weekly in college but haven't since I graduated in December because I no longer have free gym access. I can afford it now that I am working but I can't justify the monthly expense for something that I would do once a week, tops. For me, the primary adaptation was that I "felt" like I could push a bigger gear at a lower cadence with less fatigue for slightly extended periods. Not that I was capable of more power output per se, just that I could stay in that big ring over rises that were a little bit long for some folks, and long for me previous to the weight training. I am sure that these adaptations could have been accomplished by on the bike big gear intervals, but I do those to and just enjoy to lift.
    Last edited by TMonk; 08-29-11 at 12:00 AM.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

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    Mark Rippetoe's books are a pretty good reference. I've lifted weights for track but that ain't road, but in winter it's valuable. Means you're not out riding in the dark and cold but you still get some benefit, and IME there's no harm starting the season strong. The trick is to train till there are no more on the bike benefits to be had - in my last programme I phased out gym work for sprint work, with a maintenance session once a week in the early part of the season which eventually I dropped altogether.
    There are better road riders here than me, and they have good counter arguments. It's up to you where you strike the balance, oh and BTW I race at around 185 - 190, so I'm heavier than most roadies. I train my strengths I suppose you could say.

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    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Getting back to your snarky self again?

    time you spend in the gym is time missed on specificity training on the bike. As you acknowledged, all your studies are comparing effects of adding strength training, not replacing.

    None of the following are addressed:

    Most people here have time constraints, and many simply can't add hours on top of their endurance programs

    What happens when the hours spent strength training is replaced by bike specific strength training (i.e. Anaerobic intervals and such), is the difference still as large?

    Above all else, this topic has been debated ad nauseum on the wattage forum, with no conclusive finding that strength training improves performance better than other types of training.
    All this is coming from the same guy who was saying something like needing to have your ctl at >90 before you can train hard enough to get your ctl > 90, right?
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

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    Senior Member kleinboogie's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of Mark Verstegen. Some of the same exercises are in Chris Carmichaels time crunched cyclist book. Mainly focuses on balance, flexibility, speed and strength. I think he mostly deals with baseball and tennis players but they helped me this year. It scales well and can be done in under an hour. Hurts like hell when I did it last winter so I expect more of the same this winter. GL

  14. #14
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    Getting back to your snarky self again?

    time you spend in the gym is time missed on specificity training on the bike. As you acknowledged, all your studies are comparing effects of adding strength training, not replacing.

    None of the following are addressed:

    Most people here have time constraints, and many simply can't add hours on top of their endurance programs

    What happens when the hours spent strength training is replaced by bike specific strength training (i.e. Anaerobic intervals and such), is the difference still as large?

    Above all else, this topic has been debated ad nauseum on the wattage forum, with no conclusive finding that strength training improves performance better than other types of training.
    non-snarky answer..

    Ex already addressed the mental fatigue. He also pointed out that in his case he sees a direct correlation to sprint power and weight lifting. Most of the sprinters I know spend time in the gym, they tell me if they don't they wouldn't be as good.

    The other thing is making up for imbalances that can't be addressed on the bike. In my case, I have a slight spinal curvature, and because I'm mostly a desk jockey, my core isn't as strong as it should be. There is no amount of saddle time that would give me more core strength. I have to do a regular set of core exercises, and when I do, the spine curvature subsides a little bit, and I can get more power to the pedals. It really only takes ~45 minutes a week (15 minutes, 3x a week) to do so.

    Weight training can be done with only two-three hours a week too.

    As for the "most people here have time constraints" argument, I'm sure every person here could find fifteen minutes in a day to do a core routine, or an hour to hour and a half 2x a week to do a weight routine. Do your weight workout while you're watching the morning news, or Breaking Bad. Or just turn off the TV -- it's amazing how much time that will give you.
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

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    You blink and it's gone. rbart4506's Avatar
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    ^^^Or step away from the computer, or is that just crazy talk
    "On the other hand riding down a hill at 55 MPH wearing (essentially) women's underwear and a Styrofoam cup on your head is the epitome of rational life-extending decisions." - RacerEx

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    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    I believe there is a book out there called: Strength Training for Cyclists, or something very close to that. It might answer your questions.

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    my highest peak sprint wattage this year happened in a race in march, after having done some weight training in the off season. I have gotten close since, but never exceeded it.

    I'll be returning to the gym as road season ends.

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    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    I've been contemplating a gym membership for a few months over the winter but I think I'll just stick to my routine I do at home. Weight Training for Cyclists is a pretty good resource either way.

    Obviously people have pretty strong opinions on both sides of the argument but personally I think it is a good idea to balance your fitness with things other than cycling. I find I feel more in control on climbs and sprints when I've been doing regular core and upper body work. Everything just seems tighter and smoother. As for lower body, I do it to keep muscle imbalances in check, to work stabilizing muscles that have been injured in the past and generally keep my guns poppin'

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    Breaking Bad is just too intense to watch and exercise at the same time. However, any other tv program would suffice.

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    A standard indoor workout for me is an hour on the rollers, followed by an hour of weights, followed by an hour on the trainer. I can pull that off several times a week. I dare you to try three hours straight on a trainer a few times a week.

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Of note, a Dr. friend of mine fell and broke his pelvis. He researched a few studies on cycling and bone loss. While lack of resistance training is a factor, he found that loss of calcium from sweat is at least as big of a factor. He has me on 1000mg/day of Citrical during the hot season and 500mg in the cool months. I am planning 2x/week strength training this fall as well. I'll be working full body though, and pretty light/high rep. Just enough to check the "resistance training" box if anyone asks. My joints don't stay healthy if I start pushing it in the gym.

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    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    A standard indoor workout for me is an hour on the rollers, followed by an hour of weights, followed by an hour on the trainer. I can pull that off several times a week. I dare you to try three hours straight on a trainer a few times a week.
    Spent seven straight days in January on the trainer, putting in an average of 4 hours a day. I don't think I will ever do that again.

  23. #23
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    non-snarky answer..

    Ex already addressed the mental fatigue. He also pointed out that in his case he sees a direct correlation to sprint power and weight lifting. Most of the sprinters I know spend time in the gym, they tell me if they don't they wouldn't be as good.

    The other thing is making up for imbalances that can't be addressed on the bike. In my case, I have a slight spinal curvature, and because I'm mostly a desk jockey, my core isn't as strong as it should be. There is no amount of saddle time that would give me more core strength. I have to do a regular set of core exercises, and when I do, the spine curvature subsides a little bit, and I can get more power to the pedals. It really only takes ~45 minutes a week (15 minutes, 3x a week) to do so.

    Weight training can be done with only two-three hours a week too.

    As for the "most people here have time constraints" argument, I'm sure every person here could find fifteen minutes in a day to do a core routine, or an hour to hour and a half 2x a week to do a weight routine. Do your weight workout while you're watching the morning news, or Breaking Bad. Or just turn off the TV -- it's amazing how much time that will give you.
    I never said not to do it. I personally will be doing it per orders of my physical therapist for joint stabilization. Throughout the season, i do planks and such 3x a week. As for my sprint output, I'd like to see my peak wattage increase, but i won't be disappointed if it doesn't.
    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    All this is coming from the same guy who was saying something like needing to have your ctl at >90 before you can train hard enough to get your ctl > 90, right?
    I said i won't personally attempt the Next Step program until i build enough base, which happens to be a CTL of ~90 for me.

  24. #24
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
    Spent seven straight days in January on the trainer, putting in an average of 4 hours a day. I don't think I will ever do that again.
    What crime did you commit to deserve that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    my highest peak sprint wattage this year happened in a race in march, after having done some weight training in the off season. I have gotten close since, but never exceeded it.

    I'll be returning to the gym as road season ends.
    Same experience, same plan.

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