Fifty Plus (50+) - Most evil, insidious, difficult, problematic muscles
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Which of these muscles need improvement and are holding you back from achieving your cycling objectives. Objectives range from smelling roses to competitive events. My perceived limiters are heart and hamstrings. I need more beats per minute and blood volume pumped per minute. My hamstrings have always been tight – even as a kid. More flexible hamstrings will improve my power, reduce stress on my back and knees and lower my time trial position.
What are yours?
PM The Weak Link for anatomy questions or complaints.
01-13-09, 01:43 PM
Have to go with the heart and the gut.
The heart isn't so much the problem as my BP when my HR gets up there but, since they're related, that's how I voted.
As for the gut...well, let's just say I need some work there.
If I could get that to where my legs are, I'd be a happy guy.
01-13-09, 02:07 PM
I'm assuming the stomach means core muscles. However, if you can't hold food down and ride you are limited also. From my olden days of being a decathlete and later track and field coach I discovered that the core muscles are vital to any strong effort to be efficient. If you are completing a shot put the arm thrust is supported by the pushing leg, those two motions are connected via the core muscles. It's the same while clearing a hurdle or leaving the starting block.
The same is true for cycling. In order to get better lungs or heart or muscular endurance the rider needs to spend time in the saddle and expend efforts to stress the body to force adaptation. To stress the body the excersize needs to last as long as possible under most situtations. For most of us once the core muscles are used up other weaknesses show up due to poor form, and injuries are more probable. When a runner in a race looses form he struggles even though he may be trying harder. The same goes for cycling. If you are riding up a hill and the core muscles can't support the riding position and the body lacks good form the rider slows down no matter how good his other systems are working. Many riders can't complete their first centurys due to fatigue of the arms and shoulders which is really due to the core muscles expiring and forcing more weight onto the bars. From my experiances, the core muscles keep the body's form on track.
01-13-09, 02:13 PM
Arm strength! I will never improve as much as I want as a cyclist untill I improve my "push away" arm strength.
01-13-09, 02:18 PM
Gotta go with the mental muscles. :lol:
The Weak Link
01-13-09, 02:18 PM
This is actually a great question.
What bothers me the most are neck/shoulders.
However, the perineal muscles tend to limit my comfortable riding to 2.5 to 3 hours.
I don't know yet whether it's my heart or my legs that keep me from going faster.
My arm strength definitely impedes my climbing.
I guess that narrows it down a bit.
01-13-09, 07:44 PM
At this point in rebuilding my cycling strength, I find my neck and shoulders to be the first muscles to hurt on road rides. I think AJ is right above in attributing this largely to core muscle weakness.
In my recent hard MTB ride, my arms, upper back and shoulders became fatigued late in the ride, causing me to avoid my favorite downhill run out of fear that I wouldn't be able to control the bike. This, I think, is because of the great amount of arm work involved in steering a MTB through tight singletrack. Upper body muscles come into play while climbing on the road also. I am doing some work on machines at the fitness room recently opened at my office to strengthen these areas. Same for the core muscles.
01-13-09, 08:05 PM
I'm with Artkansas. It isn't the muscles. It's the knucklehead.
01-13-09, 09:24 PM
:( I did not read the question before voting and impulsively voted "back". I was thinking about what causes most people problems, not what limits me in bicycling. Though I do have some back issues, my vote should have gone to heart or hamstrings. I will go and flog myelf now...
Luckily I've never had muscle problems, but if I were to turn up the wick - that could change. For now, I have to think my problem is between my ears. I voted "other".
01-13-09, 10:31 PM
For me, over the last decade, the most troublesome muscle has been the piriformis.
I am prone to piriformis syndrome (http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/piriformis-syndrome.php). It's likely I'm one of the 10% whose sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis.
I have to keep up strength and flexibility, or I don't ride.
01-14-09, 12:06 AM
I voted quads. They burn out before anything else. Flexibility's never been an issue; I'm not a muscle-maniac but I'm in good shape overall. My quads, though, just won't hold a standing climb like the used to, and my sprints? Sigh.
Interesting poll, btw.
01-14-09, 04:34 PM
It's the butt-girdle that takes so very long to warm up. In my mind's-eye, it's the blood being squeezed out of the very regions screaming for O2. Seems if I get out of the saddle to relieve the compression issue during warm up, it's resolved for the rest of the day. That first half hour can be a [literal] pain, tho'.
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