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  1. #1
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    No pain No gain - Truth or fiction?

    My biking friend who I have the utmost in respect claims that unless a cyclist pushes hard on a ride - to the point of finishing a ride with some level of fatigue or muscular soreness - that you aren't getting the benefit of building muscles. Thats how I understand him.

    My logic would have it though that I can still derive benefit from a "casual" ride.

    btw I've done 1700 miles since last May '05 on a Trek 820 ( steel ) mtb - mostly road riding on slicks - and just got a Devinci Podium road bike, Shimano 105 with Shimano wheels. Getting used to the new light ride, which is of course faster and easier ! yes, less exercise so I guess I go longer & faster to make up!

    My quick rides b4 or after dinner are 11 miles; and a couple times a week I get in 20-30 mi which really have gotten me to be an endorphin addict

    Peter

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    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM7771
    My biking friend who I have the utmost in respect claims that unless a cyclist pushes hard on a ride - to the point of finishing a ride with some level of fatigue or muscular soreness - that you aren't getting the benefit of building muscles. Thats how I understand him.

    My logic would have it though that I can still derive benefit from a "casual" ride.

    btw I've done 1700 miles since last May '05 on a Trek 820 ( steel ) mtb - mostly road riding on slicks - and just got a Devinci Podium road bike, Shimano 105 with Shimano wheels. Getting used to the new light ride, which is of course faster and easier ! yes, less exercise so I guess I go longer & faster to make up!

    My quick rides b4 or after dinner are 11 miles; and a couple times a week I get in 20-30 mi which really have gotten me to be an endorphin addict

    Peter
    Maybe pain and soreness is needed to acheive muscular fitness, but riding is used by many for other reasons. Mental fitness or stress relief is my major goal. I ride because it makes me feel better. When I have to purge the demons of a bad week, I often ride like I am angry and push hard. At other times, I ride and rubberneck. Above all I ride to help that big stupid muscle in my head.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

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  3. #3
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM7771
    My biking friend who I have the utmost in respect claims that unless a cyclist pushes hard on a ride - to the point of finishing a ride with some level of fatigue or muscular soreness - that you aren't getting the benefit of building muscles. Thats how I understand him.
    I get a real buzz out of "jocks" who kid themselves that the "pain" is a good thing.

    What a load of horse poop......

    Pain is the bodies warning system that must not be tested as much as jocks think they have to. Jocks
    wind up in older age with bad knees,backs,hips,shoulders, etc. that cause them pain all the time.
    This is a good thing???????????

    Serves the idiots right to be in pain all the time just so they can claim some phantom "gain". Even the
    Gladiators of Rome knew that there was an end to this kind of pain.......in death......and nowhere else.

    Any healthy human can gain from steady sane excercise in a low impact way without blowing a
    gasket doing it. Slow, steady, simple & consistent are the keys to good cardio and muscle workout.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  4. #4
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    I'm a jock?
    There is good pain and bad pain. If you do not know the difference then who am I to educate you

    I love the feeling of cresting a long climb with my legs and lungs burning. Then there are the sharp stabbing pains....ugh

    I usually see my largest improvements from when I push hard. However, nice and easy weeks are a good thing. Heck, I took a nice fun 60 mile ride yesterday and spent 40 miles of it pedaling at a nice slow pace.
    To each his\her own.

  5. #5
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ efrobert's Avatar
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    You have to push yourself to improve. I see alot of people in the gym and on the bike paths who are pretty much wasting their time. If your not getting your heart rate up to a certain level when doing cardio, or no lifting enough to break the muscle down, your kidding youself, and wasting time, if getting in shape and building muscle is your goal.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Depends on what you want out of cycling. A complete book on training, even a coach for the hard core. Some fatigue 2 or 3 days a week for quicker speed/aerobic improvement spaced with adequate rest. I still like Eddy Meryx's quote, "Ride Lots."
    This space open

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by efrobert
    You have to push yourself to improve. I see alot of people in the gym and on the bike paths who are pretty much wasting their time. If your not getting your heart rate up to a certain level when doing cardio, or no lifting enough to break the muscle down, your kidding youself, and wasting time, if getting in shape and building muscle is your goal.
    You're joking right? Even cycling at low intensity helps. People don't need to be cycling just to go at TimeTrial speed.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Suffering and aching is fine... but pain... especially sharp stinging pain is not a good thing. For optimum fitness improvement, you have to incorporate a lot of different workouts, not on the same day:

    REST: easy day off completely, or a really easy ride
    ENDURANCE: long steady-state ride to develop energy-delivery, fat-burning
    TEMPO: aerobic workout close to LT to develop heart & lungs
    INTERVALS: on flats, hills, short/long, timed-sets or pyramids to develop muscular-strength & efficiency
    SPRINTS: all out 100% efforts, no holding back.

    There are only a few times when you're gonna be "hurting". If you are in pain every single ride, that's way, way too much and you'll end up overtrained and fatigued. A lot of people get stuck in the middle of no-mans-land in training where they're not getting enough rest and not doing enough miles, and at the same time, they're not going hard enough. So a lot of times, you have to slow down and do real endurance rides (3-4 hours) and on another day of the week, do sprints and intervals and keep the mileage really short, like 1-1.5 hours max. There's no one "right" answer as far as pain goes...
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-04-06 at 08:20 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    I overdid it 2 weeks ago. I didn't have much choice. I lost my first seven gears in the mountains, so I had to climb the passes in 8-10. I was pushing the legs, while flexing the ankles, and pulling hard. These small muscles were extremely sore later. Other than my 8-mile commute all week, I did no other riding. This was not a "good" pain. By alternating massage and icing the areas, I'm back to functional.
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM7771
    My biking friend who I have the utmost in respect claims that unless a cyclist pushes hard on a ride - to the point of finishing a ride with some level of fatigue or muscular soreness - that you aren't getting the benefit of building muscles. Thats how I understand him.

    My logic would have it though that I can still derive benefit from a "casual" ride.

    btw I've done 1700 miles since last May '05 on a Trek 820 ( steel ) mtb - mostly road riding on slicks - and just got a Devinci Podium road bike, Shimano 105 with Shimano wheels. Getting used to the new light ride, which is of course faster and easier ! yes, less exercise so I guess I go longer & faster to make up!

    My quick rides b4 or after dinner are 11 miles; and a couple times a week I get in 20-30 mi which really have gotten me to be an endorphin addict

    Peter
    Depends on what you're trying to do.

    If you're working on base aerobic capacity, you need base miles, which mean you can't ride too hard.

    If you're doing speed work to get faster, you will need to be working hard during the intervals and lightly between.

    If you're working on climbing or muscle strength, you'll need to tax your muscles.
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  11. #11
    mac
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    Regarding those dumb-jock comments, it seems like you've never worked out before. When you lift weights, you are actually creating micro-tears in your muscles which heal (stronger) while you rest & recover. As you progress in your training, you better understand your body on what is good "pain" (i.e. soreness), vs. injury "pain." Your body will never advance to the next level if you don't push yourself to the limit.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    In my experience, exersize need not be painful. Hard and exausting perhaps, but truly painful no.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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  13. #13
    Senior Member iNewton's Avatar
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    Riding slow is fine if you never want to go any faster, I for one am on a quest for constant speed improvments so always push myself.

    To each their own though, you will get the urge to go faster eventually.

  14. #14
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Cardio benefits come on a continuous scale, although there is a "break point" where you derive MUCH more benefit from the work you do. Read the book "Aerobics" for details.

    To answer the OP's specific question, one DOES derive benefit (both aerobic and muscular) from even mild exercise. One also gains MORE benefit from harder exercise.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Denny Koll's Avatar
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    To push yourself to the next level you can't be afraid to feel some pain.

    Now, if you are a newbie or just someone who likes to relax you can't really do this. You have to be a conditioned athlete to be able to push yourself, I think this is where some of the confusion comes in. If someone is used to going 15 mph on the bike path and they want to stay there ...fine. Or if you don't workout regularly pushing yourself too hard too soon is a recipe for disaster.

    Some of us want to push ourselves and we have enough physical conditioning and knowledge of our bodies to do so. To me it's a blast to be pushing hard feeling anaerocic discomfort, burning muscles etc. It makes a huge difference in expanding your window of conditioning.

  16. #16
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    I kinda separate burning and aching (muscle pain that is)

    burning generally seems to be good. I feel a good burn in my legs at the tops of hills and after other cases where I push fairly hard. within oh, half an hour or less after getting off the bike, the burn is gone. I'd guess the burn is just a little lactic acid buildup, and if its considered hard to bear pain, is something that every athlete needs to contend with.

    aching on the other hand, I don't consider to be good. this is the kind of pain that if you push it will become that sore for a few days, need to put on icy hot and take some ibuprofin kind of pain. I ached a little bit after converting to clipless, and i feel the twinges of an ache right before I throttle down on part of my daily commute. this I think is when your connective tissue starts telling you its done as much as it can, or when you reach a critical buildup of lactic acid...just a guess.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  17. #17
    crushing all limitations
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    You can debate weather pain is good or no good for muscles and joints all day long, but pain also brings another intangible gain: mental toughness, which can change the body's perception of what its limitations really are. When you're used to the pain, you can push yourself to the threshold (and stay there) more easily.

  18. #18
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazygluon
    I kinda separate burning and aching (muscle pain that is)

    burning generally seems to be good. I feel a good burn in my legs at the tops of hills and after other cases where I push fairly hard. within oh, half an hour or less after getting off the bike, the burn is gone. I'd guess the burn is just a little lactic acid buildup, and if its considered hard to bear pain, is something that every athlete needs to contend with.

    aching on the other hand, I don't consider to be good. this is the kind of pain that if you push it will become that sore for a few days, need to put on icy hot and take some ibuprofin kind of pain. I ached a little bit after converting to clipless, and i feel the twinges of an ache right before I throttle down on part of my daily commute. this I think is when your connective tissue starts telling you its done as much as it can, or when you reach a critical buildup of lactic acid...just a guess.
    I actually enjoy the aching. Maybe I'm twisted, but I find it an enjoyable sensation. I've got a nice case of it going right now actually.
    Bring the pain.

  19. #19
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    I actually enjoy the aching. Maybe I'm twisted, but I find it an enjoyable sensation. I've got a nice case of it going right now actually.
    No you aren't unless I am too. I enjoy the "Burn" from a hard effort. The aches I wake up with the next day remind me of the ride I enjoyed 24 hours earlier. What I don't enjoy is the pain I have right now. I ripped my knee up doing a stupid technical move obviously beyond my ability to pull off. I also wasted a good helmet. It's sacrifice though insured my ability to sit and write meaningless dribble to folks far away. Pain, it's all relative.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

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  20. #20
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac


    Regarding those dumb-jock comments, it seems like you've never worked out before. When you lift weights, you are actually creating micro-tears in your muscles which heal (stronger) while you rest & recover. As you progress in your training, you better understand your body on what is good "pain" (i.e. soreness), vs. injury "pain." Your body will never advance to the next level if you don't push yourself to the limit.
    I will forward to you the names of a few really good Othropedic doctors to repair your worn out
    joints along with the name of a few discount medical equipment providers for canes , wheelchairs,
    and walkers if you'd like me to.

    Having been there I can tell you soldiers must learn to ignore pain to survive but they NEVER seek
    pain out like jocks do.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PM7771
    My biking friend who I have the utmost in respect claims that unless a cyclist pushes hard on a ride - to the point of finishing a ride with some level of fatigue or muscular soreness - that you aren't getting the benefit of building muscles. Thats how I understand him. . .
    Peter
    One thing in here is worrisome, to me at least. That "muscular soreness" when finishing a ride. Muscular fatigue, yes. Soreness the next day, okay, but soreness at the end of the ride would tell me I should have been backing off alot sooner.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Hey guys - this has been a wonderful post for many great answers, that all relate to what a cycler wants to put in & get out of their ride.

    But I'll single out ericqu for coming up with a simple view to cover all the bases (?)

    "Depends on what you're trying to do.

    If you're working on base aerobic capacity, you need base miles, which mean you can't ride too hard.

    If you're doing speed work to get faster, you will need to be working hard during the intervals and lightly between.

    If you're working on climbing or muscle strength, you'll need to tax your muscles."


    This makes alot of sense to me. Some rides I'm out enjoying the scenery and just rolling along loving life, and other rides ( like the one I just came back from ) I'm going as fast as I can, without that burning sensation in my legs. This gives me a sense of the different results riders are seeking.

    Peter

  23. #23
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    The problem with this thread is we dont have a uniform definition of "pain".

    Pain is bad yes. That said, i woudlnt consider burning legs on a long climb pain, nor would i consider the ache the next day after a hard workout pain.

    They are very different feelings to pain in my book. Pain tells me something is wrong, burn and ache tells me im at my limit, but still ok.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    My feelings, exactly, Flak.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  25. #25
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flak
    The problem with this thread is we dont have a uniform definition of "pain".
    Yes, I agree that we should clarify "pain".

    To me "pain" says "Stop! injury is here or near" where "discomfort" says "Easy mate, back off a bit".

    Those who push to the point of discomfort will gain where those who push to the point of pain damage
    the body in time. (Lets' not forget that everyone has a different pain threshold)

    That sound about right folk's???
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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