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  1. #1
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    Strength training during cycling season; thoughts?

    Hi,

    I had been lurking anew.

    I have been perusing my copy of The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling as I prepare for a double century. The book details a plan to get me there, and I am doing well following the program. Interestingly, there is only day of zone 3 training per week, and that leaves me underwhelmed since it's zones 2 and 1 for the other 5 days of training. By the way, authors Ed Pavelka and Ed Burke define zones 2 and 3 to be 65-84% and 85-94% of max heart rate.

    It's not that I find zone 3 easy. I find it excruciating when it combines with intervals at zone 4. I was just used to feeling more spent on more days when I trained kickboxing, which I realize involves different muscle groups and energy systems.

    Since I have no kids and, for the time being, no work, I have enviable amounts of time and energy. I have also had enough base miles.

    Next year, I plan to race in long-distance events for the fun of finishing well, and that is my primary goal.

    Given my predicament, here is my question: Would it be inadvisable for me to begin a full-body "home workout" program la P90x? I would schedule things such that I would not have to do a lower-body strength workout or plyometrics the day I am supposed to be resting from the previous day's zone 3 ride. I have been noticing that my upper body is losing its robustness, and I have always had great success with strength training and plyometrics.

    I am 24.

    Enjoy the day. Thanks for your insight.
    Last edited by tanna; 09-24-12 at 01:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    strength training probably will not help your cycling that much. I think it's a good idea for general health. You might want to look at Friel's book. Burke was good, but he's been dead for a while now.

  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I think you've misstated those zone percentages. Perhaps you mean those percentages of lactate threshold? BTW I disagree with with using only zones 1-3, if that's what you're saying. I prefer to hit zones 4 and 5 hard one day a week, on my long distance ride, then Z1 following, than Z2 the rest of the week. Z3 will take care of itself. No reason to target it IMO. Training for a double, I'll seldom ride over 80 miles, but I do my long ride for time, realizing that I cut my time the most by focusing on the climbs. I might do one really hard century. If you can still walk at the finish, you could have ridden harder. If you want to learn to ride fast, ride fast. IME the total weekly mileage is very important. To finish a double strong, you want at least 200 miles/week.

    No, strength training during the season won't help. It will just take away from your cycling training. However, in the winter when you're riding less, strength training is a good idea.

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    To me, core strength training, as in high reps, not high load, is essential for long distance riding. I would pay more attention to this than say upper body.

    Again, look at leg strength training in the context of high reps, low load. Muscle bulk is good for a sprinter, but not much good for a long-distance endurance rider. Look at the riders in the Tour de France and other pro races, and you will see that muscle bulk is low on their list of priorities.

    And because cycling is a low-impact activity, there is some exposure to the risks of osteoporosis later in life. Some impact exercise, such as walking or running, might be more appropriate.

    Only some thoughts you might consider researching some more.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    strength training probably will not help your cycling that much. I think it's a good idea for general health. You might want to look at Friel's book. Burke was good, but he's been dead for a while now.
    Depends on what you mean by strength training. There are a number of things in a strength-training regimen that are designed to accommodate the fact that cycling isn't that good at upper-body development. Things like squat jumps and lunges are very effective in increasing upper leg strength, which plays a big role in helping you climb those hills.

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    that's the thing, when I'm riding a lot, I get huge thighs -- so bad I can't get jeans to fit. So I really don't think there is any point to lifting weights for that. I think at my peak I could bench press a few pounds over my weight and leg press 4 times my weight. Pretty pointless, I still climb like crap.

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    strength training probably will not help your cycling that much. I think it's a good idea for general health. You might want to look at Friel's book. Burke was good, but he's been dead for a while now.
    Thank you for the suggestion. I will order Friel's book, since I love learning about the science behind athletic progress. It seemed to help reviewers on Amazon answer their own questions and design their own programs.

    It was sad to read about Burke's untimely death on a bike ride. I had no idea until now.

    that's the thing, when I'm riding a lot, I get huge thighs -- so bad I can't get jeans to fit. So I really don't think there is any point to lifting weights for that. I think at my peak I could bench press a few pounds over my weight and leg press 4 times my weight. Pretty pointless, I still climb like crap.
    I used to have huge thighs in Alaska. There's little that can compare in Massachusetts. I am troubled by the atrophy.

    To me, core strength training, as in high reps, not high load, is essential for long distance riding. I would pay more attention to this than say upper body.
    This is why I train using suspension trainers. TRX and Rip 60 are popular. I prefer the latter.

    I think you've misstated those zone percentages. Perhaps you mean those percentages of lactate threshold? BTW I disagree with with using only zones 1-3, if that's what you're saying. I prefer to hit zones 4 and 5 hard one day a week, on my long distance ride, then Z1 following, than Z2 the rest of the week. Z3 will take care of itself. No reason to target it IMO.
    I too was surprised that Burke and Pavelka had delineated only four training zones for heart rate training: Zone 4 is 95 to 100% of Max HR, Zone 3 is 85 to 94% and Zone 2 is 65 to 84%. I guess what you call zone 5, they call zone 3, but I am not sure what your classifications are. However, their prescribed program is similar to yours: one day a week of riding at 85 to 94% with intervals; four days of 65 to 84% and one day of zone 1. Weekly mileages start at about 100 miles, and progress upwards for 12 weeks.

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    Muscle bulk for climbing is pointless. The strength is useful, but you've got extra kilograms to push up the hill, to it's self-defeating. And endurance is where it's at. Again, compare the body profiles of the people who win the GTs and the like, and compare them to the sprinters; the sprinters have bigger quads for explosive power at the finish, but they get left behind badly on the hills.

    Long distance riding and racing is about endurance, and explosive power doesn't come into it anywhere along the line. The core is what holds the body up for long periods in these events, and that's why you need to concentrate on that area of your body as a priority with any high-rep weights program.

    Once you reconcile that you are in a completely different sport that requires you to actually ride a lot to train, and that you need to develop or continue to develop your aerobic system, you will be happier assembling your training program with a reduced level of weights training.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    when I climb a lot, it really helps my sprint. Lots of good that does me. I'm not sure if there are any lifts I could do with my legs that would help my knees, but otherwise it's just adding what amounts to dead weight.

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    I have my doubts about weight training helping one's cycling performance. What makes you go faster is power. Power is the product of pedaling force (or torque) times pedal speed (or cadence). When talking about sustainable efforts (sustainable means longer than 60 seconds), your ability to generate force or torque is never the limiting factor. If all weight training does is help you generate force over the short term, but does nothing to improve your muscles ability to generate power (and all of the metabolic and cardiovascular support that requires), then it is unlikely to help you go faster (in anything other than an uphill sprint, that is).

    An article I found enlightening that relates to these issues: http://anonymous.coward.free.fr/watt...omponents.html

    I think I have a better one too - I need to search for it though....

    Edit: Damn. Can't find it. But just to lead folks to the tough a bit on the one I could find the link for, the critical statement is this:
    Just as it is wrong to think of power being determined mostly by cadence, it would be equally wrong to think of power as being determined mostly by torque.
    In other words, if weight training is all about generating torque or force, but has no important relationship to the act of cycling and the cadences and movements associated with that, then it cannot help you generate more power. And if you were to model your weight training to look as much like cycling as possible in order to assure the principle of specificity is met, then you have to ask yourself - Why not just go for a ride instead?
    Last edited by Steamer; 09-25-12 at 11:30 AM.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    when I climb a lot, it really helps my sprint. Lots of good that does me. I'm not sure if there are any lifts I could do with my legs that would help my knees, but otherwise it's just adding what amounts to dead weight.
    That's so individual. I have 22" thighs pretty much no matter what I do. The only way to get protein off is to ride really a lot while eating a lot less than randonneurs usually do. That's uncomfortable, but it works.

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