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  1. #1
    Telecommunication Tweek's Avatar
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    Becoming a stronger rider?

    What do you guy's suggest to build up endurance and strength to become a stronger rider? I've been riding for 5 months now, I still can't seem to push a very tall gear, it's like my riding is doing nothing for my body.

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    I say, jog , squats and do leg press on weight machines. It seems to help with the whole leg muscle, which it will help push better in the higher gears. Riding bikes gives you awsome endurance.


    Bikes are a great start, but you still got to do other things to make your legs stronger that are off the bikes.
    1995 26" Schwinn MOAB Elite

  3. #3
    Canon fiend MadMan2k's Avatar
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    You could shift up a couple gears from what you'd usually use, and either spin slower or spin the same speed and go faster. Also exercise, if biking isn't enough... Practicing wheelies in a high gear, and just shifting up really high and spinning as fast as you possibly can are pretty good exercise on the bike.

  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Keep riding. It comes with lots of ridng.

    Then again I was a powerlifter and football played. I have buttloads of natural power in my legs, its the endurance I have nothing of.

  5. #5
    THIS BIKE'S 4 U !!!! Killer B's Avatar
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    If all your doing is DH's, then naturally you're not getting as much a lung-buster workout as Cross Country & Uphill riding demands. Not taking anything away from DH riding or racing, but a 700lb person can ride DH, but might not be able to pedal the bike on level ground.... See my point? If your riding doesn't seem to be making you any stronger, then maybe you should be climbing more or riding in harder places.
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  6. #6
    la vache fant๔me phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I think that mashing down on the pedals for extended periods of time is good exercise, it will wear you out fast but this is similar to leg presses
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  7. #7
    Telecommunication Tweek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    If all your doing is DH's, then naturally you're not getting as much a lung-buster workout as Cross Country & Uphill riding demands. Not taking anything away from DH riding or racing, but a 700lb person can ride DH, but might not be able to pedal the bike on level ground.... See my point? If your riding doesn't seem to be making you any stronger, then maybe you should be climbing more or riding in harder places.

    If by DH you mean Down Hill, then no, I ride XC with lots of uphill riding.

  8. #8
    mmm babaghanouj. rasheed's Avatar
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    if you do a lot of uphill riding, try climbing using higher gears, and more often.

    i haven't been doing a lot of riding as of late, but i'm hoping to get out more often this season.

    just my 2nd or 3rd ride out this year already i've found that my legs are starting to come back. just the ride before my last, my legs were cramping up about half way through a 3 hour ride. my last ride, which was about 3 or so hours also, my legs didn't cramp up once and i was able to ride some of the hills i've been walking up as of late.

    current ride: 2003 norco vps fluid 3.0 (custom build).



  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweek
    What do you guy's suggest to build up endurance and strength to become a stronger rider? I've been riding for 5 months now, I still can't seem to push a very tall gear, it's like my riding is doing nothing for my body.
    What gear are you pulling? or trying to pull that you can't get into? Taking a modern bike, you could have 42/32/22 front sprockets and 11/32 on the rear. That is a big enough range of gears for most of us to be able to get up the steepest hills, or to push it on the flat or the road. If you are trying to pull 42/11 all the time it ain't gonna work. Off road I find that 22/28 will get me the steepest hills, but Only use 42/11 on the road at high speed (30mph plus). If you can't pull a high gear, then change down and spin faster.

    Leg strength is not the only thing to get you stronger- theres the cardio vascular side aswell so just keep riding but in a gear that is comfortable, and spin faster to get attuned to the bike. Just "Mashing" the gears will not help you improve- and there is a good probability that knee problems will occur from trying to do it.

  10. #10
    Telecommunication Tweek's Avatar
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    I can push the talest gear on a flat road and get upto about 28-29mph but not for very long, I run out of steam.

  11. #11
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    Push yourself.

    I have a regular climb near me amongst some popular trails that has become an unofficial time trail of sorts over on the mtbr Nor Cal board. I've got two points along it where I measure my split times, then my time to the top, and constantly push myself to improve previous bests, as well as measure myself against other riders on this same hill. The split times help as they allow me to guage my performance midstream, before it's too late.

    This particular climb is only 1.1 miles with about 600' of elevation gain, so it's only as difficult as I want to make it, yet is something any rider can climb and measure themselves against. It's also just a small part of a whole network of trails, so I lump it in as as just a small part of a bigger ride, or can make a short loop and cover this particular section multiple times.

    If I'm not absolutely gasping for breath near the top, I know I didn't push myself hard enough, and meanwhile I've watched my time drop from a loafing 16 minutes to a quick 12 minutes, with sub-10 minutes a realizable goal.

    Pace a faster rider sometime. Try interval training. Hook up with like-minded riders for mutual support.

    Original Brandon TT post on MTBR: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=38971

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    Last edited by Speedub.Nate; 05-22-05 at 03:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweek
    I can push the talest gear on a flat road and get upto about 28-29mph but not for very long, I run out of steam.
    As I said, I can pull 42/11 on a road at around 30mph. But Like you, it is not for long. It would appear that all you need is more time on the bike. It is easier to go down a gear or two and spin faster.
    Mountain bikes are not built for speed, and the gearing, weight of the damn thing and the tyres all add to the problem of getting the speed up. What they are built for is robustness, offroad capability, steep offroad hills, and fun.
    Now if you were to say that after a years riding, you found it difficult to get up a moderate offroad hill, then I would suggest a strenghtening programme at the gym, but as it is, keep riding, riding and riding.

  13. #13
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Before you start training for strength you need to build a base of fitness. Part of this is to do the exact opposite of what a lot of people on this thread are saying and spin like mad. The BEST way to train for endurance is to get yourself a heart rate monitor and train in the appropriate zones. Then put in lots and lots of miles and time in at the appropriate zones. So rather than riding a low gear because it's easier, you ride a lower gear to up your cadence but ride it hard enough to keep your heart rate up.

    Once you build yourself a good cardiovascular base, then you can start doing other stuff to try to make your training more specific - the types of things other guys have been talking about.

    Check the training section of Bikeforums.net:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/training-nutrition/

    The VeloNews training tips:

    http://www.velonews.com/train/

    This is a good article:

    http://home.hia.no/~stephens/mtbplan.htm

    Bicycling.com's training section:

    http://www.bicycling.com/article/lis...ategory_id=363

    There is a definite science to training. It's your choice how far you want to dive into the science. You can go out and drop $1000 on a computer w/ power meter, heart rate monitor, altimeter all integrated together that communicates with your computer so you can collect and graph data, then sent that data off to your personal coach at Carmichael Training Systems............or you can read all the stuff and just use it as a general guide of stuff to keep in mind while riding for fun. Or anywhere in between.

    Even if you do it informally, a HRM is very helpful. I don't use a distance/speed computer at all but rather a mid-range programmable HRM. The graphing heart monitors or even just the ones with programmable zones that you can play back on the monitor are pretty darn cool. But just a basic one that simply displays your current heartrate is well worth it. Like this basic Sigma:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=4115#

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    Before you start training for strength you need to build a base of fitness. Part of this is to do the exact opposite of what a lot of people on this thread are saying and spin like mad. The BEST way to train for endurance is to get yourself a heart rate monitor and train in the appropriate zones. Then put in lots and lots of miles and time in at the appropriate zones. So rather than riding a low gear because it's easier, you ride a lower gear to up your cadence but ride it hard enough to keep your heart rate up.

    Once you build yourself a good cardiovascular base, then you can start doing other stuff to try to make your training more specific - the types of things other guys have been talking about.

    Check the training section of Bikeforums.net:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=148

    The VeloNews training tips:

    http://www.velonews.com/train/

    This is a good article:

    http://home.hia.no/~stephens/mtbplan.htm

    Bicycling.com's training section:

    http://www.bicycling.com/article/lis...ategory_id=363

    There is a definite science to training. It's your choice how far you want to dive into the science. You can go out and drop $1000 on a computer w/ power meter, heart rate monitor, altimeter all integrated together that communicates with your computer so you can collect and graph data, then sent that data off to your personal coach at Carmichael Training Systems............or you can read all the stuff and just use it as a general guide of stuff to keep in mind while riding for fun. Or anywhere in between.

    Even if you do it informally, a HRM is very helpful. I don't use a distance/speed computer at all but rather a mid-range programmable HRM. The graphing heart monitors or even just the ones with programmable zones that you can play back on the monitor are pretty darn cool. But just a basic one that simply displays your current heartrate is well worth it. Like this basic Sigma:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=4115#


    Great advice. I need to step up my training for the same reasons and all of this info is what I'm looking for. Thanks.

  15. #15
    Sisyphus 32:17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweek
    What do you guy's suggest to build up endurance and strength to become a stronger rider? I've been riding for 5 months now, I still can't seem to push a very tall gear, it's like my riding is doing nothing for my body.
    Ride fixed gear or single speed at the very least. Endurance and strength will increase very quickly.

  16. #16
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    I've found that other sports have helped me. I do squash and soccer, I have sport and training 5 times a week and try to ride 2 times a week. I do DH but have to ride up all my hills. I have become super fit and have lots of endurance, but have good explosive anarobic strength gained from riding a heavy bike up hills and squash.
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  17. #17
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    That's a good point you just made there. XC and climbing are primarily cardiovascular-dependent. Leg strength isn't as much of a factor as you'd think. So if you're targeting that sort of riding then cardio cross-training is the way to go vs., say, weight lifting. Not that a bit of lifting isn't good, you just want to make sure you're concentrating on the right things.

  18. #18
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV27
    That's a good point you just made there. XC and climbing are primarily cardiovascular-dependent. Leg strength isn't as much of a factor as you'd think. So if you're targeting that sort of riding then cardio cross-training is the way to go vs., say, weight lifting. Not that a bit of lifting isn't good, you just want to make sure you're concentrating on the right things.
    This is so true. My legs are about as strong as they come from years of powerlifting and football. I can't climb worth beans. My lungs give out. I can outsprint a lot of people, but in the long haul, I am a goner

  19. #19
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    What has worked for me in the past has been doing a lot of road riding. I know it doesn't sound like a lot of fun but it does help. There are also a lot of fire road climbs around here that you have to climb to get to the trails. I generally time myself on two of them. When I started a few years ago I could barely climb them in my granny. Each time I climbed I strived to be able to climb them in a harder gear, I am now in my middle front and three down in the rear.

    What has helped me the most this year was spending three months in the gym before riding season. Spending time on the weights, stationary bike, treadmill and stairmaster. This winter I did 90 minutes of cardio work a day. That has really helped me out a lot this season. Now that riding season is here I only go to the gym twice a week but that is just for upperbody workouts. I don't want to chance pulling or tearing a muscle in my legs so I don't do any strength building during race season.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  20. #20
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Try doing some road riding on a fixed gear bike. The more the better. That really made the difference for me. It really builds the torque you can put on the cranks, and helps with endurance-you will notice a big difference. For more peak power, in the off season, so some squats with free weights.

  21. #21
    Modify or Perish!
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    Creatine will help your muscles perform better, mainly by allowing you to train more. You will find that they just don't get sore from the same old exercise you have been doing. They will also have a small direct effect on performance.

    Some people are against supplements, but I think that anything that always helps and never hurts (except maybe your wallet) is good. Would you go without suspension?

    Do not use mega-doses of suplements! That goes for vitamins too (which you should be taking).

    Streaching after you exercise will stimulate any muscle tears you have created to heel quickly. It works for me and my best friend. I'm assuming it will work for most everyone else.

    Make shure you eat plenty of nutritious food. You shouldn't be really scrawny (no judgement!). Having plenty of body mass will help you recover more quickly.

  22. #22
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Just ride road a couple or 6 days a week... You'll find your lungs and your legs....!
    nice lugs baby!

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    I used creatine as a competitive bodybuilder very effectively. But creatine tends to draw water in the muscles and can have a dehydrating effect on the body. So if you take creatine, you need to be well hydrated. IMHO creatine is better suited for anaerobic exercise (strength, explosive strength, muscle building). For aerobic activities, creatine may not be the best supplement out there.

    These days I do lots of running for stamina (I can do 1/2 marathons no problem) and during the winter I do tons of stairs. I still train with weights twice a week.

  24. #24
    Modify or Perish!
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    I myself am primarily a weightlifter. I lift a half hour a day, every day. During the summer I do cycling on top of that.

    Yes, I found that when I first started taking creatine, it caused me to pee like a race horse. Now, six months later, the problem is entirely gone. As for drawing water into the muscles? That didn't seem to happen with me at all. I didn't experience any immediate weight gain.

    It's not something you could just take as needed. It should be used every day, or not at all. Different people are going to have different experiences with it, but I have found that I have much more energy, all the time. Also, being a muscle support agent, it will aid the heart and the lungs, which, of coarse, are powered by muscles.

    Maybe some different athletes could flesh out this discussion? Endurance guys?

  25. #25
    Senior Goat Hearder crashnburn's Avatar
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    In additon to the good suggestions preceeding me I advise this.

    1. Take a multivitiamin and a good b complex
    2. Buy Protein powder and supplement a meal with this or add it additon to breakfast
    3. Lift weights work on your calfs in addition to the other major muscles of your legs. This can help acceleration.
    Quit reading and start riding ;-p

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