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Old 08-26-07, 08:03 AM   #1
BadBreaks
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Muscle vs Fitness

Hi,

I'm a fairly new MTB-er, started at the beginning of the summer but havent been out that much due to the terrible weather. Lately things are starting to happen for me though, technically and strength wise I'm improving. And Im starting to take it more seriously.

I've been taking my MT bike out on the road for exercise and to build up my strength lately. I'm doing alot of road climbing. I live at the bottom of hills, so I ride to the top of this steep climb and then head home downhill.

I think though my leg strength is increasing more than my general fitness. Could this be so? Is it a good idea to alternate a day of climbing with a day's longer, flat spin for cardio?

My calves also tend to be a bit sore. I never warm up I just start up the hill, which is maybe a bad idea.

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 08-26-07, 08:14 AM   #2
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You nailed it. You need to warm up, and then mix up the training.
Time to learn about intervals, LT, periodic training and all that stuff.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:23 AM   #3
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Check out James Wilson's MTB Strength Training. He has some good articles in there regarding mountain bike specific training. Although you can buy his program, he has many free articles you can download and try for free.

http://www.mtbstrengthcoach.com/

He has a few articles on the About.com page for Mountain Bike Fitness:

http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fit...ing_Racing.htm
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Old 08-26-07, 11:55 AM   #4
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I would suggest doing more than biking. I did that and developed terrible knee problems from muscular imbalance so I had to start cross training to get the inner knee and leg muscles as strong as the outer.
also when riding stand at some point on the peddles and lean your heels as far down to the back as they will go, assuming you are using clipless pedals. this not only stretches the calves but also the achilles tendon, preventing injury and soreness and it feels real good at the end of a ride too.
I do calistenics( sp?) as well as bike ride for strength and endurance
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Old 08-26-07, 01:49 PM   #5
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Check out James Wilson's MTB Strength Training. He has some good articles in there regarding mountain bike specific training. Although you can buy his program, he has many free articles you can download and try for free.

http://www.mtbstrengthcoach.com/

He has a few articles on the About.com page for Mountain Bike Fitness:

http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fit...ing_Racing.htm

Not a bad read. I though this one was a pretty interesting way to illustrate how bodybuilders are only interested in muscle size and functional use of muscle is more important. Having said that, doing the same exercises as the meat heads (no offense to meat heads ) won't necessarily make you a better, more injury free cyclist.

http://www.mtbstrengthcoach.com/legpress.html
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Old 08-26-07, 04:01 PM   #6
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Not a bad read. I though this one was a pretty interesting way to illustrate how bodybuilders are only interested in muscle size and functional use of muscle is more important. Having said that, doing the same exercises as the meat heads (no offense to meat heads ) won't necessarily make you a better, more injury free cyclist.

http://www.mtbstrengthcoach.com/legpress.html
You'll have to read through James Wilson' philosophy to see that he completely agrees with you. However, that is not to say that exercises you or I thought were body-builder specific cannot help mountain bikers.

I have to admit I'm a big fan of James Wilson and his approach. He is very articulate and well read on fitness training and he's really taken the time to think things through. I recommend signing up for his mailing list. He sends an email once a month if not less frequently but every one of them is an interesting read. I went a step further and ordered the full program.

Now, I'm not a meat head and never did weights or machines. I preferred doing the sports themselves rather than any form of weight training, but I really enjoy his workouts. Actually, there are a lot of exercises, particularly in the first stage that are body-weight only. This stuff is very accessible even for a 160lb weakling like me.
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Old 08-26-07, 04:12 PM   #7
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You'll have to read through James Wilson' philosophy to see that he completely agrees with you.
I might not have been clear on my post- he does seem pretty on point when it comes to training.
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Old 08-26-07, 04:55 PM   #8
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All horse poop.

Just go ride. Start on a trail that is fairly level...by the time you get to your first climb, hopefully you'll be warmed up. If you don't have an easier climb to spin up in the beginning, spin around the parking lot for a short time to get limber.

As soon as you throw all the "training" and "intervals" and technical fitness garbage in it...mountain biking becomes work and not fun.
(that is of course unless you're in it to XC race in some form of serious manner instead of MTB'ing for fun)


I'm kind of an ass.

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Old 08-26-07, 05:28 PM   #9
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All horse poop.

Just go ride. Start on a trail that is fairly level...by the time you get to your first climb, hopefully you'll be warmed up. If you don't have an easier climb to spin up in the beginning, spin around the parking lot for a short time to get limber.

As soon as you throw all the "training" and "intervals" and technical fitness garbage in it...mountain biking becomes work and not fun.
(that is of course unless you're in it to XC race in some form of serious manner instead of MTB'ing for fun)

For some people "fitness garbage" is fun. So is the ability to haul serious arse up big hills and leave you huffing and puffing and complaining that some people are taking the fun out of the sport by going to fast.

Last edited by probable556; 08-26-07 at 05:28 PM. Reason: blah
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Old 08-27-07, 02:59 PM   #10
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For some people "fitness garbage" is fun. So is the ability to haul serious arse up big hills and leave you huffing and puffing and complaining that some people are taking the fun out of the sport by going to fast.
I've never ridden with anyone who's been able to leave me "huffing and puffing and complaining that some people are taking the fun out of the sport by going to fast"...as you put it. (I've ridden with people that are faster than me though)

Never did I say that I was a slow climber...or fast climber...never did I say that I was complaining. I like to ride my bike...therefore I do it alot. If I'm a fast climber then it's because there was nobody out there that day that could beat me. If I get beat on a climb, it's because there's always gonna be somebody out there that's faster than me. I'm not quite as fast as I used to be when I was so concerned with lap times and pre / post ride food, lightweight bikes that I break all the time b/c I like to jump...blah, blah, blah. I have so much more fun now that I hack it out on my heavy dually and just enjoy the ride. That's just me...not you.

I think what I'm getting at is that the more you ride and enjoy your bike...the faster you'll get. If the OP is a fitness junkie, then he will listen to you and yeehaw...he's been saved. If he's not a fitness junkie, but just wants to go out and ride his bike without having to do intervals to get faster...then maybe I've given him a light at the end of the tunnel. Either way he'll get faster. Your way is the quick mind-numbing way to a person like me. My way is the fun way that will definately take longer to get in shape. Some people won't stick with it if they think they have to do intervals to be able to enjoy hilly singletrack.

I may have come off like "my way is the only way" in my earlier post, eh? I'm sorry I horse pooped on your "fitness garbage" and insinuated that you belong in the roadie forum. (oops, I didn't mean that)

Cheers

Next time you're in KS, PM me and you can kick my "arse" all day on the trails. ( I still won't complain b/c I like to ride...even if I'm eating your fitness dust)


I'm also an idiot.

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Old 08-27-07, 03:27 PM   #11
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For me it's simple. I don't race but I like to learn everything I can about the stuff I do. That includes the fitness aspect of mountain biking.

I think you came off looking like an ass because you poo-poo'ed the idea that someone would want to improve his fitness level and actually be interested in an exercise program that could complement his riding.

We recently ran down the throat of a roadie because he didn't "get" why someone would take a shuttle and only want to ride downhill.
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Old 08-27-07, 06:03 PM   #12
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...snip...
It's all good. Some people think all day about upgrading a bike and give no thought about upgrading the thing that makes it move. I'm not a die hard racer, but if I can get faster that's cool for me. By the way... are there actually any hills in Kansas?
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Old 08-27-07, 06:21 PM   #13
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By the way... are there actually any hills in Kansas?
Hell No! We climb up the circular stairs of the capitol building to the top of the dome, and ride down them. That's why Ed breaks everything!
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Old 08-27-07, 06:54 PM   #14
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Ride down them? I walk up the circular stairs and jump off the balcony!
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Old 08-27-07, 07:00 PM   #15
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I think you came off looking like an ass because you poo-poo'ed the idea that someone would want to improve his fitness level and actually be interested in an exercise program that could complement his riding.
Actually no...I think it's because I am one half the time...I've just been trying to cover it up.

Forget I said it...I stand corrected...my tushy is glowing red with discipline...


...game on.
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Old 09-03-07, 04:19 PM   #16
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I would suggest doing more than biking. I did that and developed terrible knee problems from muscular imbalance so I had to start cross training to get the inner knee and leg muscles as strong as the outer.
also when riding stand at some point on the peddles and lean your heels as far down to the back as they will go, assuming you are using clipless pedals. this not only stretches the calves but also the achilles tendon, preventing injury and soreness and it feels real good at the end of a ride too.
I do calistenics( sp?) as well as bike ride for strength and endurance
Damn, I have the same problem! Now my cartilage is in really bad shape too; what do you do to strengthen the inner quadriceps? I find it is near impossible for me.
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Old 09-03-07, 05:00 PM   #17
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Damn, I have the same problem! Now my cartilage is in really bad shape too; what do you do to strengthen the inner quadriceps? I find it is near impossible for me.
Pollo, read through the links I posted in post #3 above. The fitness expert actually makes it a point to make sure that muscular balance is obtained to avoid any problems.
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