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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    Hi guys. It's been awhile since I posted. I have a new question about weight lifting to improve riding.

    I've joined a gym and begun working out a few times a week with a body builder friend and hes had me doing calf rises and leg press. I was just wondering what kind of machine I need to get on to strengthen my riding muscles?

    I can easily do 500lbs on the leg press but my legs don't really feel it much the next day. However the calf rises make me sore in the same spots that hard riding does. I would think that full leg exercises would do more than isolating the calves but I'm getting more out of isolation.

    What kind of machine(s) do I need to be on to increase my pedaling power and strength? I want to strengthen my legs for higher average speeds and better climbing power. When I ride my legs give out long before my lungs do.

    Im a 550+lb rider so I'm hoping that toughening up my thighs and calves will help me with my speed and distance.

    Any advice would be good.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mikabike; 09-29-05 at 02:59 PM. Reason: subscribe
    Mike
    The pain may make me shake, but I know my heart won't break.
    2005 Kona Hoss nicknamed "Prison Sex"

    http://mikabike.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I have a friend that rides about 1/3 of the miles that I do and works out a couple times a week. I never go to the gym. We're the same age, same build, and we've been riding a similar number of years.

    Guess who is faster?

    There are lots of factors, but if you want to be fast on a bike, you need to spend as much time as you can on the bike training.

    Az

  3. #3
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikabike
    Im a 550+lb rider so I'm hoping that toughening up my thighs and calves will help me with my speed and distance.
    550+ lbs? I hope that's a misprint!

    Az

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    557 to be exact. I guess you haven't seen my other posts.
    Mike
    The pain may make me shake, but I know my heart won't break.
    2005 Kona Hoss nicknamed "Prison Sex"

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  5. #5
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Speed and distance would be helped by more riding and (especially on the hills) some weight loss.

    Plus the ability to pedal faster at a sustained rate is more a function of endurance vs just plain old muscle strength.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  6. #6
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikabike
    557 to be exact. I guess you haven't seen my other posts.
    Actually, I have. I just didn't put it together. Sorry!

    Weight training is great. It will help you get more fit overall, and help you lose some weight. These are good things.

    Here's my worthless advice for the day, stop me if you already know this: For higher average speeds and more climbing power, you need to ride for as long as you can at a level where you can still converse with other people. (Theoretically, you don't need to have a conversation while you're riding alone, people will look at you very funny)

    Don't worry about speed. What you need to work on is riding longer. Riding longer distances at a moderate level achieves three things.

    1) It improves your cardio ability safely.

    B) It burns more fat than weight lifting. In fact, after 45 minutes to an hour, your body is most efficient at burning fat. So if you can ride 2 or 3 hours at moderate effort 4 or 5 times a week, the fat will be smoking off you.

    7) You will be working on exactly the muscles you need to ride faster.

    I really wouldn't get too hung up on speed. It will come.

    Az

  7. #7
    Extreme nutter
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    Depends what riding you going todo. short TT's or tours
    Personal i do some weights to balance the body out a bit.
    the best that helped me are single leg hamstring curls, single leg extentions, and lunges. plus id reconemd changing the leg press for free weight squats. i could 200kg leg pressbut had to drop to around 80kg. it bbrings you core strength up. the stronger your core the stronger you platform.

    try a pyrimd system increase weight decrease reps.
    i do 20 reps-15-12-10-8-6. then falure. i only do that once a week, it has curtainly help my 10-15-25km TT, and hill climbs. would say it's done much for the longer rides, for that you need mileage.

  8. #8
    Junior Member colette's Avatar
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    Time out. You say your legs give out before your lungs... but this does not necessarily mean that your muscles are weak. My legs would give out if I were carrying 400lbs on my back too - and that is what you are doing, because most obese people have less muscle than non-obese people. Your body size is still the major obstacle here. The heart is not built to pump enough blood around your body size under stress such as exercise. If you can lose some weight, you will increase your exercise endurance and add about 20 years to your life span...

  9. #9
    Junior Member colette's Avatar
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    p.s. just wanted to add that I just read some of your other posts and I want to congratulate you! I am thoroughly impressed. Keep it up - weight training may not increase your exercise endurance directly but it will help you lose weight for sure. You are an inspiration

  10. #10
    lws
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    The thing that is going to give you higher speeds is not quad presses. Mashing the pedals doesn't make you go, it just injures your knees. The quickest way to get higher speeds is to improve the bottom of your stroke, drawing the pedal across and up at the back. That's not something that is easy to build up on a machine -- it's more like learning a golf swing or a tennis stroke. Nobody would try to improve their tennis game by doing bicep curls.

    I disagree with the previous poster about obese people having less muscle. C'mon, think about how much muscle it takes in the legs for the guy to just stand up! I'm sure if you threw 350 pounds of sandbags on my body, I wouldn't be able to move.

    OP - congratulations on your motivation. You've got a long road ahead of you, but you can do it. The speed will come naturally as the weight comes off.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    Well the thing is that I'm trying to rebuild my overall strength after 3 years of atrophy. I think of it as much as physical therapy as I do training. I'm trying to get back what I've lost do to inactivity. So I'm hitting the gym to rebuild my body.

    My upper body is extremly weak. I can only bench 140 for one rep, just to give an example. My lower back is weak so my spine mis-aligns sometimes causing a pinched nerve. Also I'm so front heavy with the gut that my lower back goes numb from the strain of walking around.

    Now since i've started riding back in May I've slowly but gradually rebuilt some of that strength, increased my fitness level, and I've been able to start going back to daily activities that were once impossible...Like shopping, walking around with friends, going out and doing things, stuff like that.

    Thanks for the advice about ditching the press. I think lunges might be a good idea along with some of the other advice.

    I was tempted to try the one where you put the weight on your shoulders and squat but didn't think my back could handle it at this time.

    So I'm building back my upper body so I have the strength to hold onto the bike, building my back so I have the strength to sit upright on the bike so my hands don't cramp, and building my legs so that the muscles respond to stress more efficiently.

    By building the tone of my leg muscles I hope to fix the "legs give out first" problem by letting the muscles work more efficiently and with better tone.

    Now you might think that my legs are strong since I am knocking out groups of 10 at 540lbs on the leg press, but for a fat guy they are barely adequate.

    I am riding my bike for cardio and I just want to taylor my gym workouts to help me stay on the bike longer and get my muscle tone up to the level my cardio is.

    The weather is starting to turn cold so I can finally begin my long planned, winter fitness plan. I have a real life friend who is a serious body builder and he is helping me at the gym, although he doesn't know anything about cycling. But I feel competative with him so it's a strong motivator, and it plays to my strengths and reinforces the work out routine.

    I can barely walk after Wed workout and you should see the burst blood vessels on my shoulders from the squat press...... I think I over did it. Hehe. I'll be back on my bike in a few days though, hopefully before this Texas cold front goes away.
    Mike
    The pain may make me shake, but I know my heart won't break.
    2005 Kona Hoss nicknamed "Prison Sex"

    http://mikabike.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    "My upper body is extremly weak. I can only bench 140 for one rep, just to give an example. My lower back is weak so my spine mis-aligns sometimes causing a pinched nerve. Also I'm so front heavy with the gut that my lower back goes numb from the strain of walking around. "

    Although not an expert of weights and the like, I would think you would benefiot from lighter, more reps types of lifting versus going for those few "heavy" lifts. It may look more impressive and will puff you uff more than make you lean.

    "Now since i've started riding back in May I've slowly but gradually rebuilt some of that strength, increased my fitness level, and I've been able to start going back to daily activities that were once impossible...Like shopping, walking around with friends, going out and doing things, stuff like that."

    That's awesome sir, please do keep us posted on this.

    "Thanks for the advice about ditching the press. I think lunges might be a good idea along with some of the other advice. "

    Just concentrate on cardio for now if weight loss is your goal. I can't imagine lunges can be good for your knees atm but I could be wrong.

    "I was tempted to try the one where you put the weight on your shoulders and squat but didn't think my back could handle it at this time. "

    Pilates Baby!!! Again may not be the most macho excercise out there but boy does it kick but.


    "By building the tone of my leg muscles I hope to fix the "legs give out first" problem by letting the muscles work more efficiently and with better tone."

    Legs giving out is usually more lungs giving out than anything else which can be addressed by more time on the bike.

    "Now you might think that my legs are strong since I am knocking out groups of 10 at 540lbs on the leg press, but for a fat guy they are barely adequate. "


    Where's Danno where ou need him but I'm sure he can whip out a thesis on why strength does not necessarily equal power on the bike thesis real quick.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  13. #13
    Extreme nutter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikabike
    Thanks for the advice about ditching the press. I think lunges might be a good idea along with some of the other advice.

    I was tempted to try the one where you put the weight on your shoulders and squat but didn't think my back could handle it at this time.
    like the spirit, but if you got a weak back the squats would be a big advantage over the leg press. The reason the press machines take all the strain of your back puting the effort tho your legs. by squating with the weight accross your shoulders (even very light weight) will strengthen you back, in propotion to your legs. the press could end up giving you very strong legs yes, but could lead to futher back problems where the legs are to strong.

    another good excerse is dead lifts,(uses the whole body in one go) but id reconemd very light weights at first with a trained spotter to get the technique right. once done the potential is big lifts. this and squats use lots of muscle groups at one go and when perform at the right level will burn the most callories then just about any other wieght movement.

    good luck.

  14. #14
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Az B

    B) It burns more fat than weight lifting. In fact, after 45 minutes to an hour, your body is most efficient at burning fat. So if you can ride 2 or 3 hours at moderate effort 4 or 5 times a week, the fat will be smoking off you.
    Actually, weightlifting will melt the pounds away quicker if on a regular routine and eat well. Muscle burns fat - the more muscle you build, the more fat you will burn at a quicker rate. Anyone who isn't a fit athelete isn't going to be nearly as efficient burning fat as energy on a bike.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Actually, weightlifting will melt the pounds away quicker if on a regular routine and eat well. Muscle burns fat - the more muscle you build, the more fat you will burn at a quicker rate. Anyone who isn't a fit athelete isn't going to be nearly as efficient burning fat as energy on a bike.
    That's what I'm thinking. It will increase my base metabolism, which has always been slow. And when I workout I feel really good and it suppresses my apetite, makes it easier to sleep at bedtime. All things which reduce my depressive tendancies and reinforce a healthy lifestyle. Especially the sleep part.

    My friend tried to get me to do the squat thing with the bar over my shoulders but I'm worried about my balance. I'm worried that I'm going to get off balance or go too low and not be able to balance or get back up and end up falling and making a fool/hurting myself.
    Mike
    The pain may make me shake, but I know my heart won't break.
    2005 Kona Hoss nicknamed "Prison Sex"

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  16. #16
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You are impressive and good luck.

    I would work on lighter weights and higher reps for now. I think you already have enough "weight" and shouldn't stress your body any more than necessary.

    I think weight training is a great idea - not just for biking, but for your weight loss and overall conditioning.

    Good luck.

    (And 140 BP pounds is a great start - reduce it to 120 and do 3 sets of 10, if possible)

    If interested, here is my weight room! I am a big guy, also - not as big as you, but big nevertheless! I do a lot of weightlifting cause I enjoy it. My winter bike "trainer" is there also, along with my VCR for my Spinerval tapes.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-30-05 at 08:08 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    I could only do 2 sets of five at 120. And I 140 is my max. I can only do one rep at 140.

    I was doing 3x10 sets at 100 I believe, then the 2 sets at 120.

    I do much better on the lap pull down. I am working with 160 easily.
    Mike
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  18. #18
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikabike
    I could only do 2 sets of five at 120. And I 140 is my max. I can only do one rep at 140.

    I was doing 3x10 sets at 100 I believe, then the 2 sets at 120.

    I do much better on the lap pull down. I am working with 160 easily.
    Two set of 5 is also a great start. Over the next month, increase it to 3 sets of 5, then 3 sets of 10. Then increase the weight 10 pounds and do 2 sets of five at 130 and just slowly build up.

    Attaining great weights should not be your goal right now. Increasing your weight with high reps should be your goal. In that way, the weight lifting becomes aerobic. Also, your bodies joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage need to learn to adapt to the higher weights. They actually get tougher and less subject to damage starting at lower weights and building up.
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  19. #19
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikabike
    That's what I'm thinking. It will increase my base metabolism, which has always been slow. And when I workout I feel really good and it suppresses my apetite, makes it easier to sleep at bedtime. All things which reduce my depressive tendancies and reinforce a healthy lifestyle. Especially the sleep part.
    Right....weightlifting will raise and sustain your metabolism for days; aerobic activities like running and cycling only elevate it for a few hours. When I combined aerobic and anaerobic activities (weightlifting and running) when I was training for a marathon that I never got to run in (damn injuries), I literally melted off about 25 pounds in less than 3 months. Granted, I also really watched what I ate as well.

    I gained those 25 pounds back since last summer due to injuries, and chopping the weight with cycling only has been MUCH slower. I really need to start lifting again soon.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  20. #20
    lws
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    weightlifting will raise and sustain your metabolism for days; aerobic activities like running and cycling only elevate it for a few hours.
    Citations? This is news to me.

  21. #21
    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    Book I like: Weight Training for Cyclists. Its not that special for cyclists, but its a good all around lifting book.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

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  22. #22
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lws
    Citations? This is news to me.
    I don't remember where I read it, but it wasn't an internet forum.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  23. #23
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Here are some excellent, understandable guidelines

    http://exercise.about.com/od/exercis...ingheavy_2.htm
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Mikabike's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice guys.

    I'll try to incorporate some leg curls into my gym workout. I saw what lunges are and I think it would be too hard on my knees at this point.

    So I heard talk of pedal technique. Here is what I do and it's partly due to the limited range of motion I have. When I pedal each leg is like a piston. I push down with one leg and lift on the other. When that leg has pushed as far as it can I push forward and down with the other leg. I never push down and back or back at the end of a downward push. The action is very much like a piston engine where all the power is in the down stroke.

    My Sat ride I went for a different kind of riding style since my legs were still recovering from my gym session. I went with high rpm and low effort. I usually keep my legs pumping at the same cadence (about 50) and switch gears to keep the load up. This time I kept in the easier gears and pedaled much faster than I normally do. This had interesting consequences. It became a much more aerobic encounter and I was much higher in my hearts training range and taking full steady breaths. I "hit my stride" and my legs, while burning from the faster motion, kept some strength. They didn't start going numb on me. In some ways it was much harder to ride like that, but the actual force of my legs was less.

    When I was done my legs were burning quite a bit from the anarobic acid byproducts but the actual "soreness" I get the next day never came. Did I do something correct for once?

    In some ways it was harder than any leg press session, but in others it was easier, such as no ripped muscle afterwards.

    It's hard for me to follow the proper riding techniques, again because of my size.
    Mike
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    2005 Kona Hoss nicknamed "Prison Sex"

    http://mikabike.blogspot.com

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