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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 12-22-05, 10:54 PM   #1
macca123
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One last question on strength!

Can you gain strength in your upper body, lower body, abs etc and still maintain body weight if not lose weight? Do strength exercises in some small way always increase the weight of a muscle...I think if someone could clarify this for me I would be more confident either way on the strength training issue!
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Old 12-22-05, 10:56 PM   #2
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strength training breaks muscle down. the muscle becomes stronger and larger in the healing process. you can engage in strength training and limit the amount of mass you take on by making sure the weight you work with isn't to heavy... light weight (well, not TOO light) and high amounts of reps...
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Old 12-22-05, 10:58 PM   #3
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and dont forget muscle weighs more than fat
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Old 12-22-05, 10:59 PM   #4
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So, this is how it usually comes down.

Heavy weights, low (4-6) reps + recovery = mass gain and more one-rep power

Lower weights, higher amount (12+) reps = endurance (more to a cyclist's liking, I'd assume)

Anything in between is a bit of a mix. To get that really ripped, vascular (veiny!!) look, you have to have at least a little bit of mass and very low body fat.

And to answer your first question, yes. But it's all a little vague, if you want you can pm me for more explanation.
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Old 12-22-05, 10:59 PM   #5
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Making the muscle stronger won't necessarily increase the weight, but muscle weighs more than fat. Lean muscle will also burn help burn fat. If you concentrate more on doing reps than pushing a lot of weight, you will strengthen the muscle without bulking it up. Regular frequent light workouts are going to be better for a cyclist that wants to be stronger without gaining weight, and increasing core strength in the ab and back muscles will help you be able to ride more comfortably.

Nothing fancy here, just basic observations.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:08 PM   #6
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Seems like strength training isn't worth the effort. I can understand why it would be useful for a big fat guy because they can lose weight in fat but for someone like me strength training might make it impossible to get down to my goal weight of 52kg's and for what? a bit better stability on the bike, more comfortable ride....bahhh I am still unconvinced it will improve my cycling instead weakening my performance.

This IS the most intriguing training debate in cycling...I wish there was a black and white answer!
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Old 12-22-05, 11:37 PM   #7
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if anything, weight training is important for keeping your bone density up.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:44 PM   #8
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Bone density? is that like bone strength? I dont have any worries there...I was once diagnosed with over calciumitisatosis lol. I probably drink a litre of milk a day minimum....too much i know, he he he.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:46 PM   #9
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How tall are you, Macca? 52kg is awfully light for anyone above 5' 4". At that point, you aren't generating enough power for your light weight to even help you. You don't have the strength in the strength to weight ratio to make it work. Even for climbing, let alone a crit or TT. Muscle is

Also, how old are you? You really shouldn't be worrying about your weight that much at this point in time. Watching/limiting it too much will hinder your growth.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macca123
Do strength exercises in some small way always increase the weight of a muscle...I think if someone could clarify this for me I would be more confident either way on the strength training issue!
No, not all strength exercises produce muscle growth (hypertrophy). Fast, explosive weight training increases neuromuscular strength without any increase in muscle mass. This type of training teaches more muscle fibers to fire for a given effort. Here's a reference to neuromuscular strength training for distance runners:

We have just seen the importance of doing strength workouts that are relevant to one's sport. A related point is that the "explosive" strength training techniques employed by Paavolainen et al. develop neuromuscular strength without causing the marked muscle hypertrophy characteristic of high-resistance weight training...Therefore, high-velocity, low-resistance exercises may help runners get stronger without putting on lots of extra muscle mass. (from this web page)
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Old 12-23-05, 12:03 AM   #11
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Yeah I can speak first hand about the fast, low rep type stuff. This was for 800/1500/3k and some 5kers. We did cleans with pretty light weights, emphasis on EXPLOSION. Good form and technique, throw it up, bring 'er down, and do that 5-6 times. 3 sets of that. Didn't gain a pound, and knocked .6s off my flying 150m time (i was 1500m runner myself). That translated to better economy at speed, a little faster turnover, and better change of pace.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
How tall are you, Macca? 52kg is awfully light for anyone above 5' 4". At that point, you aren't generating enough power for your light weight to even help you. You don't have the strength in the strength to weight ratio to make it work. Even for climbing, let alone a crit or TT. Muscle is

Also, how old are you? You really shouldn't be worrying about your weight that much at this point in time. Watching/limiting it too much will hinder your growth.
Remember that I am also only 15 years old. Someone my height at say 40 years of age should way more than me. I am about 177cm's. I still cannot grasp the fact that stronger biceps will make me faster and remember my goal is not to look pretty, heck the unsightly tan lines have killed that dream lol.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:16 AM   #13
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I have heard that the professional racers all weight train in the off season. I think one of the must important areas to train is your abs because your legs need a firm platform to push against and once your abs go your power to the pedals will decrease.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:22 AM   #14
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I can understand that lower ab and back exercises will help but surely it isn't necessary to do any upper body. These professional's you talk about do they just work on abs and back or do they still do some upper body

NOTE: I'm not talking trackies or even big sprinters like petacchi here I am more interested in the climbing/trialist type riders. Obviously the track riders would need upper body to get them started and weight isn't an issue.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:41 AM   #15
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When i was speaking about the pros i was thinking about road racers in general and some of them work out their shoulders and triceps. But if you were a climbing specialist I could not see how upper body strength could help, unless the grade was so steep you had to stand and pull on the bars for a large portion of the climb.
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Old 12-23-05, 02:10 AM   #16
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The pros tend to do more weight-training than the casual cyclists. Check out Lance's and Carmichael's book, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program. Some of it's just to build up muscles that have been consumed during long rides.

Abs and back are very important when you build more leg strength and fitness. Ultimate test of strength is sprints, like McEwen's 1700-watt output. To generate that kind of power, you need some high-strength muscles. With that kind of strength, when just cruising along at 200-watts, your muscles will be much more efficient and use less oxygen than someone who can only put out 400-watts max. You'll also be able to go farther and longer with less muscle-fatigue.

Again, it's a balance of power vs. weight. The most efficient muscles I ever saw at the OTC was a football-player, highest power-output for the least amount of oxygen consumed. But he also weighed 200lbs+, and required a higher-output to keep up with lighter cyclists, pretty much negating his efficiency.

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Old 12-23-05, 07:13 AM   #17
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Strength training (not weight training) will tone your muscles and not cause you to gain weight.

Upper body muscle tone is important for cyclists. I did the 6-Gap century last September (10,000+ climbing) and afterward the sorest part of my body were my arms.

During the past 8 weeks I've been doing leg-building exercises, and high-rep crunches and pushups (100 total per day), while at the same time I've lost 10 pounds. What's left of me is nicely toned, but not bulky.

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Old 12-23-05, 07:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by PenguinDeD
if anything, weight training is important for keeping your bone density up.
+1
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Old 12-23-05, 07:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macca123
Seems like strength training isn't worth the effort. I can understand why it would be useful for a big fat guy because they can lose weight in fat but for someone like me strength training might make it impossible to get down to my goal weight of 52kg's and for what? a bit better stability on the bike, more comfortable ride....bahhh I am still unconvinced it will improve my cycling instead weakening my performance.

This IS the most intriguing training debate in cycling...I wish there was a black and white answer!
I respectfully disagree with your general statement "Seems like strength training isn't worth the effort". Strength training may indeed add more muscle but at the same time (if you eat right and combine with cardio) should reduce % of body fat. Are the 2 equal, well no. But would you rather have an extra pound of muscle or extra 3/4 lb of fat? Remember there is a Power to Weight ratio you need to consider before coming to the conclusion you don't want to gain any muscle. Also bone density is important, especially for cyclist that don't get much weight bearing exercise while cycling. Weight bearing exercise such as weight training, running, basketball etc.. triggers calcium building in your bones making for stronger bones. Cycling and swimming (for instance) are not weight bearing and tend to deplete the bone of calcium, especially longer endurance riding.

Overall physical health should include a variety of exercise and cross training. A little weight training would do every cyclist good, especially in the off season.
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