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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    How to maintain strength?

    (I posted something similar to this in another thread, but I'm moving it here now)

    Off and on, I've been lifting weights for some time now. I need some core strength and upper body strength--for my job, and for overall fitness, not necessarily for cycling. I have been doing about six multi-joint upper body exercises with free weights, and also a variety of core strengthening exercises. I lift heavy--four to 12 reps, because my main goal has been to increase strength. I don't do any resistance exercises for lower body, but I do ride about 120 miles a week (or more). I'm a carfree cyclist, so I ride seven days a week, year round.

    I think I'm almost strong enough now, upper body and core, but I still want to maintain my strength with the minimum time spent training. (I hate lifting, so it's important to me to do as little as possible, or I won't do it at all.)

    I wonder if some of you would take the time to respond to a couple questions?


    First, what kind of program would you recommend for simply maintaining current levels of upper body and core strength? Is it good enough just to continue doing the same routine, or should I mix it up somehow? What are the basic concepts behind maintaining strength?

    Second, what is the minimum requirement for maintaining strength? Remember I hate lifting, and it takes away from bike time.

    Third, for my cycling, endurance (stamina) and cardio health is most important target. I guess strength is secondary, but I do like to sprint a little (= intervals) for traffic lights. We have very few hills here, so I don't get to do much climbing. Should I be doing squats, dead lifts, etc. at any time of the year, or all year, or not at all?

    Finally, what do you advise for rest days? How do I rest if I have to ride every day for basic transportation? The lightest bike day I can manage is still more than 10 miles/day. Is that light enough to be considered a rest day?

    Sorry to throw so much into one post! Any info and tips will be appreciated.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #2
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    you sound like an excellent candidate for the Slow Burn school of weight training. You can check out www.seriousstrength.com for more info, or check in amazon.com for the book by Fred Hahn. There are other systems and books, as well, such as "Power of 10," promoting similar plans.

    The basic idea is to lift heavy weights, very slowy, very low rep counts, one set per exercise, only 6- 8 exercises per session, only one or two sessions per week. The approach you've been following so far sounds pretty similar.

    But why do you want to stop gaining strength? Why not keep going till you reach your natural limit? And when you do, just keep doing the same weights to maintain.

  3. #3
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    Core Performance: The Revolutionary Workout Program To Transform Your Body And Your Life
    by Mark Verstegen

    I picked this book up at the recommendation of my chiro. I haven't got past the "Movement Prep" unit, but the excercizes are very invigorating and are a great warm up (for me, anyway) to do before a ride or any other physical activity.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/explorer/15...625720?ie=UTF8

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Are you looking to change your routine? To get a different result? With your current routine, are you losing strength? How are you measuring that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I think I'm almost strong enough now, upper body and core, but I still want to maintain my strength with the minimum time spent training. (I hate lifting, so it's important to me to do as little as possible, or I won't do it at all.)
    You can do this with just one day of strength-training. If you're currently not losing strength, this will probably increase your strength overall.


    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    First, what kind of program would you recommend for simply maintaining current levels of upper body and core strength? Is it good enough just to continue doing the same routine, or should I mix it up somehow? What are the basic concepts behind maintaining strength?

    Second, what is the minimum requirement for maintaining strength? Remember I hate lifting, and it takes away from bike time.

    Third, for my cycling, endurance (stamina) and cardio health is most important target. I guess strength is secondary, but I do like to sprint a little (= intervals) for traffic lights. We have very few hills here, so I don't get to do much climbing. Should I be doing squats, dead lifts, etc. at any time of the year, or all year, or not at all?

    Finally, what do you advise for rest days? How do I rest if I have to ride every day for basic transportation? The lightest bike day I can manage is still more than 10 miles/day. Is that light enough to be considered a rest day?
    2. Freddy's got the prescription. What you've been doing in the medium-rep range actually builds more bulk than strength. Increasing strength actually requires fewer reps in the 1-5 range with even heavier weights. Keeping the stress on during a slow lowering/release also adds to the workout. I think you want to do some 1-rep max-lift measurements to determine your max-strength at various exercises. Then set a target strength to achieve and maintain. You can then design a workout-routine that will focus on those areas. Really, just 1-day a week is all you need, 2 maximum if you want to increase strength substantially.

    1. for the upper-body & core-strength, there's a new idea called "fitness training" that's been gaining popularity among personal-trainers. Rather than the traditional isolation exercises of weight-training to develop just one muscle, a strength-building workout is done that replicates the types of motions you'd actually employ in the sport itself. Such as the kicking motion of a soccer-player or the throwing motion of a baseball pitcher. Tension cables are attached to your legs for resistance and you'd do the actual kicking-motion with resistance to increase strength. This works out the entire group of muscles used in that motion and also works on the brain coordination in the triggering the right muscles in the right sequence at the right time. Resistance is incrementally added as you gain strength to keep the motion's speed close to what you'd use in real-life. Kinda like how spinning-exercises help to develop a smooth and efficient pedal-motion on the bike.

    So look at the types of upper-body motions and strengths you want to develop. If it's for your work, what kind of strength do you need for what kind of task? Then look into getting a routine that develops strength for those motions.

    3. For stamina, endurance and cardio-fitness on the bike, you'd want a variety of workouts. Sprints aren't as important since they build muscle-strength and you're already doing that in the gym on your 1-day of strength-training. Longer intervals of 1-5 minutes on the flats are what you want to do. Pick a steady-pace on the flats that you can barely hold for the entire interval. It will of course be over LT (anaerobic) and your HR will steadily increase. Pick a pace such that you're completely spent and maxed out by the end. For 1-minute, it's close to 97-98% of an all-out sprint pace. A 5-minute interval will be at about 90-92%. If you have anything left to give at the end of the interval, pick up the pace little next time.

    Same with a hill-interval if you can find a hill of 0.25-1.0mile in length. Instead of timing the interval, pace yourself so that you'll blow up at the very top. If you blow up before the top, go a little slower next time. If you find you have to accelerate and sprint near the end to blow up, pick up the pace slightly next time. Stamina & endurance will increase tremendously with these intervals. It may also increase muscle-strength slightly if you haven't done much interval training before.

    For cardio, you're looking at tempo workouts, 10-25 minutes at 10% below and up to LT. Basically like a time-trial. Find a long flat stretch of road, or a long hill and hold a steady pace. Partially recover and do it again.

    All these interval & tempo workouts can be done on your commute. You know the course, so you can pick a 1-mile stretch between lights for fast/short intervals. Or a 5-mile stretch for tempo. And no problems with rest days, just an easy 10-mile commute @ 12-15mph will be perfect for recovery (resist the temptation to push it). Have fun!
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-11-06 at 04:09 PM.

  5. #5
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    You know, I've been thinking about this. How feasible is it to convert weight room strength gains into high powered endurance gains like they talk about here: http://www.lactate.com/eslact3.html

    Endurance training affects lactate metabolism in two fundamental ways.

    * First, it lessens the production of lactate in slow twitch fibers (called type I fibers) and those fast twitch fibers (called type IIa fibers) which have aerobic capability. Over time, extensive endurance training will convert many of the fast twitch fibers that have almost no aerobic capacity (called type IIb fibers) into type IIa fast twitch fibers.
    That has been my plan this year. Two blocks of strength followed by standard endurance training. Problem is I don't know if these strength gains are paying off or if I'm just building useless muscle. How long does it take to grow new blood vessels and mitochondria?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Finally, what do you advise for rest days? How do I rest if I have to ride every day for basic transportation? The lightest bike day I can manage is still more than 10 miles/day. Is that light enough to be considered a rest day?[/INDENT]

    Sorry to throw so much into one post! Any info and tips will be appreciated.
    It's just fine to ride on the rest day, and in fact active recovery is better than just sitting on your butt.

    The key is not to impose any additional training load. You shouldn't even get close to our of breath, and you should spin easily at a high cadence. For me, recovery is under 100 BPM heart rate for the whole ride.
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I'm so pleased with the assistance I've gotten so far. Thanks to all who've taken the time!

    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Are you looking to change your routine? To get a different result? With your current routine, are you losing strength? How are you measuring that?

    Currently I've been doing six basic dumbbell exercises for upper body, as a circuit to get done faster. I've been doing two circuits, three days a week. I know I've gotten stronger because the weight I can lift (1RM) has gone up significantly. I've hit a plateau. Actually, that's OK because I feel like I'm strong enough now for my purposes. That's why I asked about maintaining strength, and from what Danno and mrfreddy both said, lifting my current amount of weight once a week will accomplish that. Does the number of reps and sets make any difference for maintenance?

    As for rest days, Danno and ericgu both said I should be OK just doing my 10 mile commute at a slow pace. The only problem is not pushing it, when that's exactly what I want to--especially do on a short ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenRiver
    Core Performance: The Revolutionary Workout Program To Transform Your Body And Your Life
    by Mark Verstegen

    I picked this book up at the recommendation of my chiro. I haven't got past the "Movement Prep" unit, but the exercises are very invigorating and are a great warm up (for me, anyway) to do before a ride or any other physical activity.
    Funny you should mention this book. i read it a few months ago, and based my core strength workout on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfreddy
    you sound like an excellent candidate for the Slow Burn school of weight training. You can check out www.seriousstrength.com
    Thanks for the lead. I'll look into it later this evening.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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