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Old 10-22-06, 05:40 PM   #1
genericbikedude
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Upper body excercize to balance cycling

I ride my bike to work in the morning (maybe doing some extra loops of central park), then I change clothes at the nearby YMCA. I've tried swimming as a way to balance cycling -- doing breast stroke -- so that my upper body doesn't shrivel as my quads get freakish.

Is this a good approach? Should I try weights instead? I figure that more cardiovascular excercize = better, just for general health. But my goals are largely cosmetic, rather than performance-oriented. What do other people do?
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Old 10-23-06, 01:08 PM   #2
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Swimming in my experience doesn't do much to enhance my upper body appearance. The problem is that there is very little resistance and a lot of repetition. And low resistance x lots of reps means muscle endurance not strength. This is what some women do to look "toned" but not bulked up. But if you look at toned women, they don't look substantially different than flabby women.

Lifting heavy weights, to muscle failure(ie. you can't possibly do one more rep), with low reps, two sets, and at least 48 hours of rest in between session and a good diet, causes an increase in muscle size and strength. Heavy weights in this manner build muscle, and do it faster than any other method.

"Heavy weights" means heavy to you...ie. muscle failure must be achieved at or near the last one or two reps of each set.(~8-10 reps for upper body and ~12-15 reps for lower body)

Also, free weights do a better job than universal weights since you use many other muscles to balance and support that free weight than on a machine which is highly specific for that one group of muscles. But, universal weights are generally safer for the inexperienced and still do an excellent job with generating muscle mass.

Keep in mind that muscles are not built in the gym. They are built at rest with a good diet. The lifting merely stimulates the growth, but it takes 48 hours of rest to do all the building. If you lift the same muscle groups every day you will see less growth than if you rested that group for at least 48 hours.
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Old 10-23-06, 01:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
Lifting heavy weights, to muscle failure(ie. you can't possibly do one more rep), with low reps, two sets, and at least 48 hours of rest in between session and a good diet, causes an increase in muscle size and strength. Heavy weights in this manner build muscle, and do it faster than any other method.
I've recently heard some criticism of the "lift to failure" approach. Specifically, I've heard it's better to emphasize good form and "volume" of exercise rather than doing "lift to failure".

Typically form breaks down during the last few reps. Not only is this not really doing your muscles much good, but it also greatly increases the chances for an injury. Better to lift till your form starts to break down, and then add another set for increased volume, than try and pump out "just one more rep".
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Old 10-23-06, 01:48 PM   #4
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While the two above post may differ in going to failure, I’ll agree with them in that weight training is the way to go. However, while you will get the cosmetic benefit, you will also get a huge performance benefit.

I would lift weights for your upper body. For your chest you could use bench press and dips. This would stress the chest shoulders, triceps and even your back. To work you back (a wide back is a great part of your upper body) I would do deadlifts, rows and chins. Throw in some shoulder work and you’ll be very happy. My son is 17 and when he started to lift he stuck with basic exercises like the bench, squat and deadlift. He gained three inches around his chest and back in three months.
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Old 10-23-06, 02:53 PM   #5
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What I did was to do rock climbing (bouldering to be specific) - Usually, rock climbers are very strong upper body and it is a very interesting sport. What is great about rock climbing and cycling is that keep your weight down helps your performance in both sports - which is a plus.

But don't expect to win any championships because increasing size in the other half of your body increase weight - so it is a compromise, but, if you look at my picture, you can understand why I am not worried about that.

Unless there is an old geezer category....
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Old 10-23-06, 03:03 PM   #6
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calisthenics, calisthenics, calisthenics.....not only with they tone you, but you will get bigger doing them (if done right, ie...proper breathing, in control)

pushups (down slowly EveRy time, and all the way too), pullups (again, down slowly), dips, leg lifts while hanging from a bar.....actually there's tons of exercises for your whole body you can do on a pull up bar

I used to pole vault...this is the type of shiet we used to do...calisthenics calisthenics, calisthenics....will allow you to get stronger (bigger) while maintaining balanced and well-toned muscles because you are doing stuff that works stabilizing muscles, your abdominals, back, etc.....
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Old 10-23-06, 03:55 PM   #7
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If you like swimming then swimming is good. I swam competetively in high school and based on that experience would never suggest it leads to anemic or weak looking upper body. Focus on sprint intervals, not aerobic long slow distance.
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Old 10-23-06, 04:16 PM   #8
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Hi,
I work out in the gym. I use the machines, but I don't get crazy about it.
On weight days I just do a few upper body exercises. I like ascending pyramids.
They are gentle on the joints. An example.... 2@20,3@40, 4@60,5@80,6@100.
Do some sort of press, I like seated rowing, but I put my heels on the upper end of the foot rest. Form is crucial, and you want to vary speeds, start medium and end slow. You need a trap exercise, and I like lat work. I am very fond of the close grip pulldown. Perhaps my favorite is the hyperextension. If the gym has a pec machine, those are nice. I like standing to do a cable crossover doing both sides at once.

http://www.building-muscle101.com/we...ise.html#Link2

If you are over 40 you need to be careful about lifting weights over your head.
I suggest using machines, and don't ignore any soreness that develops.
I use a Nautilus that works the traps.

In general, you just want to tone the muscles, and keep them fit. You can do that with medium weights and higher reps (in total). Occasionally you can increase the weight by using very few reps. Either crunches on a Pilates Ball or
Incline crunches are terrific. Of course a cramp in your abs when you are hanging upside down like a bat is an interesting experience the first time it happens.
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Old 10-23-06, 05:09 PM   #9
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Push up's, chin up's and crunches are great. Changing hand positions doing push up's can target your chest, sholders and triceps. Alternating your grip doing chin ups will work your back and biceps.
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Old 10-23-06, 08:21 PM   #10
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I've recently heard some criticism of the "lift to failure" approach. Specifically, I've heard it's better to emphasize good form and "volume" of exercise rather than doing "lift to failure".

Typically form breaks down during the last few reps. Not only is this not really doing your muscles much good, but it also greatly increases the chances for an injury. Better to lift till your form starts to break down, and then add another set for increased volume, than try and pump out "just one more rep".
I agree that this approach has the potential to lead to injuries if you are inexperienced. This can be minimized by using universal weights as opposed to free weights where form is critical. I wouldn't do the failure method unless I had at least three months of steady lifting.
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Old 10-23-06, 09:39 PM   #11
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I am a big fan of Bowflex. However, some may find them too expensive. I have found that if I am short on time and want a complete upper body workout, I use an ab wheel (do a search on google and you'll find one) for one set of 20 reps. I did this last Friday, took about 90 seconds, and my muscles are still so sore - it's now Monday - I won't be able to do that exercise again until Weds. or Thurs. Saturday morning I woke up and it seemed every muscle in my upper body hurt! An ab wheel costs approx. $10 US.
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Old 10-24-06, 08:59 AM   #12
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I have been doing a program of exercises in which my upper body, core, and lower body are being worked at the same time. For example, doing lunges while performing bicep curls or shoulder presses.

Pushups are a great, great workout for upperbody. Works chest, shoulders, and triceps.
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