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Old 01-25-08, 02:15 PM   #1
MessenJah
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upper body weakness

is your upper body measly and weak compared to your legs?

what are the potential drawbacks of having a weak upper body whilst having very strong legs?
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Old 01-25-08, 02:43 PM   #2
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No, I lift weights to try and get an entire body work out. I also run, elliptical and play other sports. Bicycling is just one of many exercises.

For your second question, you look funny with huge thighs and no arms. Other than that nothing much. :-)
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Old 01-25-08, 02:54 PM   #3
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One of the largest weaknesses to having a puny upper body is being laughed at when you are shirtless at the beach. Just last summer I was at the beach and this girl shouted, "hey look at the girly man" and pointed to a bicyclist with really strong legs and no upper body. He was really embarassed. That's why I lift, mostly show muscles, because I don't want to be laughed at when at the beach.
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Old 01-25-08, 03:09 PM   #4
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Someone told me that only exercising one half of your body (thereby causing a strength imbalance) can cause serious long term problems... I would search for more on the topic but I don't really know what phrase to type into a search engine
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Old 01-25-08, 03:15 PM   #5
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I'd go with "misproportioned gunshow".
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Old 01-25-08, 06:07 PM   #6
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Because if I ever end up in a bad situation, at least I know I'm not totally defenseless.

Plus pullups are fun to do. You don't need to have big bulging muscles to be strong.
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Old 01-25-08, 07:15 PM   #7
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I'm into biking for general aerobic fitness and fun, along with racquetball, and running. I'm not trying to be Arnold with that big/beefy weight lifter body type, but have definitely seen the benefits of weight lifting. When I consistently lift weights, my body just feels better....i.e., I am less sore after playing racquetball and have more power and endurance while playing. When biking, the aches and pains (back/neck/hands) are not there. So for me, weight lifting seems to provide a buffer of sorts....every thing just feels better.

Ned Overend talks about the benefits of weight lifting (including upper body) for mountain biking in his book.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:19 AM   #8
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It varies with me. For a year and a half (until last April) was working at a job, 15 hours a week, which involved a lot of repetitive lifting, and carrying. I had "swimmer's shoulders".

Then I had an accident and was told to stay out of the gym until I was well healed. I've been walking and carrying a heavy backpack for the past 3 weeks, and also about 8 weeks last semester, so that has probably helped, but I know I need more work.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:30 AM   #9
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One of the drawbacks of a strong lower body/weak upper body would seemingly be lack of bone density in the upper body. I'm not 100% on this, as weight bearing in the lower body could possibly give you whole-body benefits in bone density, but I'm guessing there would be an imbalance.

Another drawback, as anyone who has had a serious crash can testify, is that upper-body strength comes in handy when you're having a disagreement with the cold hard pavement. I've had a couple of spills where I had time to think...on the way down..."thank goodness I lift." Crashes are also a good reason to have bone density, and I remember a thread in Road Cycling linking to a study of Tour riders showing a very widespread problem with bone density. Top-level cyclists do seem to break a lot of big bones during crashes...

Also, you always want to be able to lift large objects for beautiful girls.

I prefer having stronger legs, and doing less upper body strength building, myself. That said, gotta do the core muscles, and give your upper body some strength as well for overall health.
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Old 01-28-08, 12:25 PM   #10
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I started getting fit last May by running, biking, & a healthy diet. I lost 40lbs. The first thing I noticed was people at work commenting on how skinny my upper body looked, second was that I noticed that I lost some power on my tennis serves, & finally, my shoulders started to pop on big climbs when I got out of the saddle & started to hammer. I've been lifting weights all winter, so I hope to be more balanced by spring.
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Old 01-28-08, 12:34 PM   #11
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Another drawback, as anyone who has had a serious crash can testify, is that upper-body strength comes in handy when you're having a disagreement with the cold hard pavement.
+1. I've fallen more times than I care to think about and the muscles in my upper body have saved what could have been some pretty serious bone damage. After one fall (not bike related) I ended up in the emergency room where the nurse remarked that I was an extremely sturdily built individual. I decided that was a compliment.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:39 PM   #12
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I agree. Strength is good in case of sudden deceleration and it's good for doing the things you need to do if you're living a normal active life. I also have to have some strength for my job, which occasionally involves restraining, lifting and carrying fellow human beings.
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Old 01-28-08, 03:54 PM   #13
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I lift, which I don't think most cyclists seem to do. I just don't want to lose my upper body. Don't get me wrong, I'm into cycling a lot but I just can't do the pyramid body style thing. Plus my girlfriend wouldn't like it very much. At 6'0 180 I'm not huge, but bigger than almost all serious cyclists. There's also some satisfaction that, even though I may carry extra weight that others don't, if anybody gets a little pushy in a race I'll have a big advantage.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:17 PM   #14
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I've gone through the exact same scenario – my upper-body and core have been summarily ignored since I've taken up cycling. To remedy this, and to help relieve some twinges of back soreness from sitting at a computer all day (I work from home, mind you), I installed a pull-up bar in the door to my bathroom. Every time I take a leak, which is pretty often when you drink as much coffee and tea as I do, I do a couple of pull-ups.

Since I started this regimen, my back's feeling better, my arms look better (not built, but toned) and I feel much better on the bike for long stretches at a time. And it's only been a couple of weeks.

Give it a try – pull-up bars that expand into doorframes don't cost much at all.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:28 PM   #15
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Guess what - I've got a pull-up bar! I rarely bother to use it though. I need to remember to use it and I need to try and make it a routine thing.

It's awkward fitting it into my day - the best time for me is first thing in the morning before getting in the shower, although at that time I feel a bit too hungry and weak to do that sort of exercise. If I do it after showering, I'll get sweaty and need another shower. I'm too tired to use it after pedalling x miles all day at work.

When I remember to do it, I do a few sets of chin-ups (not pull-ups - they're too hard for me) then a few sets of push-ups and sit-ups on the floor.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:01 PM   #16
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I've been to a gym once and didn't like. Will stick with cycling. Plus squash and badminton work the upper body to some extent, so i'm not all that bad up there. I just can't stand the boredom of lifting weights and all that nonsense.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:19 PM   #17
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I've been to a gym once and didn't like. Will stick with cycling. Plus squash and badminton work the upper body to some extent, so i'm not all that bad up there. I just can't stand the boredom of lifting weights and all that nonsense.
I'm the same way--I hate the gym and I think weights are boring. For me, fitness is for real life and exercise means having fun in the great outdoors.

But I do have more fun when I'm a little stronger. It only takes 20 minutes, twice a week, in the comfort of my home. I use heavy dumbbells (40 to 50 lbs.) with just one set of about 6 or 7 exercises, most of them multi-joint or complex exercises. Actually, I could probably maintain strength with just one session a week.

I'm definitely not Arnold or Superman, but I am strong enough to do the things I want to do. It's also amazing how good you feel when you lift weights--not while you're doing it, but the rest of the time!
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Old 01-29-08, 02:48 AM   #18
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nope, i sail so my upper body gets a lot of exercise hauling ropes and turning winches
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Old 01-29-08, 08:38 AM   #19
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Not me. After coming from a mixed martial arts and bouldering background, my upper body is fairly well developed. I try my best to keep this build through clean & press, snatch, weighted dips & chins, and rope climbs. Some might say that this has nothing to do with cycling but as some have stated, it makes a lot of difference when you fall. Also, the ability to control the bike, most especially in cyclocross and mtb are greatly enhanced due to upper body tension and strength. The clean & press, when worked into a circuit that involves the use of a trainer as well has helped me develop a lot of on bike power.
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