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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bohh's Avatar
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    Training Questions

    Hi,

    I've been riding a few months now and am ready to start taking this seriously. I've got a few questions, but let me begin by saying that I do not plan to do anything competitive this year. I will start joining group rides but no races. I plan on racing next year following a proper training schedule starting in the winter of this year.

    Anyhow, I've been seeing that cyclists should do some light weight training and core work with an exercise ball. Is this something you do strictly in the off season or do you continue to work out in this manner even while riding? Would AM Weight/Core work and afternoon cycling or visa versa work?

    Do I have to look for anything special when I buy an exercise ball?

    What is the point of lifting weights with your arms? The legs and core makes sense, but why add mass to your arms?

    Thanks a lot,

    -Mike
    CAAD 9 - Ultegra Components (Frame Swap)
    Windsor Fens '07
    Univega Arrow Pace - Fixed Gear Conversion

  2. #2
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohh View Post
    Hi,


    What is the point of lifting weights with your arms? The legs and core makes sense, but why add mass to your arms?

    Thanks a lot,

    -Mike
    Cycling does relatively little to build upper body strength. The weights are beneficial to your body, not just the activity of cycling.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  3. #3
    Pat
    Pat is offline
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    Well when asked if he lifted weights, Eddie Merckx said "you ride the bike, you don't carry it".

    I have tried some lifting with my legs and it has had no discernable effect. Other people might have a different experience. I find that I get the strength work I need on the road training.

    Now lifting to improve core (which to me means primarily work on the abdominals) is a good idea. Strengthening the abdominal muscles helps support the back. The human back is pretty vulnerable to all sorts of painful problems. Avoiding needless pain is a good thing.

    I also do some lifting for the upper body muscles (like lats, delts, pectoralis, etc). It is nice to have enough upper body strength to do various things (like lifting objects) without undue problems.

    But generally when I see someone who has really built themselves up to a large degree on a bike, I figure the person is probably a not a strong rider.

  4. #4
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    Core strength is essental for performance on the bike. Arm strength is needed to keep the bike under control. If you find yourself having a hard time steering the bike, do arm exercises. Otherwise, they really aren't needed to perform on the bike.

    Excerise balls are for sissy girls. Actually, I just don't use them because the house is small and the balls actually cost money. Consider just gravity-assisted core movements, such as described here:

    http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cm...?articleid=425

    Most of my core is actually just variations of sit ups. Crunches, leg lifts, hyper-extensions etc. Add a few sets of pushups, and my abs/lowe back and chest/arms feels it. Skip the ball.

  5. #5
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    I found it interesting that when I was able to squat 300, it did not help my ability to climb. We have a really steep hill on one of our rides. Even thought I could squat 300 pounds, I thought I was going to spit up a ling. Practicing on hills made me a better climber. So I have to agree with what PAT posted: "you ride the bike, you don't carry it".

    Lifting weights made me a better at lifting weights. Cycling made me better at cycling.

    Having said that, I still lift weights as I am no Eddy Merckx. Over fitness and the strength I get from weight training is important to me. As far an exercise ball, I have never used them. Google Paul Chek and see if he has a website. He is big on stability training.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohh View Post
    Hi,

    I've been riding a few months now and am ready to start taking this seriously. I've got a few questions, but let me begin by saying that I do not plan to do anything competitive this year. I will start joining group rides but no races. I plan on racing next year following a proper training schedule starting in the winter of this year.

    Anyhow, I've been seeing that cyclists should do some light weight training and core work with an exercise ball. Is this something you do strictly in the off season or do you continue to work out in this manner even while riding? Would AM Weight/Core work and afternoon cycling or visa versa work?

    Do I have to look for anything special when I buy an exercise ball?

    What is the point of lifting weights with your arms? The legs and core makes sense, but why add mass to your arms?

    Thanks a lot,

    -Mike
    I'd suggest looking a Cyclo-core and cyclo-zen. This will give you both the core strength and the flexibility that will help you considerably. The flexiblity is especially important both for comfort and for power.

    I generally do those things on off days, but I don't ride more than about 3 days a week.

    If you buy it off my webpage at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx I get like $3 from the sale.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

  7. #7
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    Hi Mike,

    You're on the right track. Doing lots of club riding for a year (or even two) before racing and starting training program early the winter before your first race season is a good approach.

    About weight training, it seems most coaches and training programs swear by it. And I have seen it become very popular in the last few years. Nothing is black and white though - I have seen some racers do really well without any weight training.

    The idea of weight training is to build strength mostly in the off season, and then gradually as you get closer to the race season, the weight training is reduced, and the strength gained from the weights will increase your power on the bike. It's going from general strength to bike specific power.

    During the racing season itself, you can stop weights all together, or keep it to at most one session a week. Some coaches recommend that master cyclists above 40 keep the weight training sessions year round.

    I also think that since cycling works a very specific set of muscles, weight training will help balance everything out with other muscle groups.

    Core work is also extremely important for cycling. The two major points of contact with the bike are your feet and hands, so core stability is important to maximize power output and reduce fatigue. Climbing out of the saddle requires a very stable core to be efficient. I would keep one core workout session through out the racing season.

    Upper body work is important but mostly for racing. In anaerobic quick accelerations, your upper body has to counteract the force in your legs. If you already have a strong upper body, that may not be too critical.

    Hope this helps and happy training,

    Michel
    www.freetrainingplan.com

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