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  1. #1
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    Lifting & cycling... recommended if just recreational?

    I know a lot of people don't do any lifting during the spring and summer months as they train for the cycling season, but for the average recreational cyclist who needs to get up some strength in the legs, hips, butt, and knee (partially to counter ITBS), is it ok? Any thoughts on the matter?
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    You'll find most here won't recommend it in any form, but IMPO, it's absolutely essential for us non-pros to be liftinf for health and well being. All year long. Period.

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    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    You'll find most here won't recommend it in any form, but IMPO, it's absolutely essential for us non-pros to be liftinf for health and well being. All year long. Period.
    I agree with this. My cycling is much improved and I'm much more comfortable on distance rides since I began weight training. If you want to get into it, I recommend finding a trainer who works with cyclists who can set you up with a lifting plan. My full routine is done 2-3 times a week and I'm in the gym for under 90 minutes. It includes legs, core work and upper body lifting. He puts me through phases which are about 1 month each, 1 for building strength, 1 for building power, 1 for endurance, and 1 for general maintenance/adaptation. Each phase has the workouts set by strength tests done before each phase to set the weights.

    When I first started lifting, I didn't use a trainer and found it didn't help nearly as much as the plan including these different phases.
    just being

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    If you are riding for fun, lifting will not hurt a thing and will help you in many other ways. Most people that say don't lift, don't want to gain any weight anywhere to keep the weight down for riding. Lifting has really helped me in many ways. If you are going to lift, either you should already know how to lift properly, or go to a gym and get trained to lift properly. Doing it poorly tends to cause more injuries.
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    The research out there shows that lifting can help newer cyclists develop more quickly. However, after a few years of riding, weight training doesn't make any difference in strength.

    Now if you are concerned about riding performance, consider that lifting can increase your muscle mass, which in cycling is weight to carry up hills. You might want to stay out of the weightroom.
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    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintbike View Post

    Now if you are concerned about riding performance, consider that lifting can increase your muscle mass, which in cycling is weight to carry up hills. You might want to stay out of the weightroom.
    If you just eat less, you won't gain weight. There's no reason that you need to pack on muscle from lifting weights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clintbike View Post
    The research out there shows that lifting can help newer cyclists develop more quickly. However, after a few years of riding, weight training doesn't make any difference in strength.

    Now if you are concerned about riding performance, consider that lifting can increase your muscle mass, which in cycling is weight to carry up hills. You might want to stay out of the weightroom.
    That has been my experience. I had some personal training some years back. I was riding pretty much then. The lifting did absolutely nothing for my cycling in the leg area. I quickly increased the amount I was lifting with my legs but I think that was a matter of the muscles adapting to a different kind of activity. I did not get any more size or definition. I had no trouble riding on a day and then lifting and riding the next day. I also had no problem shutting down the professional trainers when they got on a bike.

    Lifting might help your legs if you are not in shape. I would recommend not doing it the day you ride or the day before a ride.

    Lifting seems to use a different sort of thing than cycling. Cycling is more about RPMs, leg speed, aerobic power and a certain amount of strength. Lifting is all about strength and it is not about generating any leg speed at all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintbike View Post
    The research out there shows that lifting can help newer cyclists develop more quickly. However, after a few years of riding, weight training doesn't make any difference in strength.

    Now if you are concerned about riding performance, consider that lifting can increase your muscle mass, which in cycling is weight to carry up hills. You might want to stay out of the weightroom.
    Cyclists need to do something for abs and upper body, otherwise you can end up with back trouble because of an imbalance in strength between the back and abdominal muscles.

    Weighlifting does not = muscle mass. It depends a lot on the training regimen.

    For example, if you train for muscle endurance rather than strength, you will add very little mass, but some serious vascularization. My weightlifting routine for core and upper body involves relatively lighter weights, lots of reps per set, short recovery times between sets, and very slow reps (6 seconds to a rep).

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    Sounds like a simple, light lifting routine would beneficial for me until I feel I've got the strength and power I need. Then I can switch to upper-body-only.
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  10. #10
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    I still think it's okay to do lower-body lifting and I plan on doing what Kotts recommended, which is lighter weights, more reps in order to keep the strength I have gained during the winter and also to avoid DOMS which could affect cycling training. Friel recommends weightlifting, particularly for women and masters to do year-round.

    There are some indicators that cycling can lead to over-development of some of the quad heads over the others and cycling also does not do anything for your hamstrings. The time it would take to throw in a round of deadlifts and squats/lunges/step-ups in a week is really negligible.

    I haven't seen any info that says that weightlifting is detrimental to cycling?

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    oh my jebus there is some stupidity on this forum.

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    Since embarking on a strength training regimen this winter, my cycling has improved immensely. Heavy weighted squats have increased my explosive power more than any amount of interval training I ever tried. Deadlifts have strengthened my legs, core and back more than I thought possible from one lift. I highly recommend lifting for overall fitness and to aid in cycling capacity.

  13. #13
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    oh my jebus there is some stupidity on this forum.
    Greg,
    Have you seen my post on this?
    http://video.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=379650

    OK, tell me I'm an idiot, but this is my best season ever, and I've been lifting since 1979. I've tried it all. This works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Greg,
    Have you seen my post on this?
    http://video.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=379650

    OK, tell me I'm an idiot, but this is my best season ever, and I've been lifting since 1979. I've tried it all. This works.
    Nope, you're a genius - sort of. You've discovered what most sports coaches have known for years That's the first intelligent post I've read from this forum in ages, though. Of course athletes should train explosively. I might argue a little with your choice of exercises, but that stuff is details. Looks like some good work there.

  15. #15
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    Nope, you're a genius - sort of. You've discovered what most sports coaches have known for years That's the first intelligent post I've read from this forum in ages, though. Of course athletes should train explosively. I might argue a little with your choice of exercises, but that stuff is details. Looks like some good work there.
    So argue, already!

  16. #16
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    I have been lifting for years as well as cycling since the middle 70's and yes inmo it helps.
    Dead-lifts will build your core muscles,back,stomach,legs/quads/hamstrings,arms.

    Leg presses and or squats will also help with power,especially in sprinting.

    Weight gain happens only if one wants more mass and bulk and heavy lifting. if you watch your food-intake,and or 5-6 small meals a day there is no gain except stronger muscles.

    high intensity/reps and cycling cardio training will go farther than just heavy lifting
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    So argue, already!
    It's hard to give you specifics because you're not my client and I don't know much about you personally, but:

    Back extensions and standing calf raises are doing nothing for you, honestly. There are much better alternatives.

    second, you're doing an awful lot of reps. That rep scheme done for too long is going to do bad things to you. You really need to have a rotating set and rep scheme that has you lifting bigger weight. You have to do more sets, but you still lift explosively. Most of my athletes I train quickly most days, but they still move a whole lot of weight around, which is necessary. What you're doing is likely better served for back-off weeks.

    But what you're doing is better than 80% of the dipsticks out there who think that weightlifting helps with cycling so long as you keep your calories low so you don't "get big"....*groan*

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    Back extensions and standing calf raises are doing nothing for you, honestly. There are much better alternatives.
    I do the extensions because I have kind of a weak back. If I don't, I get a sore back on really long climbing rides, plus I need a strong back to squat. My back often gets tired before my legs when squatting. So what's better?

    I do the calves that way because it works the whole leg, and the almost straight leg, not just the calf like a calf machine does. I should probably use some weight, but I usually crap out at about 35 reps, so that's close. My calves may not even need weight work, but they don't get tired, either, so I keep at it. And I do them one-legged because years ago I broke an Achilles tendon and after about 15 years of working at it, finally both calves are the same. So what's better? Donkey raises?

    I'm up to 95% of bodyweight on the 30 rep squats and 225% on the leg sled. I don't know if that's good or not for a guy 62, but it's better than I've ever done before. Remember, this is not fresh, it's after an hour or two of hard biking. Plus I haven't damaged anything this year - I hate tearing a meniscus, pulling a muscle, getting a sore tendon, etc.

    The thing is that lifting when I'm theoretically tired makes it obvious that in fact I'm not tired and can lift just fine. Kind of like doing hill sprints near the end of a century ride. If you're in shape you can go like a maniac then, because you're really well warmed up. It's good for endurance and strength.

    The rep thing: Like I said in my post, I do it this way because it works and because the standard way with heavy weights didn't make me faster or give me more endurance. That is (and this is a big "that is"), it didn't make me stronger after I was already strong and an experienced distance rider in the mountains, etc. Maybe if I hadn't done heavy weights for years, the 30-rep-to-failure thing wouldn't work for me now.

  19. #19
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    OK aikigreg,

    What exactly should the non-professional cycling person do?

    Just curious on your thoughts on the subject, other than the sarcasm in the earliest post. :-)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Lifting weights to some extent, is absolutely essential to complement any sport or physical activity. Anyone who claims that lifting doesn't do anything for you, or claims that it will hurt your performance, is simply too lazy to move heavy things around. Or just uncomfortable with their weak little selves. Lifting weights is simply the most basic muscle stimulation there is.

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I don't know how much weight lifting will help your cycling, but it probably won't hurt performance--and it sure helps if you fall or crash.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I just read a pretty good article on this subject by one of my favorite fitness writers, Gina Kolata.

    Does Weight Lifting Make a Better Athlete?

    It's mostly geared to runners, but has good info for cyclists also.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by flip18436572 View Post
    OK aikigreg,

    What exactly should the non-professional cycling person do?

    Just curious on your thoughts on the subject, other than the sarcasm in the earliest post. :-)
    Well, in GENERAL, and this can vary quite a bit depending on the person I'm training, their sport, and where in/out of the season they are, as well as training age, muscle type, and a whole host of other things, but in GENERAL, you stick with big multi-joint movements that train muscles as they actually work, rather than in isolation, and are lifted explosively. If a client is fit, healthy, and has worked with me a while, I rarely let them lift with sets higher than 6 reps. But I train athletes.

    For regular joes I do the exact same lifts, with the exception of cleans and such, but I vary the scheme and cycle the weight and reps, but it's still multi-joint compound movements and still done explosively.

    I also like to throw in the occasional week that looks very close to what carbonfiberboy does. But I'd never do that in season unless it was a light riding week.

    The big thing is that some of the opinions on this board are asnine and backed up by about zero actual experience on behalf of the poster. For example, the idea that if you pick up a bar you will blow up like Ahnold and suddenly be unable to climb. That's so asnine, as there are factors that will make that an impossibility if you're riding and lifting at the same time. I'll put my regular joe cyclist against the non-weight training average joe anyday. That equation does change at the pro level of course, but we're not pros.

    Some people just repeat what they've heard on a message board or from some dude who blew by them in a paceline and took it as gospel. Not their fault for being misinformed, but no need to spread the ignorance. Then again, most people think the "before and after" shots of people taking certain weight loss drugs are really before and after short, instead of someone who is already ripped who gains for the supposed "before."

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    First, if you're truly doing bodyweight squats x 30 reps, you're a beast and I salute you. But you're still stressing your back an awful lot, and considering you have a weak one to start with, as your trainer I'd move you immediately to front squats, and I for sure would have you backing off the reps, even if we upped the weight. And you are correct that lifting heavy for years has helped you. But seriously, consider switching to front squats, and vary the set/rep scheme. At the very least, do something like 4 weeks of heavier (4x6), 4 weeks of medium (3x10) and then do your 4 weeks of lactic acid training. Not only will your CNS thank you, but you'll find you make some new gains every cycle, I bet, so long as your nutrition is on-line.

    and most back extension machines are hell on the lower vertabrae. The best exercises for your lower back are the deadlift, the superman, and the best of the bunch, planks. Also, and you probably know this, most back issues stem from weak abs. Situps with weight and russian twists are a great help for that.

    And if you train with squat and dead as heavy as you say you are, the calves, and the back mucsles needed to stabilize during the squat will take care of themselves. However, given that you've torn the mucsle previously, I might add in weighted stepups (as girly as that sounds, they work) and SEATED calf raises, since the calf rarely gets work from that position.

    Now, my clients usually fork over about 300 bucks a week to get this info, but I like you. You may paypal 150 to me instead

    Seriously - 62? You're a freaking animal. But switch to front squats or I'll break yer legs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I do the extensions because I have kind of a weak back. If I don't, I get a sore back on really long climbing rides, plus I need a strong back to squat. My back often gets tired before my legs when squatting. So what's better?

    I do the calves that way because it works the whole leg, and the almost straight leg, not just the calf like a calf machine does. I should probably use some weight, but I usually crap out at about 35 reps, so that's close. My calves may not even need weight work, but they don't get tired, either, so I keep at it. And I do them one-legged because years ago I broke an Achilles tendon and after about 15 years of working at it, finally both calves are the same. So what's better? Donkey raises?

    I'm up to 95% of bodyweight on the 30 rep squats and 225% on the leg sled. I don't know if that's good or not for a guy 62, but it's better than I've ever done before. Remember, this is not fresh, it's after an hour or two of hard biking. Plus I haven't damaged anything this year - I hate tearing a meniscus, pulling a muscle, getting a sore tendon, etc.

    The thing is that lifting when I'm theoretically tired makes it obvious that in fact I'm not tired and can lift just fine. Kind of like doing hill sprints near the end of a century ride. If you're in shape you can go like a maniac then, because you're really well warmed up. It's good for endurance and strength.

    The rep thing: Like I said in my post, I do it this way because it works and because the standard way with heavy weights didn't make me faster or give me more endurance. That is (and this is a big "that is"), it didn't make me stronger after I was already strong and an experienced distance rider in the mountains, etc. Maybe if I hadn't done heavy weights for years, the 30-rep-to-failure thing wouldn't work for me now.

  25. #25
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    aikigreg,

    Thanks for the post. As I am on a limited budget, and can't afford an hour with you as a trainer, thank you for the free post.
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