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Old 12-09-03, 06:30 PM   #1
TriDevil
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I need more power!

Hey all, how do I get some more power in my legs? I'm a spinner but the gear I push is pretty easy and whenever I get out of the saddle I have nothing. Any bike specific exercises I can do? Maybe seated accelerations in a big gear or something like that? How bout any gym work? I'm going to be bike less for 3.5 weeks starting next week but Im going to be in the gym. Should I throw in some leg press or squats?
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Old 12-09-03, 09:22 PM   #2
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Hills and the weight room...
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Old 12-09-03, 09:44 PM   #3
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I am a spinner too... and I feel like I have totally missed out on opportunities to build my power by listening to the rampant "Gospel of Spinning" that is preached througout this forum. Fact is, you will not really be able to add power without doing some big geared, lower cadence efforts. As you get stronger, you will be able to spin those bigger gears. But yeah.. to really push the envelope you need to do some mashing....
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Old 12-09-03, 10:31 PM   #4
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I've gotten so used to spinning any time I drop below 100 I feel like I'm mashing. How am I going to feel doing 80?!?! oh well, I've give some of this stuff a try. I do a hilly ride once a week with repeats and stuff then climb a mountain once a week on my group ride. Any other tips?
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Old 12-09-03, 10:41 PM   #5
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Get in the weight room.

For us in the snowy regions, we do have an off period where you spend more time doing the weights, and focus just a wee bit less on the cardio stuff. I'm getting ready to build on weights myself, which means my cycling decreases significantly in the beginning.

Concentrate more time in the gym doing weights for the legs. Start with lighter weights and gradually build up the amount of weights you do. While you're building on the weights, you drop the intensity of your cardio. Eventually, you get to the point where you are using the maximum amount of weight you can use, then you'll start dropping back on the weights and picking up the intensity of the cardio.

I'm not sure if this makes sense. If it doesn't drop me a PM and we can spend more time discussing it.

The problem with your power is that it needs to be developed. If you don't build leg strength, you'll never have power. Start by building on your leg strength, and build the muscles, and by the time you get to the peak weights, you'll be training peak power. Then you can drop back the weights and pick up the cardio, and you'll see the gains right away and you can build on that to get the power needed for your cardio. Do NOT... I repeat, DO NOT spend your time mashing- it will only lead to knee damage and who needs that?

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Old 12-10-03, 10:08 AM   #6
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i didn't mean literal mashing... like go top gear and go all out... i meant just higher gear than you're comfortable with, at a lower cadence than you're used to...
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Old 12-10-03, 10:20 AM   #7
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I feel you-

But if you aren't going at least 60 rpm, you're mashing.

Elaborating on the lower cadence- no one ever wants to really go a lower cadence on higher gears. Hopefully, when you are in the higher gears, you're able to have the leg strength to keep your leg speed up.

What I tell people is to maintain consistent cadence when doing the hill work. Add in the higher gears slowly and maintain the speed. As soon as you start slowing down as you're adding the gears, stop adding gears. The idea with power is pushing against the extra resistance while maintaining the force in your pedal stroke. This is power.

So the smart thing to do is work at that highest gear that you can maintain your speed at before you start slowing down. As you continue to work in that gear, you'll build the leg strength, and before long, you'll be able to increase your gears and maintain the speed you had, whereas before you started working with the higher gears, you couldn't have possibly maintained it.

If you're doing this over time (months and years), you'll find you'll be able to build up leg strength and leg power.

Think of it this way- if you were doing bicep curls with 25 pound dumbbells, then you decide to go to 30 pound bicep curls, but you couldn't LIFT the 30 pound weights through the full range of motion, are you still getting the same benefit for the biceps? No. If you can't do the full range of motion, you are getting less benefit, so you might as well go back to 25 pounds, or just move to the 27.5 weight first and slowly progress to the 30 pound weight. Now, this doesn't mean you get absolutely no benefit from the 30 pound weight, but you get much less than if you worked with a weight where you can perform the action through the full range of motion.

Think of cycling like weight training. If you do, you'll have a better idea of how to manipulate your workouts to suit your needs.

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Old 12-10-03, 10:32 AM   #8
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LOL... well I consider 80 rpm "mashing"... i was using relative terms... relative for us spinners
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Old 12-10-03, 02:35 PM   #9
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I'm a spinner too- but next time, instead of saying "mashing", perhaps the best thing to say is "high gears spinning at 80 rpms". That makes things a lot less complicated.

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Old 12-11-03, 09:59 AM   #10
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use the sled at the gym. sled and leg extensions. squats (do not go to full extention as you only need to train your quad here)

meet us back here on this thread after doing 4 sets of each three times a week. go.go.go.

some running also.
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Old 12-11-03, 10:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriDevil
Hey all, how do I get some more power in my legs? I'm a spinner but the gear I push is pretty easy and whenever I get out of the saddle I have nothing. Any bike specific exercises I can do? Maybe seated accelerations in a big gear or something like that? How bout any gym work? I'm going to be bike less for 3.5 weeks starting next week but Im going to be in the gym. Should I throw in some leg press or squats?
Well, if you are talking about out of the saddle climbing and not doing it on a bike, stairclimbers feel a lot like out of the saddle climbing to me.

For out of the saddle sprinting, the only way to do that would be a windtrainer or a spin class.

I tend to sit and spin. I have found that I can make up with RPMs in a lower gear over someone else out of the saddle in a higher gear most of the time and generally my aerobic conditioning will grind them down.

I don't think weight training would help much. Even mashing a "big" gear is still much lower resistance and much higher rep then most weight training does. I did weight training some time ago and found that it took a little while to get my muscles into the idea of lifting large weights, but they came around pretty fast. It didn't help my cycling one bit as far as I could tell.

The best way I can think of improving out of the saddle cycling performance is just to do it.
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Old 12-11-03, 01:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pat

I don't think weight training would help much. Even mashing a "big" gear is still much lower resistance and much higher rep then most weight training does. I did weight training some time ago and found that it took a little while to get my muscles into the idea of lifting large weights, but they came around pretty fast. It didn't help my cycling one bit as far as I could tell.

The best way I can think of improving out of the saddle cycling performance is just to do it.
Well, that would depend.

If you just did the traditional lifting, that's one thing. But if you did a periodized training program using weight training that was specific for cyclists, then applied that to your cardio cycling (already in place), then I cannot see how you got no benefit.

Even pros like Lance Armstrong know better- they hit the gym and work with the weights to build up the leg strength, and at the same time, work with the cycling. With the correct approach, one can make some very good gains with leg strength for their cycling.

If you're really thinking you want to do more, it may be a good idea to run over to http://www.bicyclecoach.com/ and find a good cycling coach. Seriously, I would stick with a coach in the elite level (third tier), but if you can't afford one, then get one at least at the second level. Then interview them and see what they do with weight training, cardiovascular, AND nutrition. Ask them to tell you about how they structure their periodization program, and then ask them if you can talk with some of their clients to see how their program works. If they start sounding like "Duuuuuuuuh...." when they're talking to you, hang up and find somoene else.

You can get great books from Joe Friel, Ed Burke, and Chris Carmichael that go through some weight training for cyclists. Then I would get the Tudor Bompa book about Periodization- he breaks it down by sport, and he can take you through how to structure your weight training while periodizing your cycling.

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