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  1. #1
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    weight training and cycling?

    Any tips or reading suggestions for approaches to combining weight training and cycling for maximum positive effect (strength, health, endurance, injury prevention, etc.)?
    Mark

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    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markjay
    Any tips or reading suggestions for approaches to combining weight training and cycling for maximum positive effect (strength, health, endurance, injury prevention, etc.)?
    Mark
    i got a book recently called "serious cycling", which has a chapter or two devoted to weight training. it focuses mainly on streching, partial squats, lunges, etc. a very good book IMO. it's a newish book and would be available at any large bookstore (i got mine at barnes and nobel) - has lance armstrong (of course) on the front.

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    Mostly Harmless dirty tiger's Avatar
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    Senior Member JustsayMo's Avatar
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    When I first began racing I believe strength training would NOT be good for my performance. I did all my training on the bike. Specificity was my mantra.

    After years of only riding I stopped seeing improvment and began having pain in my knees, low back and neck. I took up lifting weights and corrected the imbalances. Even though I was in my mid 30's my performance began to improve. By the time I reached my late 30's I was setting PRs in the events I competed in (Flying 200, Pursuit, Kilo, 40 km TT... etc). My max sprint speed improved too.

    I only regret not starting sooner.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustsayMo
    When I first began racing I believe strength training would NOT be good for my performance. I did all my training on the bike. Specificity was my mantra.

    After years of only riding I stopped seeing improvment and began having pain in my knees, low back and neck. I took up lifting weights and corrected the imbalances. Even though I was in my mid 30's my performance began to improve. By the time I reached my late 30's I was setting PRs in the events I competed in (Flying 200, Pursuit, Kilo, 40 km TT... etc). My max sprint speed improved too.

    I only regret not starting sooner.

    Was most likely because you started training , lifting weights does not make a cyclist faster.
    you say years of "only riding" so you did not have a cycling training plan?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by markjay
    Any tips or reading suggestions for approaches to combining weight training and cycling for maximum positive effect (strength, health, endurance, injury prevention, etc.)?
    Mark

    A good tip is if you want to improve on the bike, lifting weights will NOT HELP.

  7. #7
    Junior Member PTVegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    A good tip is if you want to improve on the bike, lifting weights will NOT HELP.
    Better tell Lance no 6th title since he lifts weights.

    http://www.lancearmstrong.com/lance/.../html/training
    Train smarter, not harder. Success starts in the kitchen.

  8. #8
    Disgruntled Planner bpohl's Avatar
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    I don't know for sure, but my gut feeling says that doing upper body exercise would not necessarily help you get faster, but it may help you be smoother and more efficient on the bike. After losing 170 lbs, I know that lost every bit of muscle in my upper body, yet have retained enormous leg muscles. I'm hesitant to get into the weight room and work my upper body, since I want any weight gain to come from lean muscle in my legs; but I do feel like bulking up slightly up top would help me be a much smoother rider. I think that this would help especially during sprints, where my bike is usually wobbling around uncontrollably under me.
    As far as working the legs... again, I think sprints could be improved by several sets of low reps and high weight, but I imagine that any increase in endurance from hitting the weight room would be marginal. That would seem to come only from being in the saddle for hours on end.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JustsayMo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    Was most likely because you started training , lifting weights does not make a cyclist faster.
    you say years of "only riding" so you did not have a cycling training plan?
    I did have a training plan AND a COACH! I'd ride fixed gear in the off season, build a base early season and gradually add intensity and volume. By my first race I'd have an excellent base, had event specific training and was building toward my goal events (usually the state championships). Wouldn't you call that a "cycling training plan?" I have YEARS of training logs without lifting an ounce.

    By the time I began lifting weights my cylcing performance was declining and I just figured I had passed my peak and was over the hill (mid 30's). I introduced weightlifting to my above training regime and I began to see improved results the first season. In my last year racing (39 years old) I set personal bests in my Flying 200, Kilo, Pursuit & 40 kilometer time trials. I also set a new personal best max speed in a sprint (on the velodrome) that year.

    I know that cyclists resist weights as body builders resist cardio because I *was* one of them. Once I let go of my bias I discovered the benefits of strength training (lifting weights). The results were obvious to me. I say again, I only wish I had known the benefits when I was in my twenties...

    I was just like you pacesetter, a skeptic and a disbeliever. I was even critical of teamates that lifted weights. Now I realize how foolish and ingnorant I was. Lance lifts, Tyler lifts... The myth will eventually die as it seems to have in other sports (like baseball) because of fear of being "muscle bound." It may not work for you, but it did for me.

    Mo

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTVegas
    Better tell Lance no 6th title since he lifts weights.

    http://www.lancearmstrong.com/lance/.../html/training

    Now do you realy think lance and his coach would give away a real training plan?? im not gonna go any further with this because people who can't get common sense piss me off !! how does bench pressing make you faster on the ****in bike!! ALL THE TRAINING BOOKS INCLUDE A LIFTING PLAN!!!!! lifting weights will do a TRAINED CYCList NO ****IN GOOD on the bike as far as performance, nuff said.

  11. #11
    Senior Member JustsayMo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    Now do you realy think lance and his coach would give away a real training plan?? im not gonna go any further with this because people who can't get common sense piss me off !! how does bench pressing make you faster on the ****in bike!! ALL THE TRAINING BOOKS INCLUDE A LIFTING PLAN!!!!! lifting weights will do a TRAINED CYCList NO ****IN GOOD on the bike as far as performance, nuff said.
    You're obviously right. Pro cyclists who "give away real training plans" are really just trying to get an edge on their competitors. Coach Carmicheal is just ripping off all those athletes that are paying him big bucks for the CTS program. I am obviously mistaken in my observations. Whatever pacesetter says is true.

    Who are we to question the almighty pacesetter? ;^)

  12. #12
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    Lifting upper body and core helps me climb better because my arms and abs can help my legs when they're tired. On sprints, I have more control over the bike, and I'm able to throw the bike forward with my arms. My body doesn't fatigue as quickly, either.

    In mountain bike races, I can bunny hop better, as well as pull much nicer wheelies and climb faster over loose terrain. Upper body strength is very important when riding singletrack as well as road (have you ever had to power up a hill pushing and pulling on the bars at the same time?.)

    Lifting and strength training does not mean "bodybuilder" muscle; PRACTICAL muscle is key. Haven't we had this discussion a lot, already?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    im not gonna go any further with this because people who can't get common sense piss me off !!

    nuff said.
    You said it mate...

  14. #14
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    Hey pacesetter what rock have you been living under?

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    I think we must be on Candid Camera

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    High levels of strength are *definitely* not required for (endurance) racing (i.e., road, TT, track endurance etc). Anyone (who is healthy, age and gender matched) can produce the requisite forces needed for cycle racing.

    Even the power output of elite TdF riders is a *doddle* to meet. For e.g., it can be estimated that LA produces ~ 400 W when cycling up a mountain. You'd be hard pushed to find a healthy, age matched guy that couldn't produce ~ 400 W. It's the ability to *sustain* these efforts for long periods of time, that sets us apart.

    The ability to sustain these efforts is a function of (e.g.) LT, TTpower and power at VO2 max. It's nothing to do with strength, which is a measure of the maximum force that can be generated by a muscle or group of muscles.

    Yes, weight training does increase strength. Strength does not need to be increased for endurance cycling. And, yes, i've seen races abroard, raced abroad myself, and have data from pro events (e.g., TdF, World Championships, world records) all the way down to fitness riders and everything in between.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for your feedback, everybody!

    I should have made clear that I am not interested in racing. I ride for enjoyment and fitness. As for weight training, I am interested in how it might help me avoid injury, maintain good overall health, etc. Anyway, a few of the resources that people here have pointed to (books, Websites) are helpful. (And the debate about racing is interesting as well, even though it doesn't affect me directly!)

    Thanks! (And feel free to add more comments, whether about racing or not.)

  18. #18
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    I weight train 3 times a week besides my cycling. Monday and Friday and upper body and Wednesday is lower body. This has worked out just great for me! I don't have all of the soreness in my upper body after rides that I used to. Plus, I feel and look a lot better with a toned upper body and I am now going faster than I have ever gone before!

    It has also helped me a lot with my mountain biking.
    Last edited by pletcgm; 06-15-04 at 09:51 AM.

  19. #19
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    All the strength in other parts of your body will stave off injuries. Not having injuries mean you are going to be able to spend more time training. Being able to put in more quality training means that you will be able to race better.

    As for health wise, that total body fitness will be good, you will get to burn more fats and of course no injuries, meaning when you get old, you will be able to have better balance, coordination, less likelyhood of falls.

    Cycling is a sport, but your fitness should not allow you to only do cycling. That way, I don't think you'll be that good, because all sports are part physical and part mental. If you never take a break from cycling and just do cycling all day long... you won't make it far, and you won't race well. You get sick of it, and weight training is one way to get off cycling.

    About the point of maximal strength, the ability to have a higher maximal strength will allow you to work at a less demanding level than others with the same output. I really feel weird when anyone says that weight training is useless, but I'll respect your opinion, while others can decide what's better for themselves.

  20. #20
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    For me, when I started riding (and losing weight), getting up my local hills was a challenge. But when I started weight training, especially squats, lunges etc., the hills just kinda turned into little speed bumps.
    I can see where a well seasoned biker wouldn't really gain that much performance by lifting weights, but if you're out of shape, the weights really help you get your body where it should be (IMO).
    And I really like the Crossfit daily workouts. I can't do them all yet, but what I can do sure has made my hill climbing a lot easier.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Woodson
    For me, when I started riding (and losing weight), getting up my local hills was a challenge. But when I started weight training, especially squats, lunges etc., the hills just kinda turned into little speed bumps.
    I can see where a well seasoned biker wouldn't really gain that much performance by lifting weights, but if you're out of shape, the weights really help you get your body where it should be (IMO).
    And I really like the Crossfit daily workouts. I can't do them all yet, but what I can do sure has made my hill climbing a lot easier.
    It did the same for me! I use a double chain ring and have no problems climbing hills at higher speeds
    Last edited by pletcgm; 06-15-04 at 01:06 PM.

  22. #22
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    Alright! Another double chainring biker! I just love it when I'm going up a hill and cruise right on by someone peddling his guts out with a triple.

  23. #23
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    A lot more to bike racing than just endurance and keeping a high level effort for long periods of time. The ability to break away on a long hill climb and sprinting is related to power which can be improved with weights. Might be a small differance in the scheme of things but any advantage on the pro level will be used for the benefit of winning.
    As far as on my level (slow old man) weight lifting is essential to me being faster and stronger on the bike.

  24. #24
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    Here is some research on the subject my coach wrote.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern

  25. #25
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    Doesn't look like anything even close to being etched in stone with a lot of room for futher testing with Stern himself saying weight training needs to be specific to do any good. A lot of weight training is done in the winter so you are at a new level when cycling season starts in the spring, strength can then be gained by training on the bike. If time is limited you will gain power quicker with weights and bike then just biking.

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