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  1. #1
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    weight training?

    I'm relatively new to the biking world but I've been lifting weights for over a year now. I was wondering if anyone who rides reguarly strength trains their legs i.e. squats, leg press, calf raise, hamstring raises. I'm just curious what a strong rider can squat for reps.

    I'm sure most cyclist don't strength train hardcore to keep their weight as low as possible. I'm just curious to see what others are doing besides riding.

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    good endurance riders can't do much in terms of weights. in fact elite trained endurance riders are, on average, no stronger than age, gender, and mass matched, sedentary controls. they may even be weaker, as aerobic machinery replaces contractile proteins under endurance training regimens.

    ric
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    are powerful legs good for cyclocross?

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    yes, but powerful is something completely different to strength. you need to be very powerful to be an endurance racing cyclist, but strength doesn't matter

    ric
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  5. #5
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    oh, i guess all my strength training will be useless

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Stern
    good endurance riders can't do much in terms of weights. in fact elite trained endurance riders are, on average, no stronger than age, gender, and mass matched, sedentary controls. they may even be weaker, as aerobic machinery replaces contractile proteins under endurance training regimens.

    ric
    As Lance Armstrong is a good endurance rider (for example), are you stating that he is no stronger than others in his age group?

    I may believe more inclined to believe this if an endurance rider does little or no strength training and spends most of their time doing aerobic activity, but Chris Carmichael does stress strength training in the off season for Lance, as well as weight training for muscle maintenance during the competitive season.

    I think that if an endurance rider is trying to lift heavy for weight training to gain maximum muscle mass, there is definitely going to be compromising of endurance capabilities. An endurance rider does use weight training to strengthen muscles, but I don't think they use strength training to build massive muscles. All that extra weight would actually hinder them with speed, hills, etc.

    I was under the impression that athletes are encouraged to use weight training to maintain muscle mass, and especially to prevent more of their Type II, or fast twitch, muscle fibers from converting as quickly to type I, or slow twitch), muscle fibers as a person ages, as well as to train the Type 1 muscle fibers to contract more quickly (of course, I am talking generally, since I do know there are different types of muscle fibers). While I do think that over time, endurance athletes' Type II muscle can covert from B to A, which can lead to a somewhat weakened response, they should still have more overall strength than the undtrained sedentary person of the same age group and gender.

    This is what I believe Joe Signorile, who lectures and does research in exercise physiology and aging in Miami was telling us when I attended his last lecture. Dr. Len Kravitz, who is also does research solely for exercise physiology at New Mexico, also lectured as much when I saw him at his last lecture.

    Are you assuming that the sedentary controls are doing the same strength training as the endurance athlete and the sedentary controls are not doing endurance, or do you assume that the endurance athlete does no resistance training, and only does endurance training, and you compare the muscle strength of the athlete with no resistance training with the sedentary person who also does no resistance training? And finally, do you take into account the exercise intensity of the elite endurance athlete, who (from the lectures I've attended, this is what they say, mind you) have trained at higher intensities to maintain motor neuron firing capacity, which should lead to a longer life of faster contracting muscle fibers, as opposed to the sedentary person that does nothing?

    I'm always open to clarification... perhaps I have just confused the information out of the lectures, and I need a bit of emphasis. Could you go through this, and just dumb it down a little so that everyone can follow it too. Thanks!

    Koffee

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    As Lance Armstrong is a good endurance rider (for example), are you stating that he is no stronger than others in his age group?

    I may believe more inclined to believe this if an endurance rider does little or no strength training and spends most of their time doing aerobic activity, but Chris Carmichael does stress strength training in the off season for Lance, as well as weight training for muscle maintenance during the competitive season.

    I think that if an endurance rider is trying to lift heavy for weight training to gain maximum muscle mass, there is definitely going to be compromising of endurance capabilities. An endurance rider does use weight training to strengthen muscles, but I don't think they use strength training to build massive muscles. All that extra weight would actually hinder them with speed, hills, etc.

    I was under the impression that athletes are encouraged to use weight training to maintain muscle mass, and especially to prevent more of their Type II, or fast twitch, muscle fibers from converting as quickly to type I, or slow twitch), muscle fibers as a person ages, as well as to train the Type 1 muscle fibers to contract more quickly (of course, I am talking generally, since I do know there are different types of muscle fibers). While I do think that over time, endurance athletes' Type II muscle can covert from B to A, which can lead to a somewhat weakened response, they should still have more overall strength than the undtrained sedentary person of the same age group and gender.

    This is what I believe Joe Signorile, who lectures and does research in exercise physiology and aging in Miami was telling us when I attended his last lecture. Dr. Len Kravitz, who is also does research solely for exercise physiology at New Mexico, also lectured as much when I saw him at his last lecture.

    Are you assuming that the sedentary controls are doing the same strength training as the endurance athlete and the sedentary controls are not doing endurance, or do you assume that the endurance athlete does no resistance training, and only does endurance training, and you compare the muscle strength of the athlete with no resistance training with the sedentary person who also does no resistance training? And finally, do you take into account the exercise intensity of the elite endurance athlete, who (from the lectures I've attended, this is what they say, mind you) have trained at higher intensities to maintain motor neuron firing capacity, which should lead to a longer life of faster contracting muscle fibers, as opposed to the sedentary person that does nothing?

    I'm always open to clarification... perhaps I have just confused the information out of the lectures, and I need a bit of emphasis. Could you go through this, and just dumb it down a little so that everyone can follow it too. Thanks!

    Koffee
    On average, elite pros are no stronger than age, gender and mass matched sedentary controls. it would be impossible to speculate on LA, as i've never tested him.

    people tend to maintain muscle mass perfectly fine. there may be a possibility that some TdF riders don't due to extreme nature of the event. i'm assuming that no one here is riding the TdF.

    There's two ways (actually, three, the third being a combination of the other two) to increase strength. 1) increase in muscle cross sectional area -- increases here will help increase peak power (i.e., 5-sec sprint power), this can also be increased with on the bike training. you then have more mass to lug uphill (= bad)
    2) increase in strength through neuromuscular gains. these adaptations only occur at the specific joint angle and velocity at which they're trained. there's no cross over to another modality

    people, in general, maintain their strength in to their 50's and 60's.

    in general, untrained, sedentary, (healthy) people are as strong as elite cyclists.

    as you increase your aerobic fitness, you increase aerobic machinery (e.g., mitochondria, capillary density) this replaces contractile proteins and thus your strength decreases.

    the forces involved in elite cycling are very low, such that most people can meet them. for e.g., using first principles we can estimate that LA would have TTed ~ 430 W up Alpe d'Huez to win the TT. from that we can calculate that the average force on the pedals would have amounted to ~ 250 Newtons (~ 25 kg) between *both* legs. In other words, you'd be hard pressed to find a male (or even a female) of similar age (and who is healthy) who couldn't generate that force.

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

    ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

  8. #8
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    Do you make the assumption here that active people do not use weights and you are just comparing folks that use aerobic activity-type exercises (cycling only or running only) vs. athletes that actually use weights and weight bearing activities to increase muscle exercise?

    I am not sure if we are both on the same page- I got the feeling you were saying using weights to increase muscle strength would not do anything for athletes involved in endurance based activities. I am saying that athletes involved in endurance based activities would be able to benefit from using weight training to increase strength. Additionally, plyometrics would be useful for these athletes for the times when they would need explosive power (ie- sprinting in the Tour de France at the end of a long stage).

    I do think we are saying some of the same stuff- I think riders would lose muscle by the end of the Tour de France too- it is true that they would be primarily performing aerobic type activity just as you described. BUT during the off season, athletes would be working to increase muscle growth by emphasizing weight training, and this is where I am not sure we are talking about the same thing. I think if an endurance athlete is NOT doing weight training and is specifically only doing aerobic based activity, I could see your assertions. But if the endurance athlete is doing a specific weight training periodization program in the off season, and building up muscle, while at the same time, training the aerobic, then I can see how an athlete can have more muscle strength by the start of their season- but yes... I think their muscle strength will decline over the season, since the main emphasis of the season is not with weights, it's with aerobics. Therefore, muscle mass would be compromised in favor of aerobic activity.

    I may be losing you here, but I'm always interested to hear what the professionals say.

    For what it's worth, I will read your article, but unfortunately, I have to run out and meet up with one of my friend's idiot boyfriend and do a little business. If you could clarify some of what I said with what you know, then I will re read your response and the article you posted and ask any additional questions.

    BTW, are you familiar with Joe Signorile? He has a number of articles he's written from his research with working with aging exercising populations. Being in Florida, he has a rather large population to choose from! He is cool, though. Very intense, great lecturer, hard as hell to take tests with, but very cool. I enjoy listening to him lecture every time he's in town.

    Koffee

  9. #9
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    i'm confused with your first paragraph... maybe because it's late here! not sure what you mean by active people... i've used the term sedentary and elite. perhaps you can clarify...
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  10. #10
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    Oh sorry, Ric. Sedentary= couch potato. Elite= Lance Armstrong.

    Koffee

  11. #11
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    Oh, also, let me try and break it down a little bit more. When you assume elite, are you saying that the elite people use only aerobic activity for exercise or that they are using weights and aerobic activity?

    When you say sedentary, do you mean couch potato, don't exercise at all and/or less than 3 days per week of moderate to low intensity, or by sedentary, do you mean people who exercise at least moderately 5 days or more a week but aren't considered elite, professional athletes?

    I think if you clarify a bit what your definitions are, then I can see where you're coming from.

    Good stuff, Ric. I enjoy reading your comments.

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    Oh, also, let me try and break it down a little bit more. When you assume elite, are you saying that the elite people use only aerobic activity for exercise or that they are using weights and aerobic activity?

    When you say sedentary, do you mean couch potato, don't exercise at all and/or less than 3 days per week of moderate to low intensity, or by sedentary, do you mean people who exercise at least moderately 5 days or more a week but aren't considered elite, professional athletes?

    I think if you clarify a bit what your definitions are, then I can see where you're coming from.

    Good stuff, Ric. I enjoy reading your comments.

    Koffee
    sedentary means non (regularly) active people, but if i recall correctly (i don't have the research to hand) the elite category riders were mid racing season.


    I don't understand why you think weights would be beneficial to endurance trained athletes? We know that elite cyclists on average are no stronger than sedentary controls, we know that the forces involved in elite cycling are low (such that virtually anyone can meet them), and we know that weight training either causes an increase in peak power (with an increase in mass = bad) or is neuromuscular and doesn't transfer.

    Plyometrics doesn't seem to increase peak power (i.e., 5-sec sprint effort) except in track (velodrome) sprinters who can maybe devote a large amount of time to it.

    I don't think everyone looses muscle at the end of the TdF. Saris et al., 89, showed that weight loss during the TdF was insignificant (from memory, something like < 1 kg).

    If you attempt to train both (i.e., in the off-season) strength and aerobic performance, one or both of these will be compromised (i.e., you won't recover to do both properly). additionally, as cross sectional area increases (i.e., hypertrophy) there will be a relative decrease in mitochondrial and capillary density, which will result in a decrease in performance.

    ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

  13. #13
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    Strength training properly can help you develop lean muscle mass thus increasing power, while helping you cut excess fat. You just have to do things right. Strength training can also help you avoid injury. Joint/muscle specific excercises help reduce the rate of injury, or help you recover from a sustained injury like an ACL tear. When used correctly in conjunction, weight training first then cardio, can help you burn more calories translating into more lost weight if you are following a meal plan. Strength training doesn't always encompass gaining massive muscles the football player way. It encompasses weight lifting of all types including women's toning exercises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryrider
    Strength training properly can help you develop lean muscle mass thus increasing power,
    only increases in peak power output (i.e., 5-sec sprint efforts)

    You just have to do things right. Strength training can also help you avoid injury.
    i've been coaching professionally since 98, and from 90 voluntarily. i've yet to meet a cyclists who has such an injury that strength training would have prevented. the only injuries i see in cyclists are from crashes etc.

    When used correctly in conjunction, weight training first then cardio, can help you burn more calories translating into more lost weight if you are following a meal plan.
    alternatively, you'd expend way more energy by cycling for longer and replacing your weight training time with cycling.

    Strength training doesn't always encompass gaining massive muscles the football player way. It encompasses weight lifting of all types including women's toning exercises.
    if there's no increase in muscle cross sectional area then no transfer to other modalities take place, except in low-fitness groups, in which case *any* exercise is good exercise.

    ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

  15. #15
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    I wonder what lance armstrong can squat

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    Ric, I haven't been a coach so I really don't know a ton of stuff about the impact of weight training on cycling. I just know that a friend of mine had knee problems, and actually injured himself riding a bike. When it came time to rehab it, he had to get into the weightroom and specifically spot train that knee to strengthen it. Of course his riding position was probably to blame, but he hurt his knee nonetheless. With the weight training helping to burn calories I wasn't talking about a person who spends hours in the saddle, I was talking about a normal person who may only ride 20-30 miles a clip. Some people don't have the time to cycle a ton more. A 30 minute weight session followed by a 20-30 minute cardio session can be quite adequate. I played football for four years, and developed quite the football player's body. 185 lbs on a 5'8" frame could be quite detrimental to a bicyclist, but I have yet to experience major problems. I still climb well, and average 23 m/h with climbs and flats, not just flats. It is my belief that weight training did absolutely nothing to harm me. It may have even helped me with muscle endurance and power output. I know that I'm not the "ideal" cyclist, but who of us truly are?

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    I wasn't talking about a person who spends hours in the saddle, I was talking about a normal person who may only ride 20-30 miles a clip.
    ??????

    A "normal person?"

    20-30 miles?

    I will tell my neighbors to get with it so they can be "normal"!
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-31-04 at 02:52 PM.
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    Ok, maybe not "normal," but more normal than a pro-type rider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryrider
    Ok, maybe not "normal," but more normal than a pro-type rider.
    Yeah - we all know how unnormal pro-type riders are!
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    I'm not a person that has 6 hours a day to spend in the saddle. I'm sure most of us aren't. I think I said "normal" because I bike 20-35 miles a day at least 5 days a week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by countryrider
    I'm not a person that has 6 hours a day to spend in the saddle. I'm sure most of us aren't. I think I said "normal" because I bike 20-35 miles a day at least 5 days a week.
    Sorry, just kidding around a bit. This is definitely a sign I need a quick ride. Bye, as I head out the door!
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    Again, I have to disagree with Ric Stern.

    Everyone I know who has begun weight training in the winter has made big gains in the season following. They didn't lift for mass, they used very low weights and very high reps - but it helped in every case I know of. One friend in particular, a female professional mountain bike racer, began lifting a few years ago in the winters and promptly began posting her best results, after she turned 40. She has been a coach for about 10 years and now insists all her clients lift.

    Placebo effect? Good for only certain athletes? Quite possibly either one. But that doesn't matter if results follow. I haven't lifted since before I started cycling (it bores me), but I am planning to this winter. I'll let you know if I see any improvement from it.

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    I am fairly new to this board, so I don't know Ric. I just know what's worked for me and those around me. The guys that I have biked with have all improved with weight lifting. We may have lifted for pure football strength, but that helped us become better overall athletes. I started lifting for more lean muscle mass lately, and I have seen some good results. Instead of a usual 10 minute lag in my 23 mile course when there was high wind, I've dropped it to around 5. Lean muscle is what endurance athletes thrive off of. There is a difference between lean muscle and plain bulk. Just like there's a difference between fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers for all you sprinters and distance runners. Lean muscle makes you a more efficient fat burner as well as allowing you to have high output for longer periods of time. Most coaches and trainers I have talked to believe that strength training is good for all athletes, and they can tailor different programs for different sports. Good example, an NCAA Division 1 cross country runner came out of this area this year. The college coaches told him that he'd be leaps and bounds better if he got into the weightroom on a runner-specific weight program. Even a long, lean, experienced, state winning runner needs a weight program that won't put on bulk, but strengthens his core and legs. Oh yeah, dnvrfox I kind of knew you were kidding, but in case you weren't I waranted my answer .

  24. #24
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    I have been out all day, so I wasn't able to address the question, but I will do some supporting research to what the majority of us here are saying. Doing a cursory check of my materials so far, every coach and researcher says weight training done by athletes DOES contribute to increased performance. I am a coach, and I am working towards my USA Cycling license for coaching, but until then, I still have my fitness certifications, and I've attended conventions where very respected researchers and lecturers have all said the same thing- weight train and do cardio for maximum performance.

    Since I know Ric does like to see the research and supporting paperwork, I will go through my materials tomorrow and post those, along with names of the people I received my information from. I do believe that Ric is from the Westernized old school-from the days when people just said ride, ride, ride. Nowadays, and especially because of research done lately, the seminars all emphasize a strong periodized program, incorporating weight training and cardiovascular activity to increase performance, whether recreational or elite. We've seen the example here- look at the Lance Chronicles, and in the episode where Lance takes us through his house, he talks about weight training, and he emphasizes that he has every major strength training equipment in his weight training room, and he and Chris Carmichael were talking about how the team comes in and does their weight training in the off season.

    It's late, and I need to get to bed. Ric may be a powerhouse that can stay up late, but me... I'm a weakling, and I need my beauty sleep!

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    I have been out all day, so I wasn't able to address the question, but I will do some supporting research to what the majority of us here are saying. Doing a cursory check of my materials so far, every coach and researcher says weight training done by athletes DOES contribute to increased performance. I am a coach, and I am working towards my USA Cycling license for coaching, but until then, I still have my fitness certifications, and I've attended conventions where very respected researchers and lecturers have all said the same thing- weight train and do cardio for maximum performance.
    you're correct, most coaches do advocate weight training. As regards researchers you will find hardly any advocate weights for cycling.


    Since I know Ric does like to see the research and supporting paperwork, I will go through my materials tomorrow and post those, along with names of the people I received my information from.
    you're correct, i do like to see either research to back up something or to make sure that something fits first principles. in the case of weight training neither research or first principles show that weight training is warranted in increasing performance in *trained* endurance cyclists (i.e., races > ~ 90-secs).

    I do believe that Ric is from the Westernized old school-from the days when people just said ride, ride, ride.
    damn, that makes me sound old!!! To qualify my position i have a first class hons degree in Sports Science, i'm a Level 3 coach, i coach and consult cyclists at TT1 (that's TdF level) to recreational level, i have peer reviewed research in the Canadian j Appl Phys, have other articles in press (post grad research), am Fitness Contributor at www.cyclingnews.com and am a leading expert in the development of training and coaching with power output. Additionally, i have been coaching professionally since '98 as my only job

    Furthermore, i am currently authoring a paper on weight/strength training and cycling performance.

    Historically, people have been saying that weights should be used as adjunct to endurance cycling performance (ECP), since the 1900s. It's my belief that people have thought this, because they can feel strength limited when climbing a hill. However, empirical data and actual observation from power meters shows this to be completely untrue.

    Nowadays, and especially because of research done lately, the seminars all emphasize a strong periodized program, incorporating weight training and cardiovascular activity to increase performance, whether recreational or elite.
    there is NO research showing an increase in performance in trained cyclists with weights. I repeat, absolutely none. In fact the research on trained cyclists with weights show no imporvements or a decrease in performance.

    in fact even the studies that have been designed to try to show an increase in performance from weights hasn't shown an increase.

    We've seen the example here- look at the Lance Chronicles, and in the episode where Lance takes us through his house, he talks about weight training, and he emphasizes that he has every major strength training equipment in his weight training room, and he and Chris Carmichael were talking about how the team comes in and does their weight training in the off season.
    if you look at certain coaches position stands, they have changed over the last couple of years based on the work i and my colleague have been doing.

    Ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

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