What are some good weight lifting tecniqes to help with riding my bike,thanks
What are some good weight lifting tecniqes to help with riding my bike,thanks
Are you a racer looking for focused training or just adding general fitness while improving cycling?What do you want to accomplish with these exercises?
Old Man Maine
just adding general fitness while improving cycling
you want to get started lifting. The first step is learning the moves of the basic exercises. There are a couple ways to do this.
Best way is to have someone teach you, by far. Alternatively, you can get a book like this.
The next step is a program. A good place for that is New Rules of Lifting, It's also a terrific introduction to that world.
A trainer can set one up for you as well. After a couple months, you will want to move into something more focused
on cycling. Think of the beginners program as base building for lifters.
You have no reason to believe me, so ask this guy..
Last edited by late; 12-27-09 at 01:46 AM.
Old Man Maine
Anything that takes away from cycling time is probably not as beneficial to cycling performance as cycling would have been. However, if cycling time is limited by some other issue not free time related, then gym time can be helpful.
Setting aside whether there are performance benefits to lifting, there are health benefits. Weight-bearing and resistance exercise should be included in anyone's year-round fitness regimen.
And I see some folks invested in a 3-4 day/week lifting program, involving a couple hours each day. That's not the way to go for cycling. My experience says that you can maintain cycling-specific strength with 1/2 hour of lifting/week. 2 days with 1/2 hour increases strength. 3 days with 1/2 hour increases strength rapidly. Of course, as asgelle's link points out, you don't need strength, but we've already been there.
The other thing I'd caution is that if a cyclist is doing conventional weight training, there'll be a period called "strength," calling for low reps and max weights. Real easy to hurt yourself doing that if you haven't been lifting for years. Nothing like an injury to make a mess of your season. Ain't worth it, since there's no performance gain. Similar caution for plyometrics and explosive weights, except that those do have associated performance gains.
One further thing: long distance cycling has been associated with skeletal bone loss. We all know that weight bearing exercise increases bone density. So that's a good thing, and the gym is way to fight that bone loss. I don't have a study to prove this, but I think that LD cyclists sweat out their calcium, and anyone who does a lot of riding will do well to take cal/mag capsules, about 1000mg/500mg/day, and even more during brevets, tours, and other multi-day events.
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle fibers with age. Resistance exercise is believed to attenuate this process, particularly of type II fibers.
As for whether lifting will help cycling performance: depends on what type of cyclist you are and what your goals are, and what type of lifting you do (I didn't feel like arguing about this earlier). Track cyclists and sprinters: you betcha, as long as you do plyometrics and train to transfer that to the bike. It will also help with these types of hard efforts in races.
For improving endurance on the bike: it's debatable. If you aren't already a highly-trained cyclist, I'd bet it would; you still have significant reserves of potential fitness, and anything more you do will probably help. For highly-trained cyclists, it's isn't so clear. One argument would say that the same amount of time on the bike would be more useful. Another, though, would say that adding a small amount of strength training may be at least as useful, as there is certainly some point of diminishing returns of bike training when you're riding gigantic volumes.
The discussion that was linked to is pretty good, but some false ideas were asserted by people who otherwise seem to know what's going on. It's true that strength gained in one activity transfers via hypertrophy. However, it is not true that neuromuscular gains (non-hypertrophic, which represent most immediate gains) from one activity cannot be transferred to another, as someone stated. It does require good program design. Neuromuscular gains transfer only of the ROM and speed of contraction are pertinent to the activity. Thus, one may begin with a general strength program, but should graduate to more cycling-specific exercises. It's also not true that strength training increases the percentage of type II fibers. All training drives IIb to IIa, and possibly IIa to I in the long term.
The fact that no studies have shown lifting beneficial to endurance cycling is difficult to argue around, obviously. One must also consider the difficulty of designing such a study, though. In fact, it was until fairly recently (until about the nineties, actually) thought that protein hypertrophy from lifting was the exception rather than the rule. Most studies used college students, and the studies had to be planned around university breaks. This meant you had something like from September through Thanksgiving (about 12 weeks), when compliance would certainly suffer. When measured at this time interval, hypertrophy was seen only sporadically. Studies since have demonstrated that many people take at least 12 weeks of consistent resistance training before significant increase in contractile proteins is seen. You'll look bigger sooner, but that's due to an an increase in sarcoplasm. This may seem like a digression, but it's an example of how something can take a long time to demonstrate through studies even if the effort is made. Now add to this the difficulty of getting top-level cyclists to participate and comply with protocols.
Not that I'm an expert, but...I've been lifting for a couple of years, inspired by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgores' "Starting Strength" book. If you have the slightest interest in strength training, for whatever reason, GET this book. As to how strength affects cycling performance....
First, I think it is indisputable that for anything involving peak efforts, such as sprinting, bridging a gap, or short steep climbs, improved strength will help. Those are peak power efforts that extend over short periods, so being stronger will definitely help.
It is less clear how well strength training improves endurance rides. I can't point to studies that prove this, but I think it does, for several reasons. I have followed the unusual practice of wearing a heart rate monitor at the gym while lifting. It is the same one (Polar 720i) that I always wear for spin classes, so I just keep it on when I lift, so I have some actual data. Some things I've noticed:
Lifting, from a HR point of view, is identical to very intense intervals. VERY intense intervals. My HR goes up faster on a set of 10-20 heavy squats than anything else I do, on a bike or elsewhere. Since intervals are now well understood as a key to endurance training, I don't see any difference in HOW the peak efforts are induced. Heavy squats or deadlifts for 10-20 reps will do it just as well as extreme efforts on a bike.
But, if strength training can improve endurance performance, what are the MECHANISMS that produce the improvement? I don't know, but some things I have heard advanced as ideas are...
(1) If you are stronger, each pedal stroke is executed as a lower fraction of your peak strength. You can obviously do that longer if the fraction of your peak output is lower on every pedal stroke. This is Mark Rippetoe's summary.
(2) Lon Kilgore thinks that depressing blood oxygen saturation is key to improving VO2max. An intense set of lifts leaves me gasping. It's worse than anything I've been able to achieve on a bike.
(3) An interesting hypothesis has been advanced that endurance riding fatigue (or any muscle fatigue) is due to exhausting the sodium-potassium pump in your muscles. This was discussed here, http://roadbikerider.com/421.htm, and they note, "To improve your sodium-potassium pump, you need to put some serious force on your muscles. And probably the "easiest" way to do it is with interval training". It seems to me that lifting or bike intervals are the same for this purpose, and lifting is arguably better.
Interval training has been well accepted in the cycling training regimen, but it seems to have escaped notice that a set of 20 heavy squats is----from a cardio point of view, or blood O2 saturation depression, or the Na/K pump exhaustion----the same as a short interval on a bike.
I am surely no physiologist, but the Na/K pump hypothesis appeals to me, because it may explain, at the cellular level, why intervals (bike or lifting) can improve endurance performance, even though endurance uses oxidative energy production and intervals do not. In the end, the muscle performance is driven by that Na/K pump. So, improve -that-, by whatever means, and muscle performance on any time scale will
Standing Row, weighted situps, squats (use a weight belt annd keep your back straight!)
For Sale: 2004 Pinarello Prince w/Dura Ace - PM me!
For Sale: TacX Antares Rollers - PM me!
He's a recreational cyclist. He doesn't need, or want, to concentrate on a few narrow performace
parameters to the exclusion of several others not relevant to racing. Lifting has several benefits.
Increases in bone density, general overall condition that can translate into other areas be it
tag football or moving to a new address. I find it improves my mood.
Just as an example, I know a guy that likes cycling vacations, but he is very busy. He gets 2 trips to
the gym in, jogs or uses an exercycle to warm up, and then does a weight lifting routine.
What the guy asked for was to "adding general fitness while improving cycling"
Old Man Maine
If you read it, you'll see that traditional weight training offers no improvement, and in fact decreased VO2max. Other markers showed little effect, except that more weight was gained than with any other program. The results are in the appendices.
You can verify these results yourself. Try doing a lot of weights for a couple of months, then time yourself on a local 15 minute or longer climb. Then substitute cycling intervals for the weights for a couple of months and time yourself again. Or reverse the protocol.
Kilgore is correct about improving VO2max, but the way you do it is through max or supramax cycling intervals. See the link. The duration of a lifting set is much too short to have any effect. OTOH, it would be interesting to try maxing out 4 minute duration squat sets, doing them explosively in sets of 3-4 and taking them right to the barf point. According to my link, that should cause some improvement. I dunno, I'd rather barf in a ditch.
In the study you cite, and in many other sources, the bottom line is basically this, "Endurance performance of the longest durations was enhanced most by intervals of maximal and supramaximal intensities". If you look at the RBR link I gave above, they suggest "do intervals on the road or on a trainer. There are 2 basic types for this discussion: short intense efforts of 30 seconds or less, long intense efforts of 2 minutes or more".
The key is the intensity; there is near-universal agreement on that. I think this leaves two questions:
1. Does it matter how the "intensity" is achieved? Cycling intervals or long squat sets with weights at 60-70% of 1 rep max? If the cardio and respiratory systems are stressed to the same level how does the body know the difference?
2. The bigger puzzle to me is WHY short intense efforts translate into endurance improvements. I agree about the importance of VO2 Max, but that's a whole body measurement, and I think we should also look for explanations at the cell level. The puzzle is that short intense efforts use different energy production mechanisms than efforts that last minutes/hours, so how does an improvement translate across time scales that vary by factors of >100? Okay, VO2 max is improved, but why?
Classic heavy weight training, as in single rep max, may not do much for endurance performance. However, if you do any sort of a program that includes sets that are >30 seconds long, the training effect is the same as an intense effort on a bike. It feels the same when I'm done, my breathing is the same, and it looks the same on my HRM. One example is the 5/3/1 program of Dave Wendler. The last set is "to exhaustion" and that definitely gets into the >30 second regime and sometimes into the 2 minutes.
I'm aware that this is a near-religious point of contention and has been debated to death. People I respect and read (Lon Kilgore, Mark Rippetoe) are on one side of this issue, while others I read and respect (Andy Coggan) are on the other, with still others (Joe Friel, Chris Carmichael) sort of in the middle. So, I'm just posing questions, not taking a religious position. Much of the controversy may come from the studies that purport to "prove" one conclusion or the other. In --untrained-- or slightly trained individuals, I'd suggest there is a lot of cross-over in training effect regardless of what that training is. At an elite level, it may be different. Since my cycling level isn't in that range , I can't comment.
Wouldn't we all love to know the answers to your questions! Researchers are looking into these things, but there's just no money in it and the studies are very difficult to design. From looking at the results of studies we do have, it seems that sport-specific movements at sport-specific range and speed of motion do the best job of increasing performance. Which makes total sense.
It's the specifics. The phrase is "the principle of specificity." For years, I've been trying to improve my out-of-saddle climbing performance by using the Stairmaster StepMill. As far as I can tell, it has had no or very little effect. I still do it for cross training and to improve back-packing performance, which it definitely does. However, getting out of the saddle frequently and pedaling until my legs give way has had a huge effect. Not even doing HR-based intervals, just doing the exercise.
I did read your link. I do all those workouts. Note specifically Sassi's muscle tension intervals. Those are huge, though not being a pro I back off the leg effort and do them at 50 cadence. Much smaller gears, too. I actually think he's wrong and 50 is better because it's closer to actual climbing cadence, but who am I. I also follow Haldeman's principle - I think an hour/week at LT is perfect. 1.5 hrs takes too much out of me and I'm recovering all the next week. One-legged pedaling to no-workee is also huge. 2 minute OLP intervals in a gear that has you starting to snivel at the 1:50 point. Do those for 45 minutes and you'll see definite increases in climbing ability.
Think about the perfect pedal stroke: almost no pressure on the downstroke, a kick forward at top, a pull back at bottom, a ham contraction on the way up, then the hip flexor contraction to lift it over the top. Constant torque on the bottom bracket. Even if you could design a weight lifting program to produce those stresses at the same range of motion and speed, why not ride your bike instead? Much simpler.
As I said before, I do lift weights. I enjoy feeling strong. And maybe it does something. I did conventional 4-12 rep weight lifting for many years. I did it as a kid to help with rock climbing and then started up again in '79 when we went set-netting in Alaska. So then I did it pretty continuously until about '99, when I started using Friel's periodized program. I did that for a few years, until it became obvious to me that the only part of the program that had any effect on cycling was the three sets of 30, circuit style, that he has you do in the first phase. Then I figured out that 3 sets made me too tired to ride the bike hard, so I cut it back to 1 set of 30, which works pretty well and only takes 20 minutes to do Friel's exercises. I think that's about the right balance. When I'm in shape, I can quickly squat 30 reps of 135, and easily sled 30 reps of 300 - I don't do more since I tore a meniscus. Used to do 720 1RM, but as I said, that didn't seem to be as helpful.
So the point of my comments is that, if you are self-coached, you have to try different things and observe the result. This process takes years because even for the same person, every season will present different challenges and demand different responses. And if you have a coach and are getting results, good on you!
Ha, Carbonfiberboy, I am bird**** climbing in the seat, but I could climb out of the saddle endlessly (seven miles ~2300 so far, with short seat breaks in between). Different physiology's for different (pedal) strokes, I guess.
I like to keep gym work as demanding on the lungs as I possibly can. No rest in between sets if I am using heavy weights, otherwise I like doing weighted calisthenics (such as punching a bag with 5 pound dumb bells in a set pattern as intervals, mountain climbers with ankle weights, etc.) Isolated movements seem so......I dunno, I think the word is worthless, to me.
I tried doing a lot of tension work last year to try and build strength, and honestly I felt like I was getting good at doing tension intervals and nothing else. I have found that going fast requires so many different, to focus on any one for too long (strength, fluidity, cadence, cardio, etc.) will leave you as slow as when you started. Learned the hard way.
Weight lifting is still extremely beneficial to the human body. It balances hormones like nothing else, it makes your bones strong and raises the bodies ability to resist fatigue related injuries. But will it make you fast? Nah.
Last edited by Lamp-Shade; 12-31-09 at 04:47 PM.
Exactly, Lamp-Shade. I did a mountain ride last year with a tall, skinny, runner type of guy who only climbed out of the saddle, even on the pass climbs. My buddies and I kept predicting failure, but he just kept going. Never seen anything like it. Our stronger riders finally dropped him on the last go, but he was a newbie to us, so maybe didn't have as much experience. He had a great time.
You have to find out what works for you. Right now I'm recovering from an injury so I'm doing weights, base, and cadence. If I'm doing slow, I also have to do fast.
I wear a HRM even when doing weights, and I'll let my HR come back to 100 between sets. If I'm in shape, that'll be just long enough put my weights away and walk to the next station on the circuit. If I'm not in shape, well, I need a little more rest or I'll run out of poop before the last rep.
Continuing the tangent of whether strength training has any value for cyclists, there is an interesting audio interview with Darcy Norman in November posted here on the Strength Coach podcast web site. Darcy Norman works with Team Columbia HTC as well as a soccer club among other clients.
I'll admit this is hardly scientific proof of the value of strength training for cycling but it is an endorsement worth considering.OFF THE BIKE TRAINING METHODS
Using methods proven in American and European Football (soccer) our core training program from Norman Kinetics and Athlete Performance is a major part of the team's training and recovery methods. Experts in their field, Darcy Norman and Scott Williams have worked closely with our athletes over the past year to enhance their core strength which improves the direct power transfer through the pedals, increases durability and flexibility and decreases injury potential. They also concentrate on new recovery techniques and enhance motivation through educating the riders on techniques that can make definite improvements to their performance.
Last edited by Athens80; 01-01-10 at 06:44 PM.
I will tell you a story, to put their meanderings in context. When I was in college, I ran Nordic XC, meaning that I ran on skis, as they say in other languages. I roomed with a varsity American football player. We had a disagreement about endurance sports and he challenged me to a duel of one-legged deep knee bends. He gave up after 100, while I did another 100 and could have done many more. And we did them the hard way, on the floor, with the lazy leg straight out before us. All on the same leg, no resting. I never did these in training, and I don't think doing these for practice would have enabled me to run 20k any faster. However ski-running had made my legs quite strong with good endurance and fair balance. I doubt that those boys could come close to duplicating this.
The college town was very hilly, and I could tell I was ready if I could run up a 1-block steep hill and reach the top without having begun to breathe hard. Ah, youth!
Here is a video about the "Standing Start" which features Craig MacLean participating in the team sprint. I believe Chris Hoy anchors this team. I like this video and watch it from time to time before a track session. There is a commercial at the beginning. The lift of choice is the leg squat where balance and muscles, including the core, are used together. If you watch to the end, you can see how much he squats. If you want to sprint and look like MacLean, the weight room is your friend. And MacLean can spin....
Plyometrics are also beneficial for explosive power. There is a track guy who works out at my gym who jumps onto a 4 foot bench with a medicine ball. And he does a lot of them. However, these are more dangerous in that it is easy to injure oneself if you misstep.
I pursuit at the track and road race / time trial. I use weights to strengthen muscles that cycling does not and stretch muscles that it shortens. I work extensively on my core and do plyometrics using the medicine ball and some jumping. I do lunges and one leg step ups. For pursuit, I need a good standing start but not as explosive as the sprinters.
With respect to road cycling performance, aerobic performance z1 to z6 is about oxygen transport and utilization. Typically, we are not strength limited so weight lifting is pretty useless in improving endurance. z7 is about strength and will benefit from proper weight training.
IMO, strengthening muscles in general will make you a better athlete and will reduce the risk of injury.
Last edited by Hermes; 01-04-10 at 11:54 AM.