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  1. #1
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    Can biking and strength training mix?!?! HELP!!!

    I am just getting started with the whole road bike thing, I love to bike and I want to mix it in with my strength training. The problem is: I don't want to lose all of the muscle mass I have gained through strength training (6' 220lb). Any recommendations for workouts on the bike that will help build muscle and not burn it?

  2. #2
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    If you wanna keep your muscle from strength training, then keep training it. The bike isn't gonna help there.

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    I think what I meant to say was, simply, what are some biking workouts that would similate strength training for the legs. Thanks.

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    I avoid leg strengh training because I ride daily on my trainer, but I definitely suggest conditional upper body strength training to prevent sore back and arms. I used to get sore lower backs and it helps alot.

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    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    Long Hill Climbs, mashing a big gear at low RPMs. I would think you would want to do stuff like that because it involves "grinding out" the gears instead of "spinning", which is aerobic. Ask 53-11alltheway, apparently if you combine lifting and cycling you can become a cycling god with very little experience....

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    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryakattack
    I think what I meant to say was, simply, what are some biking workouts that would similate strength training for the legs. Thanks.
    By similate do you mean simulate or stimulate?

    None of them will help with muscle mass. In general, cardio is catabolic. It eats muscle. The only way to fight this is to keep stimulating your legs with resistance training. You'll get some Type-I growth from cycling... but not much.

    Leg strength comes from white and Type-II muscle fibers. Cycling uses Type-I muscle fibers. These types (I and II) exist on a spectrum, so using higher gears and pushing hard would be more likely to help you out than spinning would... but I don't think either would really help you out much with your leg strength. Then again... I'm not sure how you're defining strength.

    Of course, if you're pretty out of shape cardio wise, then any cardio is gonna help your lifting by ensuring that your muscles fail before your cardiovascular system does.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. #7
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Try putting the bike into a crazy high gear and leave it there the whole ride, so you go slooow up hills with lots of resistance.

    I'd also think that you would have to be very careful to increase your carb and protein intake to make sure your body doesn't eat up your muscle.

    How about doing lots of sprints, and avoiding long rides? Olympic sprinters look very strong, but the marathon runners all look super thin and weak.

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    Senior Member park's Avatar
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    You are going to lose some muscle mass, end of story. However, with cycling I've found that you can maintain good muscle mass despite a high level of aerobic training. You can't have it both ways though. If you start doing more mileage and get into some intense group rides on a regular basis, you're strength will suffer. You won't necessarily turn into a skinny armed wimp though, you just won't be at your peak size and strength. While I'm not handling the poundages I used to I think I look better because my body fat is very low.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maryakattack
    I think what I meant to say was, simply, what are some biking workouts that would similate strength training for the legs. Thanks.

    None. The forces involved in cycling are so low as to provide no hypertrophic effect.

  10. #10
    bikin'barbie
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    I weight train year round and I am actually more of a "body builder" than cyclist. However, during the six months of good riding weather I will ride 250 - 300 miles per week. I also continue to lift during this time. I would definitely be a better cyclist if I did not weight train year round but I very much enjoy free weights so I compromise my cycling speed. Doing this I do not seem to lose any muscle mass but I sure do eat much more and get a "more cut" look. You have to do what you enjoy and choose your compromises.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryakattack
    I am just getting started with the whole road bike thing, I love to bike and I want to mix it in with my strength training. The problem is: I don't want to lose all of the muscle mass I have gained through strength training (6' 220lb). Any recommendations for workouts on the bike that will help build muscle and not burn it?
    You can't build muscle on the bike, the resistance is far too light. There isn't a gear that will build muscle.

    Quote Originally Posted by edmaverik
    I avoid leg strengh training because I ride daily on my trainer, but I definitely suggest conditional upper body strength training to prevent sore back and arms. I used to get sore lower backs and it helps alot.
    Lower back strength is stimualted by doing "lower body/leg strength" type exercises, not upper...


    Long Hill Climbs, mashing a big gear at low RPMs. I would think you would want to do stuff like that because it involves "grinding out" the gears instead of "spinning", which is aerobic. Ask 53-11alltheway, apparently if you combine lifting and cycling you can become a cycling god with very little experience....
    Lifting won't turn you into a world beater. Far from it.
    You do not get into Cycling, Cycling gets into you

    Vitamin X

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crunkologist
    In general, cardio is catabolic. It eats muscle. The only way to fight this is to keep stimulating your legs with resistance training.
    This isnt entirely true. If you are say a marathon runner, and you dont lift weights, then yes, you are going to develop your slow twitch fibers and your body will let the fast twitch atrophy. Over time your muscle will 'lean out'. However, a blanket statement that cardio is catabolic isnt valid. Cardio taken into anerobic levels is catabolic, but if kept within the aerobic zone your body will continue to burn glycogen just fine, sparing that muscle mass.
    Its all downhill from somewhere.

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    Saying that you don't build any muscle mass in your legs by cycling is laugh out loud funny.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldspark
    Saying that you don't build any muscle mass in your legs by cycling is laugh out loud funny.
    So is this post.
    Seen any professional road racers lately?

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    Speaking for my self I have built muscle in my legs-I see you picked one of the skinnyist riders you could find. That guy won't build muscle no matter what he does. Some people just don't get it.

  16. #16
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    Your legs are more defined, not bigger.

    Using your logic, all road racers should have thighs like Sean Eadie.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbhowat
    Long Hill Climbs, mashing a big gear at low RPMs. I would think you would want to do stuff like that because it involves "grinding out" the gears instead of "spinning", which is aerobic. Ask 53-11alltheway, apparently if you combine lifting and cycling you can become a cycling god with very little experience....
    Does Lance Armstrong Spin when he climbs out of the saddle?

    Exactly.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53-11 alltheway
    Does Lance Armstrong Spin when he climbs out of the saddle?

    Exactly.
    Yes. Very high cadence both seated and standing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    Yes. Very high cadence both seated and standing.
    Very high cadence, but not as fast as seated. He is still pushing when he is out of the saddle.

    The Difference between him and the rest of the cycling world is he is not building up very much lactic acid. LA's lactic acid threshold is equal to his VO2 max
    Last edited by 53-11 alltheway; 10-17-04 at 06:58 PM.

  20. #20
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    Err.....so?

  21. #21
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamawe
    This isnt entirely true. If you are say a marathon runner, and you dont lift weights, then yes, you are going to develop your slow twitch fibers and your body will let the fast twitch atrophy. Over time your muscle will 'lean out'. However, a blanket statement that cardio is catabolic isnt valid. Cardio taken into anerobic levels is catabolic, but if kept within the aerobic zone your body will continue to burn glycogen just fine, sparing that muscle mass.
    And when glycogen runs short on a long ride? Are the hormonal pathways for releasing glycogen as specific as you think?

  22. #22
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    sorry to interupt the pointless argument, guys. But...
    Mary,
    consider the 2 things as seperate. You want to lift, by all means do so. I spend the winter in the gym. Competitive riders used to have huge leg muscles. They found size wasn't neccesary.
    So they all look like they're starving now. Unless you want to become a pro at body building or cycling it doesn't mean a thing.
    Have fun, ride your bike, hit the gym. Don't forget to let those legs heal up after a big workout.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    Hi,
    Competitive riders used to have huge leg muscles. They found size wasn't neccesary.
    So they all look like they're starving now. Unless you want to become a pro at body building or cycling it doesn't mean a thing.
    .
    Not true.....

    What you are trying to say is that long range endurance cyclists don't need large myscles.....Sprinters do!!

    I think somebody a while mentioned Chris Hoy (Sprinter).....That dude has huge muscles (even huge upper body)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    Your legs are more defined, not bigger.

    Using your logic, all road racers should have thighs like Sean Eadie.
    Must be a full moon out tonignt-this guy knows that my legs have not got any bigger! Geez!

  25. #25
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    Unless you measure them, you wouldn't know. The mirror lies. Cut looks "bigger" than bulkier with fat. Strange, but true.

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