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  1. #1
    aerobars for comfort only Alex84's Avatar
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    upper body exercise - inevitable?

    I was weighing at 170 lbs and dropped to 128 lbs (maybe a tad underweight for someone who's 5'7) after cycling seriously for a few months. However my belly and arms are still flabby. Do I HAVE to do upper body exercises like crunches and push ups to tone these areas, or just lose more body fat?

  2. #2
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex84
    I was weighing at 170 lbs and dropped to 128 lbs (maybe a tad underweight for someone who's 5'7) after cycling seriously for a few months. However my belly and arms are still flabby. Do I HAVE to do upper body exercises like crunches and push ups to tone these areas, or just lose more body fat?
    A tad ?! Do you have any more fat on you?

    Yeah, do some pushups, crunches and pullups. You'll probably look ripped in no time.

  3. #3
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    You're not going to lose the fat by doing upper body excercises, but it won't look as flabby because you'll have muscles to "hide" it.

    You'd most likely actually gain muscle weight, but look and feel better. If all of that cycling hasn't taken the fat off, then nothing will (unless you aren't eating right).

  4. #4
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    He's right. Spot reduction is a myth. The only way to make the upper body have less fat is to lose more fat through the normal methods: calorie reduction and exercise.

    That being said: don't do that. If you have no muscular development in your upper body, then skinny looks worse than flabby. You SHOULD start doing resistance training for your upper body. The more muscle you put on, the more body fat you can hold and still look "cut." In other words, your current level of bodyfat may well look "ripped" if you just beef up your upper body a bit.

    Hit the weights for the upper body. Its the only way to achieve balance, given that you work your lower body constantly on the bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex84
    I was weighing at 170 lbs and dropped to 128 lbs (maybe a tad underweight for someone who's 5'7) after cycling seriously for a few months. However my belly and arms are still flabby. Do I HAVE to do upper body exercises like crunches and push ups to tone these areas, or just lose more body fat?

    It may be not as much that you are overfat as it is just that you have a normal amount of fat, but just very little muscle.

    First of all, and most importantly, keep in mind that if you want to keep yourself strong and fit, and you want to avoid getting osteoperosis and keep your bone density high, you should definitely do weight training. I will have to dig it up, but I read a research article a while back that studied runners and cyclists and found that cyclists have lower bone densities than than the runners. I think it also stated that cyclists who were in advanced age had lower bone densities in general. To prevent this from happening, you should definitely be weightlifting.

    Beyond that, with increased muscle, you will find that you are more toned. Muscle has tonacity and shape, while fat alone does not, which gives you that flabby appearance you're worried about. By weightlifting, you can increase the amount of muscle in your problem areas. True, you cannot spot reduce, but you can definitely increase the muscle in those areas and give the appearance of a longer, leaner look, since muscle will give you the shape and definition you seem to lack.

    Another advantage to increasing muscle mass is that muscle needs more energy for the body to maintain it and will increase your metabolism overall. It will use additional fat to get that energy. So the bonus of weight lifting is that if you've done everything you could to lose additional fat (except weight lift), and you can't seem to get rid of that last bit of fat, extra muscle could be what tips the balance. You still cannot spot reduce, but with that extra advantage of fat burning capacity you have from building extra muscle, you will be able to have an even better chance of reducing more overall fat.

    It's also important to achieve muscle balance. It's not a good thing to be able to lift yourself out of a chair, but not pick up a gallon of milk off the floor (for example). You want a body that ages well and allows you to be able to do work required for activities of daily living. It doesn't hurt to do weightlifting to be able to achieve this simple goal.

    So your answer, should you weight train the upper body? Yes. Men have such an advantage over women- with that testosterone, it's much easier for you guys to build muscle than the women. I lift 3 days a week of upper body and 3 days a week of lower body, and if I could get half the results I see from men who lift with half as much effort, I'd be on cloud nine! But oh well... I digress. Do your weightlifting. It doesn't have to be heavy. You just need enough to give you that toned look and increase your muscle mass such that your metabolism also increases, which will result in reduced fat.

    Good luck!

    Koffee

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    Funny as this may sound....you'll never get to low body fat doing just aerobic exercise. Yeah yeah....I know low intensity exercise burns fat the best. In reality, it doesn't work this way. You need to burn the carbohydrates too with the high intensity stuff.

    Try some weight lifting. Leg exercises...squats/hack squat/leg press do wonders. Most people don't have a problem doing the upper body lifts, but neglect the lower body. Don't fall into this camp.

  7. #7
    aerobars for comfort only Alex84's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the replies.

    Since I'm not looking to get super ripped (and on a college budget), I've decided to do some push-ups and crunches at home. I just weighed myself again and I'm at 125 lbs. Will stay away from the scale for about 2 weeks along with doing upper body exercises. Hopefully I'll be flab-less soon.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    Push ups and crunches aren't going to help. They are a waste of your time, for your goals. Thats just more of the same type of exercise you get with cycling: very high reps. You need more weight than your body can provide. You need to be failing, as in not able to do another repetition, around 10-12 reps.

    Whats more, your college most certainly has a gym. Get there.

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Koffee had the single best reply for you. I would only add that with time your skin is likely to shrink some. Which will releive the cause
    for your concern. Our concern, although we haven't said it, is your health. It sounds like you are underweight. Learn how to eat a healthy diet, lots of fruits and veggies. Especially fresh fruits and veggies. You need to build up your health. That will also help with the appearance thing that brought you here. One last thing, you don't need to make a religion out of the gym. But you will need to learn EXACTLY how to do it; and you need to make it a part of your life. I spend the winter in the gym. SPinning classes on Saturday, weight lifting and light aerobics on tues/thur. Once you learn how.. the gym is fun. Can't say I care for the Spinning classes though. But I need them so my cycling doesn't go to hell over the winter. Luck.

  10. #10
    Pat
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    Koffee gave an excellent reply.

    Keep in mind though that building up muscle will not necessarily produce the cosmetic benefits you are looking for. Fat is subcutaneous so any muscle you build up will be under the fat.

    I doubt that you will get "ripped". That is a body building term. Body builders build up muscles using specific exercises emphasizing muscle development for appearance and not performance unlike say weight lifters, shot putters, and sumo wrestlers.

    The thing is that what makes a body builder ripped is to have the muscle development and then getting their percent body fat down to about 4%. They only try to hit that level at major competitions because it is just too nasty to try to maintain it for extended periods of time. Of course, most of us would call any decent body builder "ripped" even when they were coasting between events.

    But the thing is that the whole ripped thing is an end in itself and it is not really a cycling sort of thing. The top cyclists don't look ripped because they really do not put on that heavy old upper body muscle because it hurts performance on climbs.

  11. #11
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    I'd like to comment on the comments relating to bodybuilding and bodyfat that have been made.

    Its important to understand, as I stated earlier, that how "ripped" you are, is not just a function of your bodyfat levels. You could be 12% bodyfat and still have very good definition... IF you have the muscle mass present to make this happen. How defined, a.k.a. "good" according to most people's aesthetics, your upper body looks is a functions of the relation of bodyfat percentage to muscle mass.

    A very large guy can look pretty damned defined at 12% or more bodyfat. Hell, at 15% bodyfat and 245 pounds, every part of my upper body but my lower belly looked GREAT. My physique was hardly up to par to be competetive, but I looked good in a T-Shirt. Lumps in all the right places. As the amount of muscle mass decreases, the amount of bodyfat that you can hold and still look "ripped" decreases. If you have no upperbody development, and you were at 7% bodyfat (anything below 10% is really ****ing good), about the level that a really good competitive bodybuilder will compete at, then I can assure you that it would not look "good." You would look "emaciated." You would look like ****.

    Whats more, I don't know if you've seen Lance's legs... but they are the definition of "ripped."

    The point is, you can't look "good" the way it is defined in our society with cardio only. If you up the cardio, then your arms are going to look stringy as hell, and it won't be an improvement. And pushups and situps are not going to help you out either. They juts don't provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth. You've come to us for help, and you've walked away with a plan of action that will cause you to fail in achieving your goals. I just wanted to make that clear.

  12. #12
    aerobars for comfort only Alex84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crunkologist
    I'd like to comment on the comments relating to bodybuilding and bodyfat that have been made.

    Its important to understand, as I stated earlier, that how "ripped" you are, is not just a function of your bodyfat levels. You could be 12% bodyfat and still have very good definition... IF you have the muscle mass present to make this happen. How defined, a.k.a. "good" according to most people's aesthetics, your upper body looks is a functions of the relation of bodyfat percentage to muscle mass.

    A very large guy can look pretty damned defined at 12% or more bodyfat. Hell, at 15% bodyfat and 245 pounds, every part of my upper body but my lower belly looked GREAT. My physique was hardly up to par to be competetive, but I looked good in a T-Shirt. Lumps in all the right places. As the amount of muscle mass decreases, the amount of bodyfat that you can hold and still look "ripped" decreases. If you have no upperbody development, and you were at 7% bodyfat (anything below 10% is really ****ing good), about the level that a really good competitive bodybuilder will compete at, then I can assure you that it would not look "good." You would look "emaciated." You would look like ****.

    Whats more, I don't know if you've seen Lance's legs... but they are the definition of "ripped."

    The point is, you can't look "good" the way it is defined in our society with cardio only. If you up the cardio, then your arms are going to look stringy as hell, and it won't be an improvement. And pushups and situps are not going to help you out either. They juts don't provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth. You've come to us for help, and you've walked away with a plan of action that will cause you to fail in achieving your goals. I just wanted to make that clear.
    I've re-read all the posts after posting my second message in this thread and am convinced that only hitting the gym will do. In spite of my budget, there is a gym at college (never thought I'd go there when I was overweight) now that you mentioned it.

    Here's the question. Only 12 reps of the heaviest weight I can do for the exercises that target upper body parts such as arms, abs, etc. is enough of a work out? Seems like I would only need to be at the gym for 20 mins or so. It's a "free gym" that has little (or none) trainers in there there so I'd like to make sure I'm not doing it incorrectly.

    Thanks.

  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    The general theory is that exercising with lighter weights and more reps builds bulk; while exercising with heavier weights and lower reps builds more strength.

    Current research shows that it is extremely important to:

    1. Use good form. That means if you are exercising you biceps, use light enough weight that you aren't using other parts of your body or momentun to get the weight up. Keep things straight, well-aligned.

    2. The slower you do your lifts, and, even more importantly, the slower you do the return, the more muscle you will build. I.e., go up to a count of 2 or 3 and go down with a count of 4 or 5.

    3. Rest of your muscles between workouts is extremely important. While lifting, you tear your muscles. You actually build the muscle back, larger and stronger, when you rest.

    I use the Body for Life format, with upperbody including biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest. I would also include abs. This would be 2-3 times per week.

    I.e.,

    Bench Press

    12 x's 157 lbs
    rest 1 minute
    10 x's 177 lbs
    rest 1 minute
    8 x's 187
    rest 1 minute
    6 x's 197
    rest 2 minutes
    Finish with
    177 x's 12
    Then immediately go to complimentary exercise, i.e.
    incline bench press at 155 lbs x's 12

    All muscle groups in the BfL use the same protocol.

    Biceps - Biceps Curl, machine
    Triceps - I do body dips (12, 10, 8 , 6, 12) then triceps kick back or triceps pull down
    Back - Lower Back Machine, rows, etc.
    Abs - crunches, lateral crunches, machine
    Shoulder - raises/lifts, machine, cable

    etc.

    Takes about an hour.

    BUT, I also alternate with lower body (calves, quads, hams, hips) on every other day.

    I.e.

    M- UB

    W - LB

    F - UB

    M - LB

    W- UB

    F - LB
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-18-04 at 06:25 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    First of all, and most importantly, keep in mind that if you want to keep yourself strong and fit, and you want to avoid getting osteoperosis and keep your bone density high, you should definitely do weight training. I will have to dig it up, but I read a research article a while back that studied runners and cyclists and found that cyclists have lower bone densities than than the runners. I think it also stated that cyclists who were in advanced age had lower bone densities in general. To prevent this from happening, you should definitely be weightlifting.
    Koffee - that article was in Bicycling Magazine.

    Please see:

    Osteoporosis/Bicycling - Dangers explained
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  15. #15
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crunkologist
    And pushups and situps are not going to help you out either. They juts don't provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth. You've come to us for help, and you've walked away with a plan of action that will cause you to fail in achieving your goals. I just wanted to make that clear.
    You're trolling?

    Sorry, but that's all I do, no bench presses or free weights. Guess what? Built muscle. How do I know? Because once I resumed my routine after about a year to 6 months of being lax, my waste size went done but my weight went up. Pushups and situps do build muscle.

    It's entirely possible to do pushups to failure. If you're not used to them, it might not take that many to get to failure.

    Pullups are even easier to do until failure.

    These exercises are better suited to building tone (except maybe pullups), since they are low resistance high rep. The original poster is obviously very skinny, so any muscle definition is going to show very quickly, even without building any muscle bulk.

    Pushups, situps, crunches, pullups - these can all be done safely and effectively by a beginner without having to worry about perfect form and a risk of injury.

  16. #16
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diggy18
    You're trolling?

    Sorry, but that's all I do, no bench presses or free weights. Guess what? Built muscle. How do I know? Because once I resumed my routine after about a year to 6 months of being lax, my waste size went done but my weight went up. Pushups and situps do build muscle.
    Raised leg push ups (feet on a chair)

    Pullups to exhaustion

    Crunches using a weight

    All build muscle. Especially for someone out of shape. I believe the marines use these exercises a bit!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  17. #17
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with crunkologist. If you haven't done any training at all and only weigh 130 lbs, then I'm guessing that doing a few pushups is relatively difficult for you. It's a good start, and it's free, so you won't blow your money if you decide to give up.

    That said, the gym is probably a better idea, but it's not like pushups will do NOTHING for you. That's just absurd.

  18. #18
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    You know, you guys are right.

    I remember hearing on NPR, several years ago, about a group of Hindu monks that do pushups all day as a method of prayer and meditation. They do thousands of pushups a day. They have pecs that are pretty good. Not as good as your average amatuer bodybuilder, mind you... but pretty damned good.

    So I retract my statement that they will do nothing, and hope that even though this agregious error has been acknowledged, that he will in fact hit the weights that are free in the school gym and not waste his time on a plan of action that won't deliver the goods.


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    aerobars for comfort only Alex84's Avatar
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    I'd like to thank everybody again for the input. I'll be going to the college gym, nevertheless it's good to know alternative methods of upper body work out that (more or less) works, for when I'm extremely busy with other work.

    Will see if there are noticeable changes in a month.

  20. #20
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex84
    I was weighing at 170 lbs and dropped to 128 lbs (maybe a tad underweight for someone who's 5'7) after cycling seriously for a few months. However my belly and arms are still flabby. Do I HAVE to do upper body exercises like crunches and push ups to tone these areas, or just lose more body fat?
    you lost 42 lbs in a few months?? i've never needed to lose weight in my life so i don't know - but is that healthy? seems very dramatic.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex84
    I'd like to thank everybody again for the input. I'll be going to the college gym, nevertheless it's good to know alternative methods of upper body work out that (more or less) works, for when I'm extremely busy with other work.

    Will see if there are noticeable changes in a month.

    Give it more than a month. Give it three months. It may take you a month just to figure out what routine works for you, what weights you'll be using, etc. Plus, it may be such a tiny improvement that happens to your body that it can't be visibly noticable (though if you do something like have a bodyfat analysis, you may be able to see the changes better). Don't rush the results, and think of this as a lifestyle addition. Don't get discouraged if you don't see the changes right away. Before your body actually experiences growth, it needs to go through a period of neuromuscular adaptation, and that process may take 4- 6 weeks, hence the suggestion I gave earlier to give it three months to see visible results.

    Great attitude, and good luck!

    Koffee

  22. #22
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Go to your college library and check out a few books on weight training and excercise.

    Then you can make up your own mind about what you read here. As you can see people have different ideas of what will work and what does not.

    Research! Your Library is a great source of information.

  23. #23
    Man of Leisure Ivan Hanz's Avatar
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    Tyler,
    You're not fooling any of us calling yourself Alex. And you're skinny enough.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour.php?...r03/stage15/20

  24. #24
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    Jesus God, that is sick.

  25. #25
    Stegosaurus Crunkologist's Avatar
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    The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

    There are some problems in this book with Arnold recommending intermediate and advanced routines that could ONLY work for someone on anabolic/androgenic steroids. But its not really just about bodybuilding, or rather it is a book for ANYONE that wants to engage in weightlifting, be that to improve your appearance just a little, or even for people interested in strength. But this is a very thick book that will tell you everything you need to know: how to perform exercises safely, how to eat, how to think, etc.

    Its this huge book with tons of diagrams and pictures, and its only $17. This is the best value in a book I think I've ever seen. Its just GREAT, and its the ONE book to own on weightlifting if you have to pick. The library will have it.
    Last edited by Crunkologist; 10-19-04 at 01:42 PM.

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