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  1. #1
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    I'm at a stage now where my Quads are letting me down racing. Can anyone recommend a good program to build good cycling quads?
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

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    How do you know it's your quads that are letting you down?

    I'm interested because I have been wondering if the problems I have keeping up with clubmates are down to lack of muscular development in my legs. I feel that I'm fairly fit and I do plenty of miles on the bike (100+ per week for the last 6 months) but the other guys just seem to have more speed. Easy club runs are fine but when I try to join them on chaingang training I just get dropped straight away.

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    Boffin TitaniuMerlin's Avatar
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    I think it has to do with leg-muscle mass/strength and your body frame. When i ride with the B group, i always finish in the top three every ride with no problems. When i try to ride with the A Group, i can stick with them in the hills but when they hit the flats, they drop me. I have more of a hill-climbers frame then anything - i'm 5'10", 158lbs, and pretty skinny. Of course, right now i am probably in the worst shape of my life (no thanks to the college life style and crap-food) but i cant wait for the weather to clear up so that i can go out and ride. I lack the motivation to go to the Gym and work out, but thats what i suggest to you - start doing quad excercises to build your quads up, or try and ride into headwinds more to build up leg power etc.
    Titanium Merlin ~ Matt

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    Rubber Side Down soccerismylife's Avatar
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    For building strength you could try squats with 20-25 lb. dumbells. I have noticed an immediate immprovement in my quad strength after doing 4-5 sets of 25 lb. squats. A way to build strength while on the bike would be high resistance intervals. (53x20 for me) TitaniuMerlin was right, it also has to do with what kind of frame you have. Some people were just meant to be climbers while some were made to be sprinters.
    "Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass, six hours a day. What are you on?"
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  5. #5
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    if you are feeling that quad-run down feeling, i'd suggest getting a massage ball and rub out the knots>> the old break it down, flush it out thang...
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

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    Do you vary your training any, like doing paceline riding, hillcliming specific, sprinting specific, pushing hard gearing for a distance, doing a combination of hills and flat together, riding for distance, do you ride on your own and try to push yourself hard at times, Intervals training, etc. etc.......... I met an ex-pro rider once from Italy and he had asked me to go on a ride with him, so I did. It would be a ride that I will never forget. His level of riding was way beyond my capacity but he said that I had the heart for riding but not the motor. So his advice to me was ride a lot and vary the way I ride offten. And well I know he was right and I would say that that's pretty much how I approach everytime I get on the bike. I ride a lot of hills one day, I ride paceline with friends, I do sprints on my own, I do fun rides with family, I do distance rides every now and then, and I do a combination of hills and flats on my own and with friends.
    Last edited by rmwun54; 02-27-05 at 03:12 PM.

  7. #7
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbolugs
    How do you know it's your quads that are letting you down?
    They hurt when I climb or try to sprint. I have no trouble during the normal course of a race (except for oxygen depletion) but keeping up with the final sprint is not possible for me and yesterday I became aware that they were hurting at that time but not noticeably at any other during a 1hr crit. I deduced that they need some work.
    Yep I guess squats are the go and I'm thinking gym also. Time to get serious.
    Thanks for the replys....
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

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    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    When I first started doing hill work my quads would absolutly kill me on the hill, like going to failure with a set of reps. The more and more I do hill work the better I a, getting at them...

    If you look at someone who is not good at climbing point at me. I can be a terrior on flats and downhills but climbing I am hanging on the back... better than getting droped as before.

    The way bike specific that you get faster is to train the limiter. If it is climbing then go climb and climb more, if it is going fast on the flats then work that. Intervals are the way to do it...

    Look at me, I can run all day at 23 MPH on the flats, 26 - 30 MPH in a paceline is no problems. Put me on the hills and it is slow going, 12, 14 MPH etc. I also work on leg presses and squats in the gym to build power... works well.
    Just your average club rider... :)

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    Senior Member trirmk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    They hurt when I climb or try to sprint. I have no trouble during the normal course of a race (except for oxygen depletion) but keeping up with the final sprint is not possible for me and yesterday I became aware that they were hurting at that time but not noticeably at any other during a 1hr crit. I deduced that they need some work.
    Yep I guess squats are the go and I'm thinking gym also. Time to get serious.
    Thanks for the replys....
    If it hurts when you try to climb or sprint and you're in your season, just go out and climb and sprint more. Weight training during your race season has not been shown to be beneficial to endurance athletes. I would wait until you're done racing to work on building muscle in the gym. For now, shift your focus on on-the-bike workouts to develop top-end speed, climbing ability, and sprinting ability.

  10. #10
    Dart Board velocity's Avatar
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    When you get back from your season and train with weights the foremost exercise that memics the pedal stroke is the lunge. With or without weight the lunge works the hamstings, hip flexors, glutes and quads in much the same fashion as the push point in the power phase of the pedal stroke. Learning to use the push point in your stoke can be better related in Ed Burkes book High Tech Cycling
    Trying things like cadence and gear changes may make you a better motor too.
    Velocity

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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    They hurt when I climb or try to sprint. I have no trouble during the normal course of a race (except for oxygen depletion) but keeping up with the final sprint is not possible for me and yesterday I became aware that they were hurting at that time but not noticeably at any other during a 1hr crit. I deduced that they need some work.
    Yep I guess squats are the go and I'm thinking gym also. Time to get serious.
    Thanks for the replys....

    The gym will be a waste of your time and will probly hurt your performance. if you want to perform better on the bike train on the bike.

  12. #12
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Thanks people.
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

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    Weight training really depends on your body type. A climber wouldn't want to train with weights, while a sprinter definitely would. Weight training definitely leads to improved power. I would suggest lunges. You can also try pushing the absolutely biggest gear you can muster up a hill, then close to the top knock it down to the lowest and spin like crazy. Repeat. That will build muscle as well, but its hard on the knees.

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    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    Dont forget that it impotant to maintain muscle balance. So if you train heavy with your quads (doing more climbing, and lots and lots of squats is the best way in my opinion) you also need to train with your hamstrings to balance them out. While your riding, focus on the underside of your circles and only using your hammys, and do hammy upside down squats.

    Also - dont forget to stretch

    Dont hesitate going to the gym - while biking is the best way to improve your biking, its good for the muscles to cross-train - and will thus improve your biking in many other ways. If you keep doing the same excercise every day (of course you can always vary your biking) then your muscles stop working as hard.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

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    Senior Member Mojo GoGo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    Can anyone recommend a good program to build good cycling quads?
    If you're looking to build power, most any basic body building book will help you out although I'm not sure exactly how this will translate to cycling... Personally I like doing half squats with free weights but if you're concerned about your back (or safety) a hack squat will work well. To get full leg development you'll want to squat till your hamstrings are parallel to the ground. Some folks like full squats (arse to ankle) but unless the weight is pretty light I think there's too much stress on the knees. Exercises that focus on your quads like raised heel squats and leg extensions are for fine tuning muscles once the base strength or mass has been achieved. A typical body building routine would consist of warming up and then 3 - 5 sets of 8 - 10 reps. As you probably do not want mass you could go with either a higher rep count (20-25) to build strength and endurance or an lower rep count (2-3) with much heavier weights (powerlifting style routine) which will increase muscle strenth without the mass gain.

    Either way, you'll gain strength quickly although the added power will likely come at the expense of speed/spinning or endurance. (I'm a sprinter but struggle in a paceline, you can ride the paceline but can't sprint - unfortunately, I don't think the grass is any greener on my side of the fence than yours ...)
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  16. #16
    Dart Board velocity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfncycling
    Weight training really depends on your body type. A climber wouldn't want to train with weights, while a sprinter definitely would. Weight training definitely leads to improved power. I would suggest lunges. You can also try pushing the absolutely biggest gear you can muster up a hill, then close to the top knock it down to the lowest and spin like crazy. Repeat. That will build muscle as well, but its hard on the knees.

    I agree with your assesment. It goes to the basic overloading reasoning. What I don't understand is why some see themselves pulling up with their hamstrings. If the "hammies" are busy working in the power phase of the pedal stroke as a hip extender why would they want to use them too as a knee bender (flexion) in the recovery phase? This can create choppy pedal strokes because you can't pull up faster than you can push down. As a exercise for the bike the best thing you can do is train the legs to be seperate yet part of a team. When its time for the power phase of the pedal stroke its better to let the recovery leg's hip flexors take care of the weight so the powerphase muscles do not have to fight against the other leg trying to help at a slower rate of RPM -thus undercompensating for the interference. As always Dynamic stretching is a good idea too. After a ride the shortened ROM created by never fully straightening your knee or extending your hip and constant flex of the muscles creates tightness/soreness which can also lead to early fatigue.
    Velocity

  17. #17
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocity
    I agree with your assessment. It goes to the basic overloading reasoning. What I don't understand is why some see themselves pulling up with their hamstrings. If the "hammies" are busy working in the power phase of the pedal stroke as a hip extender why would they want to use them too as a knee bender (flexion) in the recovery phase? This can create choppy pedal strokes because you can't pull up faster than you can push down. As a exercise for the bike the best thing you can do is train the legs to be separate yet part of a team. When its time for the power phase of the pedal stroke its better to let the recovery leg's hip flexors take care of the weight so the power phase muscles do not have to fight against the other leg trying to help at a slower rate of RPM -thus undercompensating for the interference. As always Dynamic stretching is a good idea too. After a ride the shortened ROM created by never fully straightening your knee or extending your hip and constant flex of the muscles creates tightness/soreness which can also lead to early fatigue.
    Velocity
    I like what you say but I just can't get my head around using the Hamstrings as a knee bender and just how one makes the choice between them and the hip flexors?
    How do you train the legs to be separate other than spinning with one leg or is that it?
    Can you please explain the difference between dynamic stretching as opposed to normal stretching?
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  18. #18
    Dart Board velocity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    I just can't get my head around using the Hamstrings as a knee bender and just how one makes the choice between them and the hip flexors?
    How do you train the legs to be separate other than spinning with one leg or is that it?
    Can you please explain the difference between dynamic stretching as opposed to normal stretching?

    The idea is that the hip flexors do just that -flex the hip- they pick up the legs weight while the front leg in its power phase is doing its work and not having to also pick up the back legs weight.
    With all the major muscle groups (hamstrings, quads, glutes, cavs) start firing at their own times in the power phase but are all firing together at between 2 and 4 if you where to look at the pedal spin as a clock. This mimics the lunge as said before where the push off to extension requires the contraction of those muscles to lift you up farther from the floor. As in a bike set up we keep the patella from being over the metatarsals -well same thing for a lunge. The only time I use my hamstrings is in a last ditch effort to keep the crank going around like bogging down in mud or just to get to the top of that 12 degree hill just before I fall over cause the RPMs have dove to below 40 even when standing. Here is a good drill that you can do. While riding grab each of the muscle groups in the insertion point about the joint- feel the muscle fire and note where it does. when you find that place where that certain muscle fires off, focus on the contraction at that point and drive through it. This of course can be done on hills or flats as you see the need to train there. Ed Burkes book High Tech Cycling is a great read on this subject.

    There are 7 kinds of stretches but they are either Dynamic or Static
    Dynamic which involve motion (don't confuse with ballistic stretching)
    Static which involve no motion (usually stretching around a joint.)
    Here is a great link for you to check out.
    http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/...g_4.html#SEC30

  19. #19
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. I 'get' the stretching variations part but the rest of it is at this time in my developement, a tad beyond my abilities of understanding.
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  20. #20
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    The gym will be a waste of your time and will probly hurt your performance. if you want to perform better on the bike train on the bike.
    He doesn't want to win the Olympia, just increase tone a little. Best to stick with lighter weights and higher reps.

    I know you guys think riding the bike is all you need, but cross training helps.

    I think there is a synergy in training muscles from different angles. I could be wrong, it's just my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    Can anyone recommend a good program to build good cycling quads?
    squats are always the best. leg press/hack squat machine is second place. Lunges if you just want to use dumbells.
    Last edited by 53-11_alltheway; 03-02-05 at 02:10 AM.

  21. #21
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53-11_alltheway
    squats are always the best. leg press/hack squat machine is second place. Lunges if you just want to use dumbells.
    Lunges??????
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  22. #22
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    Lunges??????
    here you go.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...cle=Quadriceps

  23. #23
    Dart Board velocity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53-11_alltheway

    I think there is a synergy in training muscles from different angles. I could be wrong, it's just my opinion.



    squats are always the best. leg press/hack squat machine is second place. Lunges if you just want to use dumbells.
    I am curious on the bio mechanics of the exercise and how it relates to a anatomy of a pedal stroke. So why do we say that the squats are better? Why do antagonist muscles oppossed to the sagital plane need training? great topic!
    Velocity

  24. #24
    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocity
    I am curious on the bio mechanics of the exercise and how it relates to a anatomy of a pedal stroke. So why do we say that the squats are better? Why do antagonist muscles oppossed to the sagital plane need training? great topic!
    Velocity
    I think all the leg muscles are important (not just the quadriceps). Hamstrings are important for the upstroke.

    Velocity, I mentioned squats only becasue that exercise is traditionally know to produce the best improvement in the quadriceps.

    Lunges would also be excellent. I never really have done lunges because I've had all the other equipment available to me.
    Last edited by 53-11_alltheway; 03-02-05 at 03:37 PM.

  25. #25
    Rubber Side Down soccerismylife's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=velocity Why do antagonist muscles oppossed to the sagital plane need training?[/QUOTE]
    I am not sure of the exact mechanics behind each exercise (lunge vs. squat), but I disagree with your statement about antagonist vs. agonist training, more specifically sagital vs. frontal vs. transverse. I know form first hand experience that strengthening your muscles in all planes of motion is incredibly important. I had Osgood Slaughters and now go to rehab where I'm on a full lower body strength and stretching routine. I totally agree with your statement about stretching the hip-flexors because being leaned over for so long can tighten them a lot. I do squats and lunges in all three planes.
    "Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass, six hours a day. What are you on?"
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