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Thread: Bulking Up

  1. #1
    Senior Member j.foster's Avatar
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    Bulking Up

    I've been riding for a while now mainly as a means of keeping in generally good fitness and so i don't get fat or anything. Recently i've noticed how disproportionate my upper body looks to my legs. My thighs and calves are enormous and my upper body is very twig-like which i dont like. As i only ride for enjoyment rather than racing i'm not bothered about putting a bit of weight on in order to bulk up slightly so my upper body is more in proportion but i want to know how to go about it. At my place of work is a gym that contains loads of machines to excercise almost any muscle you want so intend to go about getting more developed arms, shoulders, pecs, back muscles and of course abs. I'm happy to work out what machines to use but i want to know what kind of intensity i should be looking at for a slightly bigger physique without going body builder style strong. How many circuits of the gym would you recommed? How many reps on each machine? And how heavy should it be, as in how hard should i be finding it? With a max HR of 202 what kind of HR should i be looking for?

    All input gratefully received!

  2. #2
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    First, I would talk to one of the trainers at the gym. They should be able to give you some tips without charging you. It so hard to give someone an idea of what to do since I have no idea what you look like and really how often you use the machines. You can start by increasing your weight alittle more then normal and keep your sets between 2 to 3 sets for each exercrise.
    I can give you an example but keep in mind I'm a girl. I hired a personal trainer and for upper body my trainer would have be do freeweights. I would use 15lbs for each hand and do three sets of 15. I would use a flat bench and do chestpresses with the weights. The trainer said that using the free weights is better to start out with because its makes you concentrate on your balance. I suggest using this before the machines. I truly believe you will get better results from the freeweights then the machines. Hope this helps and good luck.

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    It's your imaganation your legs wont bulk fron cycling, it's not a strenth sport. is what it is, your legs are perhaps leaner giving them a "cut" look that makes them look bigger.

  4. #4
    Focus on the future alison_in_oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j.foster
    I've been riding for a while now mainly as a means of keeping in generally good fitness and so i don't get fat or anything. Recently i've noticed how disproportionate my upper body looks to my legs. My thighs and calves are enormous and my upper body is very twig-like which i dont like. As i only ride for enjoyment rather than racing i'm not bothered about putting a bit of weight on in order to bulk up slightly so my upper body is more in proportion but i want to know how to go about it. At my place of work is a gym that contains loads of machines to excercise almost any muscle you want so intend to go about getting more developed arms, shoulders, pecs, back muscles and of course abs. I'm happy to work out what machines to use but i want to know what kind of intensity i should be looking at for a slightly bigger physique without going body builder style strong. How many circuits of the gym would you recommed? How many reps on each machine? And how heavy should it be, as in how hard should i be finding it? With a max HR of 202 what kind of HR should i be looking for?
    Your HR shouldn't come into play with this kind of anaerobic exercise. Your heart might be pounding a little at the end of one (~30 sec) set, but you won't start your next set until your HR is back under control.

    Check out http://stumptuous.com/weights.html -- it's female-oriented but is great advice for any gender.

    Personally, I'm interested in building strength and muscle but "bulking" is not my major goal. Per instructions from a fitness counselor, I do 2 sets of 10 reps at a weight that has me burning at the last rep of the first set. I work my way up in reps until I can do 2 sets of 12 without feeling as much burn, and then I increase weight. For quicker building and more bulk, I think you'd aim for more weight and something like 6-8 rep sets. Google "hypertrophy specific training" for more bulk-building ideas.

    I do a full body routine three times per week. My upperbody exercises include pullups, dips, bench press, flys, rows. I use a machine for ab curls and I do back extension exercises for my low back (good for bending over in a road posture!)

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    Senior Member iowarose's Avatar
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    Great link, Alison.

    I do weights 2x/week. I follow workouts on DVD (Cathe Friedrich) and do the weights at home. The workouts are aimed at shaping rather than bulking, but I've gained some muscle mass. Not too much though. I think they are very effective workouts.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GreyGoat's Avatar
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    consider push ups too.. amazing how much that will help.. your pecs with tighten up. your lats will spread like the hood of a cobra.. and your triceps will get well defined.. in no time.. I do them every morning with my stretches and crunches... it's a good way to start until you find your way into a regular weight routine where you can get a balanced program ... don't avoid the legs.. remember you can't shoot a cannon from a canoe.. you will appreciate the gains in below the waist strength too ..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by j.foster
    I've been riding for a while now mainly as a means of keeping in generally good fitness and so i don't get fat or anything. Recently i've noticed how disproportionate my upper body looks to my legs. My thighs and calves are enormous and my upper body is very twig-like which i dont like. As i only ride for enjoyment rather than racing i'm not bothered about putting a bit of weight on in order to bulk up slightly so my upper body is more in proportion but i want to know how to go about it. At my place of work is a gym that contains loads of machines to excercise almost any muscle you want so intend to go about getting more developed arms, shoulders, pecs, back muscles and of course abs. I'm happy to work out what machines to use but i want to know what kind of intensity i should be looking at for a slightly bigger physique without going body builder style strong. How many circuits of the gym would you recommed? How many reps on each machine? And how heavy should it be, as in how hard should i be finding it? With a max HR of 202 what kind of HR should i be looking for?

    All input gratefully received!
    First of all, thank you.

    So many guys like to focus on one aspect of weight training, then one day, they realize how disproportionate their muscle groups are. I really love looking at the guys at the cycling races. They have incredibly awesome legs, but their upper body look like little girls. Yuck. Can you say "osteoperosis" and "decreased bone density"?

    I also think it would be a good idea to talk to a personal trainer. If you have the trainers who roam the floors of the gym, they would be a good resource to begin with. A lot of personal trainers can be cool, but they will want to cut that conversation short, since they get paid to train, not to talk. Even better, if you can hire a personal trainer to take you through about two personal training sessions (that's not including the complimentary consultation to address your needs and find out what your current strength capacity is right now). Look for a trainer with solid credentials- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are two very good certifications with solid personal trainers who have superior knowledge. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is also very good, but the other two aforementioned are so much better.

    Training with free weights is the best way to go because it promotes better balance between the opposing muscle groups, as well as muscle groups on both sides of the body. Free weights also prevent you from using other muscle groups when you're working the muscle you're exercising (ie: using the bicep machine also activates the shoulder girdle, whereas free weights done with good form for the bicep curl isolates the bicep and doesn't use the shoulder girdle). Not to say machines don't have their place... I definitely believe in using machines for variety and to help me when I begin increasing my weights. But the majority of what I do for upper body is with the free weights. I never really saw a difference in my upper body until I incorporated free weights into my routine. The biggest downside I can see with using free weights is that sometimes, it is difficult to increase your weights if your gym doesn't have the 2.5 pound weight differential. For instance, I would love to increase my bench presses with my dumbbells, but to go from a 50 pound weight to a 55 pound weight is too much for me. I can't get the 55 pound weight lifted. But the 50 pound weight is definitely getting too easy for me to lift too. At Gold's Gym, they have a 52.5 pound weight, which would be perfect for me. I could ease into the 52.5 pound weight, then eventually transition to the 55 pound weight. But at my gym (Crunch), there is no 52.5 pound weight. So I'm stuck until I can get the strength to lift the 55 pound weight. Aaaah.... 50 is too easy and 55 is too much. I'm in a catch-22, but I usually am anyway. The more I increase the weights, the harder it becomes for me to increase it as easily back in the day when I was lifting with 12 and 15 pound weights. Anyway, that's my only real caveat with you for working with the free weights. Otherwise, I consider free weights an incredible resource for you to use for weight training.

    Whatever you do, never let things get stale for you. If you can't increase your weights, find variety and hit that muscle in different ways. For instance, if you're doing bicep curls for 3 months, spend another month doing hammer curls. Then increase your weights for the biceps and go back to curls again. Then maybe use the bicep curl machine every now and then and play with the weights. Then go back to doing some hammer curls for a few weeks. Then back to bicep curls. Then try to increase your weights. Mixing things up will do your muscles a whole world of good. And never work the same muscle group 2 days in a row. Allow your muscles recovery time. Muscle growth happens from tearing the muscle (the lifting part), then allowing the muscle to repair itself. Don't make the mistake of not giving the muscle time to heal. Perpetual tearing without time to heal will never allow for muscle growth. And finally, there is a window of time after your training session when you should replenish the muscles with some carbs (just a few hundred calories) so your muscles can replace the glycogen stores used during the workout session. I know some folks in the fitness profession don't believe it, and some folks in the fitness profession do. Anywho... that window is somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour. So take the time to get some good carbs and a little protein in there right after your lifting ends. A simple energy bar would do the trick.

    Oh! And stretch. After a 5 minute warm up, you can start your lifting, and when you finish, spend time stretching those muscles. Over time, your muscles will become more flexible, and limber muscles will contract with greater intensity, which leads to more strength.

    Koffee

  8. #8
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    I second the pushups vote. Do em for a few weeks and then start doing them with books under your hands (or whatevers stable) to build up the intensity. By doing them up on books, you get a deeper stretch with each rep and this helps with the chest development (and keeps you flexible) Along with pushups you should also do my #1 all time favorite exercie, the pull-up. Do pullups, do chinups, there are tons of variations as you get stronger.. Git yerself a bar at a sports place and hang it and do as many as you can a few times a day. The pull-up is truly a great exercise that works ALOT of muscle groups. If you can only do one, then thats a great place to start. Once you get to two, then three and on and on.. youll be hooked. Pull ups are hands facing away, chin ups are hands facing toward you. Chins are generally easier and may be the place to start to get your muscles used to the work.

    So pushups for your chest, and triceps (mainly)
    and pullups for your back, biceps and forearms (mainly)

    you will no more be girly-man!!

    have fun
    ~Steve

    also you can try sprints while on the bike standing and in a tall gear, really working the bike side to side against your legs.. this is all upper body.

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    weight lifting is an art. But it's an art where it's easy to land in the Doctor's office if you don't know what you're doing. Koffee, as always, has great advice.

    Good technique is crucial. Next thing to learn is how to schedule training. This isn't as hard as it sounds. Start easy.And by easy I mean the smallest weights in the gym. After a couple weeks of that, do a month of low rep work to rapidly build strength. Then do a month of higher reps. Then back to low reps, etc. As Koffee said, free weights are better. Use the machines on exercises that are tough to do with free weights. Hamstrings come to mind. I like the Roman Chair, but do rows for a while before starting in on them. Incline crunches are good, too.

    Don't neglect the supporting cast... hamstrings, abs, lower back.

  10. #10
    nbf
    nbf is offline
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    Bikeracers should have a slim and lean upper body, is this the weightneanderthal forum or what, or is it the bike forum?
    Look behind you - coming up!

  11. #11
    Member Daniel Collado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nbf
    Bikeracers should have a slim and lean upper body, is this the weightneanderthal forum or what, or is it the bike forum?
    he said plainly that hes not doing this for racing but for personal reasons, and plenty of racers work out with weights and or various calisthenics type exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips.

  12. #12
    Senior Member j.foster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Collado
    he said plainly that hes not doing this for racing but for personal reasons, and plenty of racers work out with weights and or various calisthenics type exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips.
    Exactly! If i was racing i would be prepared to sacrifice that gaunt upper body look in favour of the few pounds it would shed from me. Much however as i really do enjoy cycling that's not a sacrifice i'm prepared to make as racing isn't something i desperately want to do right now - music is my main interest and a time consuming one too, cycling is just a welcome break to get away from it all sometimes and also to keep me in good physical shape. Thanks very much for all the help everybody especially Koffee - from reading your other posts is there much you don't know about training!?

    Cheers guys!

  13. #13
    Member Daniel Collado's Avatar
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    lol i used to work at powerhouse gym in the states lol i know a little bit at least

    man i weigh 248 pounds at 6ft tall and i race i dont get where this scrawny racer notion comes from.
    especially for mountain biking upper body strength comes in handy.

    I usually do high reps of 12-15 reps and about 8-9 sets per exercise but i have been training since high school so i wouldnt recommend starting out with that many sets, and i try to usually do 2-3 exercises for body part using a 3day on 1 day offf 3 day on cycle.

    but to begin you need to start out slow with not as many sets and build up in weight and work on proper form and execution of the actual exercises, Also make sure to thoroughly warm up to sometimes i do a warm up set of something with much lighter weight to kind of warm up the muscle or muscle group then i start with higher weights.

    make sure to stay hydrated to

    and its good to cool down with some aerobics but thats a personal choice.

  14. #14
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    Update- just made it to the 55 pound dumbbells for the chest press today after struggling for weeks with it. So hey... stick with it and continue to work on increasing your weights. Never stop! Whooooooooooooo!

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacesetter
    It's your imaganation your legs wont bulk fron cycling, it's not a strenth sport. is what it is, your legs are perhaps leaner giving them a "cut" look that makes them look bigger.
    Your legs won't "bulk" up but they will gain size, the story that you will not gain muscle mass by not going to MMF is not completely true. My muscles got bigger when I was 18 and started to work in a packing plant and no MMF there, I also gained muscle in my middle 30's by lifting weights and I never went to MMF. I don't put on muscle easily but I can tell when they get bigger.

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