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  1. #1
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Do non cycling workouts benefit performance

    I am doing a few more cycling events this year. From a few 100 mile mt bike events to some local road racing, Time trials etc.

    I want this year to do better then last year. Achieve more personal bests.

    Now with just my cycling workouts I do. Should I be doing more off bike exercise more?
    would the off bike exercises benefit and increase performance as well.

    Such as leg workouts, body lunges, other leg workouts, and upper body workouts, push ups?

    Or would it just make one just a bit more fitter in general but not better performance? advice please

  2. #2
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Cross training can have a few benefits:

    - develop accessory muscles that don't get a good workout on the bike (lateral stabilizers for ankles, knees, hips etc)
    - balance opposing muscle groups
    - strengthen core muscles
    - improve flexibility and strength through ROM
    - provide opportunities to increase endurance and VO2 max when you can't get out on the bike
    - prevent mental fatigue by offering a change of routine
    - allow you to continue to improve overall fitness while resting specific muscle groups

    It all depends on the workouts you choose and the goals you set. Many cyclists throw in some pilates or yoga and some resistance (weighted strength) training. If you have access to a sports physiologist or sports rehab physical therapist through a sports acceleration program or similar, they can be a wealth of information.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  3. #3
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    ^^What he said.

    I feel confident that my strength training makes me better at just about everything, so I believe my cycling benefits.

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    I'm also into cross training as a way to produce balanced overall fitness and injury prevention. Auxiliary muscles surrounding joints help maintain those joints in proper alignment. I do a daily range of strength exercises with weights as well as stretching and have for years.

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    In looking into your question about long MTB races, I noticed that one of the winners at Leadville concentrated on skiing in winter, since on CO there's not much bike riding. He skied Alpine a couple days a week, XC diagonal some, but the best was skate skiing and long days of backcountry skiing. He thought both of those were good analogues for MTB racing, and did those quite a bit. And lifted, but irregularly. Maybe 15 days total in his prep. In my prep, I've noticed an increase in endurance from hiking or snowshoeing 4-5 hours in zone 1 once a week. Alpine didn't seem to do as much for me since the use of the muscles is completely different, and maybe too much time on the chair, yet the intensity ate into my energy budget.

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    They don't only benefit performance, they are the best way to improve as well as a good way to prevent injuries.

  7. #7
    Senior Member blacknbluebikes's Avatar
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    Question gets trickier in respect to *subsitution,* right?
    If my available time per week is a limited resource, how does one allocate?
    I'd expect different answers for riders limited to 10 hours per week versus 30 hours per week. Where's the point of diminishing return of bike-hours versus weight-training. Sounds like grad-school thesis material.

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
    Question gets trickier in respect to *subsitution,* right?
    If my available time per week is a limited resource, how does one allocate?
    I'd expect different answers for riders limited to 10 hours per week versus 30 hours per week. Where's the point of diminishing return of bike-hours versus weight-training. Sounds like grad-school thesis material.
    You've put your finger on the nub of it. Partly it depends on the season and what one wants to do. If one is focused on cycling events, as those get closer one focuses on cycling. Principle of specificity. If one is not focused on cycling, then it doesn't really matter, does it?

    Intensity also is a factor. Even given unlimited time, everyone has limited recovery. Thus even if one had that and were focused on cycling, it's still not really time, it's the allocation of TRIMPS. I think most folks have enough time to challenge their recovery ability. Married tri-geeks with kids still find time to train. I know a married rider with 2 kids who rode 30,000 miles in one year.

    The allocation will vary with the individual, their strengths and weaknesses, and the time of year. Without an experienced coach, people have to figure it out for themselves over the years by trial and error. For the dedicated cyclist, many training guides have been published which attempt to define an allocation, but they're only guides for an undefined average user, to be modified by experience. Still, they're a starting point.

  9. #9
    Senior Member hermanchauw's Avatar
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    Strength definitely would improve your performance. Strength is the base and limit of your performance. Everything can be expressed as a percentage of your strength. With more strength you can do more.

    To improve performance on the bike, you gotta spend time on the bike. Specific practice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TexMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
    Question gets trickier in respect to *subsitution,* right?
    If my available time per week is a limited resource, how does one allocate?
    I'd expect different answers for riders limited to 10 hours per week versus 30 hours per week. Where's the point of diminishing return of bike-hours versus weight-training. Sounds like grad-school thesis material.
    I can manage 8 hrs a week and do lift one day a week at my lunch (total body workout) but same day I go riding after work for 1.5 hrs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
    Strength definitely would improve your performance. Strength is the base and limit of your performance. Everything can be expressed as a percentage of your strength. With more strength you can do more.
    True. But the time frame that strength is applied over matters also. Doing low-rep, high-weight squat sets isn't going to improve your aerobic threshold power level on a bike. Sure it's a great additional workout that will probably help your sprinting on a bike, but if you're limited in how much time you can work out you'd improve your sprinting on a bike more by, for example, actually sprinting on a bike.

    To improve performance on the bike, you gotta spend time on the bike. Specific practice.
    Yep. And that's even more important if your time to work out is limited. If you're focused on cycling - say a racer - and you only have 6 hours a week to work out, doing 2 hours in the gym is reducing your already limited time on a bike by 33%. If you have 25 hours a week to workout, doing 2 hours in the gym a week is much more practical - and probably quite helpful to your cycling, too, as it gives you time off the bike to mentally and physically recover while only taking away small fraction of your cycling specific workouts.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    True. But the time frame that strength is applied over matters also. Doing low-rep, high-weight squat sets isn't going to improve your aerobic threshold power level on a bike. Sure it's a great additional workout that will probably help your sprinting on a bike, but if you're limited in how much time you can work out you'd improve your sprinting on a bike more by, for example, actually sprinting on a bike.



    Yep. And that's even more important if your time to work out is limited. If you're focused on cycling - say a racer - and you only have 6 hours a week to work out, doing 2 hours in the gym is reducing your already limited time on a bike by 33%. If you have 25 hours a week to workout, doing 2 hours in the gym a week is much more practical - and probably quite helpful to your cycling, too, as it gives you time off the bike to mentally and physically recover while only taking away small fraction of your cycling specific workouts.
    Yes. At 10 hrs./week, I found 2 weight sessions/week of about 25 minutes each to be optimal. So like you say, ~10%. Even that was hard to fit in for a geezer because of recovery from gym sessions. If I stayed with the program, didn't slough off, and took recovery time only as necessary, it worked very well. IME gym sessions were most effective if I pushed my limits until interval time in the early spring, then backed off in favor of intensity on the bike.

    Starting this week, I've been experimenting with in-season electro-stim as a second "workout" after a hard bike workout. I'll post something if I get results. So far, so good.

  13. #13
    Why not? EthanYQX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
    Question gets trickier in respect to *subsitution,* right?
    If my available time per week is a limited resource, how does one allocate?
    I'd expect different answers for riders limited to 10 hours per week versus 30 hours per week. Where's the point of diminishing return of bike-hours versus weight-training. Sounds like grad-school thesis material.
    You have to prioritize for sure. Playing your sport will always beat lifting weights. As great as increased limit strength is, it's a very general adaptation.

    That said as cycling is primarily an aerobic sport and you can't so much make up for low fitness levels with skill, I'd be curious as to how true what I just said really is.
    "It is not the critic who counts."

  14. #14
    Why not? EthanYQX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Yes. At 10 hrs./week, I found 2 weight sessions/week of about 25 minutes each to be optimal. So like you say, ~10%. Even that was hard to fit in for a geezer because of recovery from gym sessions. If I stayed with the program, didn't slough off, and took recovery time only as necessary, it worked very well. IME gym sessions were most effective if I pushed my limits until interval time in the early spring, then backed off in favor of intensity on the bike.

    Starting this week, I've been experimenting with in-season electro-stim as a second "workout" after a hard bike workout. I'll post something if I get results. So far, so good.
    Because I'm an idiot, when I was rehabbing the meniscus in my knee I used to schedule all my physio sessions on Monday mornings. I'd get up, go to the gym for a heavy squat workout, and then go to physio, because I wanted to see how much the ultrasound and electro-stim helped recovery. It was pretty significant.
    "It is not the critic who counts."

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