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Hills

Old 10-28-19, 07:37 PM
  #26  
Koyote
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
It is debatable whether lifting weights makes you a better cyclist. Lots of very knowledgeable people have argued in support of it. Lots of very knowledgeable people have argued against it. To get better at hills, you need to improve your power to weight ratio on the bike, which, for any climb longer than 30 seconds or so, ultimately comes down to being able to pump more oxygen to the working muscles. The way to do this is to ride your bike, preferably up hills, a lot with the appropriate amount of high intensity work.

But, what isn't really debatable any more is that lifting weights is very good for your overall health and fitness. So, if you're not aspiring to make a career out of cycling, you should likely be doing some lifting.
Can't emphasize this strongly enough. Cycling, and other endurance activities, can lead to loss of bone density; weightlifting can help offset these losses.

If you have limited time in the weightroom, it's best to concentrate on the big lifts which target multiple muscle groups, like squats. Make sure to learn proper technique to avoid injury.
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Old 10-29-19, 02:31 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by nrsmd View Post
Is lower limb weight lifting recommended for a cyclist? I weight lift evenly upper and lower body, and I know that is good. I feel stronger. But, my legs are always at least somewhat tired so bike climbing hills suffer, at times to the point where I need to stop and rest. Not good. How can I better balance strengthening my legs and not have fatigued legs that drastically hurt me on hill climbs?

This is troubling so opinions are helpful and needed.
Climb stairs. Real stairs. Up and down.

Start with 5 flights a day ... work your way up to 25 flights a day.

I've been up to 40 flights of 20 stairs a day, but found that was a bit much if I was also doing a lot of hill climbing while walking, running and cycling. 25 flights worked for me.

It makes a difference.
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Old 10-29-19, 04:09 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Climb stairs. Real stairs. Up and down.

Start with 5 flights a day ... work your way up to 25 flights a day.

I've been up to 40 flights of 20 stairs a day, but found that was a bit much if I was also doing a lot of hill climbing while walking, running and cycling. 25 flights worked for me.

It makes a difference.
It's also an impact exercise, so might help with preserving bone density. Not a consideration for you if you're running, but could perform that function for OP.
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Old 10-29-19, 05:41 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by nrsmd View Post
Is lower limb weight lifting recommended for a cyclist? I weight lift evenly upper and lower body, and I know that is good. I feel stronger. But, my legs are always at least somewhat tired so bike climbing hills suffer, at times to the point where I need to stop and rest. Not good. How can I better balance strengthening my legs and not have fatigued legs that drastically hurt me on hill climbs?

This is troubling so opinions are helpful and needed.
strength train the legs once a week...2 days of rest before tackling hills....u can still ride just avoid the hills for 2 days...don't forget to work the upper body so as not to look like a mismatched scrawny upper and a muscular lower body....
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Old 10-29-19, 05:46 AM
  #30  
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does your upper body match the lower ...
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Old 10-29-19, 07:52 AM
  #31  
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What everyone is saying works. Riding hills, running or even walking up & down steps, and if you are like most of us, the march of time has added weight that drags us down when climbing, so try to lose 10 or 20 pounds over 6 or 8 months.

Lay out a 10 or 20 mile course in hilly country if any is nearby. My college cross country coach made us charge up & down the stadium steps multiple times.(our least favorite exercise) but it made us stronger on hills. He also ran us a few miles in beach sand then back to the start in shallow surf. Neither of these are practical in New England Winters, but heated buildings have steps and most people take the elevator, so they won't be crowded.

Riding in rolling hills rewards you with some coasting every time you crest a hill, so there is an interval training effect. Don
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Old 10-29-19, 08:02 AM
  #32  
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Stronger on hills? I do hill training. Be it hill repeats, or just riding up (and down) the hills in my area. In a weeks worth of riding I'll try to make at least two of those days dedicated to hill training.
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Old 10-29-19, 08:16 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I found I was developing knee pain two years ago and went to a physio who said I had weak VMO's compared to my comparatively strong quads. The quads were pulling the Patella (knee cap) off track. Wound up doing targeted weight training for those muscles and haven't had that pain since.

Otherwise, I do trail running, in particular up and down our local mtb trails to work on leg strength.
I have the exact same issue but I never knew there was targeted weight training for the VMO beyond “focus on it harder”. Could you list what you did?

As far as lifting goes, many cycling coaches will recommend extremely high volumes of lifting because cycling is an endurance/aerobic sport. In my opinion this is fallacious because that fatigue/energy/time is best spent on riding, not lifting. In order to maximize your benefits from lifting weights and your enjoyment of riding, I would stick to low volume, high load (3x3, 3x5 or 5x5), free weight lifting. Avoid the leg press, smith machine, hamstring curls etc. if you want to get the most out of your lifting. Deadlift, squat (just below parallel, not the half-squats many cyclists do), row, bench, pull-up and overhead press. Maybe some isolated ab exercises if you’re worried about injury.

The reason I recommend 3x3 or 5x5 and not the conventional 5x8 or 5x12 or 5x50 that many cyclists do is because the biggest benefit of lifting weights is not training the endurance of your muscles. It’s convincing your brain that it can send signals to your muscles to fire much, much harder than it realizes. It also reinforces your muscular/skeletal system structurally, which is important for your brain to develop confidence in your body.

What you’ll notice is that, as your 1RM gets really high (say you can deadlift close to 2x your body weight), doing easier things like riding will fatigue you much more slowly. As an example, I can climb out of the saddle for 10-20 minutes straight, nearly. My buddy who has about the same amount of aerobic endurance as I do can’t really stand for more than a few seconds before lactic acid starts pooling up. We weigh similar amounts. And of course, you will develop a monstrous sprint, as long as your technique is stable enough to harness all that torque at high rpms.
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Old 10-29-19, 08:46 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
I have the exact same issue but I never knew there was targeted weight training for the VMO beyond “focus on it harder”. Could you list what you did?...
Well, I'm not a Physio so would not proscribe to others (I am a rehab assist who carries out those orders though) but...

I did focused knee extensions on a leg extension machine. I used one that was adjustable so that I started extension part way up. This activates the VMO and not the quads. If you play around with the settings you find the point where they take on the work. 3x10, not max weight. You are trying to train the VMO to activate. I also gently tap the VMO's while in the working phase to recruit them.

After that I did partial, not full, squats with a band around the lower thigh. Again this focuses the VMO rather than the quad. What happens with full, heavy lifts (as in the knee extension) is that the quads start the movement and get used to making the effort instead of recruiting the VMO. So you have to start mid range and make the VMO fire. The band stops you from doing a full squat so you start standing within the VMO range.

------------------------------------------

An aspect of hill climbing and training is that success is psychological as well as physical. Most people give up mentally before their bodies fail. They stop because they are not aware of their physical limit or how to push up against it. Training helps one to work through that psychology repetitively so that, when faced with the event, you have a mental toolbox of experience to draw from.

So, if one can't cycle hills all the time, something like climbing stairs to and past anticipated failure (working through it) can help when you get the opportunity to do the hill. You then know how to access your reserve mental physical gas tank.

Endurance sports are all about problem solving ways to extend the activity.
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Old 10-29-19, 08:53 AM
  #35  
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Weight lifting helps some but climbing the longest hills I could find over and over again helped the most. I went from hating hills to almost enjoying them.
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Old 10-29-19, 09:01 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by mdcoram View Post
Weight lifting helps some but climbing the longest hills I could find over and over again helped the most. I went from hating hills to almost enjoying them.
Pass hunting is a thing! https://velo-orange.blogspot.com/200...unting_20.html
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Old 10-29-19, 09:02 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Well, I'm not a Physio so would not proscribe to others (I am a rehab assist who carries out those orders though) but...

I did focused knee extensions on a leg extension machine. I used one that was adjustable so that I started extension part way up. This activates the VMO and not the quads. If you play around with the settings you find the point where they take on the work. 3x10, not max weight. You are trying to train the VMO to activate. I also gently tap the VMO's while in the working phase to recruit them.

After that I did partial, not full, squats with a band around the lower thigh. Again this focuses the VMO rather than the quad. What happens with full, heavy lifts (as in the knee extension) is that the quads start the movement and get used to making the effort instead of recruiting the VMO. So you have to start mid range and make the VMO fire. The band stops you from doing a full squat so you start standing within the VMO range.
Yeah that leg extension is the same thing I was prescribed. It didn’t feel like much but I guess I never really stuck to it. That squat technique sounds interesting. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks for the info
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Old 10-29-19, 09:12 AM
  #38  
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IIRC, the whole idea of "VMO activation" has generally been discounted, particularly as a cause of patellofemoral pain. IIRC (again) it's been shown that it's pretty much impossible to activate the VMO without activating the rest of the quads or vice versa (and the VMO is part of the quadriceps muscle). The general thinking now is that alignment issues come from the hips.

Having said that, I had patellofemoral pain about 13 years ago and using Peterson step-ups to "activate my VMO" was what actually fixed it.

Having said that, I was really unstable at first using the leg with my bad knee and these really exposed it. So maybe it was a hip issue and these fixed it by accident.
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Old 10-29-19, 09:52 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
IIRC, the whole idea of "VMO activation" has generally been discounted, particularly as a cause of patellofemoral pain. IIRC (again) it's been shown that it's pretty much impossible to activate the VMO without activating the rest of the quads or vice versa (and the VMO is part of the quadriceps muscle). The general thinking now is that alignment issues come from the hips.

Having said that, I had patellofemoral pain about 13 years ago and using Peterson step-ups to "activate my VMO" was what actually fixed it.

Having said that, I was really unstable at first using the leg with my bad knee and these really exposed it. So maybe it was a hip issue and these fixed it by accident.
I don't know about discounted. It seems in the age of the net everything is proved and disproved by someone. My diagnosis and treatment was by a Physiotherapist and was successful so...? Perhaps your hip problem was caused by your VMO, fix one, fix the other? I do believe the body is a system and we tend to adapt well until it goes out of sync. Another imbalance issue I developed over the years was very strong pectoralis muscles from doing lots of pushups to the point of developing forward rounded shoulders and thoracic outlet syndrome (a narrowing of the brachial plexus). I could do 100 pushups at the drop of a hat but couldn't do 5 chin ups. I had to back off the pushups and focus on stretching and extension exercises like rowing to regain balance.


Again, I would say, see a pro as the exact cause and treatment of an issue can't be done over the net. I did forget to add that along with the exercises I did a course of electrical intramuscular stimulation (EIMS) in my VMO - that was a trip! Nothing like watching your knee area jump around like a frog getting a cattle prod.
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Old 10-29-19, 10:01 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by nrsmd View Post
Is lower limb weight lifting recommended for a cyclist? I weight lift evenly upper and lower body, and I know that is good. I feel stronger. But, my legs are always at least somewhat tired so bike climbing hills suffer, at times to the point where I need to stop and rest. Not good. How can I better balance strengthening my legs and not have fatigued legs that drastically hurt me on hill climbs?

This is troubling so opinions are helpful and needed.
Perhaps you need an additional day of rest between weight workouts and cycling? Regardless, an extra day of rest or not if you are even reasonably fit you should never need to stop during a climb because your legs need rest. That is not normal. The only time one should need to rest on climbs is when the grade is a combo of too steep for too long. (And we are usually talking a minimum of a double-digit grade.)
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Old 10-29-19, 06:01 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Climb stairs. Real stairs. Up and down.

Start with 5 flights a day ... work your way up to 25 flights a day.

I've been up to 40 flights of 20 stairs a day, but found that was a bit much if I was also doing a lot of hill climbing while walking, running and cycling. 25 flights worked for me.

It makes a difference.
Stair walking is great. I live in a high rise building on the 12th floor... I hold a 70 pound kettlebell in front of me and walk down the stairs and then walk back up, it's my finisher exercise after my workout. Great exercise which doesn't require gym membership.
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