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Solo riding - does it build strength/speed?

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Solo riding - does it build strength/speed?

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Old 09-13-18, 10:08 AM
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NoWhammies
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Solo riding - does it build strength/speed?

I've been reading a lot of posts lately about how riding with riders who are faster than you is a good way to build strength and speed. I don't disagree with this statement.

What I'm curious about, is it possible to build strength/speed doing solo rides? And can you build the strength/speed to the same extent one would by doing group rides with faster riders? Finally if so, how?

All of my riding this past summer was solo and I managed to increase my average speed from the start of the summer until the end. Mind you that could have been just my fitness going from crappy winter fitness to healthy summer fitness. And I feel I could definitely have increased my speed/strength more had I known how to train properly. Cheers.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
What I'm curious about, is it possible to build strength/speed doing solo rides?
Believe it or not there isn’t just one right way to train. Overload, Progression, Specificity.

And stop thinking about strength. It’s irrelevant to road cycling. What you mean is power.

Last edited by asgelle; 09-13-18 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:38 AM
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Generally speaking, people are competitive and will push themselves harder when surrounded by stronger riders. Does that mean you can't do the same on your own? I think that depends on you. How dedicated you are, your training program, etc.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I've been reading a lot of posts lately about how riding with riders who are faster than you is a good way to build strength and speed. I don't disagree with this statement.

What I'm curious about, is it possible to build strength/speed doing solo rides? And can you build the strength/speed to the same extent one would by doing group rides with faster riders? Finally if so, how?

All of my riding this past summer was solo and I managed to increase my average speed from the start of the summer until the end. Mind you that could have been just my fitness going from crappy winter fitness to healthy summer fitness. And I feel I could definitely have increased my speed/strength more had I known how to train properly. Cheers.
Of course! Getting faster and putting out more power works like this: You train hard, your muscles get tired, and as a result, your body adapts and builds stronger muscles / more endurance. (overly simplified). The only thing that group riding has going for it is that you might get pushed harder than you normally would on your own.

The type of training you do is important though. Just riding as a slow pace for a long time isnt nearly as beneficial as doing interval training, sprint training, etc. etc.

Have a look at this training schedule video by GCN that is pretty helpful! You need to have enough variety in the type of training, and also include enough rest days to recover and get fitter!

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Old 09-13-18, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
... builds stronger muscles / more endurance. (overly simplified).
Not oversimplified, just plain wrong. For someone without a serious deficit (e.g. canít walk up two or three steps) cycling will not improve strength.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:46 AM
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I think it depends on your self motivation. I'm a 90% solo rider who (when I was riding more regularly then now) would do 1-2 big groups per month and maybe a couple of rides with 2-6 people but mostly riding solo. Group rides, especially fast groups with people that race are fun and develop a lot of great skills but once you are a decent cyclist you can also draft in the group and cruise at 30 mph without actually doing much work. So my solo rides where I avg 15-17 mph for 20-40 miles would be more of a work out then 40-60 mile group where I was avg 20-22 mph. But I have a lot of friends that can never motivate to go out on the road alone so if they don't haven anyone to ride with they will just not get on their bike for a week at a time so if that is your personality then riding with groups is good because you are on the bike
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Old 09-13-18, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

Not oversimplified, just plain wrong. For someone without a serious deficit (e.g. canít walk up two or three steps) cycling will not improve strength.
Uhm.. what the hell are you talking about?

Check out this guy then. Tell me his legs did not get "strong" from cycling? This guy could leg press a bulldozer.

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Old 09-13-18, 10:50 AM
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Oh lighten up asgelle. His point is valid - train and adapt. Fitness, power, form, strength, who $&#*ing cares what the proper cycling term is. Clearly the OP is looking general guidance - not how to move up form Cat2 to Cat1. If you hear someone say "Man, that guy is strong" do you correct them... "Well, Cliffy. It's a little know fact... "?

Yes. You can absolutely get faster riding solo. As Ogsarg pointed out - lots of people just push themselves harder when riding with others.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Uhm.. what the hell are you talking about?
Iím talking about the fact that the forces produced in road cycling are so low as to not result in increased strength. This has been well documented since power meters came into wide spread use over 15 years ago.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
Oh lighten up asgelle. His point is valid - train and adapt. Fitness, power, form, strength, who $&#*ing cares what the proper cycling term is.
It matters a lot if someone sees the wrong term and adjusts their training pursuing a false goal.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Uhm.. what the hell are you talking about?

Check out this guy then. Tell me his legs did not get "strong" from cycling? This guy could leg press a bulldozer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O5voOCqAQ


His legs did not get strong from cycling.

They got strong from this:

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Old 09-13-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

Iím talking about the fact that the forces produced in road cycling are so low as to not result in increased strength. This has been well documented since power meters came into wide spread use over 15 years ago.
Bull**** dude. If you do sprint training (if you even know what that is, look it up), repeated short steep climbs, or track riding, you most definitely build leg "strength". You're just wrong.

Maybe because you ride like a granny to the store, you don't. I can't speak to your lame training.

Furthermore, you are just not informative or helpful at all to the person looking for training advice. You have provided 0.0 ZERO useful suggestions or advice. Way to go.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Furthermore, you are just not informative or helpful at all to the person looking for training advice. You have provided 0.0 ZERO useful suggestions or advice. Way to go.
Iíd say if I can steer the OP away from bad advice from the likes of you, thatís very useful indeed. At any rate, Why we don't use strength-endurance anymore ? aboc Cycle Coaching
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Old 09-13-18, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Bull**** dude. If you do sprint training (if you even know what that is, look it up), repeated short steep climbs, or track riding, you most definitely build leg "strength". You're just wrong.

Maybe because you ride like a granny to the store, you don't. I can't speak to your lame training.

Furthermore, you are just not informative or helpful at all to the person looking for training advice. You have provided 0.0 ZERO useful suggestions or advice. Way to go.
But without adding resistance training you will eventually plateau any strength gains. Laws of diminishing returns.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Uhm.. what the hell are you talking about?

Check out this guy then. Tell me his legs did not get "strong" from cycling? This guy could leg press a bulldozer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O5voOCqAQ
Love to see his testing results
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Old 09-13-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I've been reading a lot of posts lately about how riding with riders who are faster than you is a good way to build strength and speed. I don't disagree with this statement.

What I'm curious about, is it possible to build strength/speed doing solo rides? And can you build the strength/speed to the same extent one would by doing group rides with faster riders? Finally if so, how?

All of my riding this past summer was solo and I managed to increase my average speed from the start of the summer until the end. Mind you that could have been just my fitness going from crappy winter fitness to healthy summer fitness. And I feel I could definitely have increased my speed/strength more had I known how to train properly. Cheers.
Yes, absolutely. For most riders it will take a structured training program. There have been a million posts on this forum and others, not to mention all the books and videos and other resources, but it basically boils down to overstressing your system to provoke a training response, recovery, and overstressing again. If you have the right plan, training tools to measure and track, and the discipline to implement, then that's all you need.

I like group rides for the social and competitive aspects, plus it forces me to focus on my bike handling and pack reading skills rather than just focusing on numbers, but most of my real performance gains have been realized from going out on a stretch of road by myself with a dose of Vitamin HTFU.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:29 PM
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How you ride determines what benefits you get, not who you ride with.

The deal with groups./fast partners is that when you might quit on your own, you will be motivated by others and vice versa.

if you can set a training program and hold to it, you don't need any riding partners.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

Not oversimplified, just plain wrong. For someone without a serious deficit (e.g. canít walk up two or three steps) cycling will not improve strength.
A good cycling example are kilo riders. They will spend as much as 4 days a week in the gym to develop their explosive standing start. They might only ride 3 times a week for a couple of hours total during the early season.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
A good cycling example are kilo riders. They will spend as much as 4 days a week in the gym to develop their explosive standing start. They might only ride 3 times a week for a couple of hours total during the early season.
Whatever kilo riders do or donít do, weíre talking road cycling here.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:55 PM
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For cycling events that require strength, athletes tend to ride less and lift more. The opposite is also true in that cycling events that require endurance, athletes spend less time, if any, in the gym and more time on the bike.
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Old 09-13-18, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
For cycling events that require strength, athletes tend to ride less and lift more. The opposite is also true in that cycling events that require endurance, athletes spend less time, if any, in the gym and more time on the bike.
This is true, but there is no road cycling event in which strength is a limiter.
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Old 09-13-18, 01:07 PM
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speed guys at the track are really the only riders who will benefit from weightlifting. Road riders are usually better served by focusing on developing power on the bike.
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Old 09-13-18, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for the input. Sounds like I need to get myself a training plan. For the past summer I would just hop on my bike and go. I'd try to push myself by keeping my speed above a certain level but there was specific level or plan in mind.

I'm eyeing a powermeter in the near future so that should help with any kind of training plan.
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Old 09-13-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

This is true, but there is no road cycling event in which strength is a limiter.
You may argue wether strength training is beneficial for road racing but it is certainly helpful for sprinting.
A lot of road races finish with a sprint.
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Old 09-13-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
You may argue wether strength training is beneficial for road racing but it is certainly helpful for sprinting.
We know the forces required to sprint; theyíre not that large. Why would strength be a limiter for low force exercise?
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