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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Weight lifting for cyclists?

Old 06-04-11, 02:48 PM
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Sapience
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Weight lifting for cyclists?

So I've done some looking around and haven't found a tremendous amount of recent discussion on the topic of strength(weight) training for roadies. I'm not talking about bulking up to Arnold Schwarzenegger proportions, but just some weight lifting to add some muscle to the chest, shoulders, and arms to make your body more proportion and balanced with the massive legs that come from cycling.

I know that this is adding "extra weight" and can negatively impact my cycling, but I'm not planning to go pro or take racing all that seriously; I'm more concerned about having fun and looking healthy.

Anyone have any recommendations or training plans? Any thoughts?
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Old 06-04-11, 03:02 PM
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https://cyclo-core.com/

I've known several people who have gotten good results with this. You're absolutely right that bulking up isn't really your goal, so programs like this are quite good.
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Old 06-04-11, 03:20 PM
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I have lifted much longer than I have been cycling. Personally, I don't really care if lifting slows me down a little because I am not a competitive cyclist. But, I am not entirely sure that it will slow me down. It is about power to weight ratio. So, if I gain weight I will need to become stronger in order to maintain the same speed. Since I still have body fat, I not concerned with gaining muscle mass. I will lose the body fat.

Here is my routine:

Monday - Back and arms. Four sets of three for back and two sets of three for biceps and triceps. Abs, three movements, three sets, 20 reps.

Tuesday - Spin class.

Wednesday - Legs, squats, two leg press movements, seated and standing calves, leg curls, two exercises hip flexors. Abs.

Thursday - Spin class.

Friday - Chest, shoulder and abs.

Saturday- Off.

Sunday - 45 mile road ride.
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Old 06-04-11, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbon Unit View Post
Wednesday - Legs, squats, two leg press movements, seated and standing calves, leg curls, two exercises hip flexors. Abs.
Do you think cycling is enough for leg workouts, or is a dedicated strength training day for legs really worth it?
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Old 06-04-11, 03:28 PM
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I also have been lifting longer than I have been riding. IMO, to most effectively combine lifting & riding you should aim for a bull-body/half-body split that hits each body part ~twice per week. Here's my routine as an example, but for novice lifters or people who cycle more than I do (about 6hrs/week) I'd suggest doing a full-body routine 2 times a week instead of a half-body routine 4 times a week (really have to have good recovery/know your body & it's signals to train with more volume):

I. 4 Day Routine (Groups of 2)
- Day 1:
o Chest & Back
• Bench Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Incline Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Deadlift 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Bent Row 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Face Pull 1x6 1x8 3x8
• Weighted Dips 3xfail
• Pull-ups 3xfail

- Day 2:
o Shoulders & Legs
• Overhead Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Upright Row 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Squat 1x6 1x8 3x5
• SLDL 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Core Twists 3x20
• Reverse Crunch 3x20

II. Schedule:
- Heavy Day 1 + Cycle (Pacing/Spinning & Technique)
- Light Day 2
- Cycle (Hills & Sprinting)
- Light Day 1 + Cycle (Recovery Ride)
- Heavy Day 2
- Off
- Cycle (Endurance Ride)
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Old 06-04-11, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
Do you think cycling is enough for leg workouts, or is a dedicated strength training day for legs really worth it?
Well, you can just cycle and skip the legs but I have found that doing a leg workout has increased my leg strength so I am able to climb hills in harder gears. My objective is to be able to climb hills without needing a compact or triple and a 11/28 cassette. It appears to be working. The down side to leg exercises is that you probably will not be able to cycle the next day because your legs will feel like rubber. So, I do an easy spin class the day after and wait a few days before I do a fast road ride.

I think it is worth exercising every muscle you can. Do not skip the abs either. That is the most important muscle group for cycling. I also do a lot of push up and pull ups.

Last edited by Carbon Unit; 06-04-11 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 06-04-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by robbie_vlad View Post
I also have been lifting longer than I have been riding. IMO, to most effectively combine lifting & riding you should aim for a bull-body/half-body split that hits each body part ~twice per week. Here's my routine as an example, but for novice lifters or people who cycle more than I do (about 6hrs/week) I'd suggest doing a full-body routine 2 times a week instead of a half-body routine 4 times a week (really have to have good recovery/know your body & it's signals to train with more volume):

I. 4 Day Routine (Groups of 2)
- Day 1:
o Chest & Back
• Bench Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Incline Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Deadlift 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Bent Row 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Face Pull 1x6 1x8 3x8
• Weighted Dips 3xfail
• Pull-ups 3xfail

- Day 2:
o Shoulders & Legs
• Overhead Press 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Upright Row 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Squat 1x6 1x8 3x5
• SLDL 1x6 1x8 3x5
• Core Twists 3x20
• Reverse Crunch 3x20

II. Schedule:
- Heavy Day 1 + Cycle (Pacing/Spinning & Technique)
- Light Day 2
- Cycle (Hills & Sprinting)
- Light Day 1 + Cycle (Recovery Ride)
- Heavy Day 2
- Off
- Cycle (Endurance Ride)
I agree with your workout and that doing a full body workout twice a week is best. I use to split a full body exercise into Monday and Tueday take Wednesday off and then repeat on thursday and Friday. However, I am now over 50 and decided that I need more time to recover and now I only work each body part once a week. It seems to work well for me.
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Old 06-04-11, 05:22 PM
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Something to consider, generally speaking, both your genetics and your diet will affect your results at least as much as compared to one's split-routine, number of reps, etc. Truth be told, both of these factors will have a larger influence individually, and certainly collectively.

With that said, I would encourage most cyclists to google the tabata protocol, as it is both effective and time-limited. I have been lifting weights a very long time and while I do not carry the mass that I used to carry in my younger years, I can report that since I have included tabata into my routines I have been particularly satisfied.

Good luck.
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Old 06-04-11, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
Do you think cycling is enough for leg workouts, or is a dedicated strength training day for legs really worth it?
I'm a spokesman for the He-Man Squatters Club of America ()

Through the years of heavy powerlifting training I've never felt at a disadvantage when spring came and the Trek came out for a ride. Strong legs will need the endurance training too as you already know.
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Old 06-04-11, 08:23 PM
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Get Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and read it. There is no easy way to get stronger do your research and results will follow. FORM, FORM, FORM is most important just like a good bike fit is. In the off season Squats and deadlifts and more squats. That's all you need for the first few months of lifting. You will then learn what feels right and tailor your routine from there.
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Old 06-04-11, 08:36 PM
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As well as the basic workout stuff, I'd add some basic power moves to your repertoire at some point. it doesn't have to be a ton. aging + endurance training = loss of muscular power. I'm talking jump squats, push presses/jerks, hang cleans, kettlebell swings...really, these things fit into lifting for health and fitness very well. a push press is very, very easy to learn, and can be done in place other, strength-based shoulder exercises (for example).
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Old 06-04-11, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BoodBianchi View Post
Get Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and read it. There is no easy way to get stronger do your research and results will follow. FORM, FORM, FORM is most important just like a good bike fit is. In the off season Squats and deadlifts and more squats. That's all you need for the first few months of lifting. You will then learn what feels right and tailor your routine from there.
Exactly. And if you arent powerlifting for a competition...just wanting to build strength....the deadlift and squat workout is brutally intense even at lighter weights. Excellent moves, non-complicated and effective.
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Old 06-04-11, 10:14 PM
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I love it when people think that as soon as they start lifting a few weights that they will immediately "bulk up". It's simply not that easy. Cross-Fit is good, Body for Life is good also. Just don't ready ANY Joe Weider magazines like Muscle and Fitness or Men's Fitness. Pure crap. Based on what the OP said in the first post, that can be accomplished through push-ups, pull-ups, bar dips, and other body weight exercises. If you want to get fancy, do CF or BFL. High intensity Iterval Training.
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Old 06-04-11, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
I love it when people think that as soon as they start lifting a few weights that they will immediately "bulk up". It's simply not that easy.
I wish bulking up was easy. Gaining muscle is a very slow process and takes a lot of effort. A lot of people will not work hard enough, follow a strict diet or stick to a routine long enough to bulk up.

But, even casually lifting weights will deliver benefits.
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Old 06-05-11, 12:26 AM
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There's lots of good information upthread, and the library is good too.

I lifted every winter years ago when I was racing, and I lifted this winter too. Probably the greatest benefit is core work - abs and midsection - that seem to be very hard to develop just by cycling. I do general upper body work, usually three or four sets, each one to failure, and keeping the weights light enough for good form and 12-20 reps. Not much worry about building bulk that way, but it's great for strength.

Leg work is curls and extensions and leg presses, which I do once a week (more if I can't ride, but I ride every day). I tend to treat those more like interval work, where every set is to failure, they are spaced close enough together that I don't get complete recovery in between sets, and I don't worry about reps so much as time. A set is about 45 seconds usually, about 20 reps.
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Old 06-05-11, 07:51 AM
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+1 for full body program
+1 for compound movements
+1 for strength building

Bulk, big muscle gains, and significant muscle weight will not happen on a moderate program mixed in with riding. But the benefits of increased strength and muscle balance will. Much like cycling it takes time, effort, and consistency to see improvement and the benefits outweigh the small weight gain you might see. If you do notice a quick increase in weight keep in mind that it's mostly water retention and that goes away over time.
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