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Do you train your quads?

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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

Do you train your quads?

Old 07-28-13, 01:10 AM
  #1  
hillcrawler
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Do you train your quads?

Or let the climbs do it for you? I'm asking because i heard that if you make a lot of flat rides your quads don't get trained well, i mean not as much as your calfs, so it causes an imbalance on your muscles contracting your kneecaps and you have problems (knee pain etc.)
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Old 07-28-13, 08:16 AM
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Kai Winters
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I've used very large gears at low rpm's to try to simulate climbing on the flats...is kinda sorta works a bit.
I've used a variety weight lifting regimens...squats, hack squats, etc...they work kinda sorta.
I've used a short, hard climb doing repeats over and over...again kinda sorta works somewhat.

Nothing trains the body and mind for climbing as climbing...period.
It is not a "one" type of exercise or training either...climbing well requires lung development as well as the cardio physiology development all in conjunction with muscular development...everything else is a simulation and works...again kinda sorta.
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Old 07-28-13, 08:49 AM
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Old 07-28-13, 09:04 AM
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generalkdi
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I do some squats, lunges, during the winter, and some hard stuff on the trainer (sufferfests).
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Old 07-28-13, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by hillcrawler View Post
Or let the climbs do it for you? I'm asking because i heard that if you make a lot of flat rides your quads don't get trained well, i mean not as much as your calfs, so it causes an imbalance on your muscles contracting your kneecaps and you have problems (knee pain etc.)
Where did you hear that? It sounds like internet noise.

Climbing is about putting out reasonable power for a sustained period. Whether you put that power out on the flats or on a hill isn't going to make any difference to your muscles unless you're undergeared and riding at too low a cadence.
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Old 07-28-13, 12:58 PM
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This sparked my interest only because I live around a flat part of land and after a while got some soreness in the knees, but I figured my cadence was too high and should be working in a higher gear to get beefier.
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Old 07-28-13, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Celiacattack View Post
This sparked my interest only because I live around a flat part of land and after a while got some soreness in the knees, but I figured my cadence was too high and should be working in a higher gear to get beefier.
That's backwards in my experience: too low of a cadence causes my knees to ache. When that happens it's a reminder to gear down and spin up.
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Old 07-28-13, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Celiacattack View Post
This sparked my interest only because I live around a flat part of land and after a while got some soreness in the knees, but I figured my cadence was too high and should be working in a higher gear to get beefier.
More likely your soreness is due to a problem with fitting than muscle imbalance.
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Old 07-28-13, 01:45 PM
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Simulated climbing on flat ground doesn't work, since you can't coast uphill.
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Old 07-28-13, 01:48 PM
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caloso
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FWIW, although there's no better prep for climbing than climbing, you can successfully prepare for a hill climb or hilly century on flat ground.
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Old 07-28-13, 02:59 PM
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You should be using your hamstrings and glutes more when climbing. If you are not then you could be climbing faster if you fixed your position.

Leg presses work your hamstrings and glutes, not quads.

Cadence "too high" does not make your knees hurt. Too low makes your knees hurt. There is no such thing as "too high" as long as you are smooth and not bouncing in the saddle.
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Old 07-28-13, 03:03 PM
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Here in the mountains you get plenty of climbing to work even those muscles. I really thought you meant do folks go to the gym and do things like leg presses; squats; leg extensions; and other such free weight lifting.
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Old 07-28-13, 03:05 PM
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Soreness in the knees could be a fit issue that needs addressing possibly. Just a thought.
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Old 07-28-13, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
Simulated climbing on flat ground doesn't work, since you can't coast uphill.
Have you ever done or trained for a TT? Not a lot of coasting going on there.
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Old 07-28-13, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Have you ever done or trained for a TT? Not a lot of coasting going on there.
Or climbed a hill for that matter. It's certainly possible to coast even on the steepest hills.
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Old 07-28-13, 04:03 PM
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I've never done any type of weight lifting, and my quads and calves are pretty decently sized. I'm natural a wide guy so my legs have always been pretty thick. But now with cycling they have turned from mostly fat into a good amount of muscle. I only ride on flat though.
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Old 07-28-13, 09:28 PM
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IMO you heard wrong. The most important thing you can do is work on a smooth pedal stroke. Some people get a muscle imbalance, some don't. Who knows what that depends on. I don't think it has anything to do with climbing or lack thereof. It is true that the best way to improve your climbing is to climb more. That said, I always lift in the winter in the gym and do various cross training: hiking, skiing, and using cross training machines in the gym. Seems like a reasonable thing to do to me.
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Old 07-28-13, 10:04 PM
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You're entirely correct that a muscle imbalance can cause knee pain. The best way to avoid that is cross training, especially in the winter when cycling is limited, weights, varied terrain when you can, and drills on a stationary trainer like one legged, pyramids, varied cadences, etc. In other words as long as you don't do the same thing every day for years, you should be fine.

If you do develop an imbalance, a good fitness trainer/PT can help with some diagnostics and corrective exercises.
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Old 07-28-13, 11:08 PM
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I like to do compound movements in the winter. Squats, deadlifts, military press, barbell row, bench press.
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Old 07-28-13, 11:26 PM
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I have huge legs from my time as a body builder, I don't know if they help me or not while cycling, I do know I don't get sore with my legs nor do they get tired easily. I feel I trained for heavy weight and not for endurance. If want to train legs I would suggest squats and dead lifts with lower weight and more reps (10-12) range. That will help with muscle endurance.
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Old 07-29-13, 12:27 AM
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Calves? How does cycling even recruit calves?
Usually they are the one muscle I do not even notice while cycling. Even my triceps get sore from some positiond but calves? Nah...

But try running and it's completely different story
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Old 07-29-13, 01:13 AM
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Climbing doesn't give you explosive strength for sprints, attacks, being able to sustain a high speed on the flats. Climbing just simply makes you better at climbing. I'm a gym rat so even though I ride 3-5 times a week I still have a leg day once a week at the gym. The one leg muscle that a lot of people neglect to workout are their hamstrings. Squats, leg presses, single legged squats, and hamstring work definitely made me a stronger rider.
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Old 07-29-13, 03:35 AM
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Apply your hand brakes at varying pressure and try riding a mile while sitting or standing. Works great for SW FL. flat land exercise of the legs.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 07-29-13 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 07-29-13, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
Calves? How does cycling even recruit calves?
Usually they are the one muscle I do not even notice while cycling. Even my triceps get sore from some positiond but calves? Nah...

But try running and it's completely different story
If you pedal heel down, you use your calves a lot.
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Old 07-29-13, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This setup looks like a recipe for disaster. Either the board will crack in half and slice into your calves or the bottom edge will flip up and smack you in the thighs. I'd get some larger dumbbells and just do lunges/squats to work the quads. At least you're wearing a protective headband.
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