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Does endurance weight lifting help?

Old 10-28-23, 02:30 PM
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Does endurance weight lifting help?

So Iíve been doing strength building workouts at the gym since July. I focus on lower body, and do squats, using several different machines and free weights, so that I target all the muscles. Also do calf raises, and hamstring curls. I do 4 sets of 9-11 reps. I do calf raises until I canít raise my heels high enough. I do this twice a week with a two day rest. At the beginning of October I started doing the same workouts but using an endurance plan where I use about half the weight and do 25 or so reps. Iíve read where this will help with endurance.

So while I think this sounds logical, that is, you buildup muscle strength, then do endurance lifting to help you on the long rides, I just canít find any data to support this idea. Can you guys tell me if this makes sense, or what should I be doing.



Thanks

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Old 10-29-23, 02:42 AM
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The main purpose of lifting weights is to build and maintain muscle and strength, especially important as we age and get older. I highly doubt that lifting weights even for high reps will have any significant improvement on long distance endurance...A typical endurance ride is few hours long, a typical weight training session is only 45 - 60 minutes long....Doing 25 - 30 rep sets will build some muscle and strength and improve your overall health and fitness but it won't do much for bike endurance....To get get better at endurance you need to spend time in the saddle and ride regularly...
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Old 10-29-23, 06:01 AM
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I'm sure less weight and more reps are not going to reduce your endurance, but the proven way to build cycling endurance is long duration rides, about twice a week. Every 2 weeks add 20 minutes to your long rides. BTW, my idea of endurance is a century, nothing ultra.
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Old 10-29-23, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
I'm sure less weight and more reps are not going to reduce your endurance, but the proven way to build cycling endurance is long duration rides, about twice a week. Every 2 weeks add 20 minutes to your long rides. BTW, my idea of endurance is a century, nothing ultra.
Strength training has also been found to increase aerobic endurance. In one study, adding strength training to cross country skiers increased time to exhaustion by 20.5%.

In another study, strength training increased lactate threshold by 12%.

This study of college women found that a low resistance/high repetition exercise produced a larger gain in endurance than either high resistance/low repetition or medium resistance/medium repetition exercise.
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Old 10-29-23, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

This study of college women found that a low resistance/high repetition exercise produced a larger gain in endurance than either high resistance/low repetition or medium resistance/medium repetition exercise.
Nice paper, Terry. I'm a practicing believer in strength training, but your cite is putting a lot of my assumptions in a different light. 40 reps, eh? I like it.
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Old 10-29-23, 11:48 AM
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Well, from doing more reading, I think you're right. It just made sense to me, that endurance lifting would help and improve your muscular endurance while riding, but it just doesn't work like that. So, it looks like when I hit the gym, and that'll be tomorrow, I'll go heavy, and just ride more.
Thanks for your input Woflchild, I appreciate it!
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Old 10-29-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
I'm sure less weight and more reps are not going to reduce your endurance, but the proven way to build cycling endurance is long duration rides, about twice a week. Every 2 weeks add 20 minutes to your long rides. BTW, my idea of endurance is a century, nothing ultra.
Thanks for the input, and from what everyone has said, it seems my idea just doesn't work. My idea makes sense to me, but the bottom line is it just won't work.
Thanks again.
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Old 10-29-23, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Strength training has also been found to increase aerobic endurance. In one study, adding strength training to cross country skiers increased time to exhaustion by 20.5%.

In another study, strength training increased lactate threshold by 12%.

This study of college women found that a low resistance/high repetition exercise produced a larger gain in endurance than either high resistance/low repetition or medium resistance/medium repetition exercise.
Thanks Terry, those are interesting articles. As we used to say in work, "Base your opinions on facts, don't base your facts on opinions."
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Old 10-29-23, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

This study of college women found that a low resistance/high repetition exercise produced a larger gain in endurance than either high resistance/low repetition or medium resistance/medium repetition exercise.
Only endurance at performing the exercises which were used in the study was improved, no improvement in endurance on a bike was mentioned and no improvement in any other endurance activity was mentioned. The gains in endurance was limited to the exercises used in the study....Having said that, I am still a big fan of weight training but not for the purpose of improving bike endurance or any other endurance activity. I just lift weights to maintain overall fitness and strength.
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Old 10-29-23, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Only endurance at performing the exercises which were used in the study was improved, no improvement in endurance on a bike was mentioned and no improvement in any other endurance activity was mentioned. The gains in endurance was limited to the exercises used in the study....Having said that, I am still a big fan of weight training but not for the purpose of improving bike endurance or any other endurance activity. I just lift weights to maintain overall fitness and strength.
This study found strength training increases lactate threshold, which corresponds to improved endurance on the bike:

"Despite no changes in treadmill VO2max or cycle peak VO2, a 33 +/- 5% increase (P less than 0.001) in cycling time to exhaustion at 75% of peak VO2 was observed following (strength) training."

Unfortunately, those studies didn't test if changing the resistance amount made a difference.
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Old 10-30-23, 01:09 PM
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When I started doing resistance training, 25 years ago, I had the convenience of a wonderful gym with a big weight room, lots of equipment, but few patrons in the evening. I also had a copy of The Cyclist's Training Bible. Friel said that if you are starting out, a good idea would be to do circuit training with about 9 different lifts and starting with 3 sets of 20-30 reps. So that's what I did, because I could, and I did it twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday. Being a fan of conditioning, I chose the 30 rep option. Circuit training means you do one set at each station and then go around again for the second and third sets. I wore a heart rate monitor and I'd let my HR drop some, but not too much between stations. I stayed aerobic.

I chose to do all three sets using the same weight for the 3 sets at each station. Just to be clear, I used a different weight at each station. I chose a weight which made it impossible to do all 30 reps for the last set, 28 reps being just perfect. I'd increase the weight for that station if I hit 30 on that last set. I increased the weights a lot over that first winter. By the next year, I would work in with the big guys on the leg sled if it was busy, just doing the standard 10 or so reps. So yeah, it worked and I got strong and also got way faster on the 60-80 mile weekly hilly group rides. I could do a fast 400k with no training ride over 60 miles. And this was in my 50s and early 60s. So yeah, it worked.

However, once I'd done this year 'round for 3 years, the time it took became an issue and I changed over to the standard method of 3 sets of 10-12 reps at each station, which did well for strength maintenance.
My circuit was:
1-Hip extension (barbell squat)
2-Seated row
3-Back extension
4-Hip extension (leg sled)
5-Bench press
6-Heel raise (one-legged, no weight, full range of motion)
7-Stiff-legged dead lift
9-Lat pull

When I became interested in serious road riding it was the year that Bicycling sponsored a team of four over-50 y.o. riders on RAAM. I can't remember which rider, but one of them could sled 450 lbs. 50 reps. Yeah!
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Old 10-30-23, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by neverquit
So Iíve been doing strength building workouts at the gym since July. I focus on lower body, and do squats, using several different machines and free weights, so that I target all the muscles. Also do calf raises, and hamstring curls. I do 4 sets of 9-11 reps. I do calf raises until I canít raise my heels high enough. I do this twice a week with a two day rest. At the beginning of October I started doing the same workouts but using an endurance plan where I use about half the weight and do 25 or so reps. Iíve read where this will help with endurance.

So while I think this sounds logical, that is, you buildup muscle strength, then do endurance lifting to help you on the long rides, I just canít find any data to support this idea. Can you guys tell me if this makes sense, or what should I be doing.



Thanks

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Old 10-30-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
When I started doing resistance training, 25 years ago, I had the convenience of a wonderful gym with a big weight room, lots of equipment, but few patrons in the evening. I also had a copy of The Cyclist's Training Bible. Friel said that if you are starting out, a good idea would be to do circuit training with about 9 different lifts and starting with 3 sets of 20-30 reps. So that's what I did, because I could, and I did it twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday. Being a fan of conditioning, I chose the 30 rep option. Circuit training means you do one set at each station and then go around again for the second and third sets. I wore a heart rate monitor and I'd let my HR drop some, but not too much between stations. I stayed aerobic.

I chose to do all three sets using the same weight for the 3 sets at each station. Just to be clear, I used a different weight at each station. I chose a weight which made it impossible to do all 30 reps for the last set, 28 reps being just perfect. I'd increase the weight for that station if I hit 30 on that last set. I increased the weights a lot over that first winter. By the next year, I would work in with the big guys on the leg sled if it was busy, just doing the standard 10 or so reps. So yeah, it worked and I got strong and also got way faster on the 60-80 mile weekly hilly group rides. I could do a fast 400k with no training ride over 60 miles. And this was in my 50s and early 60s. So yeah, it worked.

However, once I'd done this year 'round for 3 years, the time it took became an issue and I changed over to the standard method of 3 sets of 10-12 reps at each station, which did well for strength maintenance.
My circuit was:
1-Hip extension (barbell squat)
2-Seated row
3-Back extension
4-Hip extension (leg sled)
5-Bench press
6-Heel raise (one-legged, no weight, full range of motion)
7-Stiff-legged dead lift
9-Lat pull

When I became interested in serious road riding it was the year that Bicycling sponsored a team of four over-50 y.o. riders on RAAM. I can't remember which rider, but one of them could sled 450 lbs. 50 reps. Yeah!
Thanks Carbonfiberboy! Your workout seems to be what I'm trying to do. And you're correct, you just can't quit! At 77 it would be a major uphill to get started again, so no manner how tired or whatever I am, I go to the gym or ride. And 99% of the time I feel better afterwards.
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Old 10-30-23, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by neverquit
Thanks Carbonfiberboy! Your workout seems to be what I'm trying to do. And you're correct, you just can't quit! At 77 it would be a major uphill to get started again, so no manner how tired or whatever I am, I go to the gym or ride. And 99% of the time I feel better afterwards.
You'll think you're horribly weak, don't get discouraged. Just do it. It'll come, but about 3 times slower than it used to.
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Old 10-30-23, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
You'll think you're horribly weak, don't get discouraged. Just do it. It'll come, but about 3 times slower than it used to.
Ah! you're so right! I'm always the last guy in, or they're all waiting on me at the top of the hill. That's why i've decided to do leg strengthening during this off season. And thank you for the encourgement.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:18 PM
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Here are some thoughts from the top of my head.

Low weight high reps are for hypertrophy. They bulk up your muscles. But endurance athletes like swimmers, marathon runners and cyclists aren't looking for bulk.

To endure, you need strong cardio. The weight bearing exercises that really put stress on cardio are squats, DL and the leg press machine at high rep (go deep so you use your glutes instead of just your quads).

But having said all that, do a lot of hamstring and leg press exercises for cycling. DL training helps you maintain form when climbing (you use your arms to pull on the handlebars). And I do believe high reps help contrary to what I first stated.
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Old 10-31-23, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4
Here are some thoughts from the top of my head.

Low weight high reps are for hypertrophy. They bulk up your muscles. But endurance athletes like swimmers, marathon runners and cyclists aren't looking for bulk.

To endure, you need strong cardio. The weight bearing exercises that really put stress on cardio are squats, DL and the leg press machine at high rep (go deep so you use your glutes instead of just your quads).

But having said all that, do a lot of hamstring and leg press exercises for cycling. DL training helps you maintain form when climbing (you use your arms to pull on the handlebars). And I do believe high reps help contrary to what I first stated.
Thanks for your input Daniel, I certainly appreciate it!
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Old 11-03-23, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4
Here are some thoughts from the top of my head.

Low weight high reps are for hypertrophy. They bulk up your muscles. But endurance athletes like swimmers, marathon runners and cyclists aren't looking for bulk.

To endure, you need strong cardio. The weight bearing exercises that really put stress on cardio are squats, DL and the leg press machine at high rep (go deep so you use your glutes instead of just your quads).

But having said all that, do a lot of hamstring and leg press exercises for cycling. DL training helps you maintain form when climbing (you use your arms to pull on the handlebars). And I do believe high reps help contrary to what I first stated.
When I do strength training I don't worry about including any cardio. I figure that cycling is more than enough cardio and so I focus my limited strength training on improving muscle strength, flexibility and balance.
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Old 11-05-23, 10:39 AM
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Here are a couple of ideas for you.

Weight training on the bike - The pedal stroke is round and slightly non linear. And there is a speed of muscle contraction that is generally greater than done in the gym. And one uses one leg at a time versus pushing with both at the same time. Strength coaches for sprint teams know that and adjust weight workouts in the gym even going to the trouble of taking videos of pedaling and attempting to match the setup of the leg press to match individual style. One leg box jumps are also in their repertoire.

So when one is on the bike. one can do seated starts and standing starts that will mimic one leg dead lifts and the muscle action and speed are perfect for cycling. One can put the bike in a big gear and do flying 100 meters to improve strength on the bike. This is right out of the playbook from Team USA sprint team.

Will any strength work that increases muscle strength as well as muscle size and weight improve endurance? The answer is yes, stronger muscles fatigue less assuming that they are then trained for endurance. If all one does is strength work then one will have little endurance. Every sprinter knows that endurance is a speed killer. So track sprinters have just enough endurance to get through a sprint competition. That does not mean that they could not have endurance it means that they choose not to.

One way to make sure that strength gains in the gym are locked in and the proper neurology is developed for that increased strength is to ride the bike directly after the weight workout and do lower cadence higher power short intervals. Of course, this trashes ones legs but it will build strength, power and endurance and maximize the time in the gym with a focus on endurance improvement. Also, keep the muscle movement in the gym faster being careful not to use too much weight and go for more sets and reps with focus on one leg movements. One leg dead lift. Not so easy to do.
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Old 11-05-23, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
<snip> One leg dead lift. Not so easy to do.
Good stuff. One leg on the leg sled, easy to do and effective. My go-to when I'm in good shape. Use same range of motion as cycling.
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Old 11-22-23, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Here are a couple of ideas for you.

Weight training on the bike - The pedal stroke is round and slightly non linear. And there is a speed of muscle contraction that is generally greater than done in the gym. And one uses one leg at a time versus pushing with both at the same time. Strength coaches for sprint teams know that and adjust weight workouts in the gym even going to the trouble of taking videos of pedaling and attempting to match the setup of the leg press to match individual style. One leg box jumps are also in their repertoire.

So when one is on the bike. one can do seated starts and standing starts that will mimic one leg dead lifts and the muscle action and speed are perfect for cycling. One can put the bike in a big gear and do flying 100 meters to improve strength on the bike. This is right out of the playbook from Team USA sprint team.

Will any strength work that increases muscle strength as well as muscle size and weight improve endurance? The answer is yes, stronger muscles fatigue less assuming that they are then trained for endurance. If all one does is strength work then one will have little endurance. Every sprinter knows that endurance is a speed killer. So track sprinters have just enough endurance to get through a sprint competition. That does not mean that they could not have endurance it means that they choose not to.

One way to make sure that strength gains in the gym are locked in and the proper neurology is developed for that increased strength is to ride the bike directly after the weight workout and do lower cadence higher power short intervals. Of course, this trashes ones legs but it will build strength, power and endurance and maximize the time in the gym with a focus on endurance improvement. Also, keep the muscle movement in the gym faster being careful not to use too much weight and go for more sets and reps with focus on one leg movements. One leg dead lift. Not so easy to do.
If an increase in resistance becomes necessary after training for a while (and peaking), switch the bicycle to a cheaper, heavier model, possibly with slightly poor bottom bracket bearing - and continue with the program. 😉
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Old 11-23-23, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
If an increase in resistance becomes necessary after training for a while (and peaking), switch the bicycle to a cheaper, heavier model, possibly with slightly poor bottom bracket bearing - and continue with the program. 😉
Or just ride faster, which is usually more enjoyable.
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Old 11-23-23, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Or just ride faster, which is usually more enjoyable.
Most people have upper limits as to how fast they can safely go. Common sense dictates that added resistance would requires extra effort and keep the speed under a safe range..
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Old 11-23-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Most people have upper limits as to how fast they can safely go. Common sense dictates that added resistance would requires extra effort and keep the speed under a safe range..
I can safely say I havenít reached those upper limits yet on a bicycle!
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Old 11-23-23, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I can safely say I havenít reached those upper limits yet on a bicycle!
I switched to riding tandem with my wife outdoors (~half my watts/kg). That worked like a charm. It's not the speed - we've hit 65 mph on the tandem, cruise on the flat at 18 in camp touring trim - it's the amount of time spent climbing at the same effort, plus there's something a little mysterious about the pedal effort. We started in '07. I'd done my first mountain 400 around then. Our first real ride was only 20 miles, but my legs got exhausted just by that little ride. I tell ya, there's nothing like it for building muscular endurance. Don't know why really, but I speculate that it's something to do with having to hold the effort all the way around the pedal circle. Similarly, one could go out on group rides on one's Surly with panniers loaded, say 40-50 lbs. should do it. And you have to live in a hilly area, no choice but to ride a lot of hills. A rider who'd later be the fastest American on RAAM used to come out with my group towing his lab in a trailer, same kind of thing. Just riding a heavy steel bike won't do it, not by a long shot. I take my carbon single on the big mountain rides. We used to take the tandem, but Stoker has given that up, not a fan of pain and nothing left to prove.

I think the new feminine perspective has something to do with today's vanishing tandem teams and tandem sales. We used to see more tandems out on the road than we see today. Now everyone wants to control their own destiny. Imagine that! Still, I encourage couples to give it a try. It's a relationship accelerator and time is short.
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