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Benefits of weight training to cycling

Old 11-28-11, 07:16 PM
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A lot of assumptions there but no data - and I don't see any necessity to prove a negative. Therefore you and I have opinions. Fair enough.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
A lot of assumptions there but no data - and I don't see any necessity to prove a negative. Therefore you and I have opinions. Fair enough.
You're entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts.

These are facts: the forces exerted in road cycling are far below the strength of anyone without a significant physical impediment. Published data shows the adaptations from strength training do not carry over to road cycling movements. There are numerous published papers showing no improvement from weight training on road cycling performance and virtually none showing any benefit.

Of course, everyone is free to form their own opinions from these facts.

And before this carries on too much further, why not just refer to https://www.cyclingforums.com/t/47993...fting-for-legs

Last edited by asgelle; 11-28-11 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 11-28-11, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
Strength is the maximal force or tension a muscle or muscle group can generate. Therefore if you can turn the pedals over even once, you are not strength limited. So if you are pedaling up a hill or in a sprint, you are not strength limited.
I don't think I have sufficient strength to push the pedals hard enough to generate 1800W so I would consider myself strength limited. Turning the pedals over is not enough. There needs to be some acceleration involved.
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Old 11-28-11, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
You're entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts.

These are facts: the forces exerted in road cycling are far below the strength of anyone without a significant physical impediment. Published data shows the adaptations from strength training do not carry over to road cycling movements. There are numerous published papers showing no improvement from weight training on road cycling performance and virtually none showing any benefit.

Of course, everyone is free to form their own opinions from these facts.

And before this carries on too much further, why not just refer to https://www.cyclingforums.com/t/47993...fting-for-legs
I'm not going to debate this with you. I do not find the facts to which you refer sufficient to support your conclusions, nor your assumptions valid, but I absolutely have no problem with you having a contrary opinion.
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Old 11-28-11, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83
I don't think I have sufficient strength to push the pedals hard enough to generate 1800W ...
It takes about 185 lb force to generate 1800 W at 120 rpm for 172.5 mm cranks. How much do you weigh? Can you walk up steps?
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Old 11-28-11, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
So you have data (not anecdotes) that increased strength improves road cycling performance? Please share.
Here's one: Strength training improves 5-min all-out performance following 185 min of cycling. I'm sure I can find other studies that show no improvement.
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Old 11-28-11, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
It takes about 185 lb force to generate 1800 W at 120 rpm for 172.5 mm cranks. How much do you weigh? Can you walk up steps?
I calculated over 400lbs of peak force for 1800W at 90 RPM. 185 sounds low as I pull up pretty hard on the bars (implying I'm pushing harder than my 165lbs of weight would allow) and I'm not anywhere near 1800W.

Edit: 185lb is correct for the average force assuming one applies a constant force throughout the pedal stroke. Despite everyone's best efforts to pedal 'circles' no one does though, and the peak force is roughly double the average or 490 lbs of peak force @ 90 RPM. I have no idea how much I can squat with one leg but I don't think it's 490lbs.

Last edited by gregf83; 11-28-11 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 11-28-11, 11:56 PM
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All of us want to get stronger. It seems that there are many paths toward this goal. I've had some success from high rep weight training, and good success from intervals, and very good success from very high mileage riding. It is said that mileage equals strength. I've never heard any rider say that squating equals strength. Now I've been trying some plyometrics at my advanced age. That's been fun and decent success. It's very quick. A lot of it is about what level of riding you are satisfied with, and how much time you are willing to devote to it. One can get pretty good from 40 minutes of weight training and 40 minutes of intervals per week, with only one 50 mile real ride. But if you want to really ride, there's no substitute for really riding.

I ran across a couple of interesting sites recently:
https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mayner1.htm
https://baseballstrengthcoaching.blog...-tears-vs.html

The first link is interesting for its claims that there's more involved than micro-tears in increasing muscle size and strength.
The second link is interesting for its view that, if you're going to perform frequently, one should avoid micro-tears completely. This has a carry-over for cycling, because the more you ride, the better you get, and lifting will have you recovering when you could be riding.
I think this is where that "Distance equals strength" saying comes from.

OTOH, if you don't have much time, maybe the time you can't be riding could be profitably spent on recovering. And of course it all depends on the individual, which is the fun of it all.
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Old 11-29-11, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
All of us want to get stronger.
With respect to cycling, I want to get faster (or stay fast longer).
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Old 11-29-11, 09:58 AM
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I do a lot of weight training in the off season. Generally a squat/deadlift based routine to regain some of the muscle mass lost in the endless hours of pedaling during the race season, and build strength through November/December/January. In February, I transition to a more power based routine of Cleans and Olympic lifts. It is important to understand that strength and maximum Power are not the same, but maximum power is limited by strength. Power exercises will tend to use a quick burst create momentum to help with the lift whereas strength-based lifts don't involve using momentum to help complete the lift. It is ironic that the sport than involves strength lifts (squat, dead lift, bench press) is called "power lifting", and the sport that involves power-based lifts (Clean&Jerk, snatches) is called
"Olympic lifting".

I do gain some weight throughout the winter, but I could prevent this by not eating as much. Lifting weights alone will not make you gain weight unless your diet allows for it. In March as I am getting back down to my race weight and I'm stepping up my on-bike miles and intensity leading into the race season, I just do Body-weight calisthenics and plyometric exercises. The thing about muscle mass is that it is metabolically costly, so having more muscle mass than what can be directly used to apply power to pedals can be somewhat inefficient in the long term. I do think that weight training can be good for creating the ability to produce short bursts, but it comes at the expense of climbing ability and long distance endurance.

I think the benefits of weight training to cyclists will ultimately depend on what abilities the cyclist is trying to improve.
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Old 11-29-11, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
All of us want to get stronger. It seems that there are many paths toward this goal. I've had some success from high rep weight training, and good success from intervals, and very good success from very high mileage riding. It is said that mileage equals strength. I've never heard any rider say that squating equals strength. Now I've been trying some plyometrics at my advanced age. That's been fun and decent success. It's very quick. A lot of it is about what level of riding you are satisfied with, and how much time you are willing to devote to it. One can get pretty good from 40 minutes of weight training and 40 minutes of intervals per week, with only one 50 mile real ride. But if you want to really ride, there's no substitute for really riding.

I ran across a couple of interesting sites recently:
https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mayner1.htm
https://baseballstrengthcoaching.blog...-tears-vs.html

The first link is interesting for its claims that there's more involved than micro-tears in increasing muscle size and strength.
The second link is interesting for its view that, if you're going to perform frequently, one should avoid micro-tears completely. This has a carry-over for cycling, because the more you ride, the better you get, and lifting will have you recovering when you could be riding.
I think this is where that "Distance equals strength" saying comes from.

OTOH, if you don't have much time, maybe the time you can't be riding could be profitably spent on recovering. And of course it all depends on the individual, which is the fun of it all.
I think the "distance = strength" saying has to do with the context in which the word is used. When a cyclist refers to another as "strong", what we are actually referring to is what the rest of the fitness world would call a combination of aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. In most situations "strength" refers to an anaerobic application of force, which not of much direct use to a cyclist.

Of course, during training and racing season, you don't want to be tearing up your muscles when you should be riding or recovering from a ride. If you're just going to be sitting inside watching the snow fall, you may as well got to the gym and try to get what little benefit you can out of an otherwise wasted day.
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Old 11-29-11, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Debusama
I think the "distance = strength" saying has to do with the context in which the word is used. When a cyclist refers to another as "strong", what we are actually referring to is what the rest of the fitness world would call a combination of aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. In most situations "strength" refers to an anaerobic application of force, which not of much direct use to a cyclist.

Of course, during training and racing season, you don't want to be tearing up your muscles when you should be riding or recovering from a ride. If you're just going to be sitting inside watching the snow fall, you may as well got to the gym and try to get what little benefit you can out of an otherwise wasted day.
Yes, a very good point about strength. When the TdF commenter says that the strongest rider will win, he doesn't mean the guy who can squat the most. It might very well be the opposite. A famous marathoner, I can't remember who, said that he knew he was ready for a big race when he couldn't jump more than 6" high.
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Old 12-02-11, 01:01 PM
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First post since February and the same debate continues - do what you feel works best. For me weight training has always been a mandatory part of training (regardless of sport). asgelle and I debated this many times before, his defense is based on empirical data mine based on real world results. Nothing wrong with trying to see if there is an improvement.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CbadRider
I'm a bit leery of doing squats with a barbell.
The things that can go wrong! For about a second, I was worried that someone could die as the result of a slip up. I posted about it at weight training. It is a slightly cute story only because no serious damage was done.

Originally Posted by bassjones
your overall health and fitness will most certainly benefit from swimming as well as weight training. Running is just too hard on the joints and I don't recommend anyone do it - at least not extreme distance running.
I agree completely. I don't even call it running. I call it blowing your joints to bits.

Putting on a few pounds of upper body muscle might be a disadvantage for a competitive cyclist going up hills, but that's not me. Trying to keep your upper body mass small for that is just too specialized for me to consider.

It reminds me of an enthusiastic quote. "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." Robert A. Heinlein
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Old 12-14-11, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Closed Office
The things that can go wrong! For about a second, I was worried that someone could die as the result of a slip up. I posted about it at weight training. It is a slightly cute story only because no serious damage was done.



I agree completely. I don't even call it running. I call it blowing your joints to bits.

Putting on a few pounds of upper body muscle might be a disadvantage for a competitive cyclist going up hills, but that's not me. Trying to keep your upper body mass small for that is just too specialized for me to consider.

It reminds me of an enthusiastic quote. "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." Robert A. Heinlein
I disagree with all of your statements.

Running does NOT equal blowing joints to bits. Almost all studies show that unless you've had major knee surgery, running more = better joints. THere is NO statement anywhere in orthopedics or medical field that says don't run because you'll end your joints prematurely. In fact, they say the opposite - run in moderation for better joint and overall health. The only reason they don't say run a lot is that the studies done haven't included a lot of serious runners, but it's entirely possible (plausible, actually) that they'll do fine, given that there's also no evidence that these elite runners have a increased rate of joint disease.

Specialization is everything in today's world. Yes, you still need to be a balanced person, but being #1 at something yields far greater benefits than being #25, or even #3 at a lot of things. I'm also not ready to give up my upper body mass for the sheer sake of cycling, but I suspect I would if I had any hope of being a top international pro cyclist (which I stunningly obviously clearly do not.)
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Old 12-19-11, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bassjones
Running is just too hard on the joints and I don't recommend anyone do it - at least not extreme distance running. Everyone should be fit enough to run 1-3 miles at a sub 7 minute mile pace.
Originally Posted by Closed Office
I agree completely. I don't even call it running. I call it blowing your joints to bits.
It is surprising to see that this myth about running being destructive on the joints would persist in a forum of athletes who are into a similar sport (endurance).

https://med.stanford.edu/news_release...t/running.html
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