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No-weights strength training?

Old 04-01-13, 01:52 PM
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Sapience
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No-weights strength training?

Can you strength-train enough for cycling by just using your own body weight, i.e. pushups, situps, etc, or do you need to use actual weights?

I used to ride quite a bit, even did a century ride at one point (El Tour de Tucson), but then I got into an accident and broke a few bones. I've been off the bike for about 2 years and a half and gained a bit of weight - not really too bad, but more than I am comfortable with. I started riding again this month in the beautiful Arizona desert, and I forgot how fun this sport is. I need to get in shape and thought some sort of strength-training would help with some base miles. I'm starting off at ground zero, so I'm open to suggestions
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Old 04-01-13, 03:52 PM
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Strength training is designed to build muscle in areas that are traditionally not worked heavily in cycling. Cyclists have notoriously weak upper bodies in many cases and that, coupled with a lack in flexibility that often comes with not having a diversified program, can impact your efficiency on the bike. So it would be difficult to really make much upper body progress without weights, but most strength training programs don't actually have you lifting actual dumbells; you work with machines that don't take the same toll on your body.

Another great exercise for cyclists are step ups, where you step onto platforms carrying your entire body weight on one leg. That's good for strengthening not only your leg muscles, but also builds the muscles around your back and helps you put less pressure your back overall. Lunges are also very effective. Be aware, though, that depending on your weight, you may find step ups and lunges difficult at first because you can't "scale" them up incrementally as easy as you can with weights.
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Old 04-02-13, 07:10 AM
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Yes! Body weight training is great and in my opinion would be adequate for your goals. Personally, I enjoy loading weight on the bar and lifting, but if it's not your thing then you don't need to do it.

Check out this youtube page - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLkq...?feature=watch

That guy has a ton of body weight training vids, as well as showing some good progressions to get to the more difficult stuff.
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Old 04-02-13, 08:55 AM
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Body weight work is great. Whole-body exercises like burpees are a great combination of core strength/cardio workouts. Push-ups in their various varieties are good too.
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Old 04-02-13, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
Can you strength-train enough for cycling by just using your own body weight, i.e. pushups, situps, etc, or do you need to use actual weights?
Of course, they are a good alternative to equipment or gym costs and a great combination with aerobic exercise!

There are lots of body weight exercises for warm ups, the full body and the upper and lower body you can do. Combine them into a circuit doing one movement after another to keep your heart rate up or use them to target a part of your body you want to improve.
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Old 04-02-13, 02:35 PM
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Yes. See: https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Your-O.../dp/0345528581

Some of these workouts are insanely hard.
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Old 04-02-13, 09:55 PM
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Targeted training on the bike can also be very effective in strengthening your cycling muscles and training them to fire properly. I do three pedaling drills:

FastPedal: pedal in a very low gear at the highest rpm you can sustain for as long as you can do it. You have to have some flat road or a trainer or rollers to do this. Don't go fast at all. Ride much more slowly than you normally would, just at a very high cadence. Work up to 15 minutes steady, then 20, then 30, then 40, which might take a couple of years. You should be working fairly hard, but not breathing heavily. If you have cadence on your computer, you are shooting for 115-120. One drill/week.

One legged pedaling: Prop one leg in the frame triangle and pedal with the other. Choose a gear and cadence that allows you to do this without ever letting the chain go slack. Alternate legs. Try to hold it for one minute each leg, then 2 minutes each leg. Do several sets until you can't do it anymore, then continue your normal ride. Repeat next week. You'll get a lot better at it in about 8 weeks.

Then do muscle tension intervals: On a long shallow hill, maybe 4%, shift into a big gear and pedal up it at a very slow cadence, seated. You should be working hard enough to be breathing heavily. Hold your upper body completely still. Do it for 10 minutes, roll down and repeat, 3 times. Continue with your normal ride.

All the above will increase your cycling-specific strength.
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Old 04-03-13, 06:44 AM
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One comment is that it's worth doing strength training that won't help your cycling, too. Upper body strength doesn't necessarily help cycling much, but will help you.

One suggestion (in addition to what's above) is to get something cheap like resistance bands. You can find a lot of exercises on line using these, too.
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Old 04-07-13, 11:14 AM
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Bodyweight training is great for general health and fitness purposes. The studies that have shown benefits to cycling performance have mostly used fairly heavy loads (3-8RM), so BW is unlikely to cut it in this regard.
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Old 04-08-13, 08:23 PM
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I am an avid TRX Suspension user. Check it out. Core, core core as well as mucle work. Will not get you huge which is a good thing. Buy one one CL. Cheap. Good luck.
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