Originally Posted by DeadLights
I want to give a brief rundown. So you know where I stand. I'm 32. I weighed in at 260lb last October. Now I'm down to 192 and just purchased myself a Trek 1.1. I have always enjoyed biking so it was a no brainer for me; I am absolutely hooked.
While losing weight I have been doing strength training for muscle retention. I decided when I started that I didn't want to be a bean pole. I want people to look at me with my shirt off and know I workout. So 3 times a week I'm lifting weights and big compound lifts; Squats, Dead lifts, Bench, Overhead press.
I live in a very hilly area. So my challenge is to become good at hills. I have no choice. My leg muscles on bike rides are begging for death! I make it up the big hills. Usually very slowly and by the time I'm cresting the lactic acid in my legs have built up so much that I spend the entire ride down trying to stretch and ride at the same time.
My question to you all is. What type of training do you do in the weight room to be more powerful on the road? I really don't want to give up squats. Is it just that my legs are not used to this type of endurance? I obviously hit legs hard in the weight room, but biking is a different beast. That's using the muscle for extended periods of time, so perhaps it will get better?
What types of training should I be doing on the road? My first goal is to get good enough to not be an embarrassment on a group ride. My second goal is to work my way up to long rides 50+ mile rides. Currently I'm riding 16-20 miles at a time. I'm also only able to ride on weekends due to family life, so getting a lot of riding days in are hard. I just have to hit the road and hit it hard 2 days a week. Will that be enough riding for me to be able to at least hang with the big boys?
I'm a little surprised that you haven't been inundated with replies... but first, and pardon the length of this reply, congratulations on your wight loss and welcome to the family, warts and all. There are many more qualified to speak to some of your individual questions, but I'll open up the discussion and hope that others chime in.
1. You want to look like you work out - good, keep doing what you are doing and you will look like you work out. It will help your cycling in a minor way as you should have the core strength to stabilize yourself on the bike. Squats will help your legs look like you work out, but generally won't help your cycling unless they were exceptionally weak when you started. Same for leg presses, dead lifts, or pretty much any other leg based gym routine. Search for posts by FeltRider. He was a competitive bodybuilder and knows his stuff, and I think he and most will agree that you will not improve your cycling in the gym. You will be strong, your clothes will fit well, you will look like you work out, because you do, but lots of very strong guys are out of breath by the time the get to their car.
2. Cycling is an aerobic endurance sport and you have to train those systems by working them out, just like you do your muscles. According to Joel Friel in the cyclists Training Bible, there are three phases of the development of general cycling fitness. muscular strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic endurance. Training for cycling is about consistency and specificity. In other words, you have to be on your bike putting the necessary systems to work, so they can adapt and get stronger. If one of those systems is weak, it shows up when you ride. Based on what you have said, and reading a little between the lines, I would bet both your muscular endurance and aerobic fitness are weak. To get a feel for where you are take one spin class...I know, the guys in the free weight area will give you a hard time, but so what. Try one and you will identify where you are weak.
3. Cycling for long periods of time taxes both your muscular endurance and your aerobic systems. You have to develop the ability to function for extended periods of high heart rate as well as long periods of applying relatively high pressure to the pedals. Its all about the balance on any ride over about an hour or two long. On a training ride, establish your normal speed and then shift up a gear at a time and increase your cadence while holding your speed; spin at what feels exceptionally fast for as long as you can hold your speed. When you can't get enough air to keep it up, drop down to your lower gear and slow your cadence to where you started, hold your speed. Let your breathing come back to fairly normal levels (recover) and hold your speed until you legs start to feel a bit tired. Shift back up to the higher gear and spin for a while and let your legs recover, all the while holding your speed fairly constant. When you need to, drop the gear and use your legs some more. This style will work both your aerobic system and help build your muscular endurance. This works well when you have a flat or rolling area to ride in.
4. The secret to climbing hills is to be able to spin the pedals relatively fast (85-100 rpm). From your description of lactic acid in the legs, my guess is that you are trying to climb too fast in too high a gear. New riders tend in general to have a fairly low cadence(60-70 rpm) and end up with sore legs and sometimes damaged knees.
5. Hills are the best training ground you can find. Spin fast up the hill push hard on the downhill side. As you develop fitness, the speed up the hill will increase as you are able to push a lower gear on the uphill side without burning out your legs. The variation is cadence and gearing helps keep your legs flushed out during the ride and you won't feel like you have to spend the ride stretching out your legs.
6. Hanging with the big boys takes longer. be patient.
7. To answer your specific question, I would spend a part of your gym time on a bike or trainer instead of doing weights. I would do intervals on the bike 2 days during the week, weights on the third gym day, and ride as much as you can on the weekend.
For a good description of training intervals look at the thread "Its killing me" and look at the interval description. For example 2 intervals 20 minutes long at a riding cadence of 85-90 RPM, with a resistance level that you could barely manage for the 20 minutes, rest for 5-10 minutes and do it again would be referred to as a 2x20min threshold interval. I would not try to do this after a leg workout. Ignore all the power this and the until you are ready, and focus on a perceived exertion level of about an 8 or so. If you cannot do 20 min, reduce it to what you can. When that is easy, increase the duration to 30 minutes, or increase the resistance for 20.
8. New riders on a group ride, pick your group wisely, and new riders will be welcomed and encouraged. Pick the A level hammerfest group and you likely won't see them for long and you'll be riding solo. Ask me how I know! I ride with a group capable of 20 mph or so over long distances like 100 miles which is over my head right now, but I ride with them when they are going shorter and fast or long and slower. That way I'm not holding them back on their long fast rides, but I also get the benefit of riding with a group of stronger riders much of the time. From where you are now, it took me just about over a year of pretty diligent training to be able to do the 50-60 mile rides at 19-20mph, or much of any distance at 20 mph.