Gaining power without gaining weight

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by lanierb, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    I find that when I train hard to gain power I put on substantial leg muscle weight -- right now the difference between my trained and untrained weight is about 8 lbs (this is all legs as I have the same exact belt size and very little fat on my upper body). The shorter duration intervals I do, the more leg weight I gain.

    I'm wondering if there is any form of training that would give the same power gains without building my leg muscles so much. I'm no expert but what I envision is a small efficient muscle. For example, you could imagine a small muscle firing a higher percentage of its muscle fibers per pedal stroke, then recovering quickly. Again, without being an expert I could envision this might be achieved by building better blood flow in the muscle. Does anyone know how I could adjust my training to achieve something like this? Even if it takes me a longer time to make the same power gains I'd be fine with that as I'd really like to take some weight off at the same power output.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. morana

    morana New Member

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    yeah you are on to something there. Get the muscle fibres to fire at the same time... I remember a Dr. Gordon Wright had a session for Stuart Dangerfield to teach the fibres to fire synchronously. He called them pyramid intervals I will see if I can find the article and I will give you the gist of it......but I dont know if your weight will go up....could if be something other than muscle weight ?
     
  3. Woofer

    Woofer New Member

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    How old are you and how much do you weigh, and what sort of intervals are you talking about in terms of duration and output per kilogram?
     
  4. Smartt/RST

    Smartt/RST New Member

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    The article you mention can be found here: http://www.abcc.co.uk/
    Then click on "coaching articles" and there you'll find the article by Dr. G. Wright.
     
  5. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    Do you mind if I ask what discipline you are? Are you a trackie? The only time that power would correlate with muscle size is if we were talking about explosive power, as in the first few seconds of a match sprint; otherwise the two are mostly unconnected. There is some hypertrophy of ST fibres when going from an untrained to a trained state, but nothing major.

    L.
     
  6. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    The change in weight is likely due to glycogen depletetion. That's why you are faster when you weigh more. Gaining and losing 8lbs of leg muscle from cycling is extremely unlikely, especially over short periods time.

    Or it could easily be water retention.
     
  7. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    I'm just a regular roadie but on the larger side -- about 6'1" and 180lbs. All my life I've built muscle very easily. My friends are jealous but I actually find I have the opposite problem they do. I can build muscle fast, but at the expense of gaining weight. I was curious if there's some way to minimize that. I will look up the article above.

    Lanier
     
  8. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    gaining weight is a function of consuming more calories than you burn. if you limit your intake, you won't gain weight.

    BTW, I am the same size as you (actually 190lbs now, 6'1") and I still look skinny. I still consider myself to have toothpick legs and arms. (I even started weight training to help with my sprinting goals)
     
  9. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    I was just curious because you said '..train hard to gain power..'. Unless you're a track cyclist who's in the gym to build strength I can't imagine what type of training would cause significant hypertrophy (nor would you want it to).

    L.
     
  10. mises

    mises New Member

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    I agree with everyone else that based on your training hypertrophy shouldn't be a problem, but having seen my wife put on muscle by looking at a weight set I am also certain there are people at the far end of the genetic spectrum who gain mass without the usually required training stimuli.

    Very high volume endurance training will certainly get rid of the mass and also alter the hormonal balance favorably to losing muscle, but will also cost you power.

    Because of genetics there are just some things people do better than others. You can't change a track sprinter into a climber, or vice versa, regardless of training so maybe the best response is to stop trying and go for events that utilize what your body is good at.
     
  11. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the comments. I guess there may be no good answer to this at the present (and since noone else seems to be asking the same question I doubt one will come along soon!).

    Lanier
     
  12. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    Actually lanierb I still haven't got enough information to answer your question; it certainly shouldn't be much of a mystery! :) Any type of training which would increase sustained power on the bike would be extremely unlikely to cause an increase in muscle mass of any note; which is why I asked precisely what kind of training you are employing which is causing you such problems?

    L.
     
  13. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    Sorry, I must have missed your question. Let me give some more details. I'm most interested in increasing my power at longer efforts (5-30 minutes). I am not so concerned about my sprint power, which is pretty good even if I don't train it, at least on a flat. I do a lot of intervals in that range (4-20 minutes) as well as some shorter ones (1 minute at the shortest).

    My feeling is that I gain the most muscle weight from the shorter duration intervals, where "shorter" means less than 5 minutes. I realize that 5 minutes is still a pretty long time from the standpoint of endurance, but that's my impression. I think I may even gain muscle weight from something like 12 minute hill intervals. The 2x20s don't seem to build my weight as much. For the other ones it's a tradeoff because I gain both power and weight, and my power/weight goes up. However, if there's anything I could do to keep my legs smaller and maintain the same power levels I'd really like to do it.

    I was speculating that maybe it would help to do some long zone 2 rides? I don't really do much of that because 1) I don't have a lot of extra time to train and 2) I can't seem to hold myself back for a whole ride --- eventually I will find an excuse to go for it even if I originally planned not to.

    Also, one more thing. Someone mentioned that weight gain is the difference between calories burned and calories consumed. Clearly that has to be correct. However, I'm pretty thin and I find that things aren't always so simple. If my body wants to gain muscle mass (due to heavy training) it's going to try hard to do it no matter what I eat. Even if I simultaneously cut back on calories somehow it manages to do more with less I find (possibly using less energy for other things?). On the other hand, if I stop training for a couple weeks then I start losing weight almost immediately even if I don't really adjust my diet (so my body is doing less with more). So it's not really that simple. I probably could starve myself a bit more than I do but I don't think that's the real source of the weight difference.

    Lanier
     
  14. frenchcycling

    frenchcycling New Member

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    pedel in a higher cadence, this stresses ur cardiovascular system more then ur muscular system. u will have the same power gains and less muscle weight build up.
     
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