Hypertrophy on the bike - possible? (very long)



velomanct

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Dec 21, 2003
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WarrenG said:
Some food for thought.

In my age group 45-49, the world record holder for the fastest 200m in competition did 11.3 seconds without using any banking or draft, at sea level (Manchester, UK). He has smallish legs and generates his speed at fairly high cadences. The second best sprinter in the world has large legs and does absolutely no weight training-he does a good amount of sprinting up hills in training.

If you're going to do squats you need to do plenty of core strengthening and upper body too so you can support the forces generated by your legs. If you sprint hard up hills the supporting muscles should get trained to their appropriate levels.

I think your earlier calculated wattages (and maybe forces) were too low. I do uphill sprints for 20" in 53x15 and the wattages are usually 960-1100, for 6 to 9 repetitions. Somebody else already mentioned the neurological adaptations. By sprinting at fairly high force, for this many repetitions (pretty much to failure mode) I think it's likely that you're engaging about as many motor units as possible.
Hill sprints are my favorite workout. The best part is you can usually ride into them at some speed, and not have to do any shifting to maintain your desired cadence.
 

beerco

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velomanct said:
What's your point?

I'm not going to read through that whole article on training to try to find what you saying.

L2 through 5 will result in hypertrophy of slow twitch fibers while L7 has an effect on fast twitch fibers.

I'm sure the increase in muscle mass isn't as dramatic as weight lifting but it's certainly there.
 

beerco

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velomanct said:
edit.


okay, I have seen that graph before. Hypertrophy of slow twitch muscles will not result in a larger cross sectional area.

Do you know what hypertrophy means? How can you have hypertrophy without an increase of cross section?
 

velomanct

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beerco said:
Do you know what hypertrophy means? How can you have hypertrophy without an increase of cross section?
We're talking real muscle mass building here. No one gets significant increases in muscle mass from slow twitch muscle hypertrophy.
 

Trainingwheelz

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Okay but one guy is a far cry from an acceptable application to the general field.



dot said:
I don't know about short sprints but I know that repeated climbing standing on very big gear (50-60 rpm) on steep off-road 1.5 min climb (20-25% I think) brings excelent hypertrophy. For last 7 years I've known a guy who is a cross contry racer. He is 79 kg and 183 cm. He is lean for his weght but his thighs and calves are HUGE. This exercise is his favourite. He can do it for 1.5 hours (up to 30 times) for three consecuitive days. And with this weight and muscles he regularly beats any MTB-racer here except 3-5 top really professional world class racers (he is local semi-pro). No matter is it STXC or six hour marathon.

That's the most perfect example for me that high gears with low cadence on heavy climbs really work. No science report can't beat this evidence.
 

WarrenG

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velomanct said:
Hill sprints are my favorite workout. The best part is you can usually ride into them at some speed, and not have to do any shifting to maintain your desired cadence.

The speed that you start with has some impact on the training effects you'll get. Since the topic is hypertrophy, starting from less than ~3mph would be best. A brief stop could be even better.
 

velomanct

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WarrenG said:
The speed that you start with has some impact on the training effects you'll get. Since the topic is hypertrophy, starting from less than ~3mph would be best. A brief stop could be even better.
The problem with that is you will accelerate and either have to shift or your cadence will not be simular throughout the effort, thereby reducing the specificity of the workout.
The question is, what is the best cadence for inducing hypertrophy? Probally quite low around 50rpm. You would then roll into a hill at the goal speed, and just maintain the speed at max effort while climbing the hill.

Accelerations are great, but not the best way to put a constant even load on your legs.
 

whoawhoa

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dot said:
I don't know about short sprints but I know that repeated climbing standing on very big gear (50-60 rpm) on steep off-road 1.5 min climb (20-25% I think) brings excelent hypertrophy. For last 7 years I've known a guy who is a cross contry racer. He is 79 kg and 183 cm. He is lean for his weght but his thighs and calves are HUGE. This exercise is his favourite. He can do it for 1.5 hours (up to 30 times) for three consecuitive days. And with this weight and muscles he regularly beats any MTB-racer here except 3-5 top really professional world class racers (he is local semi-pro). No matter is it STXC or six hour marathon.

That's the most perfect example for me that high gears with low cadence on heavy climbs really work. No science report can't beat this evidence.
So, by your logic, if the riders that beat him don't do big-gear training, that obviously means that big gear training is good, but not the best way to train, right?
 

WarrenG

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velomanct said:
The problem with that is you will accelerate and either have to shift or your cadence will not be simular throughout the effort, thereby reducing the specificity of the workout.
The question is, what is the best cadence for inducing hypertrophy? Probally quite low around 50rpm. You would then roll into a hill at the goal speed, and just maintain the speed at max effort while climbing the hill.

Accelerations are great, but not the best way to put a constant even load on your legs.

I think for the hypertrophy and really improving your jump you'll prefer a cadence less than 20 or so-forces are higher. Other aspects of fitness can still be improved in the session when cadence is higher-but not so much for hypertrophy.
 

whoawhoa

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WarrenG said:
Some food for thought.

In my age group 45-49, the world record holder for the fastest 200m in competition did 11.3 seconds without using any banking or draft, at sea level (Manchester, UK). He has smallish legs and generates his speed at fairly high cadences. The second best sprinter in the world has large legs and does absolutely no weight training-he does a good amount of sprinting up hills in training.

If you're going to do squats you need to do plenty of core strengthening and upper body too so you can support the forces generated by your legs. If you sprint hard up hills the supporting muscles should get trained to their appropriate levels.

I think your earlier calculated wattages (and maybe forces) were too low. I do uphill sprints for 20" in 53x15 and the wattages are usually 960-1100, for 6 to 9 repetitions. Somebody else already mentioned the neurological adaptations. By sprinting at fairly high force, for this many repetitions (pretty much to failure mode) I think it's likely that you're engaging about as many motor units as possible.
What's cadence?
 

whoawhoa

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WarrenG said:
I can only guess by looking, but he's pretty good above 145 rpms. Probably closer to 160.
Sorry, I meant during your sprints. Now I see you said 6-9 repititions. I'm amazed you can do that kind of wattage at a cadence of 18-27!?
 

WarrenG

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whoawhoa said:
Sorry, I meant during your sprints. Now I see you said 6-9 repititions. I'm amazed you can do that kind of wattage at a cadence of 18-27!?

I start at about 3mph and end at about 80-90 rpm's. (I don't care only about hypertrophy. In fact, it's not all that important for my training.) Sometimes I'll choose to begin these sprints at about 15mph and finish near 27mph. Depends on the objective(s).

I think that wattage is a bit misleading at very low rpm's. Force/effort are especially high but not reflected with really high wattages. I have a Polar and a buddy who has powertap says the same thing. Sometimes, you do the really hard efforts and don't worry about how, or if it's measured accurately because you still know the effort is worthwhile and leading to improvement.
 

dhk

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Agree that force and wattage are much different at low rpms. In fact, from a stop, at zero rpm, your power output is technically zero, even though you may be applying maximum force to the pedals. If you're training to improve the peak forces that you can apply, then agree that a power reading isn't really important, as you stated.

On a slightly different note, I appreciate hearing about your training experience. As an age-group national champ track guy, your workouts are obviously a lot different (and harder) than the training I do to ride club events and centuries.
 

WarrenG

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dhk said:
Agree that force and wattage are much different at low rpms. In fact, from a stop, at zero rpm, your power output is technically zero, even though you may be applying maximum force to the pedals. If you're training to improve the peak forces that you can apply, then agree that a power reading isn't really important, as you stated.

Yes, for sprinting the watts are really more for entertainment value, and sometimes it's useful to look at trends, but virtually none of the efforts are done with power targets-they're done based on effort, e.g. 90% of max, 95% of max, 100% max effort. I'm the only person among my friends that are good sprinters who uses a powermeter at all. I use it mainly for other types of training. Experience, feel, speeds, comparisons made during sprints with other people, and timing tell the story pretty well.

dhk said:
On a slightly different note, I appreciate hearing about your training experience. As an age-group national champ track guy, your workouts are obviously a lot different (and harder) than the training I do to ride club events and centuries.

Thanks for that. 4 hours of hills-hard for me, not so hard for you. :)
 

velomanct

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WarrenG said:
I start at about 3mph and end at about 80-90 rpm's. (I don't care only about hypertrophy. In fact, it's not all that important for my training.) Sometimes I'll choose to begin these sprints at about 15mph and finish near 27mph. Depends on the objective(s).

I think that wattage is a bit misleading at very low rpm's. Force/effort are especially high but not reflected with really high wattages. I have a Polar and a buddy who has powertap says the same thing. Sometimes, you do the really hard efforts and don't worry about how, or if it's measured accurately because you still know the effort is worthwhile and leading to improvement.
I do a lot of standing start type sprints too. There is a place for each kind of workout, depending on your goals. Another one of my favorites is doing jumps in a slightly harder gear than I would normally use. It's still a relatively fast movement, but it recruits more motor units because of the higher force. These really help with that initial power.
I believe sprinting requires a lot of mental focus as well. You need to have a lot of aggression and imagine you are trying to break the pedals off the cranks (I put the fate of my family jewels in those Speedplay zeros - don't let me down!!). That visulation helps.

It helps to be angry. This is where it's a good thing to have a driver throw something at you.

Another thing to know is, you loose leg speed(explosiveness) sooner than strength. This is part of the reason why you can produce more sustained sprint power going uphill than you would a on flat. If you want confirmation of this, do a 20 second long sprint up a 16% grade. It hurts, a lot. I can actually average 50% more power doing that, compared to a 200meter.
 

acoggan

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frenchyge said:
Have you seen this: http://home.earthlink.net/~acoggan/misc/id6.html ? The trackie involved had a maximum effective pedal force of ~1100N at 0 rpm. That correlates to about 250lbs

Hey, give her a break! :) She was a pursuiter, not a sprinter, and that ~250 lbs was ~1.75x her body weight. I don't know whether such training led to any hypertrophy, but her 5 s power increased by 25% in 8 wks when she started doing such workouts regularly, as described here:

http://www.earthlink.net/~acoggan/setraining/