Leg strenthening at gym VS time in the saddle



samcrx3

New Member
Apr 25, 2005
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I seem to have a big problem with leg strength when climbing significant hills. When I go up a hill I end up having to drop my gears into almost granny gear. My legs don't have any power in them to turn the pedal. My breathing and HR seem to be at the limit of my current ability when climbing a hill. My max HR is supposed to be around 180, but I would be lucky to be able to get it to 160 without feeling like dying.
Would it be worth just spending more time in the saddle? Would leg strengthening and gym work be useful? There seems to be a lot of debate about this on the internet.
I don't race, but ride for personal achievement and fitness. I am part of our local bike rider group - who are far better than me! I always feel I'm getting nowhere as it just seems like so much hard work.
Your ideas welcomed.
Regards, Samantha
 

wiredued

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Aug 17, 2004
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FWIW I try to stay in the saddle for 20 minutes at a time keep breathing under control even on hills but always concentrate and stay above my natural not thinking about it pace. This is roughly the sweet spot for building power on 1 to 3 hour rides. You don't noticed an increase right away it takes time be patient. You might want to ride solo in this semicomfortable hurt zone or find an intermediate group ride. Gyming isn't specific enough for power in cycling unless you are interested in match sprint events.



samcrx3 said:
I seem to have a big problem with leg strength when climbing significant hills. When I go up a hill I end up having to drop my gears into almost granny gear. My legs don't have any power in them to turn the pedal. My breathing and HR seem to be at the limit of my current ability when climbing a hill. My max HR is supposed to be around 180, but I would be lucky to be able to get it to 160 without feeling like dying.
Would it be worth just spending more time in the saddle? Would leg strengthening and gym work be useful? There seems to be a lot of debate about this on the internet.
I don't race, but ride for personal achievement and fitness. I am part of our local bike rider group - who are far better than me! I always feel I'm getting nowhere as it just seems like so much hard work.
Your ideas welcomed.
Regards, Samantha
 

Alex Simmons

Active Member
Mar 12, 2006
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samcrx3 said:
I seem to have a big problem with leg strength when climbing significant hills. When I go up a hill I end up having to drop my gears into almost granny gear. My legs don't have any power in them to turn the pedal. My breathing and HR seem to be at the limit of my current ability when climbing a hill. My max HR is supposed to be around 180, but I would be lucky to be able to get it to 160 without feeling like dying.
Would it be worth just spending more time in the saddle? Would leg strengthening and gym work be useful? There seems to be a lot of debate about this on the internet.
I don't race, but ride for personal achievement and fitness. I am part of our local bike rider group - who are far better than me! I always feel I'm getting nowhere as it just seems like so much hard work.
Your ideas welcomed.
Regards, Samantha
Been riding up Mt Panorama have we?;)

Stick with it Samantha. If you keep at it you will improve. I thought the same thing when I started, always getting dropped by my mates on rides but I kept going and started training more regularly and I got better. Now days I'd beat most of them in championships.

The best way to improve your power and fitness on the bike is to ride more. Forget the gym, keep going to the hills. Maybe see if there are any hills where the gradient is not so steep so you can feel as though you are working hard without having to go at walking pace (like riding into a headwind). The more time you put in, the better you will get.

Remember, consistency of training is the most important aspect of building fitness. Can you ride several times (4-5) a week?

Maybe consider a coach to help you shorten the time to improve fitness.