Maximum strength and cycling performance

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by dominikk85, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    Cheers

    Will respond to your excellent post soon. Need some beauty sleep as it's 12:30am here.

    I don't train Olivia, I coach her to win races.

     
    steve likes this.


  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Felt, excellent points on specificity, warm-up, and path toward goal, along with many interesting others.

    In high school I had the pleasure of meeting a friend who got me into lifting. I had already done two years of racing as a junior but was starting to become more interested in girls than bikes and what better way than building some manly muscles to attract the ladies ;) I was also a small kid for my age, except legs which I had in droves (from genetics, not the riding), and couldn't do a single pull-up on the baseline test for gym class. I remember Marco's exact words to this day, "Foz, we are gonna put some meat on your bones". Your post reminded me of this story for a couple reasons, my friend also had severe stretch marks from extreme and sudden hypertrophy. He was a gifted lifter not only huge for an 11th grader, but huge for any adult. Two years later when I did my pull up test I managed 3 sets of 15, achieved mostly through consistent loading, a good diet (plus a wheelbarrow full of Joe Weider products each week), and plenty of rest.

    I trusted my friend and stuck with his plan. I think one of the most important lessons in any sport is to choose our mentors/coaches wisely, and then follow what they say without falling prey to the lures of marketing calls, fads, or what someone else is doing.

    Before I go completely off topic I just want to say it's interesting you mentioned the hack squat. It was my favorite, and at my local hardcore bodybuilding gym, the only machine which I could do the entire rack. For my heavy sets we'd actually have to balance additional dumbells above the stack to achieve my desired weight for reps, I seem to remember it taking the weight up to a little over 300 for 5 or 6 reps (the machine maxed out at 250). 600 for reps is serious weight! It's ironic how for the two of us the weights have produced less benefit on the bike than what some sources would have folks believe. My personal experience has me actually getting faster on the bike once I gave up lifting completely in lieu of recovery demands and training time for cycling specific work. I still however possess a flicker of vanity, and continue with the pull ups and push ups lest I hurt anyone's eyes when I go to the beach ;)
     
  3. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Well-Known Member

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    dan, you just shook up some cobwebs of something I overlooked about specificity and some cases that sort of act in reverse.

    For instance I mentioned that a person that primarily used leg presses may not progress in their squat lift if that is their goal, but a person that has a good squat can typically and casually have a much better lift on a leg press. This kind of breaks the rule of specificity for a lift. On that particular hack squat machine had all the attributes to suit my body type, plus it had some really good ball bearings in the carriage. Some hack squat machines, especially the old school with rusty wheels, I probably couldn't have gone over 300 lbs if there was a lot of unseen resistance in the machine. But with hack squat and leg press you get to take some of the weak areas (lack of core strength in comparison to the leg strength) out of the equation.

    I never was able to do 600 on the hack squat machine again after that one time. Not even for a single rep. It was like I hit my all time peak in leg strength. Just before that hack squat personal best I had my goal to do a legal power lift squat (point on hip below point on knee) and failed. I had a goal for a 1RM for 500 lb squat at 175 lbs. I hit 495 lbs on the warm up and first attempt, but hit the floor with 500 lbs. It crushed me so much mentally that I never tried working toward the peak condition again. On leg press I think the heaviest I ever went was around 1200 lbs for reps. I never bothered with trying a 1RM for leg press. I never consider leg press to be much of anything. Upper body I was pathetic on bench and the most ever that I did was 300 lbs. Never hit the 315 mark which is the equivalent to most cyclist having a goal of 300 FTP. It's funny that there are those two common benchmarks on these training forums.

    But because I developed some strength in full squats hack squat and leg press were much easier and I just wanted to point out that there are some instances where the rule of specificity may not necessarily apply.

    dan, you also note something that is of concern to me and something that fergie and others probably watch closely - leg speed. That is what I meant when I said I was "highly trained to go slow." Those who train specifically for strength are focused way down on the opposite end of the force / velocity curve. Kind of why you will see the typical light frame boxer or MMA fighter destroy most muscular fighters due to hand speed and carrying that extra weight will eventually tire down the heavier fighter. As the years progressed in my lifting my vertical jump decreased and my speed in general really slowed down. You guys have seen my writing before that I struggle to hold 70 rpm cadence. It hard for me to get my legs moving that fast and in cycling power can be produced by a lightweight endurance cyclists by increasing the velocity rather than the force. If it were up to me as a cyclist I would rather have power produced by velocity than by force. If I were on the track I would still need a lot better velocity than I currently have.

    I tried to think of things that may develop explosive power and yet are closer to the force / velocity mark as to cycling with hopes that it may transfer to the bike. This is just pure speculation, but I wonder how a periodization of working on vertical jump, sprinting stadium stairs or fast ladder climbs (if the gym had the equipment) would work toward those short high intensity cycling competitions. At this point I just wonder. I think of this because using weights in a fast manner (velocity) can be unsafe or cause joint injuries. I used to see people doing fast velocity on a leg press and it makes me cringe to think of the damage to the knee joint or the opportunity to hyperextend that joint.

    Cool stuff........


    ----------------------

    fergie, love that video and the integration of the metrics. Makes me want to go faster on my bike. :)
     
  4. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Well-Known Member

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    ugh.......not really a precise statement.

    Maybe a better way to say that I would prefer to lean more to the velocity side than the force side. It would probably be nice to improve both force and velocity.
    Hopefully you guys get what I tried to say.
     
  5. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    It would be interesting to find out what the Great Britain program has their riders doing. Those riders seem to be the ones to beat in the speed events. In a interview with Nothstein, he mentioned spending some time in the gym. I can't remember if the interview went into detail about his specific strength program, but given his stellar career, whatever it was didn't seem to hold him back. His dominance in Sydney was awesome. I saw him at T-town practicing accelerations behind the motor. It was impressive to say the least.
     
  6. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    I must say, I agree with danfoz's comment about finding a good coach and follow what they ask. In my years racing, I was always on teams that were coached. As a rider, I did not have much interest in studying all the latest in training programs and such, I wanted to train and race. Also, it was nice having somebody to tell you,"Don't do that". Coaches sift through all that for their riders.
     
  7. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    Men's 1km Time Trial - 2013 UCI Track World Champ…:



    I was watching the 2013 UCI Kilo. During the Japanese ride, the commentator mentions that the riders do loads of weight training to produce the watts needed for the event. Notice. The effort these guys are using in their starts. Also, many of the competitors with slower times have some technical issues in their riding. To be at the top of the leader board, you need the right amount of both watts and technical facility.
     
  8. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    Just returned from the World Congress of Sport Science conference in Leeds titled "The Science behind the Tour de France". Bent Ronnestad presented his findings and when asked the question about the matching of workloads between experimental and control groups claims they were equally matched as the endurance only group did the same volume of training as the endurance plus strength group. But not really matched for training density. His response was that if training six hours a day on the bike one could train 4.5 hours and do 30min of gym and get an extra hour of recovery. My response would be one could also ride for 4.5 hours and do 30mins of intervals and get an extra hour of recovery. This is actually how I train people in a base phase.
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Well-Known Member

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    Thanks fergie for the update

    There are some very telling things in Ronnestad's plan in regards of using the word "strength."

    IMO - your thought on changing the word "strength" to "conditioning" would be a better way to describe this.

    If I could flip this around and look at it from the other direction with a what if scenario maybe it would give cyclists and endurance coaches a different perspective. Although I have no doubt that you personally get it and I think your plan is much better as a coach to a cyclist athlete. Also I think your perspective as a cycling coach will help you manage the overall training load because throwing in other forms of training makes the equation harder to manage, well at least IMO. I know I have a very hard time managing between the two and I have been trying to find that N=1 path since 2004.


    Flipped around

    What if you turned over a group of your clients to me to train them in true strength training for an hour and then I returned those athletes to you to finish up their training in the next consecutive minutes or hours? How much focus and freshness do you think they would have to complete the training targets on that given day? Let's say you had them scheduled to target true L5 intervals after they just finished an hour of true strength training. Do you think they would be capable of hitting those targets? What if they needed to do 3 hours of sustained Tempo as a target?

    Flipped back around

    Based on my own personal experience and helping true strength athletes I want to be absolutely fresh if I am going to hit a strength target of 85 to 90% of my 1 RM weight on any given lift. I would want my clients to be fresh when I have something assigned for them on that given day. If all they can do after 3+ hours of cycling is hit 30% of their 1RM on a particular lift than I doubt it is going to stimulate greater strength.

    That's not to say that training with weights is totally ineffective for some sort of conditioning, but I would not classify it as strength training. It is not the typical way one would improve their 1RM in the squat by going out and pre exhausting the muscle group to where it is only capable of hitting a higher training target.

    Not to talk negative toward Ronnestad's plan, but his idea of 30 min. of gym is probably not that same as my idea of 30 min. of strength training at the gym or maybe his idea is not strength training and it is just about a different type of general sports conditioning.

    It is how the word "strength" is being used in the cycling world where I struggle. Now I have seen a video of a female track athlete doing a triple on full squats with 300+ lbs and that got my respect for sure in terms of strength. There had to be some really dedicated focus in the gym for her to get to that level of a full squat. I was absolutely impressed by that effort. That is not developed by a few weeks of 30 min. gym effort or she is simply a freak of nature with 1 : 100,000 genetics that suits both types of activities.

    __________________

    fergie, glad you have good perspective on this topic.
     
  10. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    In terms of substituting a short gym session for more time on the bike it doesn't take into account travel to gym or logistics of having a suitable gym or what happens when travelling.

    Good thing about training on the bike or on a trainer is you incorporate the intensity within a session.

    It's middle of our winter. Pretty mild by comparison to some but I am doing a 45min gym session 2-3 x week because it's just not fun doing long rides in this weather or on a trainer.

    But I know my CTL will take a hit and come road race day that underpins the whole process, then a high FTP and finally a 30s - 5min power depending on how I plan to win races.

    Even for my track sprinters who spent the day in the lab today doing Wingates I was more interested in their 30sec average. In my experience, ie don't have huge amounts of data, the more their peak goes up the less their ave goes up and it's the ave power that contributes more to the outcomes in races.

    If I was going to hand my riders over it would be to someone who could get them into better shape. I do a pretty good job of this so they would have to present some pretty good evidence and it would have to be waaaay more than I got em stronger.
     
  11. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    There are many approaches to training athletes. If a coach has a system that is working for his guys, that is what is most important. It is always good to hear what others are doing and keeping the mind open, but in the end, the proof of any program is how well those on it do in the long term of their development.
     
  12. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Well-Known Member

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    Linking these two highlighted statements together you make some more good thoughts.

    To add to the logistics of travel and suitability and also make sure that when they do get to the gym they are using good technique so that they do not get injured.

    Since I have been in strength and lifting culture for over 30 years I have seen a lot of trends. The hottest current day trend is Cross Fit, which makes some lofty claims and yet I have seen a lot of injuries in the past few years. My chiropractor is big on Cross Fit and yet I have seen his arm in a sling on several occasions due to a shoulder injury. I saw my gym's cross fit coach limping into the gym this morning as I was leaving. I have seen more injured people in the past couple of years than I remember in the past where we took time to learn proper lifting techniques.

    I would not go on a crusade against Cross Fit for many reasons, but they train fast and sloppy. From that I believe there will be a rise in injury and from my limited view it seems to be occurring. Not to mention that another money making scheme is to hold a one day certification class for cross fit where anyone willing to pay $$$$ and at the end of they day they walk away with a certificate that allows them to be hired as a CF coach. Most of them don't even know how to lift correctly for themselves, much less, guide someone else to do it in a manner to stimulate adaptation with a lowered risk of injury.

    ____________________

    I also agree with you on the statement of evidence. To me I think the burden is on finding evidence that strength training is applicable or can be transferred somehow to the competitive endurance athlete than it is to prove that it is not beneficial. I am grateful for those like Ronnestad and other who are looking into these issues with studies, but so far I still have questions about those studies that leave me unconvinced.

    _____________________

    To Colnago, I am very open minded about this subject. It would be one thing for me to a pure endurance athlete throwing out statements against strength training for endurance athletes, but I am a former competitive strength athlete. There is nothing I would love more than to think that my 30 plus years of strength training had some sort of transfer to my progress and performance on the bike, but the truth is I have seen absolutely ZERO sign of the use of strength on the bike since I started cycling in 2004. I like lifting weights, not for cycling, but for general fitness and since I am not an aspiring competitor in endurance sport than it doesn't bother me too much that lifting is distracting to cycling and cycling is distracting to lifting. I accept the fact that me taking a non-specific path toward one or the other will keep me potentially stagnant in both.


    Well maybe the one time I was mt biking years ago and from my lack of handling skills I got my front wheel hung on a log crossing. I got really frustrated and used enough force to literally rip the rear derailleur hanger off the bike. Would have been much better to had used finesse to lightly cross over the log than to have used strength that had me walking out of the woods that day. :)
     
  13. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    The problem with being open minded is where do you draw the line.

    Have a look through all the guru books and there are endless options for training, lifestyle, nutrition, recovery, supplementation. How much time do you spend experimenting before you decide to knuckle down and actually do some long term development?
     
  14. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    I have yet to meet a great coach in any discipline who was unwilling to take a look at an approach or new focus. Successful training programs have successful athletes to go with them. Also, there is often a studies and testing to support the training approach. It is the the job of a good coach to decide the value of all that. There was a time when training by heart rate was the most effective road to improvement. What kind of coach would you be if you ignored the mountain of evidence that training with power is more effective just because you have had previous success with the heart monitors? As more is understood about human performance, previous views change. I am a teacher by trade and have seen many curriculum and other changes as more is understood about child development. Where do you draw the line?; that is for you to decide.
     
  15. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    Felt, if your goal is to be a pure endurance rider, consistent gym workouts might not be the way to go, unless there were some specific issue that you needed addressed. However, there are some highly successful riders at the other end of the spectrum in the speed events that clearly, at least look like, they have spent some time in the gym. I have been riding since around 1980 mainly on the velodrome and have seen ideas and regimes come and go, so maybe strength training is on the way out, it just seems like a great many riders at the highest levels of the speed game are still using it as a training tool.
     
  16. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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  17. POGATA

    POGATA Member

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    Edvald Boasson Hagen wasting his time/energy in the gym, or confusing his competitors, or promoting a chain of gyms etc.
    "- Finally , what are you going this weekend ?
    - Exercise. Either the weights, or I'll take a ride on the bike since the cross with spikes in Marka.
    "
     
  18. An old Guy

    An old Guy Active Member

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    Everyone gets better best by training based on their genes. That is why a plan that works for one person does not work for another.

    If the goal is just to get to 30mph, then getting there fast is easiest.

    When I was younger, I would start my training day by accelerating 1 mph each second up to 25mph. If my goal was to get to 30mph, I would train by starting my day in that manner and last as long as I could. But I can still get up to 30mph, so there is no need to train to do it.
     
  19. Rocket Ron

    Rocket Ron New Member

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    I should mention first I´m fairly new to riding, but a long time runner. I have found planning rides helps. So I now do an endurance type ride on Sundays with some friends, about 100kms then a HIIT ride on Tuesdays and a Z2 on Thursdays. My avg speed on the endurance rides has increased from around 22kph to 26kph in 1 month and I am tackling hills much better. So I am now able to hit 30+kph and hold it for some time. Not 30MPH yet but I feel the strength building.
     
  20. POGATA

    POGATA Member

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    Laurens ten Dam wasting his time/energy in the gym, or confusing his competitors, or promoting a chain of gyms etc.
     
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