Out of the saddle climbing and bone density

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Animator, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Animator

    Animator New Member

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    Assuming for a second that decreasing bone density is a real issue for cyclists it would seem to me, from what I have read, that regularly standing while climbing would more or less mitigate the problem. Thoughts?
     
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  2. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Given the fluidity of cycling movements, I still wouldn't call it high impact. I would say the physiological effect is more like standing around.
     
  3. giddyupchik

    giddyupchik New Member

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    You still need some sort of impact activity...I'm not saying go out and run 5 miles on your "rest" day, but there's no impact in standing up on the hills...
     
  4. Animator

    Animator New Member

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    Is this based on someone's hypothesis or is there real data that shows that only high impact exercise will have the desired effect. Again, assuming this is a real concern in the first place (which I'm not convinced of yet).
     
  5. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Impact requires rapid deceleration in reference to a contacting object. A clipped in cyclist does not meet that definition. Obviously the effect of impact on bone growth is not an all or none phenomenon, but cycling is definitely at the low end of the spectrum.
     
  6. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    How about weight lifting's impact on bone density? Because one is generally working with much higher force and weight than one is working with on a bicycle ride, does weight lifting therefore stress the bones quite a bit more than cycling and thus help with bone density much more than cycling, or does one actually need to engage in a legitimate, high impact activity like running or jumping to have a positive impact on leg, bone density?

    What about bone jarring mountain bike rides? Are cross country or downhill mountain bike racers any less prone to bone density problems than road racers are?
     
  7. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Weight lifting is like the reverse of zero gravity. It would add bone density. But the question is how much.

    Mountain bike ride? What's an average mountain bike ride? And if you really want to build up bone density, then take out those suspensions. :D
     
  8. strader

    strader New Member

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    I've always been confused about this topic, partly because so much conflicting information exists. Some texts suggest that after about age 25 your bone mineral density reaches a peak and it is simply a matter of stemming losses for the rest of your life. Other articles I have found suggest people later in life (in particular, postmenopausal women) can increase bone mineral density through strength training. Here's an article I turned up through a quick google search, however it sites only other books, not published studies:
    http://www.newstarget.com/010528.html
    Some abstracts:
    http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail&origin=ibids_references&therow=618501
    http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail&origin=ibids_references&therow=620236
    http://www.acsm-msse.org/pt/re/msse/abstract.00005768-199901000-00006.htm;jsessionid=HJlZBvr11z8vz6NYy4bwQLJFv7cRQhHQJJDnpkhCXz3LT4nf4VGL!65375592!181195628!8091!-1
    Osteoporosis in Cycling:
    http://www.beezodogsplace.com/Pages/Articles/Osteoporosis-Cycling/Osteoporosis-Cycling.html

    In order the mimic the effects of weight training on the bike you would need to perform intense anaerobic efforts such as sprints or standing starts. I am talking about real weight training here, the type that actually causes muscular hypertrophy and increase in strength, not the type where people leg press 50lbs for 100 reps or some other rediculously light weight.
     
  9. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Nothing to not understand here.

    Bone density does decrease after physiological peak. You can slow the rate of decrease through exercises, appropriate food, sun exposure, pharmacological agents. But there's no way a 60 yrs old would have greater bone density than someone in their late 20s unless there's some disease process going on.

    At the end of the day, cycling just isn't the premier sport one thinks of if bone density increase is the primary goal. But if general physical exercise and outdoor sun exposure counts, then it's much much better than sitting indoors as far as bone density is concerned.
     
  10. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I assume bone density could become an issue if you're riding awesome amounts of miles and thereby putting stresses on the body as a whole. Common sense suggests any endurance sport performed over vast amounts of training hours can either reduce bone density or lower testosterone. This is essentially testified to by Chris Boardman in one of his books.
    Lay-offs and recuperation periods ought to allow the body to recuperate from the stresses of such training.
    Even endurance runners have suffered testosterone drops.
     
  11. Animator

    Animator New Member

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    Thanks for the links. There seems to be only one cycling specific study on this topic, and according to the Bicycling article, it is:

    "... a good study," says Dr. Felicia Cosman, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "But given that it is not longitudinal [a long-term comparison with several measuring points], includes no dietary assessment and has no similar studies of recreational cyclists or couch potatoes to compare against, you can't extrapolate it to the general cycling population."

    Now that I've read a little bit more, it seems that my activities off-the-bike pretty much mitigate any concerns about bone density loss. YMMV.
     
  12. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    It would tend to mitigate. No telling which effect is stronger.

    How about making sure there's some better source of calcium to be had than your bones? I am posing the question; I don't know the answer.
     
  13. sugaken

    sugaken New Member

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  14. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    Interesting thread. I lift weights in the gym so my upper body won't look like Tyler Hamilton's or the Chicken's. I will never ride like them, so it isn't worth it to me to look like them.:D But after reading all the multiple threads in these forums the last couple of years about how weight training does absolutely nothing for your cycling, I gave up leg weight training in the gym, thinking that my legs were getting all the workouts they needed from cycling. But now I am kind of wondering if I could have low density bone mass in the legs as a result of mostly all cycling and no weight training on the legs, and relatively high density bone mass in the upper body as a result of weight training? It would be funny if I was tested and there was found to be some major discrepancy between my upper body and lower body with regard to bone density.:eek:
     
  15. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    You lift sitting down, do you?[​IMG]

    What does it, anyway? I think it's the blastocysts trying to keep your blood at the right Ph by taking Ca from your bones, which would imply moderate intensity cycling required no special tactics to retain bone density.
     
  16. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    Well actually I do quite a bit of it standing up, but I am generally working on chest, shoulder, biceps, triceps, lats, abs, lower back and external obliques. I ran and mogul skiied for years, which theoretically should be good for bone density, but I pounded and ground down the cartiliage in my right knee to nothing---now have a bone on bone situation, and the doctor asked me to give up those two sports. Of course having some cartiliage removed previously didn't help the situation either.

    How about all those folks over on the power forum doing all those 2*20 intervals this winter at their functional threshhold? Maybe they are exerting enough force in those intervals to keep up their bone density?

    I still need to read a lot of the articles posted in this thread.
     
  17. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    Well I just checked the sticky acronym thread and I can't find any BDTP in the list----Bone Density Threshold Power. :D
     
  18. bushido5

    bushido5 New Member

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    I may be a little confused but I think it is weight bearing exercises that builds bone with or without impact.
     
  19. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    It's stresses of all form. Those baby osteoblasts/osteoclasts respond to dynamic stresses. Static weight bearing is just a part of the dynamic stress equation, hence acceleration and deceleration.
     
  20. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    If the osteoclasts break down bone in order to maintain blood Ph, wouldn't that imply that long climbs may work against bone density? Your blood gets more acidic and stays that way for a longer time, especially if you don't stop to sit down in the grass and rest at the end of the climb.
     
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