Physiology behind high HR when cycling AFTER weight training?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Doctor Morbius, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I was hesitant to post this because of the multiplicity of threads that already exist on weight training as a method for improving their cycling. However, this is not a "gyming to improve cycing" thread by any means as I'm pretty much in agreement with Ric Stern and A. Coggan, 2LAP, RapDaddy, Frenchyge, Biker-Linz, Roadie_Scum and the many others who's conclusions are there isn't any benefit in trained cyclists so let's move past that.

    My questions are for those of you that do train with weights for whatever reasons.

    1) Have you noticed that your HR is substantially higher for a given effort if you do your cycling sessions (or any aerobic work for that matter) AFTER weights as opposed to before weights?

    2) What is the physiological reason for this?

    I know the short answer is fatigue, but I was hoping that someone could offer some insight or something that I don't already know. ;) Perhaps somebody knows a pointy head, Jeff Goldblum, science guy type answer? :)


    Some background. I've recently switched emphasis from cycling only to weights with a dash of cycling (via indoor trainer) thown in for good measure. I've been doing this for the past couple of weeks.

    The weight routine is very basic. I'm currently using very light weights three out of five days per week with body divided into thirds so that each bodypart gets trained every 5 days. Also only doing 3 sets per bodypart. Over time I will add sets and go a little heavier (i.e. fewer reps) but for now I'm getting sore as I'm fairly detrained for lifting and am being cautious while breaking back into it after so much time off.

    Most exercises (except squats) are supersetted so that I can 1) save time, and 2) get a little added aerobic benefit out of it. My HR during these brief 25 min. weight workouts averages anywhere between 68% - 76% of my known max of 191. After these ~25 minute mini break-in workouts I'll jump on the bike (using Fluid2 trainer) and ride at brisk but not too taxing pace for 20 minutes and yet my average HR for these trainer sessions will be between 84% & 87% of max.

    Normally I'd have to bust my hump to get an avg. HR of 85% while indoors on the trainer with a large box fan blowing accross me and the air conditioning on (outside in the peak of Summer heat is a different story). Even for my personal best 30 minute trainer session (Aug 9th) my average HR was only 84% and I was giving it pretty much everything I had. However, doing these trainer sessions AFTER weights I feel like I could sustain an average of 85% max or more for an hour without difficulty. It feels like I'm putting in 75% HR efforts and getting 85% HR output on the HRM.
     
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  2. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    not sure from reading your post, but when you're hr is 85% after weights, are you riding at the speed/power you normally would be at that heart rate, or slower? Seems like slower from your wording, just checking.
     
  3. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I realize that you're focused on the linkage between your recent weight training and your cycling performance. But, is it possible that what you are observing is explained by your recent lack of cycling and has nothing to do with your weight training? If I'm not mistaken, cycling detraining happens pretty rapidly. For example, it's my understanding that ~50% of the increased muscle mitochondria can be lost in as little as one week and all of the increase can be lost in 5 weeks of detraining. Other physiology "gains" go through different detraining cycles. I'm scrounging around for articles on physiology adaptation timelines for detraining, but I haven't laid my hands on a comprehensive article yet. Anyway, my basic point is that your higher HR associated with a given intensity of effort might be entirely explained by your cycling detraining and might have nothing whatsoever to do with your recent weight training.

    P.S., If I'm sounding more like a cycling guru, it's only because I have just taken the USA Cycling Club Coach License Exam and am studying for the Expert Coaching License and clinic, so I've been doing a lot of homework.
     
  4. Geoff2010

    Geoff2010 New Member

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    this statement has no medical backing... just my observation from lots of experience. during the pre/post season i do quite a bit of weight training... not really to benefit my cycling, but more not look like a scrawny cyclist (no mountains in South FL, so don't need to worry bout that)

    I have found that after about an hour session in the gym my glycogen stores are fairly well depleted... maybe even more so than an hour on the bike. If I don't take at least a couple hours between my weights and my riding, I can definitely feel it. My HR is up a bit.. not nearly as much as yours. It is probably the same physiological reason that causes your HR to raise toward the end of a long ride, even when you are producing the same wattage as at the beginning of the ride... what that is I have no clue :) but I'd love to know.
     
  5. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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  6. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Sorry Rap but detraining in cycling isn't the issue. Please note that I amdetrained in cycling but if I do my 20 min ride before these 25 min weight sessions the results in HR are dramatically different than if I do them AFTER while producing the same avg speed. Thanks though.
     
  7. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Doctor Moribus,

    medulla oblongata, located in the brain, controls both the respiratory and the Heart Rate frequency. When the medulla detects a unusual level of Lactate, CO2 and other bi-products of the weight training session, it increases the heart rate. The effect may last up to 6 hours after the weight training session.

    There are probably other mechanisms as well, that are responsible for the increase in basic metabolism rate after a weight training session. Some people even experiment weight loss as a result of a weight training program without any cardio-vasular exercice.

    I found your question interesting, and it makes me wander what the impact of a well planed weight lifting program followed immediatly by a cycling session would be, on the one's cycling fitness level.

    In other words, the presence of lactate in blood stream while training in Zone2 for instance, could it be beneficial on the one's system's ability to better remove the lactate, thus potentially increasing LT level? :rolleyes:

    Guess it's gonna remain unanswered :)
     
  8. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Yes I've noticed that my ambient (taken while sitting in front of the computer) HR is now around 70 - 75 BPM whereas it used to be around 68 - 60 BPM. I attribute part of this to not riding as much as I had a month ago. Some of this may in part be attributed to a metabolic effect.


    Yes I've read where the difference in boosted metabolism can be as much as 200 calories per day, which over time can be the difference between weight loss and not. This is one of the reasons I'm doing this type of program but I think it takes about an hour's worth of weight training to be effective and not ~25 min as I'm currently doing. It'll be a couple more months before I work up to that as I plan on working up nice and smooth. Sudden jumps have always led to problems for me mostly in the form of fatigue.


    I don't know how it would directly benefit cycling fitness in it's strictest sense as the goal in cycling fitness is to increase sustained power on the bike. However, it may be a catalyst for cardio fitness as (at least in my case) it seems pretty easy to sustain fairly high heart rates this way without pedaling hard (i.e. moderate intensity only), thus perhaps saving the legs and minimizing the chances of overtraining.

    A better question may be "would this pre-exhaust method be suitable for exercising the heart and increasing the heart's efficiency without the risk of overtraining as one would do if they sustained similar heart rates while exclusively training via cycling?"

    If there is a lesser risk of overtraining using this method it may be something a fitness rider could do to sustain 85% max heart rates for an hour for four to five days per week. This is based on the assumption that the human body can recover more easily from repeated bouts of sustained higher heart rates than it can from hard efforts to the legs. I don't know if that assumption is true but I've read statements to that effect from some posters on this forum. It could be a training myth.


    Something I've noticed is that these high heart rates have occured on both leg days and back days when weight training. Haven't done the cycing part of the workout on chest days yet so I can't say what would happen, but I would assume the higher HR occurs after training chest as well.

    On back days there may be lactate in the blood stream but it isn't in the legs as there is 2 days between the two workouts and lactate only takes about 90 minutes to clear on it's own.

    When doing the weight portion of the workout (thanks to doing supersets and taking very brief rest periods) my HR averages ~68% max on chest & arm days, ~75% on quad, hams & calf days, and ~75% on back, delt & trap days. I'm assuming that as these workouts get longer than their current 25 minutes that these numbers may be higher.
     
  9. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    I agree !

    I don’t know for a fact, but it could be an interesting matter for a study J

    In fact, the heart does not beat fast for no reason. Its activity is just a sign. If my assumption is true, it could be because of the presence of lactate. Increase circulatory activity is triggerd by the brain to help remove the lactate out of the muscles. Some studies using swimmers have shown that when asked to swim at LT levels speed, lactate concentration was very high in those muscles that don’t play a major role during the swim. This could indicates that the ciculatory system would take the lactate out of the muscles where PH level became to low, and would spread it accros other muscle groups, sort of using them as "warehouses". (sorry for reference to swimming studies, I use to be a swimming coach:eek: )

    But I agree with you. Maybe this pre-exhaust method be suitable for exercising the circulatory system in better dealing with lactate. During this process, we would experiment a “higher than usual heart rate”.

    I’m a bit like you in that matter, I hesitate :)

    I would think so too. Lactate does not have to be in our legs for the alarm signal to be triggerd by the medulla. Chances are that you can experiment an even higher HR during a cycling session following a Chest/Back weight lifting session. As your legs would be totally fresh and ready to go harder than if you'd performed a leg workout before.

    Gee, what an intersting discussion. But I hope some wont fall asleep with all that "unleashed" theory talk :D ;)
     
  10. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I didn't know about the alarm signal in the Medulla. Interesting.

    Monday is the next scheduled chest & arm day so I'll give it a try and see what happens. In about 10 mintues I'm going to start Day 4 below.

    Day 1: Chest, biceps, triceps, abs
    Day 2: Quads, hams, calves
    Day 3: Off
    Day 4: Back, traps, rear delts, rotary cuff work
    Day 5: Off
    Day 6: Repeat cycle

    I may at some point try some experiments and see if I can do 20 to 30 minute 90% max heart rate workouts after each weight workout and see if I start to feel exhausted. Perhaps it's possible to do them ad-infinitum? At this point I'm about 75% sure I could do 80% to 85% for 20 minutes without any recovery problems.

    If I do that I'll add another rest day between days 1 & 2 so that it'll be 3 working days each with a rest day. That way each bodypart would be trained every 6 days. 6 days sounds kind of longish to me from a muscle recovery standpoint, but from an overall body recovery standpoint it may not be that long as recovery issues include the CNS and adrenal glands provided stresses are high enough.

    Thanks for the input. Time to go train!
     
  11. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Thank You!

    In a few weeks, I'll go back to my weight lifting program as well. I still don't know what a "hec" I'm gonna do this year. I do weight lifting for general conditioning purposes. But I don't have a lot of sugar to spend on it. So I'm gonna try to be efficient. Last year, I did not do great.

    I may as well use some of your tricks, and pay closer attention on my HR, as I usually do some cardio exercices after having lifted some iron.

    Enjoye :)
     
  12. Peka

    Peka New Member

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    A few years ago when I was going to the gym, the 'gym trainer' told me that if you are going to do weights (or any resistance training) as well as an aerobic workout, to do the weights first. He said that your metabolism would be higher after the weights, so when you start your aerobic session you would burn more calories. He said this is the best way to loose weight (not that I needed to loose weight...).

    I used to do the following:

    1. Warm up
    2. Karate specific weights (low weight, high reps, explosive lifts)
    3. 20mins spinning, hit/kick the bag, skipping etc
    4. 1500m in the pool

    Also did some plyometrics and more skipping at home.

    My Karate performance improved out of sight, but adding any of the above to my existing Karate training probably would've done that anyway. I certainly felt pretty damn fit after a couple of weeks, and felt like superman after 6wks.

    Personally, I wondered at the time whether they advised to do the weights first to reduce the chance of you dropping them on yourself due to being fatigued after your aerobic session.

    One thing I did notice, was that recovery from the weights was quicker than in previous years where I had done weights only on one night, and aerobics/skipping etc on a different night.

    My 0.2c :)
     
  13. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I can see where that would have greater value when doing plyometrics and explosive work too. No need to be fatigued from aerobic work and then try to improve speed.
     
  14. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Shoot me a PM if you want any suggestions. I'd be glad to help out if I can. I do weights for general conditioning or GPP (General Physical Preparedness) as well. My goals are some size, some strength, alotta conditioning, a pinch of fat loss, and a dash of cycling thrown in for good measure. I'd rather run or do wind sprints but with a bad back I can't tolerate the jarring.

    I also workout at home for a couple of important reasons...

    1) I'm not forced to listen to top 40 music at a commercial gym of fitness center.
    (Bratney Spears and Coolio don't cut it!)
    2) Don't have to deal with crowds.
    3) The way I'm supersetting exercises I don't want to have to share equipment!

    Nothing is more frustrating than trying to do a few supersets between a couple of pieces of equipment than to turn around while you're all psyched up for your next set to find some mullet jumping in to use it and chainging the weights all around. That just kills my buzz.
     
  15. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    What I do notice is a "different being out of breath" when I squat to when I cycle.
    I squat once a week for high reps with about 220 pounds. These reps are done all the way down. After the squats, my chest will expand for more air since the exertion of the squatting is more physically severe than cycling.
    When I'm out of breath on the bike, it's more like a constant, steady state of being breathless.
    Mike Mentzer argued that the high pulse rate you get from weights (such as squats) is just as effective as regular aerobics. However, I disagree. Once I wintered on a regime of just doing high rep squats on a regular basis with a high pulse. I did hardly any cycling. Then, when I tried to climb just a modest hill on my bike, I virtually collapsed.
    Now I'm finding I can both squat and cycle effectively by limiting myself to squats once a week and doing a lot of intense cycle rides. The cycling is more gentle on my body and I recuperate very quickly from hard rides. The weights, however, make real inroads into your recuperative reserves and I treat the weights as being far more severe.


     
  16. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    High rep squats done with sufficient weight are obviously very taxing. I timed a set of 20 rep full squats the other day and it took 2 minutes to complete. If I were to do repeated bouts of 2 minute intervals I'd be breathing pretty deep and hard too. But it does seem like I can obtain higher heart rates in a shorter time frame from squatting. That may very well be due to the fact that I'm deconditioned for squatting though as I haven't really done them in years. At this time I can't handle much weight but just doing full squats with 70 lbs is getting me very sore. Due to my lower back problems I won't be using much weight anyway, but that's a different issue.


    From a standpoint of conditioning the heart the two may be different as with squats or other heavily taxing lifts. For example, if one's goal is to average say 143 beats per minute (happens to be 75% of my known cycing max) for the two types of workouts for 60 minutes the heart would be working at different intensities.

    During squats (or deadlifts or bent over barbell rows) the heart climbs pretty high and then recovers during the rest period. For example, one's heart rate may climb to 80% during or just after the exercise and then drop to 70% during the recovery period which would still yeild an average of 75% over time. When doing steady cycling the HR more or less stays the same. These two types of workouts would yeild different results and may condition the heart differently.

    Now if someone is doing some type of interval training that mimics the above hypothetic squat routine, I would suspect the results would be similar except the person doing it on the bike would enhance their cycling performance and the person squatting would enhance their 20 rep squat performance.

    However, Mentzer (who I consider a hack) is right in one respect in that supersetting or circuit training when done properly can be every bit as aerobic as other forms of aerobic exercise, such as running and cycling. I've been wearing my HRM for each weight session for the past 2 1/2 weeks and for two of the workouts (leg day and back day) my average HR is between 72% to 76% max. For chest & arm day it's only about 68% of max. It would be very easy to regroup these workouts to obtain much higher average heart rates which at some point I may want to do.


    That's kind of what Ric has been alluding too for so long. Squats and other forms of weight training just aren't of much use to cycling (except sprinting and track cycling of very short duration).


    Mixing the two may be fine for recreational fitness riders like us but you'll never be able to optimize one or the other by combining them. I do but I'm not concerned about racing or anything. In fact I'm quite bored with cycling these days which is why I'm only doing 20 minutes worth after training with weights and that's just done in a fairly low gear and trying to keep my HR above 80% for fitness purposes.
     
  17. AmpedCycle

    AmpedCycle New Member

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    I've got a question for you, doctor morbius, since you seem to have a general idea about the question I'm going to ask, even though it doesn't relate to your post.
    I've lost muscle mass and strength in the gym over the last 3 months as a result of decreased gym time. In may, for instance, I was working out 3 times per week. This switched to once per week "to maintain" (in the words of the atheltic coach at the gym) from that point until now. During this time period, my cycling has been relatively constant in terms of frequency, duration, and exertion.
    The routine I was on used the same exercises repeated three times per week. I see that your own workout program has you hitting body parts once per week (or one body part per 5 days).
    How can my frequency decline at the gym account for such a dramatic decrease in strength and size? I'm sure you'll remember me... I've had some conversations on here before with you through the message network. I'm the 24 year old guy, 165 pounds, 200 miles/week average (or maybe 220).
     
  18. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Training principles become crystal clear when explained like that!

    It even inspires me to mention about sprint runners. Ever notice the huge amount of time they must take, in order to catch their breath after their event. 400m only takes 50 seconds after all:) In fact, I'm not an expert, but I believe that sprinters perform a lot of squats during their season. Probably to gain muscle mass.

    There is one thing I must disagree with Ric and You, Doctor Moribus, and it's when you mention that doing squats does not improve one's ability to do cycling. It does help.... for the first minute of the event :D
     
  19. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I ran the 1/2 mile and mile relay in high school track so I know what you mean. I never was good exploding out of the blocks. And I was terrible at 40 yard dashes. I had to build up momentum.

    Or the last minute during the final sprint.
     
  20. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Firstly I found something to be odd. Basically I found your idea that cycling can actually cause one to gain muscle may have something in it. As I explained, I now weight train once a week and cycle very hard on alternate days. I eat a lot of protein. I'm finding my fitness levels are responding very well and I have gained lean mass.
    Could it be my organs? :confused: :confused:
    If, however, I laze about and skip cycle sessions, I tend to lose weight.
    Even as an ectomorph, my body has somehow becomne strong enough to endure lang aerobic sessions and hold onto body mass. In fact, I'm gaining mass. But unlike most riders I have rest days and eat far more food.
    I had back trouble as you do for well over a year but it finally healed. Check your seat is not irritating your spine.
    My progess in cycling has been going very well but now my main problem is my health. I think I may have some kind of asthma and wonder how it developed. I will have to see my doctor. Basically I seem to have an itchy chest and keep coughing (sometimes to the point of heaving). I strongly suspect allergy. I read Paula Radcliff had asthma as well.



     
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