small ring/big ring training...wives tale?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by funknuggets, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. funknuggets

    funknuggets New Member

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    Back in "the day" some of the cycling nitwits that I rode with always would have some method of "small ring" training in the winter, or early spring months. Some would say... no big ring until March... others would say they wouldn't ride the big ring until they had 500...or even 1000 miles. What is that about?

    So, since this has been engrained into my cycling mentality, I just question the justification for this. I just do it, or have done it until I got utterly frustrated trying to do this on Friel's plan. The ultra high cadence often has me bouncing out of my target zones especially when climbing. I can see it benefiting in a few ways: 1. Strengthening the muscles after a layoff period, or recovery period without putting high stress on the muscles and joints 2. Increasing cadence

    So, is there a rule of thumb, do you guys follow this mentality, and do you just throw this out the window when following a structured training plan ie: Friel or Carmicheal.

    Thanks in advance for helping clear up a mystery...
    Chris
     
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  2. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    It depends whether you believe in "train inefficiently race efficiently" that some high profile coaches still see as a pearl of wisdom or the "specificity principle".

    I go for the latter as I haven't seen any concrete evidence to the contrary - even as regards sprinters using weights (keep bringing this up in case someone can provide some).
     
  3. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Yep, I've heard the same advice also....we must be from the same old school. Anyway, the theory was/is that you only wanted to go easy and put in base miles to build or reactivate the cardio-vascular system, particularly the capillaries in the leg muscles. Can't remember the coach's name, but he stressed strict discipline to his riders.

    As I recall, he forced his racers to go 1000-2000 easy base miles at the start of the year. Small ring, easy gears, before going hard in the big ring.....further, he warned that even one episode of going hard early would ruin their capillary development.
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Andrew, are you saying that 1) you don't know of any evidence that weight training helps [track] sprinters, and 2) you asked for this evidence before?

    ric
     
  5. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    Yes, do you have the magic reference showing that wieght training is essential if top sprint performance is to be acheived?

    (Saw a tv program on world 100m champ Kim Collins yesterday. He is skinny by sprinter standards. OK he is a runner.)
     
  6. ouzo

    ouzo New Member

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    I use this. Although I must say my training is far from scientific. I've basicaly taken bits and pieces I've heard all over the place and stuck the ones that make sense to me together.

    Using the small chain ring to train at the start of the season basically gives you a firm base to build strength on. you need to build a firm foundation to build a strong structure.

    Like I said, it's just bits ans pieces that I use, so dont ask for any evidence that this works.
     
  7. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    i'm no sure if i have a reference per se, what i'm thinking is that when weights are performed 'correctly' there's an increase in muscle cross sectional area (hypertrophy), peak force or tension is in part determined by muscle cross sectional area. at very high powers (e.g. world class track sprint level) it's important to sometimes generate very high forces (e.g., acceleration from track stand, standing start 500m/1km TT) therefore, you do need high force generating capabilities in certain events (hoping that all makes sense as i just got in and am knackered!)

    ric
     
  8. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    Makes sense, simply high level sprinting (i.e. true sprinting; track, BMX, etc.) requires forces in excess of those that can be produced by most people (particularly us skinny guys and girls). As cross sectional area of the muscle is related to the potential force that can be produced by the muscle, increasing cross sectional area can lead to increases in force production. Hypertrophy leads to a larger cross sectional area.
     
  9. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    I can accept that in pure muscle x-section development weights can do more than even the heaviest loaded on-bike exercises like standing starts. But are we sure this outweighs the disadvantage of having to cut out quality bike work (which is after all the epitome of specific) to fit the weights in?

    Unless there are some numbers to factor into the argument then we're still on the artistic side of things are we not?

    (Minor point but I would have thought the argument for the extra hypertrophy via weights was more related to "extra power via extra volume" applicable over the whole sprint since Im not convinced that more bulk provides significantly more acceleration at times when peak forces are in the picture)
     
  10. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Andrew, would like to discuss this more (and most likely will do), but i'm just getting ready to go to my Training Camp, and don't really have time to discuss this much more...

    however, just to clarify, i don't cut out quality bike work when doing weights with the world class sprinters i've worked with (although, i don't prescribe the weights, that'd come from a weights coach)

    ric
     
  11. Roadie_scum

    Roadie_scum New Member

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    Just ride at a comfortable cadence in your target zones. The logic of this is to increase cadence and make sure you are not doing too much intensity. If you follow a structured plan (a good one at least), you won't do too much intensity, and there's now real need to increase cadence unless you are well outside the normal range. And riding down a big hill in the 53-15 isn't exactly intense. Your bike has gears. Use them. I can only see strict adherence to this ethos working in a flat place with no wind (and if anyone knows where that is let's get together and race).

    That said, I think doing a lot of aerobic base work at low intensities (and sensible cadences) has a lot going for it. Think about how to properly periodise your training and racing.
     
  12. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    Andrew,

    Will you start a new thread on the weight lifting with all the questions that want answering in it? I'll make it a sticky thread, Ric can join in when time is available and I'll look for some numbers that support the arguement.

    A new thread will stop this interesting discussion getting lost and mixed up with the gears discussion.

    Thanks 2LAP
     
  13. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    sounds good, but i'm away now till the end of the month!
    ric
     
  14. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    Will do.
     
  15. ccorrick

    ccorrick New Member

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    Back to the original question, I don't have a clue! I know I ride almost exclusively in the small ring, but it's just because I spin a lot for training in the early season. I'm a gear masher. I seem to work best really torqueing it out and that is what feels comfortable. However, it's not always the best way, so I force myself to spin. If I have a 20mph tail wind you bet your butt i'm gonna be pushing that big ring though!!

    So in answer, I've heard of it, but haven't ridden with anyone that actually follows it. (how's that for science ;) lol)
     
  16. Glasgow United

    Glasgow United New Member

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    Spinning the gears is more economical than grinding the big ones, its more cardiovasular and requires better technique. Don't just stop using the wee ring after your base period. When I went out for the first time with a bunch of riders I found it almost impossible to keep up with their averge speed on the hills because of their spinning the smaller gears while i was trudging away on the big ring. Spin spin spin. Lance does it so it must work
     
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