Stopped weightlifting and riding is suffering, any thoughts.

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by bighead_9901, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. bighead_9901

    bighead_9901 New Member

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    Well I asked a lot of questions about this back in the spring and I read through a lot of forums and I decided to take the advice and stop weightlifting for my lower body. Well that was back in April and since then I have seen a gradual decrease in my speed and climbing ability. I have been using a couple of hills here for gauging my training and I record my time to climb the hills weekly.
    When I stopped lifting and saw my time increase I didn't worry to much and figured it was just my body adjusting to not lifting. Well after 3 months (April, May, and, June) of watching my time get worse on these hills I decided to start lifting again. In the last three weeks since I started lifting my time has began improving pretty dramatically.
    I'm just curious if anyone has any ideas about this or if anyone has experienced a similiar problem. I'm really rather confused and I'm unsure if I should continue lifting which is against all the advice I have read on this forum or if I should continue with not lifting and expect this decrease to happen for a while before my training improves.
    Any insight anyone can provide would really be appreciated.
     
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  2. kytyree

    kytyree New Member

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    couple of questions:

    Once you stopped lifting how did your cycling workouts change? any adjustments in the workouts you do on the bike, or in the amount of time you devote to certain types of training?

    And can you describe the hills you are talking about, how long does take you to climb them now compared to before?

    What I am trying to find out is if by stopping the weight training or possibly changing your workouts you might be neglecting some area of training. What area that might be would depend on the climbs themselves and how long they take.

    Another thing that could be part of it is that is pretty natural for certain abilities to go through cycles during a season. You really can't be strong at everything all the time. An example is my peak sprint is not as high as it was May right now but I have been focusing on climbing and muscular endurance so my sprint has suffered a little. In my next block of training I will start to work more in the other areas and so on.
     
  3. kytyree

    kytyree New Member

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    something else I probably should have asked for was a description of the type of weight your were doing.
     
  4. bighead_9901

    bighead_9901 New Member

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    The only thing I changed in my workouts was I increased two of my rides by 10% and used this extra distance to work on climbing. The hills where I live tend to be the short and steep variety so I have one which is 1 1/2 miles long at a 8-9% grade and then the second climb is 3 miles but is only 3%. On the shorter climb I saw my average time increase almost 30 seconds and on the 3 mile climb I saw an average increase of 46 seconds. Since I started lifting again at the beginning of July I have almost returned to the times I had before I quit lifting.
    When I'm lifting I lift lower body twice a week on Monday and Friday. I lift both times immediately following my ride. I actually finish my ride at the gym and go in and perform the following exercises.
    Squat 2 sets x 20-25 reps, then 1 drop set starting with a weight I can do 5 times and then dropping weight 3 times and dropping enough weight to get 5-8 reps on each drop.
    Staight leg deadlifts 3 sets x 20-25 reps
    Calf Raises 3 sets x 20-25 reps
     
  5. kytyree

    kytyree New Member

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    The climbs you describe sound like the kind that many riders would tend to "power over" which to me would seem to use systems similar to what you were/are working in gym. I know that many debate the application of weight training to cycling but anyway.

    I do think you can replace that weight training by doing the right workouts while riding, but if you are able to perform better while lifting...

    Personally I like to lift in the off season but really prefer not too during the spring and summer.
     
  6. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I think I see the problem -- when you stopped lifting, it doesn't appear that you used the hours previously spent lifting to train on the bike more.

    I've read most of the threads on lifting, and I don't remember any of them saying that simply stopping lifting will improve cycling performance. What I do remember them saying is that if you want to get better on the bike, then cycling will provide more benefit for the time spent than lifting.

    How much do you weigh and how long have you been training? How many hours per week do you ride, and what kind of riding do you do?
     
  7. bighead_9901

    bighead_9901 New Member

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    I only spent about 15 minutes lifting so I don't know if riding for 15 more minutes would have made that big a difference. I also did increase my riding on the days I had been lifting but you may have missed that in my last post.

    As far as how much I ride I usually average between 125-150 miles a week. I try and do shorter/harder rides during the week and then get in one long ride of 50 to 60 miles on the weekend. I ride 5 days a week with two rest days. A normal week is listed below. I also don't have a power meter so I go by heartrate.
    Sunday-Active recovery 20 miles (L1)
    Monday-Intervals 2 x 20 minutes (L4) 60 minutes (L3)
    Tuesday-Off
    Wednesday-Hills (There isn't a lot of long hills here so I use the two mentioned earlier and do repeats along with two routes which consist of lots of small, steep hills. These two routes climb 1230ft and 1500ft over 25 miles. On hills I just ride as hard as I can. I know this isn't very scientific or specific but it's just what I do on hill days.)
    Thursday-I do two hours riding at SST and mix in 2 intervals each of L5 and L6 and then 10 L7 sprints during the 2 hours.
    Friday-Off
    Saturday-Long ride between 50-70 miles at SST. These longer routes usually include lots of short steep hills.
    As far as my stats you asked for I currently weigh 190 lbs and I'm 6% bodyfat. I lost 8lbs over the three months I wasn't weightlifting for my lower body. I have been riding for 9 months and I average 23 mph on my 25 mile TT (very flat with just one small bump). I have done several centuries and my best one was 4:48 total time not just bike time. I feel like I'm doing pretty good for a new rider and I had a pretty high level of fitness prior to taking up cycling.
    I'm really just confused by this whole thing and I'm not sure what to do now. I have thought about getting a trainer but it seems to be a little out of my price range especially after the money I spent on the bike.
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I saw that your rides increased a slightly, but I didn't realize your lifting routines were so brief. Sorry.

    That looks like a pretty solid routine - nothing really jumps out at me. The time periods you describe (3 months of gradual decrease starting fairly quickly from cessatation of lifting, and then an rapid restoration to previous levels upon resuming) seem surprisingly fast to be related to lifting, especially with the very small amount that you had in your routine. I'd guess it's more related to something else that we're not seeing -- motivation, rest, stress, etc. Have you tested your performance in other ways besides these short, hard climbs? How are your TT times doing over the same period?

    You say you train by HR, are you pacing those climbs by HR or putting a HR limit on your effort? The reason I ask is that temperature does affect HR, and during those few months when your performance was gradually decreasing, the outside temperature was gradually increasing, which could mean that you're putting out less power for the same HR. Just a thought.
     
  9. bighead_9901

    bighead_9901 New Member

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    Actually I am thinking the heat may be a part of the equation. I hadn't really thought of it previously but it has warmed up quite a bit about 25 degrees difference between when I stopped lifting and now. However it hasn't cooled off at all since I started lifting again so that causes me to wonder how much of a role it played. I'm sure it is part of it but I don't know how much.
    I'm also wondering if the way I lift has something to do with it. Most folks sound like they replace riding with lifting and I don't. I would do my lifting immediately following my rides on the day before a rest day.
    As far as my TT it has stayed pretty constant so I have really seen the big difference on the hills.
     
  10. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I think I have it figured out at long last. In fact, it seems fairly simple. Cyclists need a certain degree of strength to perform at optimum level but, as has been pointed out before, the degree of strength you need isn't specifically that high.
    Personally, I found when I stopped squatting hard, my cycling performance improved because my legs were fresher. That doesn't mean to say the weights were useless but I think when you're peaking (for me) it's best to drop the weights at this time. Weights are best done seasonally, mainly for hip strengthening and loading the lumbar region e.t.c.
    Here is the crucial point though. Too much leg bulk and too much leg strength will count as resistance because the superfluous mass and strength will create added load (in my view). If your legs are big, it's more likely you'll need to push bigger gears to get a decent amount of speed, which unfortunately has the undesired effect of leading to threshold or near threshold effort.
    Your climbing shouldn't suffer on acount of dropping weights but just maybe you'll need to adjust your cadence or gear ratios. Weights are best done only periodically but I think constant back work and light loading should be O.K. so long as you don't put on too much bulk.


     
  11. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Possibly his strength dropped a bit but he didn't adjust his gearing where he may have been faster spinning his way uphill at a higher rpm.

     
  12. Rufus52

    Rufus52 New Member

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    I am new here so I hope I did this right. I think probably you might be losing some of the strength you gained from doing your weightlifting workouts. I am not a cycling expert by any means, but in other sports you actually lose strength if you don't at least do a "maintenance" program to keep your strength levels at roughly the same levels as they were before you dropped your weight training. During the "non riding season" I would do the bulk of my weight training and do maintenance during the "riding" season.

    Here is a link to a great book that you might find helpful. http://www.amazon.com/Periodization-Strength-New-Wave-Training/dp/0969755708/ref=sr_1_2/103-2537354-8620624?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186539224&sr=1-2

    Do not pay $84.00 for it. Look around the internet for it cheaper. It is pretty easy to read and understand. Pay particular attention to the part about "Muscular Endurance-Lang Duration."

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. cbjesseeNH

    cbjesseeNH New Member

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    I'm not built right to cycle, so if I don't lift 2x weekly, my knees and back get very messed up. Maybe you too?
     
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