strengthening quads--need advice

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Pat in TX, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Pat in TX

    Pat in TX Guest

    Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    that will build my quads.

    Here is what I have gleaned from the posts:
    1. get some swim fins and use them. Should I start with Zoomers and proceed
    to longer fins? I already have some scuba diving fins, but I guess I
    shouldn't start out using them.
    2. do squats on dry land or lunges
    3. get in with the rowing machine bunch
    4. using the kickboard may not help here because the kick itself changes
    when using a kickboard


    and, I need to get the hamstrings stronger, too. Is there some swim drill
    that will help with this? right now, I have been doing power
    walking--backwards in the shallow section of the pool. (Usually a half mile
    forwards and then a half mile backwards)

    thanks for constructive advice,

    Pat in TX
     
    Tags:


  2. Pat in TX wrote:
    > Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    > strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    > stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    > that will build my quads.
    >
    > Here is what I have gleaned from the posts:
    > 1. get some swim fins and use them. Should I start with Zoomers and proceed
    > to longer fins? I already have some scuba diving fins, but I guess I
    > shouldn't start out using them.
    > 2. do squats on dry land or lunges
    > 3. get in with the rowing machine bunch
    > 4. using the kickboard may not help here because the kick itself changes
    > when using a kickboard
    >
    >
    > and, I need to get the hamstrings stronger, too. Is there some swim drill
    > that will help with this? right now, I have been doing power
    > walking--backwards in the shallow section of the pool. (Usually a half mile
    > forwards and then a half mile backwards)
    >
    > thanks for constructive advice,
    >
    > Pat in TX


    Doing squats in the gym is the gold standard of improving quad
    strength, and also improving your overall metabolic conditioning. If
    you don't want to squat, then you can dead-lift or simply use the leg
    press machine. I'm sure you will find it helpful for your cycling.
    Not as much for swimming, except the push-off from the wall, and you
    will have less issues with high heart rate, out of breath, etc. during
    sprinting in the pool due to the high intensity that leg work places on
    the body.

    With respect to swimming, I'm having some good cross-over success with
    elliptical trainers. Not in the normal, forward fashion, they don't
    really help swimming as this motion mimics running. Running doesn't
    help kicking in the pool because running is mainly the back of the leg
    (hamstring) while kicking is mainly the front of the leg (quad). But
    if you do the elliptical motion "backwards", it involves a lot more
    force during the leg extension phase of the motion, which is the
    downbeat of the kick in the pool - very effective to making legs less
    tired in the pool.

    Hope this helps,
    Eric
     
  3. Steph

    Steph Guest

    "Pat in TX" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that
    > mention strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill
    > climber, I want stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on
    > what I can do in swimming that will build my quads.
    >
    > Here is what I have gleaned from the posts:
    > 1. get some swim fins and use them. Should I start with Zoomers and
    > proceed to longer fins? I already have some scuba diving fins, but I
    > guess I shouldn't start out using them.
    > 2. do squats on dry land or lunges
    > 3. get in with the rowing machine bunch
    > 4. using the kickboard may not help here because the kick itself
    > changes when using a kickboard
    >
    >
    > and, I need to get the hamstrings stronger, too. Is there some swim
    > drill that will help with this? right now, I have been doing power
    > walking--backwards in the shallow section of the pool. (Usually a half
    > mile forwards and then a half mile backwards)
    >
    > thanks for constructive advice,
    >
    > Pat in TX
    >
    >


    Pat my own best experience was spinning to work on my quads.
    The long stif SCUBA fins ould not be good idea IMHO. You cycling cadence
    should be around 60 revolutions, so you will want to emulate that in the
    water. On a large hill you might slow to 40 rpm, but no slower unless you
    ride a "mountain-bike" with a super high first gear ratio.

    Zoomers are nice becuase they increase resistance and help you increase
    the amont of flex at your foot. I have very tight hamstrings and quads
    and cannot go forward with just an unassisted flutter kick.
    But I find that my regular workouts which include 36 lengths of kick with
    zoomers (mostly flutter and fly, but also flutter on back and breast) I
    have much better than expected performance on my bike - especially on the
    moderate hills. Yeah, the really long big ones still kick my butt, but I
    don't have much bike milage these days.
     
  4. Pat in TX

    Pat in TX Guest


    >
    > Pat my own best experience was spinning to work on my quads.
    > The long stif SCUBA fins ould not be good idea IMHO. You cycling cadence
    > should be around 60 revolutions, so you will want to emulate that in the
    > water. On a large hill you might slow to 40 rpm, but no slower unless you
    > ride a "mountain-bike" with a super high first gear ratio.


    spinning in the water? maybe holding on to a lane line and "cycling" my
    legs? I usually spin around 75 rpm on my road bike. I know, it should be
    higher, but that seems to be my "groove". I have been doing some leg presses
    and that helps (I think). Are you saying blue Zoomers?

    Pat in TX
     
  5. Martin Smith

    Martin Smith Guest

    Pat in TX wrote:

    > Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    > strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    > stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    > that will build my quads.


    I would use a step machine. I am using one, actually. Use a model where
    the steps operate independently.
     
  6. Martin Smith

    Martin Smith Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Pat in TX wrote:
    >
    >>Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    >>strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    >>stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    >>that will build my quads.
    >>
    >>Here is what I have gleaned from the posts:
    >>1. get some swim fins and use them. Should I start with Zoomers and proceed
    >>to longer fins? I already have some scuba diving fins, but I guess I
    >>shouldn't start out using them.
    >>2. do squats on dry land or lunges
    >>3. get in with the rowing machine bunch
    >>4. using the kickboard may not help here because the kick itself changes
    >>when using a kickboard
    >>
    >>
    >>and, I need to get the hamstrings stronger, too. Is there some swim drill
    >>that will help with this? right now, I have been doing power
    >>walking--backwards in the shallow section of the pool. (Usually a half mile
    >>forwards and then a half mile backwards)
    >>
    >>thanks for constructive advice,
    >>
    >>Pat in TX

    >
    >
    > Doing squats in the gym is the gold standard of improving quad
    > strength, and also improving your overall metabolic conditioning. If
    > you don't want to squat, then you can dead-lift or simply use the leg
    > press machine. I'm sure you will find it helpful for your cycling.


    Is this really the best way to improve strength for an aerobic sport? I
    would say the step machine would be better, because the lifting is done
    under a higher aerobic load. Maybe that's not the right way to say it.

    > Not as much for swimming, except the push-off from the wall, and you
    > will have less issues with high heart rate, out of breath, etc. during
    > sprinting in the pool due to the high intensity that leg work places on
    > the body.


    I don't know, but I would say that just lifting a heavy weight several
    times will improve strength, but that most of that strength won't be
    usable in cycling because it will be the wrong kind of muscle fiber. But
    like I said, I don't know.

    jtaylor will probably say "No," followed by something irrelevant, but
    what do the muscle fiber experts say?

    > With respect to swimming, I'm having some good cross-over success with
    > elliptical trainers. Not in the normal, forward fashion, they don't
    > really help swimming as this motion mimics running. Running doesn't
    > help kicking in the pool because running is mainly the back of the leg
    > (hamstring) while kicking is mainly the front of the leg (quad). But
    > if you do the elliptical motion "backwards", it involves a lot more
    > force during the leg extension phase of the motion, which is the
    > downbeat of the kick in the pool - very effective to making legs less
    > tired in the pool.
    >
    > Hope this helps,
    > Eric
    >
     
  7. Pat:

    Swimming is not the ideal sport to build leg strength for climbing.
    However, it will build your lower back muscles that are important for
    climbing, especially if you swim with a lower back arch. Also, if you
    do flip turns it will increase your flexibility which will allow you to
    sit back in the saddle and push. So, I think that swimming is a good
    component for cycling.

    With regards to building leg strength, I would advise that you work
    squats, and also hams, and to a lesser extent, calves. Hams are a very
    important and undersued muscle group for cycling. Get on a leg curl
    maching, the one that you lay down flat on your stomach and you hook
    your ankles to the padded lever thing. curl your hamstrings. whithout
    lifting your upper body and arching your back. Learning to use this
    muscles will increase your climbing ability considerably.

    If you can, find a hill that will take you about ten minutes to climb.
    sit back on the saddle and ride up trying to use your hamstring muscles
    only. When your foot is at the the bottom, prentend that you are
    scraping the bottom of your foot on the ground. This will initiate the
    hamstring pulling action. pull up and then pull up with your other
    foot. Try not to push (your legs will do that naturally) just focus
    pulling back when your foot is at the bottom, and than on briniging
    your knees up to your chest. If you do tis exersice right, your
    hamstring and butt muscles will be sore at the top of the hill.

    Try this exercise: focus on pulling up with your hamstrings five times
    up with your left leg, and then five times up with your right. Keep
    going and count to four with your left, and then with your right, then
    keep counting down until you get to one. Then start again.

    Try different tings on the hill. Try using a very low gear and spin up
    fast using your hamstrings. Also, try using a heavy gear and try using
    your hamstrings only and then pushing with your quads only. Try
    climbing standing the entire hill in a low gear, and then in a high
    gear. You will begin to notice that your strenght increases, but also
    which position you favor. Regardless of your best climbing position,
    bring your hamstring in both sitting and standing.

    Andres


    Martin Smith wrote:
    > Pat in TX wrote:
    >
    > > Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    > > strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    > > stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    > > that will build my quads.

    >
    > I would use a step machine. I am using one, actually. Use a model where
    > the steps operate independently.
     
  8. Steph

    Steph Guest

    "Pat in TX" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    >
    >>
    >> Pat my own best experience was spinning to work on my quads.
    >> The long stif SCUBA fins ould not be good idea IMHO. You cycling
    >> cadence should be around 60 revolutions, so you will want to emulate
    >> that in the water. On a large hill you might slow to 40 rpm, but no
    >> slower unless you ride a "mountain-bike" with a super high first gear
    >> ratio.

    >
    > spinning in the water? maybe holding on to a lane line and "cycling"
    > my legs? I usually spin around 75 rpm on my road bike. I know, it
    > should be higher, but that seems to be my "groove". I have been doing
    > some leg presses and that helps (I think). Are you saying blue
    > Zoomers?
    >
    > Pat in TX
    >
    >
    >


    Sorry, I didn't proof read it very well.
    I meant to imply spinning on a trainer or in the gym, not in the water.
    If you really wanted to cross train and do an exercise in the water, then
    yes I would recommend the zoomers - and yes I use the blue ones becuase
    of my low normal kick rate and limited flexibility.

    When I am in my groove for cycling my cadence varies between 85 and 110
    rpm, I was making a slight assumption based on what you had posted about
    yourself and should have left it obscure and just recommended you try to
    maintain similar resistance and cadence as when on the bike.
     
  9. Steph

    Steph Guest

    "Pat in TX" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:
    The other thing to bear in mind is re-assessing your pedaling style. I
    have run into quite a bit cyclists that do not use toe clips or straps
    and never learned to apply 360 degrees of force, instead they basically
    just alternate pushing down the pedal.

    Good exercise is to pedal with just one leg/foot to practice the push
    forward, then push down, then pull back, and finally lift up motion. This
    is easily done on a trainer or cycle machine, or on fairly level ground.
    Then you pair both legs and continue the motions.

    >
    >>
    >> Pat my own best experience was spinning to work on my quads.
    >> The long stif SCUBA fins ould not be good idea IMHO. You cycling
    >> cadence should be around 60 revolutions, so you will want to emulate
    >> that in the water. On a large hill you might slow to 40 rpm, but no
    >> slower unless you ride a "mountain-bike" with a super high first gear
    >> ratio.

    >
    > spinning in the water? maybe holding on to a lane line and "cycling"
    > my legs? I usually spin around 75 rpm on my road bike. I know, it
    > should be higher, but that seems to be my "groove". I have been doing
    > some leg presses and that helps (I think). Are you saying blue
    > Zoomers?
    >
    > Pat in TX
    >
    >
     
  10. rookie

    rookie Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Martin Smith wrote:
    > > Pat in TX wrote:
    > >
    > > > Okay, I admit my interest has been piqued reading the posts that mention
    > > > strengthening the quads. As a cyclist and not-so-good hill climber, I want
    > > > stronger quads. Therefore, I am soliciting info on what I can do in swimming
    > > > that will build my quads.

    > >
    > > I would use a step machine. I am using one, actually. Use a model where
    > > the steps operate independently.


    > Pat:
    >
    > Swimming is not the ideal sport to build leg strength for climbing.
    > However, it will build your lower back muscles that are important for
    > climbing, especially if you swim with a lower back arch. Also, if you
    > do flip turns it will increase your flexibility which will allow you to
    > sit back in the saddle and push. So, I think that swimming is a good
    > component for cycling.
    >
    > With regards to building leg strength, I would advise that you work
    > squats, and also hams, and to a lesser extent, calves. Hams are a very
    > important and undersued muscle group for cycling. Get on a leg curl
    > maching, the one that you lay down flat on your stomach and you hook
    > your ankles to the padded lever thing. curl your hamstrings. whithout
    > lifting your upper body and arching your back. Learning to use this
    > muscles will increase your climbing ability considerably.
    >
    > If you can, find a hill that will take you about ten minutes to climb.
    > sit back on the saddle and ride up trying to use your hamstring muscles
    > only. When your foot is at the the bottom, prentend that you are
    > scraping the bottom of your foot on the ground. This will initiate the
    > hamstring pulling action. pull up and then pull up with your other
    > foot. Try not to push (your legs will do that naturally) just focus
    > pulling back when your foot is at the bottom, and than on briniging
    > your knees up to your chest. If you do tis exersice right, your
    > hamstring and butt muscles will be sore at the top of the hill.
    >
    > Try this exercise: focus on pulling up with your hamstrings five times
    > up with your left leg, and then five times up with your right. Keep
    > going and count to four with your left, and then with your right, then
    > keep counting down until you get to one. Then start again.
    >
    > Try different tings on the hill. Try using a very low gear and spin up
    > fast using your hamstrings. Also, try using a heavy gear and try using
    > your hamstrings only and then pushing with your quads only. Try
    > climbing standing the entire hill in a low gear, and then in a high
    > gear. You will begin to notice that your strenght increases, but also
    > which position you favor. Regardless of your best climbing position,
    > bring your hamstring in both sitting and standing.
    >
    > Andres
    >
    >

    Suggest also posting to the cycling or triathlon newsgroups for advice
    on strengthening quads for cycling. I personally notice very little
    crossover between cycling and swimming fitness. The general
    conditioning helps of course, but if you are struggling on the hills
    then your limiter is force. Swimming with fins isn't going to help
    much, if at all, with developing more force for cycling.

    Most people use weights or bodyweight exercises to build quad strength
    - squats, step ups, lunges, leg extensions, etc. Others prefer a more
    specific approach - going out on the bike and going up some long hills
    sitting down with a low cadence (40-60) and as high a gear as you can
    manage. Also worth asking whether you could lose any weight - shedding
    half a stone will make a huge difference to your power-weight ratio
    which is critical if you want to be a good climber.
     
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