Upper-body training anyone?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Stevedvg, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Stevedvg

    Stevedvg New Member

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    I been working out on a punch-bag to trim and tone my upper-body seeing as cycling really doesn't do much for anything besides your legs, butt and face-muscles - Grimacing and clenching of teeth does wonders for the jaw and cheeks :D

    I was wondering what other cyclists did (if anything) to train their upper-bodies? Is it essential?
     
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  2. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    A grade and elite cyclists normally try to avoid upper body training unless they have a specific deficiency that needs addressing (trackies excepted)

    the reason is that upper body muscle is just dead weight to haul up hills.

    For recreational cyclists and all round fitness enthusiasts there are few downsides and a few benefits to doing some upper body training

    Personally I do some pretty heavy weights as well as cycle as much as possible but then people expect their personal trainers to be buff :D

    upper body work won't specifically trim fat off your upper body, spot reduction is one of those myths that won't die

    PS next time post this in the training forum
     
  3. Stevedvg

    Stevedvg New Member

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    So basically all I'm doing is creating extra muscle to lug over hills :confused: ...this is not good. I'm not the smallest cyclist in the world already.

    Oops - sorry... :eek:
     
  4. McBain_v1

    McBain_v1 New Member

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    Personally I'd try and achieve a bit of a balance, it's no use being a real quadzilla if your arms look like wet bits of string. I do a fair bit of work on my "core" (stomach and back) because I find this helps my posture on the bike, I also work on shoulders and arms because I tend to throw the bike all over the place when climbing at speed.

    Rather than heavy weights to gain size, I do moderate weights and high reps (30 and up).
     
  5. ebola

    ebola New Member

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    (recreational cyclist)
    Have been doing a lot of indoor trainer sessions lately, trying to do longer sessions than just the commute. I break these up with some weight training. No idea if this is a good idea or not in theory but it seems to keep the effort level up on both fronts.
     
  6. less'go

    less'go New Member

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    I use a swiss ball for crunches, push-ups, stretching, presses. Also excellent for core work - you can do all kinds of cool balancing movements that really strengthen all your core muscles. A big plus is that it's cheap(20€), versatile, and you can adapt lots of standard excercises to use on the ball.

    I like to use the bike for aerobics, and the ball (and light weights) for slow muscle specific work, kind of leaning towards yoga, the ball lends some grace to the whole thing... Works for me so long as I stick to it and doesn't require going to a health club.

    It probably doesn't help in getting up the hills but the upper body is half the picture and worth atleast keeping toned.


     
  7. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    I don't agree with that. By combining some upper body weight training, you're increasing your metabolism and burning more calories. The weight training stimulates a little testosterone production, especially heavy squats, which strengthens bones, helps increase lean muscle mass, and decrease body fat.

    You may find yourself leaner, lighter, stronger and faster by incorporating some weight training to your life.

    Tim
     
  8. bryanquinn

    bryanquinn New Member

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    I agree with this train of thought also. I just try to keep the upper toned and not built so to speak. My stomache is the one place I'm having a bit of trouble with right now.
     
  9. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    The hotties dig it. Muscle is better than extra fat. Cyclists DO work on the upper body,but not necessarily to the point of adding unnecessary bulk. Sometimes it just looks silly to have great legs and no upper body. I've added a bunch to both and it hasn't slowed me down. And, the hotties dig it!!.:D :D
     
  10. Stevedvg

    Stevedvg New Member

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    I must agree - I'm developing these monster legs and the upper body, while it ain't too bad, just doesn't match :) And of course if the hotties dig it who am I to argue - I'll lug the extra pound or two of pecs and deltoids over the hills with pleasure!! :D
     
  11. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I can only relate my experience.

    I too find that just staying to cycling training leaves my upper body flabby and I can gain weight easily.
    To counteract this, I run.
    I find that it keeps my weight in control and it tones my upper body.
    I stay away from weights because I can gain upper body muscle very easily : so I stay away from weights however I find that I need to run to exercise/tone my upper body.
     
  12. davebee

    davebee New Member

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    I am very slim and arguably underweight (i am 6'3" and only 11 1/2 stone.) so I am looking to build up upper body. lower body is easy, just running, cycling and leg weights. upper cody is an absolute pain and embarassing down at the gym because my arms really are so weak, that exercises such as pec decs only work my arms :(
     
  13. angrydave

    angrydave New Member

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    The way I see it, as much time as you spend hunched over the bars, a stronger back, arms, and abs can do you nothing but good. I dont think anyone is talking about "Ahnold" level upper body work, I think were talking general strength work here.

    I definitely work the aforementioned parts. I'm not likely to win, or even place well in any major races soon, but its my .02

    D
     
  14. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I'm in the opposite camp : I'm looking at ways of losing upper body muscle because, even after doing a very small amoutn of weight training, I find that I gain muscle easily.
    And if I then don't exercise that muscle, it turns to flab/fat.
    I guess we're just built differently.
     
  15. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    There is a big difference between developing strength and building muscle mass which most people don't understand.

    Lots of bodybuilders are comparatively weak despite having huge muscles.

    The problem is that most people train like bodybuilders cause they get fitness advice from bodybuilding type magazines and while they do get stronger people bulk up and look buff.

    thats fine for beach bodz and attracting chicks but for athletic performance you really want to be as strong/powerful as possible at the lowest possible weight.

    the way to develop strength without excess muscle mass is to life very heavy weights and use low reps, sticking to the big compund lifts like squat, deadlift and bench press.

    the problem is that most people don't know how to do these exercises properly and use machines instead. And if they do know how to do the exercises they don't know how to set up a program to gain strength.

    from a sports science perspective most machines in gyms are just expensive paperweights and they should all be melted down and made into something useful.... like handrails.

    If you want to get bigger, train like a bodybuilder, want to get stronger then train heavy.

    If anyone wants specific advice just ask!
     
  16. ozintokyo

    ozintokyo New Member

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    Depends on what your aim is - if you want to tone the upper body - I recommend swimming or running (swimming is actually much better for this, but I prefer to run).

    If you want to build muscle, not just be lean, then I think weights work helps - bench, flys, curls, squats.

    good luck.
     
  17. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    Heavy weights, I'll remember that Duckwah.

    For Davebee I would recomment starting with pushups. Very similar to bench press, modify your hand position for a variation.

    I developed my upper body before I got into A grade, and honestly I don't want to let go of it. I'm not convinced that muscles tuns to fat as limerickman suggested. The increased muscle will burn more energy (even while sleeping) and only an excess of calories will put on weight. Weight training is a good way to increase/raise your metabolism when you are getting older.

    To put on or remove? It also depends of the style of rider you are, if you are a sprinter- do the weights, a climber- let the muscle go.

    I find my cycling reduces my body fat so the chicks can see my muscles better. Needless to say I spent most of today on the beach ;)

    Brian
     
  18. angrydave

    angrydave New Member

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    Duckwah, It's very clear from your many posts that you know what you speak when it comes to training, but that last post is an oversimplification. I'd hate to see it bastardized into bad info. Your statement about power to weight cuts straight to the core though. Some of the strongest people I know are relatively lean, and not as large as you would think. It is all about getting the most from the least, which is something that should be familiar to most cyclists.

    Machines can be very helpful for the beginner to develop proper form, I certainly suggest freeweights as an advanced measure, but I have seen so many people with relatively weak upper bodies get injured through improper free weight training methods.

    It takes so much commitment from the individual to develop ones body in the bodybuilder method that I think this is not really a concern for the real rider. We clock the miles, and this in and of itself prevents too much in the way of "balooning" excluding the genetically gifted/cursed. Most serious builders do little to no cardio with the exception of cutdown for shows.

    Were talking too totally different training methodologies here. For us, the wieghts are a means to end, namely better form, increased strength, and to a far lesser degree, endurance. For builders, the weights are the primary focus. I mean who among us even with BAD advice is going to take five to six hours a week minimum of valuable bike training time to pump up in the gym?

    I spend more time in the gym than most cyclists I know, and I rarely spend more than 40 minutes a work out three times a week. I almost never hit my legs except in the dead of winter, and I do a High Reps, moderate weight program. My reps numbers are in the 30's per set. My bodybuilder buddies always ask me how I'm gonna get big with that, and I explain that this is the point.

    My position in the military rrequires me to perform a US Army physical fitness test every 90 days, so I have to do push-ups, sit-ups, and a two mile run. Were it not for this, I would modify my program a bit further, but I have to keep pretty good upper body strength. Not to mention, as the other guys have stated, the women like it better. :)

    Dave
     
  19. Mouse Potato

    Mouse Potato New Member

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    How do you determine "heavy", for an individual? (other than by paying a personal trainer hideous amounts of money :p)
     
  20. cpa

    cpa New Member

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    Interesting thread.

    As a 6'4"+/95kg (lean) rider, I'm well aware of the impact of lugging weight around. I used to be a 5 day/wk gym goer and peaked at a lean weight of 105kg. I used this mass and strength to my advantage playing Aussie Rules Footy. The advantages far outweighed the disadvantages of a lessened endurance.

    Then went the knee, (and the footy) and then cycling became far more than part of an off-season fitness maintainence regime.

    So the shape changed....
    There's no doubt that a couple of kg's can make a big difference.

    It's all about sculpting your body for the task at hand.

    You're never gonna see a Bunch of guys from the Pro Peleton feature in a Male strip routine..... they'd be lighter than most of the women laughing at them........ but sheesh, have they got a huge power-to-weight ratio. Human formula 1's. - with the endurance to boot !

    Getting on with it, I think Duckwah etc would agree with me that when it comes to training, most people are mistaken when they think pumping it out on a bike, or treadmill, or taebo class etc. is the best way to lose weight and maintain condition.

    By incorporating the right resistance training into the routine, you're maintaining the thirst and size of your muscles to burn calories.... and keep burning them well after the workout has finished.... i.e : an increased and steady metabolic rate.

    Aerobic activity promotes smaller, more dense, more efficient muscles. i.e. They don't have the size or hunger to burn those calories the everyday fitness enthusiast wants to, and they use every calorie more effectively.

    Even with my background and basic knowledge, I've become complacent and been sticking to the bike for training. (Mainly through the enthusiasm of the new bike, and the performance gains I've felt in the bunch). But the shape is starting stray from what I want.... whilst I'm training as much as I am, I should be leaner ..... i.e. : my energy burn doesn't continue long after the ride finishes.

    So it's off to the gym again, with a weight training routine
    to get the physique back and boost the metabolism (plus upper body condition/strength is a great help in a sprint..........)

    Time to find that happy medium between too big-too heavy / just right ........ plus it'll keep my wife much happier (the way she goes on, I'm starting to think she married me for my arms & chest :D )
     
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