Weight Lifting & Cycling?? Novice women and weights

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Susan Repp, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Susan Repp

    Susan Repp New Member

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    O.K. guys - so does weight training work for women starting out on cycling? I have been in the gym for .. errrrrrrrrr several years, run, hike etc; but, really enjoy being on the road with the wind in my helmet. How much does my weight training detract from my cycling? I want to remain strong, lean(er)and still ride well long mid/distance in duathalons. Suggestions from you hard-core blokes!
     
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  2. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    The effect of your weights will depend on how much and what type you do & the amount and type of cycling you do!

    If you want to weight train for physique or for health in addition to your cycling goals then these are valid reasons to keep doing weights. When you are reletivly 'untrained' on a bike then weights may help your cycling, but this will get less and less the more 'cycling' trained you become. As you become endurance trained the weights will at best have no effect on your cycling or at worst make you cycle slower (due to fatigue, reduced on the bike training, etc.).

    Some women that I have know have chosen the sport based upon the physique that they are likely to develop; if you don't mind looking like a triathlete or cyclist then you could just do triathlon or cycling training. I supose the same could be said for men doing body building and personaly I don't mind being a 60 kg climber!
     
  3. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    I found this on RAAM website, it makes sense to me no disrespect intended 2LAP ill never know as much as you do about cycling whats your opion on this information.




    "To achieve full potential as an endurance athlete and remain competitive in challenging events, an individually designed resistance training program should be implemented. "

    by Dan Kehlenbach & John Hughes

    Dan Kehlenbach has been cycling for 12 years. He is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist with the NSCA and as an expert level coach with USA Cycling and currently is a graduate student majoring in sports medicine. John Hughes is director of the UMCA, an NSCA certified personal trainer and a USA Cycling coach.


    Resistance training is a valuable tool that can contribute to the development of endurance athletes of all levels and abilities. Traditionally, athletes and coaches were somewhat reluctant to include strength training as part of the endurance athlete's overall training program in fear of developing "extra bulk" that would reduce cardiovascular performance. In recent years, current research has shown that strength training has no adverse effect on aerobic capacity and can enhance muscular strength and power. In addition, other benefits to the endurance athlete include: maintaining proper muscular strength ratios, increasing bone mineral density, enhancing connective tissue, preventing of overuse injuries, improving lactate threshold and improving exercise economy.

    Cycling, swimming, running, or any other endurance activity subjects athletes to continuous, repetitive movements that can sometimes last for many hours. This can result in a strength deficit in selected muscle groups that may compromise optimal performance and efficiency, and may also lead to injuries. With cyclists the pedaling motion can overdevelop the powerful hip and knee extensors resulting in an imbalance between the muscles of the hip and thigh. Resistance training can address this by including specific exercises for the hamstring muscle group to maintain proper strength ratios and promote optimal joint stability.

    In addition to muscular adaptations, strength training also promotes development of bone and connective tissue. Bone is a very dynamic tissue that provides a rigid lever to support movement. Bone is very sensitive to changes in forces it experiences and has the capacity for growth and regeneration if damaged. Activities must be weight bearing to provide the most effective stimulus for bone formation. Cyclists and swimmers are particularly vulnerable since their activities are non-weight bearing in nature. They should incorporate strength training to promote bone health.

    Strength training can also enhance the connective tissue network resulting in an increased ability to withstand greater tensional forces and improved overall joint integrity.

    Overuse injuries can be frustrating to the endurance athlete and can potentially result in lost training time and severe setbacks. Fortunately, many of these injuries are predictable and can be prevented with proper training progressions and a "prehabilitation" strength-training program. Prehabilitation refers to the realizating that a potential for injury exists, and implementing specific strategies to prevent such occurrences. Each sport has common overuse injuries that affect many athletes. In cyclists, inflammation of the patellar tendon (patellar tendonitis) can result from repeated knee flexion and extension during pedaling. During a four-hour training session, the knee joint can undergo over 25,000 flexion/extension cycles subjecting the tendon to high stress. Supplementing the cyclist's training program with strength exercises can help maintain proper muscular balance and enhance the connective tissue network to reduce the possibility of patellar tendonitis.

    Lactate threshold, an important element of endurance performance, can be enhanced with strength training. One study in 1991 found that strength training improves cycling endurance performance independently of changes in VO2 max. After twelve weeks of strength training performed three times per week, cycling endurance time performed at 75% VO2 max improved by an average of nearly nine minutes. The improved endurance comes from changes in muscle fiber-type recruitment. A greater percentage of slow-twitch and reduced rates of fast-twitch recruitment during co exercise results in increased power.

    Critical to the endurance athlete is developing high levels of exercise economy. Exercise economy refers to the energy cost to maintain a given level of output. Economical athletes can perform at a higher level while experiencing less fatigue. A 1997 study by the University of New Hampshire of 12 distance runners revealed that strength training significantly improved running economy, and strength in the upper and lower body.

    To achieve full potential as an endurance athlete and remain competitive in challenging events, an individually designed resistance training program should be implemented. Each athlete, regardless of sport, brings to the training table a set of unique talents and abilities that can be molded and shaped into a more complete athlete with the addition of a regular resistance training program.

    Resistance training is any activity that overloads muscles more than on the road bike, thus resulting in strength gains. Resistance training does not necessarily require special equipment, or long hours in the gym. The exercises below can all be done at home with minimal equipment!

    Resistance training can have five benefits for the endurance cyclist:

    Increasing core strength and creating a stable platform for pedaling power.
    Developing leg muscle strength, which can be turned into increased power on the bike.
    Improving the balance among muscle groups, resulting in increased pedaling economy and efficiency.
    Strengthening connective tissues, to reduce the risk of injury .
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    i'm not 2Lap, but i'm qualified to answer this!


    Firstly, there's definitely a difference between untrained (people who don't exercise habitually, or people who may only cycle say once or twice a week) and trained riders. It's well, and understood within exercise science that in the first group, *any* exercise will increase fitness and will likely improve one exercise modality even if you train in a different modality (e.g. cycling will improve with weights). This is because in low fitness groups, the stress caused by exercise will cause an adaptation, whereas it's unlikely too in a high fitness group.

    Weight training can increase strength in two ways, these being
    1) increases in muscle cross sectional area (hypertrophy)
    2) increases in neuromuscular adaptations

    in the first point, hypertrophy will increase the mass you have carry e.g. up a hill without causing an increase in sustainable power (for trained people). Furthermore, the hypertrophy will cause a relative decrease in mitochondrial density, which will likely cause a decrease in aerobic performance

    in the second point, the neuromuscular adaptations occur at the specific joint angle and velocity at which they are trained, in other words there's no crossover to other modalities

    There's no argument that strength training increases muscle hypertrophy and peak power (hence why track sprinter do this). however, endurance cycling performance (> ~ 75-secs) isn't limited by strength, it's limited by aerobic capacity.

    Bone mineral density -- there's some evidence, but it's equivocal that weight training helps increase BMD. Greater gains will be made with running and medical interventions (drugs).

    Lactate threshold -- only in *untrained* subjects does strength training increase LT, and as previously mentioned any exercise does that

    cycling is unlikely to increase strength, as elite trained cyclists are no stronger than age, gender and mass matched controls. There would be no effect on performance or efficiency with non-weight training cyclists, and possible decreases in these with weight trained cyclists.


    overuse injuries in cycling are greatly exaggerated as it's such a low impact sport (neglecting incidents caused by crashes etc).


    as mentioned this only occurs in untrained people, where any exercise increases performance. however, to accelerate performance within a sport from beginner status you'd be better off concentrating on that particular sport.


    considerable differences exist between cyclists and runners, in cycling the legs are constrained by the pedals, allowing very little difference in pedalling style between one rider and another. in running, there exists a considerable difference in running style between untrained and trained, thus affecting economy and efficiency. in cycling efficiency and economy are similar between completely different groups of cyclists (i.e. untrained and elite)


    there is absolutely no basis for this in trained riders.


    just to clarify, except in 200-m and kilo/500m TT (etc) strength is *NOT* a limiting factor in endurance cycling performance (except for a couple of exceptions, e.g., frail old ladies, someone with a functional disability).

    Forces during endurance cycling performance are really quite low (even at male world record paces), such that the power generated by these athletes, can be matched by age, gennder and mass matched lower category cyclists -- it's the ability to keep riding at these power outputs that's the difficulty, and this is limited by cardiorespiratory and metabolic factors and not strength.

    Ric
     
  5. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    Very well explained Ric! thanks for the info.
     
  6. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I presently share a gym with various female athletes who weight train. Some do decathlon and others do pole-vaulting. I'm the odd one out, I guess, as I use weight mainly in order to develop my physique.
    I do know that it's very hard for a guy to gain large amounts of muscle if he trains without the use of steroids (as I do). For women, it's also pretty difficult. I do know women, however, who have developed strength in the squat while preserving a feminine appearance and looking really good.
    I think the fact you're a lady and also do large amounts of aerobic work means that weight-training for you will be more of a shaping-program. It's doubtful you'll have to worry about becoming over muscular.
    My own experience has been that if I cycle at a moderate level and weight-train as well, I cannot gain any more muscle or strength but find I can maintain about 75% of what I had (strengthwise). If I do very little cycling and weight-train a lot, I find I get too big to be able to be effective on a bike. Even smaller hills tend to kill me if I put on lots of muscle mass.
    Presently I'm finding some sort of compromise and feel I look better anyway when I'm less bogged down with heavy muscle.



     
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