Weight Lifting & Cycling??



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robc

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Ric, I read your article and what I could find of some of the papers you reference, and I think there is one detail being overlooked between what I explained and what you are trying to convince us of. That is the differences between the different muscle fiber types, what role they play in cycling, and how they can be trained.

For Example, in The effects of strength training on endurance performance and muscle characteristics (Bishop, D., Jenkins, D. G., MacKinnon, L. T., McEniery, M., & Carey, M. F. (1999). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 31: 886-891) the researchers were basically looking for a correlation between a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and endurance. A 1RM movement will be performed almost exclusively by the white muscle fibers, which admittedly have little use to an endurance cyclist except in sprints, bridging a small gap quickly, or topping a very short hill.

What IS important for a cyclist (among other parameters of course) is the power output of their red muscle fibers. The more powerful your red muscle fibers are, the faster you can go before your carb-burning, non-aerobic, quickly fatigued, lactic acid producing white muscle fibers must takeover. The more you dip into the power reserves of your white muscle fibers the more you limit your endurance capability for any given ride. This is due to the white muscle fibers high carbohydrate consumption, which will eventually starve the red muscle fibers of the fuel needed to even burn fat.

Low weight, high repetition weight training performed to muscle failure WILL improve the power output of red muscle fiber quite effectively. Is it the only way? No. However going to muscle failure WILL more effectively improve power than sub muscle failure efforts, which is why on-bike training is at a disadvantage.

At the end of the day every athlete's body responds differently to various training methods. The only way anyone will know for sure how much weight lifting will help them is to try it for themselves. Ideally you will do this by maintaining a training diary and conducting periodic performance tests, which will help you correlate the results to the various training inputs.

Ric, I would like to hear your thoughts regarding the characteristics of red and white muscle fiber, how the power output of each type relates to muscle recruitment patterns, and how those patterns effect endurance. That was the point of my initial post, and you really didn't address my comments in your arguments.

BTW, I realize that BOTH red and white fibers contract on each pedal stroke, with varying levels of fiber recruitment and power generation depending on the demands of the effort. In other words, a sprint is not 100% white muscle fiber, and a 20kmh "bike walk" is not 100% red muscle fiber. So I did generalize a bit in my discriptions above.
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by robc, i reply with >>


What IS important for a cyclist (among other parameters of course) is the power output of their red muscle fibers. The more powerful your red muscle fibers are, the faster you can go before your carb-burning, non-aerobic, quickly fatigued, lactic acid producing white muscle fibers must takeover. The more you dip into the power reserves of your white muscle fibers the more you limit your endurance capability for any given ride. This is due to the white muscle fibers high carbohydrate consumption, which will eventually starve the red muscle fibers of the fuel needed to even burn fat.

>>The important parameters for endurance cycle racing (i.e., road races, track endurance, TT, MTB etc) are power at LT, TT power, and power at VO2max, and to a (much) lesser extent peak (sprint) power.

>>as you point out below, in terms of recruitment etc., it's very much a continuum as opposed to an on / off idea.



Low weight, high repetition weight training performed to muscle failure WILL improve the power output of red muscle fiber quite effectively.

>>I'm not entirely sure what you mean here? Isn't cycling itself a low weight, high rep effort? what could be better than cycling for improving cycling?

Is it the only way? No. However going to muscle failure WILL more effectively improve power than sub muscle failure efforts, which is why on-bike training is at a disadvantage.

>>You can quite easily go to fatigue or failure on the bike. on the other hand it's not that difficult to recruit type ii fibres during road training


At the end of the day every athlete's body responds differently to various training methods. The only way anyone will know for sure how much weight lifting will help them is to try it for themselves. Ideally you will do this by maintaining a training diary and conducting periodic performance tests, which will help you correlate the results to the various training inputs.

>>with the exception of one study (using trained or elite athletes) there's no evidence whatsoever to show that weight training will work. on the other hand, in untrained or purely recreational riders weight training will most likely improve bike performance (as would any exercise). However, almost certainly the improvements won't be as good as by bike training itself.



Ric, I would like to hear your thoughts regarding the characteristics of red and white muscle fiber, how the power output of each type relates to muscle recruitment patterns, and how those patterns effect endurance. That was the point of my initial post, and you really didn't address my comments in your arguments.

>>Unfortunately, i don't have time to write to lots of work. if you want to read about recruitment and fibre typing (it's type i, iia and iib etc) then you're best bet is to read a good physiology text, such as McArdle Katch and Katch or Astrand and Rodahl.

>>none the less, at higher (relative) power outputs more type ii fibres will be recruited and a lower outputs more type i. fatigue, cadence, power will affect this

>>finally, when training, the adaptations occur at specific joint and angle velocities, and as most people pedal at > 70 revs/min, this is going to far exceed the velocity of movement when weight training. it's also highly likely going to be at the wrong angle.

Ric
 

brandonbrown

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IMOHO I think weight training DOES affect cycling ability in a positive way. I am not a professional cyclist, etc, but I came from other sports where weights were used effectively in enhancing performance.

I think the discussion needs to be the type of lifting, however. If you do 3x8, supersets, etc, like football players, you are probably going to change your body shape to match that of a football player.

If you do higher reps with lighter weights, especially like hack squats or calf raises until failure, over time, my guess would be that most people would increase their LT level. Now, granted, I am probably much heavier than anyone here posting (215), but I found one of the problems I had early on in road biking (and mountain biking for that matter) was in the hill climbs, my O2 level seemed to be fine, HR within acceptable levels (10-15 beats below MHR), but my legs would be on fire, even at higher cadences. All of this is probably due to how much I weigh. I noticed however, it was similar to the burning feeling when I used to run 100, 200m sprints. The solution to that was weight training, so I applied some of the same techniques and exercises to the biking with very good results. I've increased my hill climbing ability 10x, or at least the length of a hill I can do without crapping out. Here in North Carolina there is always a bigger hill to test your skills out on it seems!

So, to sum it up, maybe it is the *TYPE* of weight lifting you are doing, or a specific muscle group than a more general "weight training" day.

Recently, for all of you other heavy hitters out there, with my riding group we did the three hump ride here, which is a metric century (62 miles) starting at hanging rock, going to Sauertown mountain, then Pilot Mountain and finally back to hanging rock. Total ascent was over 6,000 feet and most of that was on the three mountains. YOU CAN DO IT TOO IF I CAN!

Thoughts from the collective?
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by brandonbrown, i responded with >>

If you do higher reps with lighter weights, especially like hack squats or calf raises until failure, over time, my guess would be that most people would increase their LT level.

>>in trained riders it won't increase LT or VO2 max, or (endurance) bike performance as this is limited aerobically and weight training doesn't affect these parameters (except in untrained people, where any exercise helps)

So, to sum it up, maybe it is the *TYPE* of weight lifting you are doing, or a specific muscle group than a more general "weight training" day.

>>weight training will increase strength (this isn't a limiting factor in cycling). it won't have any effect on your aerobic ability if you're trained (e.g., you race or you can ride with people who do).

Ric
 

larry barr

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I have not done much weight training and had been considering adding it to help my cycling. My thought was to go high rep/low weight. I do not race, but like to hang with the faster guys on group rides (that's me hanging on for dear life at the back) and I enjoy training for single day event rides like the Triple Bypass, Assualt on Mount Mitchell, etc. I was figuring that the weight training would improve my leg strength and by virtue my endurance or ability to handle bigger loads.
 

2LAP

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Originally posted by larry barr
I was figuring that the weight training would improve my leg strength and by virtue my endurance or ability to handle bigger loads.

Why not increase your aerobic or anaerobic capacity? or both?

That would have the same desired effect and perhaps be a lot more effective (strength training has little to do with endurance performance).
 

zakeen

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Originally posted by 2LAP
strength training has little to do with endurance performance

This is a good point!

2Lap is dead right it does not improve endurance performance. But I feel that people are arguing about two different things here.

I am sure people are not doing weights to improve endurance performance. We are doing it to improve strength.

and if I here one more time, "strength is not required for endurance cycling races", I think I will go crazy! - I dont know what type of racing you guys are doing but maybe you should come over here and race where I race and you might have a different thought!

Weight training does improve strength and strength is involed in cycling!
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by zakeen
This is a good point!

2Lap is dead right it does not improve endurance performance. But I feel that people are arguing about two different things here.

I am sure people are not doing weights to improve endurance performance. We are doing it to improve strength.

and if I here one more time, "strength is not required for endurance cycling races", I think I will go crazy! - I dont know what type of racing you guys are doing but maybe you should come over here and race where I race and you might have a different thought!

Weight training does improve strength and strength is involed in cycling!

High levels of strength are *definitely* not required for (endurance) racing (i.e., road, TT, track endurance etc). Anyone (who is healthy, age and gender matched) can produce the requisite forces needed for cycle racing.

Even the power output of elite TdF riders is a *doddle* to meet. For e.g., it can be estimated that LA produces ~ 400 W when cycling up a mountain. You'd be hard pushed to find a healthy, age matched guy that couldn't produce ~ 400 W. It's the ability to *sustain* these efforts for long periods of time, that sets us apart.

The ability to sustain these efforts is a function of (e.g.) LT, TTpower and power at VO2 max. It's nothing to do with strength, which is a measure of the maximum force that can be generated by a muscle or group of muscles.

Yes, weight training does increase strength. Strength does not need to be increased for endurance cycling. And, yes, i've seen races abroard, raced abroad myself, and have data from pro events (e.g., TdF, World Championships, world records) all the way down to fitness riders and everything in between.

Which psychiatric hospital would you like me to contact for you :))!!!?

Ric
 

2LAP

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Originally posted by zakeen
and if I here one more time, "strength is not required for endurance cycling races", I think I will go crazy! - I dont know what type of racing you guys are doing but maybe you should come over here and race where I race and you might have a different thought!

LOL :D
 

zakeen

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I am sure LA uses a very low watt reading while ridding up some mountain! But thats not what makes him get away! Its the Explosive attack that he makes so no other rider can jump on his wheel! That requires strength! Once you are away your away and riding with little wattage!

Its the sprints! Its the big attacks that requires the strength.
 

2LAP

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Most Road Racers only peak at around 1500 watts, I can only muster 1300 watts (60 kg rider). So not much strength needed there.

Track sprinters peak out at 2000-2200+ watts. So a definate need for strength.

I did used to train for strength when I did cyclo cross though, found picking up my 'tank' of a bike quite hard going particularly when it was covered with mud!!!
 

2LAP

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Originally posted by zakeen
But Lance told me weights are important!

Did lance say 'weights' or 'strength training'? (He does core stability work doesn't he?)
 

zakeen

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@2LAP - Stength training with weights!

I dont like talking about Watts! I dont beleive it is a true value of power if you dont include the torque! Now to think of it, watts is not a good reading with torque at all!

If you swape the engines of a Holden Barina(car)(1.3) 60KW! and put a R1(motorbike)(1) engine into it, 115KW, it is not strong enough to push the weight of the Car! But the R1 engine has almost produces twice amount of power(in KW form!) Its the torque that it lacks which is consided the true value of accelation and power(strenght) of the engine!

So the power form for Watt in the pedal stroke and the actualy strength(torque value) would be two different things! So I done believe using the Watt value as a true power output for cycling!

because........

The torque at the wheels (that divided by the wheel radius is the force on the ground accelerating the bike) is the product of the torque from the bottom bracket multiplied by the gear ratio (RPM rotational speed / wheel’s rotational speed). So the max acceleration at each speed is : max (Torque x RPM) = max power.
Peak torque is the max force on the ground on a given gear ratio but it doesn’t necessarily correspond to max acceleration in that gear because with fixed gear ratio the rpm is directly connected with speed and drag (aero + rolling resistance) depends by speed.

Ricstern you said a max output of 400Watts so what was the torque value at this given watt reading??
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by zakeen, i responded with >>

@2LAP - Stength training with weights!

I dont like talking about Watts! I dont beleive it is a true value of power if you dont include the torque! Now to think of it, watts is not a good reading with torque at all!

>>Eh!? Power (watts) is what moves you down the road, it's the sum of all the resistive forces that must be overcome (e.g., air drag, grade, rolling resistance, bearing resistance, etc)


If you swape the engines of a Holden Barina(car)(1.3) 60KW! and put a R1(motorbike)(1) engine into it, 115KW, it is not strong enough to push the weight of the Car! But the R1 engine has almost produces twice amount of power(in KW form!) Its the torque that it lacks which is consided the true value of accelation and power(strenght) of the engine!

>>it has to be said i don't know anything about cars, but i can categorically state that power isn't strength. They're two completely different metrics

So the power form for Watt in the pedal stroke and the actualy strength(torque value) would be two different things! So I done believe using the Watt value as a true power output for cycling!

>>you're suggesting that power is no good, but what would be the point then of people (LA included!) using a power meter?


because........

The torque at the wheels (that divided by the wheel radius is the force on the ground accelerating the bike) is the product of the torque from the bottom bracket multiplied by the gear ratio (RPM rotational speed / wheel’s rotational speed). So the max acceleration at each speed is : max (Torque x RPM) = max power.
Peak torque is the max force on the ground on a given gear ratio but it doesn’t necessarily correspond to max acceleration in that gear because with fixed gear ratio the rpm is directly connected with speed and drag (aero + rolling resistance) depends by speed.

Ricstern you said a max output of 400Watts so what was the torque value at this given watt reading??

>>The force at the pedal makes no odds whatsoever as long as the power that is needed can be produced.

Ric
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by zakeen
I am sure LA uses a very low watt reading while ridding up some mountain! But thats not what makes him get away! Its the Explosive attack that he makes so no other rider can jump on his wheel! That requires strength! Once you are away your away and riding with little wattage!

Its the sprints! Its the big attacks that requires the strength.

As 2Lap mentioned, as have I peak (sprint) power isn't different between trained endurance athletes and untrained age and gender matched individuals.

Anaerobic capacity isn't going to be vastly different (if at *all*) between elite and non-elite riders (but would be different between track sprint and endurance riders). The actual acceleration and attack won't significantly differ -- it's the sustaining of a good effort afterwards that's important.

Ric
 

zakeen

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Originally posted by ricstern
The actual acceleration and attack won't significantly differ -- it's the sustaining of a good effort afterwards that's important.

Thats the whole thing that differs the cycling level in road races. Its not the sustaining of a good effort after the attack! Its the attack! When one rider attacks and you chase, if he is riding away from you and you cant hold that pace, it means that you can not turn the pedals any faster because you are not strong enough - more endurance is not going to help you here!! its all about power on pedal!
 

2LAP

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Originally posted by zakeen
Thats the whole thing that differs the cycling level in road races. Its not the sustaining of a good effort after the attack! Its the attack! When one rider attacks and you chase, if he is riding away from you and you cant hold that pace, it means that you can not turn the pedals any faster because you are not strong enough - more endurance is not going to help you here!! its all about power on pedal!

Rather than not being strong enough, most riders will experiance burning in the legs and breathlessness if the effort is longer than 10 seconds. This indicates a lack of aerobic and anaerobic capacity. The rider cannot supply the energy/resynthesise ATP at a rate sufficent to maintain the intensity required to stay with the attacking rider.
 

ric_stern/RST

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Originally posted by zakeen
Thats the whole thing that differs the cycling level in road races. Its not the sustaining of a good effort after the attack! Its the attack! When one rider attacks and you chase, if he is riding away from you and you cant hold that pace, it means that you can not turn the pedals any faster because you are not strong enough - more endurance is not going to help you here!! its all about power on pedal!

most people (trained) can attack quite hard and not significantly differently to the pros (e.g., i can average ~ 670 - 700 W for ~30-secs at 68 kg, which won't be significantly different to what a pro can manage). However, once *i* settle down to a rhythm (after e.g., 30-secs) my power will be about 250 - 300 W, a pro (similar size to me) will be knocking out > 400 W. This steady effort (probably above TT power for several+ mins) will be dictated by aerobic metabolism (e.g., VO2 max).

similarly, the world pursuit record (chris boardman, who is the same size as me, so we can directly compare), averaged around 520 W for the 4min11 secs. I have no problem producing that power (~ 520 W), my problem is sustaining it for a long period of time (i.e., i can probably last about 45secs before i've had enough).

It is all about (sustained) power at the pedals, however, this isn't strength and nor is it trained by strength training. On the bike training geared towards efforts that are at VO2 max and supramaximal, and increase power at LT.

Ric
 

zakeen

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Having a max reading and saying that you can produce the same amount of power as are pro..... I dont think thats a good point to have. A power output reading is only a reading! Its the time it takes to get that max power reading!

You have no drama producing 520w just like chris boardman But I bet you he can get to that reading a lot quicker then what you can! This is how torque comes into power bands and they use it for cars because it shows a true power reading! KW is very missleading! Its the strength that can get to that power reading the quickest! VO2Max wont help you there, its all strength!
 
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