Weight training for cycling



endurancemom

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Feb 5, 2010
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I'm looking for some good workout ideas for weight training for cycling. I have been cycling regularly and weight training, but I'm just looking for some ideas on a more specific approach. What kind of workout plans do you all follow?

Note; I would consider myself (at this point) cycling for fitness. I have some weight to lose and will be working on progressively longer rides. Currently I'm pretty low at just a few rides a week, most around 20-40 minutes. We're coming off a rough winter in Ohio. For the past 4 years I had been riding a hybrid department store bike - it did alright but I was looking for a little more performance and interested in entering several more riding tours. A couple weeks ago I bought my first "real" road bike - a Giant Rapid 3. It's been GREAT, though with our weather I've only been able to ride it twice since I bought it lol. Last summer I rode in a 50mile tour that was really enjoyable - looking to do several of those this year.
 

alienator

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Try posting your question in the Cycling Training sub-forum. You have a better chance of getting an answer there.
 

64Paramount

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endurancemom said:
I'm looking for some good workout ideas for weight training for cycling. I have been cycling regularly and weight training, but I'm just looking for some ideas on a more specific approach. What kind of workout plans do you all follow?

Note; I would consider myself (at this point) cycling for fitness. I have some weight to lose and will be working on progressively longer rides. Currently I'm pretty low at just a few rides a week, most around 20-40 minutes. We're coming off a rough winter in Ohio. For the past 4 years I had been riding a hybrid department store bike - it did alright but I was looking for a little more performance and interested in entering several more riding tours. A couple weeks ago I bought my first "real" road bike - a Giant Rapid 3. It's been GREAT, though with our weather I've only been able to ride it twice since I bought it lol. Last summer I rode in a 50mile tour that was really enjoyable - looking to do several of those this year.

I think it depends on what you intend to use the weight training for.

For example, I've never found weight training to improve my cycling performance at all. If anything, it made it worse.

The only things that I've found to improve my cycling is riding my bike on longer rides, riding with greater intensity by climbing hills, riding in hard sprint intervals, etc. During the winter I ride an elliptical trainer to help keep my cardio conditioning.

I also do some upper body weight training, primarily in the Winter and early Spring. But, I don't do that to improve my cycling, I do that so I won't hurt myself in the Spring when I start lifting and carrying things when I start working outside again after a long Winter. Or, kill my back shoveling snow...

So, I personally think that if you are a person that rides a bike primarily for fun and fitness, then I think you should do some weight training, like circuit training, to keep a good balance of muscle and cardio health.

But, if your primary goal is to improve your cycling, I'm not sure that weight training will help you much.
 

fordguru

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Apr 15, 2009
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endurancemom said:
I'm looking for some good workout ideas for weight training for cycling. I have been cycling regularly and weight training, but I'm just looking for some ideas on a more specific approach. What kind of workout plans do you all follow?

Note; I would consider myself (at this point) cycling for fitness. I have some weight to lose and will be working on progressively longer rides. Currently I'm pretty low at just a few rides a week, most around 20-40 minutes. We're coming off a rough winter in Ohio. For the past 4 years I had been riding a hybrid department store bike - it did alright but I was looking for a little more performance and interested in entering several more riding tours. A couple weeks ago I bought my first "real" road bike - a Giant Rapid 3. It's been GREAT, though with our weather I've only been able to ride it twice since I bought it lol. Last summer I rode in a 50mile tour that was really enjoyable - looking to do several of those this year.

hello, your goals dont seem to lofty. what is your age? height? weight? and terrain you plan to ride on?

i am 35 5 ft 7 165 and i ride for fitness, fun, weight loss and weight control. this is the first year i have compbined weight lifting with riding. i am doing squats, leg presses, leg extensions, hamstring curls in my legs. start with high reps 15ish. with 2 rides this year under my belt i can say my legs are stronger for sure on 1 hour rides. not sure yet as to the longer ride advantage amount. legs look better too!
 

genedan

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Feb 13, 2010
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Cycling alone isn't good because it can lead to loss in bone density, since it's a non weight bearing exercise. Therefore, cross training, such as weight training can help build and maintain bone density.

These two articles by Monique Ryan might help clear things up:

A sports nutritionist looks at the problem of low bone density in cyclists and what they can do about it. - VeloNews

Bad to the Bone: Part 2 - VeloNews

I do weight training, but performance-wise I don't really see significant benefit. In fact, I find that I'm able to train longer and harder on the days that I don't lift weights, but I do think that weight training helps with the explosiveness in sprinting.
 

Enriss

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Sep 14, 2009
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I'm going to make my normal pitch that I make every time a thread like this comes up. Learn to do the compound barbell lifts, and do them heavy. Outside of the obvious benefits, deep squats promote hamstring strength, overhead presses are about the best core exercise you can do, power cleans are a great expression of power, etcetera. It's important not to focus on things like leg presses, because leg presses work the quads without making the back or hamstrings much stronger, and as a cyclist, you're probably already quad dominant. No reason to aggravate the problem.
Don't bother with training the way bodybuilders do. Things like circuit training and high rep work (anything past about 8) don't help you get appreciably stronger, and if your goal isn't to get stronger, achieve better tone(which is best done using low-rep high intensity sets) or fix a strength imbalance(which is best done by making the weak muscle group stronger), why are you in the weight room?
I assume I don't even have to get into why bicep curls are a waste of your time.
 

genedan

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Enriss said:
I'm going to make my normal pitch that I make every time a thread like this comes up. Learn to do the compound barbell lifts, and do them heavy. Outside of the obvious benefits, deep squats promote hamstring strength, overhead presses are about the best core exercise you can do, power cleans are a great expression of power, etcetera. It's important not to focus on things like leg presses, because leg presses work the quads without making the back or hamstrings much stronger, and as a cyclist, you're probably already quad dominant. No reason to aggravate the problem.
Don't bother with training the way bodybuilders do. Things like circuit training and high rep work (anything past about 8) don't help you get appreciably stronger, and if your goal isn't to get stronger, achieve better tone(which is best done using low-rep high intensity sets) or fix a strength imbalance(which is best done by making the weak muscle group stronger), why are you in the weight room?
I assume I don't even have to get into why bicep curls are a waste of your time.

I agree with the above. Excessive isolation exercises kept me sidelined with muscle imbalances for an entire season. Since then I've been doing compound exercises and have felt much better. I really only have to do 5 different exercises for a full body work out. 5x5 setsxreps.You really need to get your ass under the bar (literally) to get the benefits of weight training.

I do have a question though...how much? When I used to dedicate myself entirely to weight training I got my weight up to 150 from gains in muscle mass. Of course, that kind of weight gain isn't conducive to cycling (I'm a climber) so I've cut back and I'm now about 125-130 lbs, and climbing much better.
 

Enriss

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Well, the amount of muscle mass that you're comfortable carrying is pretty much up to you. I'd maybe recommend strength training for a month or two and accepting the fact that you will put on some weight while you do it, but that any fat gained this way can be pretty easily worked off.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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endurancemom said:
I'm looking for some good workout ideas for weight training for cycling. I have been cycling regularly and weight training, but I'm just looking for some ideas on a more specific approach. What kind of workout plans do you all follow?

Specificity is the key here.
If you desire to improve your cycling fitness - cycle.
If you desire to change your present body composition/appearance - weight train.
Weight training is not going to improve your cycling fitness to the extent that you should forego riding your bike to lift weights when the time/opportunity presents itself.
Cycling (aerobic exercise) will also be significantly more beneficial and effective to your weight loss endeavors than weight training (anaerobic exercise).
My $0.02CAN worth...
 

fergie

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Just to be awkward.

No weights for weight loss??? John Hellemans (Sports Doc and Triathlon Coach) suggests weight training for weight loss. As a personal trainer I saw the fastest fat loss from those who followed a resistance programme and high intensity (anaerobic) circuits.

No Leg Press??? This is the '"go to exercise for the Australian Track Sprinters done one leg at a time. Bumped into Greg Wilson (researcher on power and strength in sport) and he insisted that Leg Press was the key exercise for cyclists.

Osteoporosis??? If we trained every potential limit to sport and good health we would never actually get round to actually riding the bike fast. This is how you get better at riding the bike fast.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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Awkward? Perhaps just being contrary...

I don't believe anyone, myself included stated "no weights for weight loss" - correct me if I'm wrong though.

It's nice you pulled a study out and related your personal observation, but it wouldn't take me too long to pull out many more studies, and I could speak to my own personal experience as well, all pointing to consistent aerobic exercise over weight training (if those were the only two methods at one's disposal) for sustainable and lasting weight loss.

On the Leg Press matter, I don't think the OP has aspirations of being a track sprinter. The OP can correct me if I'm wrong.
 

fergie

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There is a shift towards more high intensity exercise for overweight population just to ensure they actually do some exercise and most can't spare 30mins, 3 x week???

Leg Press for all, heck I don't buy it and I had another researcher advise me that cyclists should do leg extn 3 x 25 reps. Something to be said for sticking to ones area of expertise. Greg Wilson is a strength and power expert and except for cycling sprinters (and even then it's debatable compared to a shot putter or high jumper) strength plays no part in cycling.

BTW Enriss I spoke with a Powerlifter and Weightlifter who said a squat suit and wraps allow you to squat an extra 50lbs, makes Chris Hoy's 500lb squat pale in comparison to the women's WR of 590lbs for the same weight even if she did use a suit and wraps. Also spoke to a few swim coaches about Maglischo but lets not go there:D
 

RHR38

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What about single leg squat, or single leg jumps? (from squat to squat if you know what I mean..) I think they are good as they give much support to pelvis area and raw strenght w/o extra muscle mass if you keep reps low. Fast/explosive 8-10 sec = low lactate = good neuromuscular training effect.

Isn't for example single leg press quite risky move where it's possible to get pretty major accident?
 

genedan

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If you're already doing something like squats, I think leg presses are gonna be overkill. You wanna do the minimum amount of work required to get to wherever you want to go. If I had to choose between squats and leg press, I'd choose squats because you have to focus on balancing the weight while doing the exercise.
 

jollyrogers

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genedan said:
Cycling alone isn't good because it can lead to loss in bone density, since it's a non weight bearing exercise. Therefore, cross training, such as weight training can help build and maintain bone density.

If bone density is a concern, high impact exercise such as running will do more to build/maintain bone density than lifting. There's a study abstract on pubmed that compared sectional density in female volleyball players (high impact) some of whom lifted heavy and other who did not lift.

Femoral neck structure in adult female athletes su... [J Bone Miner Res. 2005] - PubMed result
 

Enriss

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fergie said:
BTW Enriss I spoke with a Powerlifter and Weightlifter who said a squat suit and wraps allow you to squat an extra 50lbs, makes Chris Hoy's 500lb squat pale in comparison to the women's WR of 590lbs for the same weight even if she did use a suit and wraps.
I've heard that a weightlifting belt alone can add 50 lbs, and if you look at the world record 1220 squat by Vlad Alhazov with unlimited gear, 1008 by Shane Hamman with a single ply squat suit and 948 by Marc Henry without any gear, I find it a bit hard to believe that gear only adds fifty pounds. The difference between "ungeared" and single ply squat suit is maybe about 50 lbs for a lighter lifter, and that doesn't even address what ungeared means in whatever federation Henry was squatting in.
I'm impressed that you found a guy who powerlifts and weightlifts, assuming you mean that he trains the olympic lifts. I've heard it's a rare thing. Most oly lifters apparently do high bar or front squats because they're more "specific."
 

GoldenGator

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Feb 10, 2010
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So here's another 2cents comment on what I've taken from all the (mis)information out there about weight training. First, weight loss is achieved by consuming less calories than you burn in a given day. If you do no aerobic exercize and eat only rice cakes for the next two months you'll loose weight (not recommended). The point is controlling you calorie intake versus the amount of activity you perform will yeild weight loss and shooting for 1-2lbs per week is ideal.

Ok, on to the weight training for cycling. There is substantial evidence suggesting cyclist who increase weight training in the off season will see benefits in performance when spring rolls around (i.e. weight training=good). I do not believe there is any reasonable benefit to weight training more than once a week when you could be out on the road in the spring (i.e. leaves on trees=hit the roads).

As far as exercizes, ALL exercizes should be compound movements requiring more than one joint/muscle group and require the support of your core. The best exercizes are squats (standing barbell), leg extensions (if you feel there is a muscle imbalance in your hammys), bent rows, pullups or lat pull downs, standing shoulder presses, bench press, dips, dead lifts and power cleans.

A typical off season workout for me is a full body routine 2x/wk. This takes about 30 minutes followed by 30minutes running on the treadmill (triathlon training). Squats, Leg Extensions, Tricep Dips, standing dumbell Shoulder Press (I had surgery requiring dumbells but barbell is better), bent rows, core exercizes (lower back and abs). I do 3 sets of each exercize and try for reps 15-12-10 with the last set to failure. The core work is to failure on every exercize and high reps (20-30+). Each set is followed by less than 1 minute recovery and I immediately hit the treadmill for 3-4miles (30minutes).

Lastly, the gym is not your local pub. You go with a training goal, focus, FOCUS, and perform each exercize slowly and correctly. Bring a water bottle so you're not tempted to waste time at the fountain or chatting with your buddy. Weight training in the offseason will pay dividends. But the best return on investment is miles on the bike!! It takes years of training to generate real power so be patient and plan ahead!
 

tonyzackery

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^^Well, that settles it then. End of discussion. The definitive expert has spoken:rolleyes::D...
 

dhk2

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Don't be a skeptic Tony....after seeing your photo a few months ago, I can see how adding a few more pounds of lean muscle could do wonders for your racing. Just look at the elite and pro racers and tell me that they aren't pumping iron in the off-season :)
 

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