wine9555 Posts: 97
edited November 2007 in Training, fitness and health
If I weight train heavily over the winter, especially squats, will it make it easier to spin or push my bike at higher gear levels than I am doing right now or would training on a stationary trainer accompolish the same thing
http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern I don't think we can conclude that because Macintrye uses weight that the are making him fastewr. The question should be is he faster because of weight training or inspite of it.? The research seems to suggests its the latter
I like squats and do find that they improve my leg strength for speed and TTs, its usually my legs that tire or hurt in big efforts - there seemed to be some left in the breath department that my legs couldn't use and squats increased muscle mass - i suppose big gear work in intervals could achieve a similar result?
I don't think anyone would argue that weight training makes you stronger, as it does (if done correctly).
The operative word is "seems".
it doesn't. Building muscles with e.g. weights involves either increases in muscle cross sectional area (hypertrophy), which results in a decline muscle mitochondria and capillary density, an increase in neuromuscular activity which is specific to the joint angle and velocity at which it's trained, or a combo of these two.
On the other hand endurance cycling performance (which is what i presume we're talking about) is limited by cardiorespiratory and metabolic considerations, involving oxygen transport. It's why (some) cyclists blood dope or use drugs such as rH-Epo.
Big gear/low cadence work doesn't increase strength, because the forces involved are too low (as they generally are for cycling, even when going uphill). The only time you're likely to increase strength via cycling is if you're a frail old lady, or you do something all-out 50-metre standing start sprints. for more discussion on this as well as my article at cyclingnews that Tok linked to, there's also this by emminent exercise physiologist and cycling Andy Coggan http://home.earthlink.net/~acoggan/setraining/
I'm defineitely no expert in this subject but Graeme Obree, one of the worlds finest ever cyclists, seemed to like and believed in doing a lot of big gear/strength work on the rolling roads and hills of Ayrshire as opposed to doing weights in a gym. Was it because of this style of training or in spite of it he became world champion and world hour record holder. If it was the latter, how good would he have been with proper medical and training supervision - should he also have cared to have listened ? It seems to confuse things a bit!!!
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You seem to be confusing things. No one has said that big gear work isn't useful for some people, what we said was is that it doesn't increase *strength*. You appear (?) to be confusing power (the rate of doing work) with strength (maximal force generation)
Just because Obree or others think that the workout *feels* like a strength workout, doesn't mean that it is.
You can't possibly know what you're talking about if you're not a brilliant cyclist...
Which makes me wonder how i've coached and worked with world class cyclists.
As I said I am no expert in the field and maybe/probably I am confusing things - but I would ask this question out of curiousity. If the cyclist had the bike in a big enough gear and went up a steep hill, surely in this instance, providing the bike mechanics (ie gearing) is removed and the cyclists body weight is brought into the equation, its akin to strength training without weights such as pull-ups, push-ups, squats etc.... or am I confusing things again
I haven't the time at the moment to go through the articles (I will do so asap), could you summarise what advantages, if any, there are of using big gear/low cadence if its not for strength? I'm sure many people are of the opinion strength increase is one!
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I believe that in the first instance you should read the article. If i interpret the data for you, then we introduce bias.
However, you are correct, at least in part. If you ride a given hill at a given power in a given gear (e.g. 39 x 19) under given conditions you'll end up with a given velocity. If you then ride a bigger gear at the same power (and thus velocity) your cadence will be lower, and the force requirement will be higher. However, the forces are so small that unless you have a functional disability or have issues standing when getting out of e.g. a chair, you won't increase your strength -- which is the maximal force that can be generated (this can only occur at zero velocity).
To give you an idea, very quickly calculations show that the forces required to win on an Alpine climb in the TdF can be met by just about anyone. A 70 kg winner would need an average force of ~ 28 kg (between both legs; i.e., around 14 kg each leg).
Even if you ride at a low cadence, the forces are too low to induce changes in strength
1) it helps - especially for road racing and MTBing to be able to cope with a variety of cadences (incase you're unexpectedly pitched against a monster grade or your gear cable breaks)
2) because it's more efficient to pedal slower at a given power; HR is lower at a given power. However, because some people train at a prescribed HR; by doing so at a lower cadence will *probably* mean that they are riding at a higher power which may be beneficial to them (or will just fatigue them at a faster rate -- you can't just find another 10 W if you're already at your limits)
If you can't ride faster than him then you can't possibly critisise his training plan. A bit like a referee doesn't know what a foul is cause he hasn't played pro football, a man can't be a better gynocologist than a woman cause he doesn't have a vagina. Yeah you get the picture :evil: Anyway back to the debate. Macintryre is obviously a classy rider, and who knows perhaps that 20sec he had on Millar early doors in the TT Championships might have been really been something but we'll never know cause he had a mechanical.
I read the cycling weekly article on macintryre's training with weights and did wonder But the research, and there's been quite a lot of it suggests that in general for anyone but track sprinters weight training isn't worth the time investment. So perhaps don't take the term 'he's really strong' too literally. Strength ain't the significant factor when it comes to endurance cycling. Damn! if it was then surely Chris Hoy and one or two other heavy weight pro's wouldn't have had their arses kicked by club riders in the 2006 Etape.
Archie - I think your answer may have been in successfully dealing with your back trouble. Whichever side you come down on the weight-training question, you have obviously benefited from improvements in core strength. The squats in particular would have been good for this.
I've spoken to both Jason and Graeme at local races, and while they are both happy to talk training neither of them would make the assumption that what works for them would necessarily work for other riders.
Personally I don't believe in weight training for road cyclists - especially not power lifting - but if it you are convinced it works for you, then why not?
To turn the question on it's head, how much have your times improved with weight training?
If it doesn't help why do they do it?
The fact that certain experienced coaches on here say it doesn't work or help doesn't mean that it doesn't.
it just means that it doesn't fit into their paradigm of what they know about sports physiology.
It's hardly a complete science and there's lots we don't know/understand.
I read many reports that they don't. Plus, the pros i've worked with don't in general use weights
possibly for similar to reasons that some of them would think it's bizarre to visit a wind tunnel even though they are 'into' TTing
that's untrue. there's simply no evidence to support it's use in any data in trained cyclists for improving endurance performance. There is evidence and first principles that it is detrimental to performance.
while sports science is only over a hundred years old, the core disciplines are much older.
I've had some IT band injury problems this year and have realised, with the help of a physio, that very weak core muscles were at the root of it. I've been doing a lot of stretching and core exercises, as well as some squats to strengthen my glutes. In terms of strengthening core muscles, if they are weak, I think it has to help.
It's likely that weights may help to increase maximal power (we certainly use them for track sprinters). However, the issue at hand with endurance riders is that weights increase strength one of three ways
1) a neural component - this generally occurs in the first ~ 8 weeks of training, and is highly specific to the joint angle and velocity as which it's trained (i.e., it's not related to motor function in cycling). When people who have shown significant increases in strength this way are asked to do a different movement (but using the same muscles/limbs) they do not exhibit the strength increases as in the original training exercise, i.e., no cross-over
2) increases in muscle cross sectional area. This results in a decrease in muscle mitochonrion and capillary density, decreasing O2 delivery (which is the rate limiting mechanism in endurance exercise). In other words you can increase your strength and possibly maximal power, but you'll suffer a decrease in aerobic power (no good if you have to go up hill, TT, or ever get lined out in a race) and weigh more (and have less power to drag yourself uphill)
3) a combination of 1 and 2
I've read reports of many many Pro Tour riders over the years doing the same: Millar, Leiphiemer, O'Grady, Ullrich, Cancellara..the list goes on. It seems it's the norm in the pro peloton.
If these guys find weight training works for them in empirically, which presumably it does, then isn't it wise to re think your stance that it's detrimental, simply because it doesn't fit into your theoretical framework?
It's not a theoretical framework.
However most people who read this forum are not pros or even elite cyclists.
For people who ride because it is fun and to 'keep fit' (myself included) I believe that weight training during the winter in combination with other aerobic/cardio work ( to use common but perhaps innacurate terminology) helps fight boredom, can help to address some 'weakness' issues (eg core, neck/shoulders from too much desk time etc) and can by using both 'sides' of a limb's musculature help with better flexibility (eg hamstring curl & quads) .
That's my belief. It's not based on science but on my own and other's anecdotal evidence.
And if I did nothing but wait for the spring I'd be a worse cyclist - and an even bigger 'blob' of that I'm sure!
I don't disagree with you (that for non-racers it could be useful).
If you do some cross-training it could benefit your cycling. Not that the cross-training makes you a better, more efficient cyclist; but it could perhaps prevent you from injury and so prevent time off the bike with a limb in plaster.
Of course you could just do more out-of-the-saddle riding which is a load-bearing exercise to improve your bone-density.
There is some evidence that it helps with bone mineral density (which is why i preface my statements with it not helping endurance cycling performance), however, the data on this is equivocal, and is not as good as taking drugs for it. Additionally, i know people who do, do weights who are still osteoporotic.
There is no evidence that weights helps prevents injuries in cyclists (other than it possibly helping BMD).
.....you've guessed it, lifting weights.
Yes, your legs will get stronger, but does that translate into being quicker overall on a bike (which is what I'm intesrested in)? I don't think it does.Cycling is an endurance sport, and as others have pointed out brute strength isn't necessary. It may help with sprinting short distances but that's about it.
Another point - weight training builds muscle mass, which would make you heavier. If I was serious about racing, I wouldn't bother. Non-cyclists often assume that huge muscly legs are required to be any good, but this is simply not true. The only reason I go to the gym is pure vanity, I'd like a half decent physique instead of the traditional cyclist's; which is skinny, with pipecleaner arms and a small pot belly from stuffing malt loaf and bananas down all day!
To answer the original question, time on the stationary trainer would be more benificial IMHO.
Though one of my mates says there is no point in him doing intervals on a stationary bike as the position is so different from his TT bike that he would get no benefit. I disagree with him. That is a *real* question, that at least I would like to see answered, but it probably should be asked and answered properly elsewhere (in another thread).