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Weight Training for Endurance?

chrisb177chrisb177 Posts: 55
edited September 2008 in Training, fitness and health
Hi, I've read a few articles online about weight training for when competing in Road Races some say do it and other say it doesn't make any difference :? I was just wondering what do you guys do any weight training?

Thanks

Chris
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Posts

  • sub55sub55 Posts: 1,025
    nope
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • FloodcpFloodcp Posts: 190
    Yes Upper body only - twice a week. I have a routine that I could probably mail to you. It was recommended by a coach.
    I think it helped me greatly this year especially when climbing.
  • Hi Chris B,

    there's a good, long and vitriolic thread about weights and cycling on a site called cyclingforums which is fairly instructive (link : http://www.cyclingforums.com/t126133.html). The upshot of it seems to be that if all you're worried about is bike racing, and you're fairly well trained already, then weights ain't really gonna help. Weights develop strength, which isn't a limiting factor in bike racing, rather than power, which is. I would have thought it's worth doing some basic upper body/core stuff though; better to be strong than weak if you can do it without a significant increase in weight.

    I do a bit of weight training myself, particularly in winter, but for general fitness/'fun' and not to help with cycling (although it doesn't seem to be much of a hindrance either).
  • I'm a real advocate of resistance training although there are many people who feel it has no benefit in the cycling world whatsover, and I respect that. However, Ithrough my own experiences some specific leg strengthening exercises have helped me. I compete in triathlon now so I'm no longer a 'pure' cyclist and maybe triathletes get more from weight trraining than roadies (running is definately aided by specific leg strengthening IMHO).

    But if you're looking for pure empirical evidence that resistance training helps (rather than anecdotal, like I have) cyclists then I think you'll be hard pressed. :)
    'How can an opinion be bullsh1t?' High Fidelity
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Floodcp wrote:
    Yes Upper body only - twice a week. I have a routine that I could probably mail to you. It was recommended by a coach.
    I think it helped me greatly this year especially when climbing.
    Wow thats amazing!! Please explain how you THINK an upper body workout helped with your climbing. I'm looking at Pro Racers and me thinks half of the really good climbers would struggle to bang out 30 press ups!
  • FloodcpFloodcp Posts: 190
    Toks
    Not suggesting doing major weights but rather toning up. I dont see many Pro cyclists with a beer belly.
    I do light weights and plenty of reps. I also do situps and crunches to help with core strength

    I felt much stronger than in previous years and felt I could climb better out of the saddle. Previously I would have got back from a long climb and had really sore arms. Not this year. Therefore I believe that for me personally weight training has helped.

    Whether you believe it or not is another story
  • Toks wrote:
    Floodcp wrote:
    Yes Upper body only - twice a week. I have a routine that I could probably mail to you. It was recommended by a coach.
    I think it helped me greatly this year especially when climbing.
    Wow thats amazing!! Please explain how you THINK an upper body workout helped with your climbing. I'm looking at Pro Racers and me thinks half of the really good climbers would struggle to bang out 30 press ups!

    They'd struggle with 3 :roll:
    'How can an opinion be bullsh1t?' High Fidelity
  • CougarCougar Posts: 100
    Another old chestnut.

    Those against cite what appears to be the spindlly weak bodies of pure climbers who compete in the "King of the Mountains" category in the GT's who look so puny that you could blow them over.

    Two things here; the first is that how many of us are going to be in the frame for a "King of the Mountains" in a GT. The second thing is that I suspect that they are indeed very strong in the upper body because of the strain on their bodies with the climbing they do in practice.

    Also cited is that strength is not a limiter otherwise a weight lifter would win the TDF. :D I won't even bother with discussing that one. It's on a par with professional cyclists giving out misinformation on the way they train so as to gain an advanatge on their rivals. :D

    Anothet thing against is the number of studies underatken that show no correlation between weight/strength training and riding fast. I've often wondered where they get these riders from who:

    1) Have never previously done anything other than ride a bike like do weight/circuit training or play other sports like football or rugby or squash; all of which will impact on your body.

    2) Are identical in terms of their background height, weight etc.

    Ask yourself this question. Would you consider yourself a typical rider in a study group? I know I wouldn't. If you've done resistance training all your life and then are put into a study group where you were to do no weight training for 13 weeks and all other things being equal then compare with another study doing weright training after which you all do a 25 mile TT I'm pretty sure that my time for the 25 mile TT would be better than the group doing weight training. Why? because the immediate effect of the weight training on riding would make you sluggish because it is non bike specific..

    You see the thing is that weight/resistance training builds up your body over years; also if you only do it the off season then who is to say it can have no effect on your cycling speed? I'm sorry but whenever I see study group for this or that I just turn off. It's all bollox.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Like many aspects of training weights are probably something that work for some, others not.

    Personally I find they help. I started doing a regular free weights session once per week this year and for sure it has not hindered my progress.

    As for pros, Robert Millar said he did 30-40 minutes weight training every day and he wasn't a bad climber.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzob wrote:

    As for pros, Robert Millar said he did 30-40 minutes weight training every day and he wasn't a bad climber.

    I wonder how good he would have been without these 30-40 minutes?

    Good climbers are born not made, do you think :?
    'How can an opinion be bullsh1t?' High Fidelity
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Good climbers are born
    not made, do you think :?

    Bit of both is the answer to this one I think.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    Cougar wrote:
    Another old chestnut.

    Those against cite what appears to be the spindlly weak bodies of pure climbers who compete in the "King of the Mountains" category in the GT's who look so puny that you could blow them over.

    Two things here; the first is that how many of us are going to be in the frame for a "King of the Mountains" in a GT. The second thing is that I suspect that they are indeed very strong in the upper body because of the strain on their bodies with the climbing they do in practice.

    Also cited is that strength is not a limiter otherwise a weight lifter would win the TDF. :D I won't even bother with discussing that one. It's on a par with professional cyclists giving out misinformation on the way they train so as to gain an advanatge on their rivals. :D

    Anothet thing against is the number of studies underatken that show no correlation between weight/strength training and riding fast. I've often wondered where they get these riders from who:

    1) Have never previously done anything other than ride a bike like do weight/circuit training or play other sports like football or rugby or squash; all of which will impact on your body.

    2) Are identical in terms of their background height, weight etc.

    Ask yourself this question. Would you consider yourself a typical rider in a study group? I know I wouldn't. If you've done resistance training all your life and then are put into a study group where you were to do no weight training for 13 weeks and all other things being equal then compare with another study doing weright training after which you all do a 25 mile TT I'm pretty sure that my time for the 25 mile TT would be better than the group doing weight training. Why? because the immediate effect of the weight training on riding would make you sluggish because it is non bike specific..

    You see the thing is that weight/resistance training builds up your body over years; also if you only do it the off season then who is to say it can have no effect on your cycling speed? I'm sorry but whenever I see study group for this or that I just turn off. It's all bollox.

    Wow, you sound very much like Mike WIllcox.
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • jp1985jp1985 Posts: 434
    i've just completed my MSc dissertation for which i conducted a Meta Analysis of studies that investigated the effect of concurrent resistance and endurance training on endurance performance in trained athletes.
    The studies that werre included investigated performance in runners, cross country skiers and cyclists.
    The findings indicate that time trial performance and time to fatigue at a given intensity are enhanced by the addition of resistance training to endurance training or the replacemnet of a small volume of endurance training with resistance training.
    Unsurrisingly it was also found that VO2max and lactate threshold were unaffected. The primary mechanism by which performance was improved was by an increase in exercise efficiency.
    Maximal strength is relatively unimportant for cycling however rate of force development is and it is this aspect that resistance training programs should focus on. If you can achieve a higher force earlier in your pedal stroke the impulse (force* time) will be greater and therefore result in a higher power output.
    enhanced RFD can generally be achieved by a number of resistance training methods (plyoetrics, traditional strength training etc.) however if you choose a traditional heavy resistance weight training approach there is a danger of hypertrophy elevating body weight and so reducing power to weight ratio. Therefore i would reccomend incorportating 6 - 10 week blocks of resistance training before important times in your season. i would limit this to lower body exercises (squats, leg press, lunges, step ups) and generally wouldn't bother with upper body work.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Cougar wrote:
    Those against cite what appears to be the spindlly weak bodies of pure climbers who compete in the "King of the Mountains" category in the GT's who look so puny that you could blow them over.

    Two things here; the first is that how many of us are going to be in the frame for a "King of the Mountains" in a GT.
    If you've ever seen a Tour sprinter up close, you'll realise they are very thin too. Guys who look big and chunky on TV are stick thin whippets in real life. "Big" George Hincapie? He looks like a draught of cold air could knock him over. Tom Boonen? Given the man a meal. Thor Hushovd? Are you sure that Credit Agricole rider is the Norweigan champ and not weedy Botcharov?
    JP1985 wrote:
    i've just completed my MSc dissertation for which i conducted a Meta Analysis of studies that investigated the effect of concurrent resistance and endurance training on endurance performance in trained athletes.
    The studies that werre included investigated performance in runners, cross country skiers and cyclists.
    The findings indicate that time trial performance and time to fatigue at a given intensity are enhanced by the addition of resistance training to endurance training or the replacemnet of a small volume of endurance training with resistance training.
    I'm interested in your study. If I cut back on my endurance a bit and did some resistance training, I can see the benefit. But what if I cut back on my endurance and did some intervals or threshold work? Did you control for the effect of reducing endurance only to replace it with anything of quality. For example, if I did a 4 hour endurance ride, I could probably do a 3 hour ride and perform better since I'm getting endurance and intensity. See what I mean?
  • because the immediate effect of the weight training on riding would make you sluggish because it is non bike specific..

    then do bike-specific weight training. simple.
    As a coach I highly recommend weight training for my clients. You don't go at it like the lobotomised meatheads in the gym, grunting and clanking weights.

    oh...and again, if your weight training is just building strength and not power, then you need to change the way you're doing it.
  • johncpjohncp Posts: 302
    Nice to see a scientific approach that vindicates my own gut feeling that, as someone new to cycling, a certain amount of strength training has to help in developing climbing ability.
    I have been doing a fair bit of riding this season, average 350 miles/month in a fairly hilly area and my climbing has improved. BUT I'm still not brilliant and regularly dropped off the back on hills on club nights.
    At a recent time trial a seasoned vet commented that I was at last developing some cycling muscles and whatever the coaches say about hypertrophy not being needed for increased climbing ability there is no denying that even climbing specialists have bigger thighs than the average bloke in the street.
    Middle distance athletes who need strength endurance for a 2-4 minute effort not unlike climbing a typical British hill, regularly carry out weight training augmented with plyometrics.
    Personally I will be trying to get in the gym over the winter to build up some basic strength in my legs that can be turned to endurance on the bike. I will also do some upper body work and Pilates to make out of the saddle climbing easier - at the moment my arms and hands feel the strain after just a couple of minutes.
    I appreciate that all of the above would come with increased riding but I don't have the time or, to be honest, the inclination to spend 12-15 hours a week on what is, after all, meant to be a fun way to keep fit and complete a few challenges. Strength training will help me to attain my goals more quickly and will also improve my overall fitness as well as my cycling.
    If you haven't got a headwind you're not trying hard enough
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    edited September 2008
    I'd be interested to see these bike specific strength training exercises. Cycling and Running are two totally different sports even though both are obviously aerobic. Running involves a lot more core movement as you less stable than sitting on a saddle. More potential for injury it makes sense to strengthen the muscles around the knee. You are probably getting dropped because you still haven't developed the aerobic ability and energy transfer at muscle or cellular level not because of strength. Unfortunately most climbers are pretty skinny even in there thighs, think aerobic not strength.

    The only general strength training i would advise for a competitive cyclist would be for health purposes e.g maintenance of healthy back using stablilty ball exercises. Postural exercises and in certain cases such as myself look at developing VM or muscle just above/inner knee cap, not well described as you don't use this much during cycling.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    I lift because I like it. Used to be something of a wanna be bodybuilder many, many years ago and I still enjoy "hitting the iron". I'm kind of a fair weather rider these days so during the winter I switch to weights and do a good share of leg work along with the usual
    curls and bench presses. I still ride a bit, whenever the temperature gets above my age.
    The weights offer a change of pace, keep me in shape, and around late winter, early spring I'm ready to ride again.

    Dennis Noward
  • jp1985jp1985 Posts: 434
    Kleber

    I performed a meta analysis which means that i combined all the findings of sufficiently homogenous studies in one statistical analysis. The study only looked at the effect of the addition of resistance training to endurance training on endurance performance and determinants of endurance performance (VO2max, LT, Economy/efficiency).

    Any study that implemented a resistance training program in addition to endurance training no matter what method (e.g. plyometric, explosive weight training, heavy weight training) was included.

    After performing the stats on all studies combined i performed two subgroup analyses to investigate the effect of resistance training mode and the effect of the addition or replacement of resistance training. This invloved splitting the included studies into one of two groups for each subgroup analysis (explosive/plyometric training verses heavy resistance tranining and addition verses replacement). The effect appeared equal across both groups for both subgroup analysis.

    The subjects of the studies were highly trained and perfored a significant volume of training (generally >12 hours/week) so slightly reducing their traininng volume (1-2 hours/week) may have little effect compared to those that may only train for 4-5 hours/ week.

    In terms of your training i would urge you to think about quality of training rather than quantity, there is always room for longer rides but these should be in addition to more focussed sessions. Theoretically a well designed 40 mins-1 hour interval session that stressed the lactate threshold would improve your 4 hour sustainable power output to a greater extent than simply performing a 4 hour ride at which your threshold is probably not stressed. Im not sure there would be a massive differance between the intensity of a 4 hour ride and that of a 3 hour ride.

    Not really sure if this has answered your questions or not
    Joe
  • jp1985jp1985 Posts: 434
    "I'd be interested to see these bike specific strength training exercises"

    Specific does not mean the same, squats, lunges, leg press all recruit very similar musculature, in a similar recruitment pattern to cycling
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    jp1985 wrote:
    "I'd be interested to see these bike specific strength training exercises"

    Specific does not mean the same, squats, lunges, leg press all recruit very similar musculature, in a similar recruitment pattern to cycling


    So taking these exercises are you going to do 1000's of reps to replicate muscle endurance or any where between 1-12 for strength, power or hypertrophy. As you don't really need to develop muscle endurance i take it these are for strength? Those exercises are general and not really specific to any sport.
  • s.woodys.woody Posts: 181
    In addition to cycling about 150 (non-commute) miles a week, I do weekly weight training just at home. Nothing heavy, rather concentrating on high reps and lightish weights. My sessions last 1 hour max. I don't have any research or scientific evidence to back it up but I feel that having strength in my arms and shoulders helps when climbing.

    I always fit in core work especially lower back exercises.
    But the one exercise that I personally feel helps most on the bike are squats. The feeling in the quads that I get when doing squats I think feels very similar to out of the saddle sprints.

    Regarding the question of do they help increase endurance, I don't think they do any harm. Personally I enjoy lifting a few weights and call me vain but I also like the definition it gives me. :D
  • jp1985jp1985 Posts: 434
    As previously stated maximal strength is relatively unimportant. It is the rate at which the muscle can produce force that is important. If you have a cadence of 90 rpm each pedal stroke (from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock pedal positions) lasts 0.3 seconds you will not exhibit
    your maximum strength in this time frame.

    If you havn't previously performed weight training the initial adaptations come from neural adaptations such as coordination and increased motor unit recruitment (we dont activate all of the muscle each time it contracts and most people do not have the potential to full activate all of the muscle even under max efforts resistance training may increase the % you can activate).

    Resistance training could be plyometrics, explosive weight training, heavy weight training or even done on the bike through short 10 - 15 second sprints using a high gear as long as the intention is to perform the exercise explosively or as quickly as possible.

    If you were to use weights it would depend on the individual, technique is important and performing jump squats etc isnt for novices but starting at a repetition maximum range of 8 - 12 will allow cause the initial important aptations this may then be dropped down and movement speed increased as you gain in strength to focus on rate of force development

    But again this may cause hypertrophy if done for long periods that may reduce power to weight ratio and actually decrease performance so should be done in blocks of 6 - 10 weeks
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    jp1985 wrote:
    As previously stated maximal strength is relatively unimportant. It is the rate at which the muscle can produce force that is important. If you have a cadence of 90 rpm each pedal stroke (from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock pedal positions) lasts 0.3 seconds you will not exhibit
    your maximum strength in this time frame.

    If you havn't previously performed weight training the initial adaptations come from neural adaptations such as coordination and increased motor unit recruitment (we dont activate all of the muscle each time it contracts and most people do not have the potential to full activate all of the muscle even under max efforts resistance training may increase the % you can activate).

    Resistance training could be plyometrics, explosive weight training, heavy weight training or even done on the bike through short 10 - 15 second sprints using a high gear as long as the intention is to perform the exercise explosively or as quickly as possible.

    If you were to use weights it would depend on the individual, technique is important and performing jump squats etc isnt for novices but starting at a repetition maximum range of 8 - 12 will allow cause the initial important aptations this may then be dropped down and movement speed increased as you gain in strength to focus on rate of force development

    But again this may cause hypertrophy if done for long periods that may reduce power to weight ratio and actually decrease performance so should be done in blocks of 6 - 10 weeks


    Sorry. My question should have been aimed at the coach who recommends weight training for his clients. Nice answer where are you studying or have studied?
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