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Upper body training / bike training. Which order?

neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
I generally train on the road 5 times a week and go to the gym twice to do a little upper body / core training. Due to time constrictions I need to do both today. Does it make any difference if I do one before the other? Normally one would do aerobic exercise before doing any weight training but if I do the strength training before I go for my ride will it help to ensure that I don't build any upper body mass? ie I'll get the strength benefits without putting on any weight. Clear as mud :-)

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  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    i know what you mean.

    Mens Health Magazine - of which I got a cheap subscription to - seem to think that the order should be strength and then aerobic

    there seem to be a number of reasons for this - that the aerobic boosts your muscle building process - that its safer as you have more energy in the weights room and therefore less likely to fail with a large bench-press on your chest.

    I would imagine there are pros and cons each way to be honest..
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Oh - the other thing I would add however, is that while I often feel like some strength work when I get back from a ride (I have a gym at home) - I have NEVER felt like going a ride after I have worked in the gym!!

    So i guess it is also a case of what is most suitable to you!
  • Most coaches on here will tell you weights are a load of tosh for cycling.But what do they no, there only interested in selling coaching plans and power meters. If you have a home gym, think you would be better doing your biking first, then later in the day,do some weights, but split your routine up over the week ie day 1 chest, day2 back, day 3 bi / tri and delts, core every other day. Do 3 on2 off, or 1on 1off. Dont bother with legs,big legs dont make better biker.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Dont bother with legs,big legs dont make better biker.

    they do make you look better in shorts though - depends on your priorities!

    but split your routine up over the week ie day 1 chest, day2 back, day 3 bi / tri and delts, core every other day. Do 3 on2 off, or 1on 1off. Dont bother with legs,big legs dont make better biker.

    Personally I prefer a whole body type routine rather than a split - but variety is the spice of life etc and happy with a split too.
    I also like the bigger heavier moves like deadlifts and squats as they kickstart core and general muscle development.
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    AT last. Someone who understands me :D

    Ok. Here's what I ended up doing today. Went to the gym and did....
    Bench presses with lowish weight: Standard, incline and decline, each 2 x 16 reps.
    Pull downs in front of and behind head, lowish weight, each 2 x 20 reps
    3 x 50 sit-ups before, during and after the above.

    100 minutes on bike. 3 x 1minute big gear intervals on hill with 2 minute recovery in between.
    3 x 2 minute intervals at over 90% max heart rate, 5 minute recovery in between.
    Rest of the time taking it easy in low gear, 90 rpm.

    I don't do any weight training for my legs when I'm riding a lot. Just been neglecting my upper body for years (especially my liver) and am looking to tone up a bit. And I don't usually go to the gym on "bike days". I don't think I would have wanted to go to the gym AFTER my ride.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    2x16 and 2x20 is a waste of time. keep it at less than 10 reps or even better, less than 5 (with a lot more weight, obviously). And do more sets, do 4 or 5 on each one.

    As for which order, I always find it hard to lift weights properly if I'm tired from the bike. So do weights first.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Infamous wrote:
    2x16 and 2x20 is a waste of time. keep it at less than 10 reps or even better, less than 5 (with a lot more weight, obviously). And do more sets, do 4 or 5 on each one.

    As for which order, I always find it hard to lift weights properly if I'm tired from the bike. So do weights first.

    I agree - heavy is the way to go - I set a weight that I can manage a max of 8
  • sit ups before or after?

    different times of year I find stomach area is cold post ride which cant be good for muscles and I'm constantly umming and ahhing about doing them pre or post ride

    any suggestions?
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  • EscargotEscargot Posts: 361
    gkerr4 wrote:
    Infamous wrote:
    2x16 and 2x20 is a waste of time. keep it at less than 10 reps or even better, less than 5 (with a lot more weight, obviously). And do more sets, do 4 or 5 on each one.

    As for which order, I always find it hard to lift weights properly if I'm tired from the bike. So do weights first.

    I agree - heavy is the way to go - I set a weight that I can manage a max of 8

    But surely that depends on what your goals are. If you want to build strength then defo do a 5x5 or similar but ultimate strength is not always the goal and is not strictly necessary if you spend most of your time on a bike.

    I agree with the 2x16 and 2x20 though as you would need to at least throw in a couple more sets and lower the reps a bit to get some decent benefit.

    Personally I'd start with doing 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps with 50-60% of your one rep max. This should not be too much of a shocker since you're currently doing 16-20 reps. IMO going from light to very heavy is asking for a minor injury so if you're going to go heavy eventually then best to build up to it so your body has time to adjust.

    The same goes with the pull downs but I wouldn't bother with the ones behind your head as this is not a particularly natural movement.

    For both I'd complement the moves with either a bent over or seated row (to counter the bench) and a military press (to counter the pull downs).

    If you can manage 50 sit ups easily then try grabbing an overhead bar (smith machine or pull up bar), hang and then do 3 sets of 12 leg raises (either straight legged or bent at the knees). This will work the core more effectively as it's difficult to stop your body from swinging when raising your legs. To make it easier try doing a half pull up as this will help tense your body.

    Finish off with some dips and curls and then go and do your cycling routine.
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    Thanks for your answers.

    My goal is to bring my upper body into shape. To gain a little strength and to look a little more trained without adding lots of muscle mass / extra weight.

    Does riding a lot (or doing endurance sport in general) actually prevent building extra body mass when done in conjunction with a strength training routine?
  • EscargotEscargot Posts: 361
    neilo23 wrote:
    Thanks for your answers.

    My goal is to bring my upper body into shape. To gain a little strength and to look a little more trained without adding lots of muscle mass / extra weight.

    Does riding a lot (or doing endurance sport in general) actually prevent building extra body mass when done in conjunction with a strength training routine?

    Generally yes. If you do any endurance training then generally what happens is that after your energy stores are exhausted, your body starts to use muscle as fuel. Hence long distance runners and to some extent tour riders are skinny (except for the legs). There are of course exceptions but I'm sure these people must spend a great deal time/effort maintaining a muscular physique.

    You can counter this to some extent by ensuring you eat plenty during a ride and possibly by taking in protein post weight training.

    Sadly people will give you lots of answers but personally I'd start upping your weights (in terms of sets) and reducing the number of reps (10-12). Once you're comfortable with this then you can go from there i.e. by going heavy or whatever you feel is best.

    Hope this helps :)
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Escargot wrote:
    gkerr4 wrote:
    Infamous wrote:
    2x16 and 2x20 is a waste of time. keep it at less than 10 reps or even better, less than 5 (with a lot more weight, obviously). And do more sets, do 4 or 5 on each one.

    As for which order, I always find it hard to lift weights properly if I'm tired from the bike. So do weights first.

    I agree - heavy is the way to go - I set a weight that I can manage a max of 8

    But surely that depends on what your goals are. If you want to build strength then defo do a 5x5 or similar but ultimate strength is not always the goal and is not strictly necessary if you spend most of your time on a bike.

    I agree with the 2x16 and 2x20 though as you would need to at least throw in a couple more sets and lower the reps a bit to get some decent benefit.

    Personally I'd start with doing 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps with 50-60% of your one rep max. This should not be too much of a shocker since you're currently doing 16-20 reps. IMO going from light to very heavy is asking for a minor injury so if you're going to go heavy eventually then best to build up to it so your body has time to adjust.

    The same goes with the pull downs but I wouldn't bother with the ones behind your head as this is not a particularly natural movement.

    For both I'd complement the moves with either a bent over or seated row (to counter the bench) and a military press (to counter the pull downs).

    If you can manage 50 sit ups easily then try grabbing an overhead bar (smith machine or pull up bar), hang and then do 3 sets of 12 leg raises (either straight legged or bent at the knees). This will work the core more effectively as it's difficult to stop your body from swinging when raising your legs. To make it easier try doing a half pull up as this will help tense your body.

    Finish off with some dips and curls and then go and do your cycling routine.

    I know what you are saying but personally I don't see the point in this sort of training - it gets your heart rate up yes, but weight training is for strength so for me the only way to go is heavy.

    Oh also - I don't believe in situps either - not at all in fact - the best 'core' exercises are good heavy deadlifts and squats!
  • EscargotEscargot Posts: 361
    gkerr4 wrote:
    I know what you are saying but personally I don't see the point in this sort of training - it gets your heart rate up yes, but weight training is for strength so for me the only way to go is heavy.

    Oh also - I don't believe in situps either - not at all in fact - the best 'core' exercises are good heavy deadlifts and squats!

    Well that's true and ultimately I would tend to agree but I wouldn't discount higher reps. As you say weight training is about strength but stamina is also important IMO. Personally I go through phases of 5x5 and 4x10 with either 80 or ~65% of my 1RM. The 5x5 is for building pure strength and the 4x10 is for stamina (+ a bit of cardio). Again you're quite right but I like to ensure that I can lift heavy but that I can also lift for longer durations.

    I have a mate at work that is focused purely on *HEAVY* and he's huge. We have this banter going on as I like to lift heavyish on occasion but in truth if he was to ever go to a proper weights based circuit training class he would literally keel over as he has no stamina whatsoever LOL.

    As you're a biker then I doubt you suffer from this but I have seen too often my mate's 'trainees' trying to lift heavy from the outset and it's scary seeing people that normally lift light struggling with a direct transition to heavy with bad form etc. I was slightly worried that the OP might go down this route - hence building it up.

    Totally agree about the sit ups though. I think they've been proven to be not particularly useful. In this respect squats are the daddy but sadly a lot of people (myself included) can't do them as they're too tough :wink:
  • I use the gym to supplement my limited bike time, I can get a max of 2 x 2hr rides in a normal week. I normally go to the gym three times a week. I have 5 different work outs so can mix it up which ones I do. Upper body / core strength are definately beneficial for on the bike fitness. I have a golden rule which is never do the same thing two days running and always have a third day off.
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  • Doing squats is going to do nowt for legs in cycling terms, just make you better at squats.Deadlifts are no good either, far to risky for lower back and knees, same with squats.Yes we no Vicky P and Sir Chris do them,s there track sprinters.I think some of the peeps on here have been reading to many body building mags, doing sets of less than 10 reps is daft for a cyclist, just going to lead to injury. Keep it light 15/20 reps little rest between sets.5/6 set per body part.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Doing squats is going to do nowt for legs in cycling terms, just make you better at squats.Deadlifts are no good either, far to risky for lower back and knees, same with squats.Yes we no Vicky P and Sir Chris do them,s there track sprinters.I think some of the peeps on here have been reading to many body building mags, doing sets of less than 10 reps is daft for a cyclist, just going to lead to injury. Keep it light 15/20 reps little rest between sets.5/6 set per body part.

    read the thread - I know it does nothing for your cycling - but it makes you look great in shorts!!
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    Why would I want to do heavy weights with low reps if my aim is to tone up? I'd rather lose weight than gain heavy muscles. I thought heavy weights + low reps = big muscles?
  • No. Actually, for some people heavy weights and low reps lead to them becoming quite a bit stronger without adding a lot of heavy muscle. Anyway, to gain a significant amount of muscle you would have to train frequently and regularly with weights for many, many months and structure your diet with muscle building as your priority.

    I reckon the best exercises for gaining strength and conditioning are the basic, multi-joint movements done hard once (or at most, twice) a week. I do the following every week:

    Pull-Ups: 3*10
    Dips: 3*10
    Squats: 1*20
    Stiff Legged Deadlift: 1*10

    I drop the sqauts and deadlifts once I've completed my winter bike training. I agree with the point above: squatting and deadlifting properly will give you all the core strength you should ever need for cycling. Squatting hard for 20 reps also gives your heart and lungs a decent amount of work.

    Keep your technique flawless, add a little bit of weight each week and you should see your strength improve consistently whilst avoiding injury
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