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Upper Body Strength

MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
edited February 2010 in Health, fitness & training
I have none :oops:

I can do about 20 pressups, then i die.

Was thinking about getting some weights, and a pull up bar, anything else i can be doing to help increase upper body strength?

Was thinking this bar...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT

And a set of 5lb, 10lb & 15lb dumbells.

Apart from the pressups, that i keep trying, any other exercise i can be doing?

Thanks.
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Posts

  • asdfhjklasdfhjkl Posts: 333
    Dumbbells at those weights will provide no benefit for strength to someone who can do 20 pushups.

    Pushups, chinups, pullups, inverted rows and dips are the best you can do with bodyweight.

    There are also plenty of pushup variations; diamond (hands together so the thumbs and index fingers form a diamond), both hands on a swiss ball, staggered hands, decline pushups (feet raised), incline pushups (hands above feet).etc

    Probably worth noting that there's a point where pushups become more about endurance than raw strength. You could try weighting your pushups (drape chains over your shoulders) or a sandbag across the shoulders. Both are impractical though unless you have someone to place the weight for you. If you are weighting them, keep the weight above the shoulders, not the lower back!
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    Hmm, those sound quite tricky, when i say i can do 20, the last two or three, i really struggle, wobbly arms and so on.

    I always thought you were meant to do more reps with a lower weight, than few with a higher? Or have i got that the wrong way round?

    Would the pull up bar help me in any way?

    Thanks for the input.
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  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Keep doing pressups 20 then 21 and so on. Dips on step for the tricep muscles. Buy one of those core exercise ball things for about £6, you can do a variety of exrcises on those that concentrate the effort spped up the progress.
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    Cheers for the heads up, the ball things, i think the missus has one of those, bit like a spacehopper without the handles?

    Dips on step for tricep, i will have a look as i'm not up to speed with all the terminology.

    Thanks.
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  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Yep that the ball thing. Look on the you tube for exercises using it they really do work.
  • Why do you want upper body strength? Other than to be ripped generally?

    I've found the best workout is to do trials style stuff, as it really works the upper body a lot.
  • I wouldn't get a pull up bar if you can only do 20 pressups, it could be pretty demoralizing!

    Once you can do a lot of decline pressups and maybe even a one handed pressup then I'd think about..

    Vary them a bit and make some circuits, youtubes good for this.

    And I know they may seem like a fad atm, but I think this is a really good idea for a small home gym, better than the 15 lb dumbells!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/York-Vinyl-Kett ... YLOZTF70LA

    I reckon 12 kg is minimum with these things.

    Get the free delivery, make the postie suffer!
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    Craig, cheers, will get it inflated, some good stuff there, and now i know what the dips are too, cheers.

    Ride, i want upper body as i feel my legs are at a decent level, but my upper body is pretty weak and i feel like its letting me down in routines.

    Roarbut, I've seen those before, nut never looked into them, as i thought they were just for upright rows, didnt realise you could do so much with them!

    Cheers for the input guys.
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  • Just keeping upping your reps as somebody said above

    I started at doing 20, now I can do 60 with not much trouble.

    Pull ups are hard if you're struggling with pressups.

    Work a lot on your triceps, that'll make your arms stronger!
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    Cheers, will stick at them!

    I'm doing the tricep stretch with 4kg, where you sit down, elbows at your ears & lift arms up & down, sorry don't know the name for it! Will also be starting tricep dips aswell.

    I didnt know if pullups would help with the pressups or not, cheers.
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  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Upper body strength is extremely handy for MTBing and all sorts of other sports - I can't see why anyone would question the point in it?!

    Do variations of press ups (easier ones on your knees, harder one with legs elevated), etc. The best pull up bar is a "Powerbar" (Google it) but if you are struggling with 20 push ups, you might struggle even more with pull ups.

    To gain strength you need to REALLY go for it - doing a few faffy weights won't work. You need to train to failure (means you cannot possibly do one more rep on your last set of each exercise) and train regularly.

    If you really go for it with the correct routine, gains will be very quick.

    Pull ups target you back muscles, push ups target your pecs and triceps - so dips help directly with push ups as do tricep exercises.

    If you need a hand, shout - I've been training over half my life and can do all sorts of weird "tricks" using upper body strength as well as 30 pull ups in one go and 150ish press ups.
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    If you could give me soem sort of routine to follow, that would be very helpfull Matt. I have been looking at other weights, have realised my little ones are doing nothing, looking at some that have removable weights, so i can adjust the amount thats on the bar.

    If its going to make a difference, i can & will stick to it, and happy to push myself as hard as i can.

    Cheers for the help.
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  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Mark - are you restricted to home training only?

    I did weights for two years with zero gains (just got more toned) - because I was using light weights and wasn't pushing it enough.

    You really (if possible) need to join a decent gym if you can so you can lift heavy weights. Basically less than 6 reps and it's too heavy, more than 15 and it's too light.

    Is that possible?
  • RansakaRansaka Posts: 474
    Surf-Matt wrote:
    Basically less than 6 reps and it's too heavy, more than 15 and it's too light.

    Yay, I've been doing something right! 3 sets of 8-10 reps and the last couple of reps on the last set are practically impossible as my muscles are exhausted.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Ransaka wrote:
    Surf-Matt wrote:
    Basically less than 6 reps and it's too heavy, more than 15 and it's too light.

    Yay, I've been doing something right! 3 sets of 8-10 reps and the last couple of reps on the last set are practically impossible as my muscles are exhausted.

    Bang on - as long as you are eating properly, you'll see good gains.

    Once I sorted a proper routine at a proper gym, the weight piled on and the strength shot up. It was very annoying lifting weights for two years with zero results - show how important the routine is.

    Suggest a "whole body" routine three times a week then if possible, a split routine 3-4 times a week. By split I mean doing only two muscle groups per sessions (and abs every session). This mens you can really hammer each group.

    I'm not some weirdo bodybuilder - just broadish - but it was definitely rewarding gaining three stone and doubling my bench press maxium in under two years.

    Needs a bit of dedication but once you get there, it's MUCH easier to maintain than to gain.
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    I wish i could join a gym, as we speak im heading over to clitheroe for 4 nights. My job means most weeks i work away from home.

    However, if theres a hotel near to where im working that has a gym, i normaly get to use that.

    I dont mind lugging dumbells around with me, even other bits as the transit often has spare room.

    Some of the kit weighs 20kg, and if it was a better shape, not a big metal box, i recon i could do 2 sets of 10 bicep curls, 8 lateral raises perhaps.

    Of course i blame my job as i used to eat full breakfasts, fatty sandwiches, curries and 8 pints a night. Trying now to eat healthier when working away (first week away this year), from 2nd week jan to today ive been eating better and have lost 11lb with a bit of cardio, but i want to intensify my exercise, especially upper body, but not limited to that area.

    Any help would be appreciated to get me on the right track!
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  • pastey_boypastey_boy Posts: 2,540
    Surfer-Matt wrote,
    I'm not some weirdo bodybuilder - just broadish - but it was definitely rewarding gaining three stone and doubling my bench press maxium in under two years.

    3 stone in 2 years is considerable weight gain ...... at what point would one become a weirdo body builder ?
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  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    edited February 2010
    Pastey - not sure TBH. Just never did weights to be some Muscle and Fitness mag shiney chest waxing ponse. It was quite a gain - from 9.25 to 12.25 stone - trimmed a bit now as I got a bit heavy for surfing and running - oops!

    Mark - the trouble is you really need to be lifting the sort of weight that could actually hurt you. Home weights are fine for general fitness and strength but if you really want to go for it, a gym has better kit (unless you are loaded!) and is safer as you generally train around others. Machines are also very good for high weight stuff without a "spotter" but home machines are pretty poor.

    But use what you have - I just use a pull up bar, 70kg of weights (barbell and dumbell) an exercise mat, a few stout chairs and an exercise mat - but it's for maintenance, not weight gain stuff.

    You can max lift on some exercises (dumbell curls, shoulder presses, triceps presses, etc) but other stuff is too risky (squats and definitely bench pressing - a real "core" exercise).
  • Isolations, fake tan, saline injections, hardcore zigzag diet?

    I'm a fan of Squats and Milk, and 5x5 programmes.
  • MarkDonMarkDon Posts: 200
    Matt, i'll just have to make do and push as hard as i can with what i have, wherever i am!

    26, care to add any more info?

    Cheers.
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  • Squats and milk
    Coach Rip
    5x5 program
    westside barbell
    Flossing a dead horse but...Great article by coach Rip - "core" stability "training"

    That should do you for starters. Might wanna look up Starting Strength (Coach Rip's book). Untill recently he was the strength guy for Crossfit, and talks a lot of sense.

    Westside is an elite(ist?) company/training facility owned and run by Louie Simmons. He's made an awful lot of extremely strong men, but has contraversial ideas about steroid use.

    There are a lot of articles at T-Nation and quite a big forum too.

    PM me if you wanna chat about it.
  • asdfhjklasdfhjkl Posts: 333
    26 to Life wrote:
    Westside is an elite(ist?) company/training facility
    Truth :lol:

    Great advice from 26 to Life btw - big fan of Starting Strength here (also the Stronglifts 5x5 which was inspired by SS)
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    I just train. Seems to work.
  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    The idea that you have to have heavy weight to make any real progress is wrong - you can use lighter weights but do the exercises slowly and with good form.

    I've also found the 5x5 very effective - I have wanted to maintain and build strength in recent times rather than add muscle and have found this works very well.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    5x5 program looks pretty useful but it's basically just a low reps split routine.

    I got nowhere with light weights and a long way lifting heavier stuff - so it can't be all that wrong to go heavy.
  • Surf-Matt wrote:
    5x5 program looks pretty useful but it's basically just a low reps split routine.

    I got nowhere with light weights and a long way lifting heavier stuff - so it can't be all that wrong to go heavy.
    Agreed, except you can hardly call heavy full squats a split program, since they excite so many muscle groups.

    The foundation of training (for anything) is that your body adapts to perfoem better in the environment which it finds itsself in.

    So, if you want to get stronger - put a lot of weight on the body.

    If you want to get better endurance - do a lot of long light exercise. Tax the CV systems.

    If you want to look like a girl, do light/no weights, don't break a sweat, and read a magazine while on the treadmill.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol: at last line!

    Have to admit that it's easy to go too far in one direction - when I was a gym monkey, I avoided most cardio (apart from surfing and some cycling) because I thought I'd lose hard gained weight - doh! Took many years to realise that there is a balance.
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