Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Increasing leg strength

1356712

Posts

  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    My absolute worst expereince was this year after paid for experienced coach led winter taining of half rate weight training, hours (3 times as many as usual!!!) of distance training and turbo sessions only just above distance level.

    I had a coach at the start of december last year and he prescribed no strength training workouts at all. Lots of core though

    The weight training was my request but it was half hearted compared to other winters due to the impact from all the distance work both time wise and the fact I was too tired muscularly to do justice to it.... so nothing got done well in the end.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Okay, thats my final contribution. The stupid-retardant suit I bought specifically so I could come back to this thread isn't nearly up to the task, I can already feel it leaking FFS.

    I love the predictability of your outstanding arrogance :roll: :D

    If you really understood what you were talking about, you'd be able to explain it, but you never have which says it all.

    You were optimistic in thinking the suit could keep it all in... :wink:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • derek48 wrote:
    What does he use to turn the cranks?

    Skinny legs.

    tdf_2010_st2_ANDY_SCHLECK.jpg

    (PS - he doesn't normally need someone to push him up hills.)

    Skinny legs backed up by effective pump & bellows supplying copious amounts of fuel/oxygen mixture!
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    And legendary climber Lucien van Impe's massive thighs:

    http://shared.imaginesportsclub.com/res ... ce0fb4.jpg

    For every top skinny climber there's a muscular little mountain goat, too. Even Contador has large thighs. Viewed from the side they never look as large.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/image ... afp.gi.jpg

    Remember Ullrich's thighs? Got him up the hills alright.
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    I bet the poor OP never dreamt that he'd open up a can of worms like this. Poor thing ;-)

    P.S. I'm not really getting involved in the argument as enough people have already stated their opinions. Just wanted to prove that not all climbers have legs like cocktail sticks.
  • Murr XMurr X Posts: 258
    neilo23 wrote:
    And legendary climber Lucien van Impe's massive thighs:

    http://shared.imaginesportsclub.com/res ... ce0fb4.jpg

    For every top skinny climber there's a muscular little mountain goat, too. Even Contador has large thighs. Viewed from the side they never look as large.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/image ... afp.gi.jpg

    Remember Ullrich's thighs? Got him up the hills alright.
    I have to correct you here as none of the top climbers have large thighs. All have low body weights and know to carry no more muscle than is needed which is not very much.

    Contador has smaller thighs than the average male. They may appear large due to low bodyfat and small joints, but the muscle mass is small. Place him beside someone with muscular thighs and the differences in size are very obvious.

    Many people comment that Manny Pacquiao is muscular...

    See http://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/05 ... pacquiao2/

    ...But the fact is that he really is not as it is simply the low bodyfat that makes his physique come "alive" and you do not need a great deal of muscle mass to look in shape or "good". If you stripped your average male down from 25% bodyfat to 6% they would appear much smaller when clothed however with no top on they will get comments on how they look so much better and bigger than before - and they do.

    This is somebody who had genuinely exceptionally muscular thighs bodybuilder Tom Platz,

    http://www.fit4sale.com/index.php/tom-platz

    Murr X
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    Murr X wrote:
    neilo23 wrote:
    And legendary climber Lucien van Impe's massive thighs:

    http://shared.imaginesportsclub.com/res ... ce0fb4.jpg

    For every top skinny climber there's a muscular little mountain goat, too. Even Contador has large thighs. Viewed from the side they never look as large.

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/image ... afp.gi.jpg

    Remember Ullrich's thighs? Got him up the hills alright.
    I have to correct you here as none of the top climbers have large thighs. All have low body weights and know to carry no more muscle than is needed which is not very much.

    Contador has smaller thighs than the average male. They may appear large due to low bodyfat and small joints, but the muscle mass is small. Place him beside someone with muscular thighs and the differences in size are very obvious.

    Many people comment that Manny Pacquiao is muscular...

    See http://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/05 ... pacquiao2/

    ...But the fact is that he really is not as it is simply the low bodyfat that makes his physique come "alive" and you do not need a great deal of muscle mass to look in shape or "good". If you stripped your average male down from 25% bodyfat to 6% they would appear much smaller when clothed however with no top on they will get comments on how they look so much better and bigger than before - and they do.

    This is somebody who had genuinely exceptionally muscular thighs bodybuilder Tom Platz,

    http://www.fit4sale.com/index.php/tom-platz

    Murr X

    But surely Contador does have large thighs compared to a "normal" person of his stature? The Pac Man looks as if he is entirely built out of muscle, in a Bruce Lee kind of way, but I'm sure Contador's waist to thigh circumference measurements would tell a different story. The lower body (ie the legs) IS out of proportion to the skeletal upper body. Most cyclists appear to have unbalanced bodies when compared to other sportsmen.
  • Murr XMurr X Posts: 258
    neilo23 wrote:
    But surely Contador does have large thighs compared to a "normal" person of his stature? The Pac Man looks as if he is entirely built out of muscle, in a Bruce Lee kind of way, but I'm sure Contador's waist to thigh circumference measurements would tell a different story. The lower body (ie the legs) IS out of proportion to the skeletal upper body. Most cyclists appear to have unbalanced bodies when compared to other sportsmen.
    His thighs are still small, yes you will find some men with smaller thighs than him but it is not the majority. Contador only weighs 58-60Kg at race weight also and he really doesn't look out of proportion or bottom heavy. Some cyclists do look a little bottom heavy though but not him.

    Manny has a lot of muscle for his body weight but still not a lot of muscle mass, again it is very low bodyfat levels that make the muscles very apparent visually - not large muscles.

    Murr X
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    I disagree.
    Manny's body is perfectly proportioned: he has strong legs which are used as the base to propel his upper body with more power into the punch (and therefore his opponent),

    To survive 12 rounds (even if he were to simply evade punches without thrwoing any) he also needs the aerobic capacity and endurance of a marathon runner.

    His upper body is used a) to provide power to his punches b) because his upper body throws the punches (combined with footwork to accentuate the power) and, c) to absorb the opponent's punches.

    A cyclists "tools" are his legs. I am not suggesting that large thighs equal a good cyclist, but the muscle devolpment of any athlete is specific to the work which their sport requires.

    Pacquiao has a boxers body, a sport which requires equal measures of "top" and "bottom" power, because he is a boxer. A cyclist does not have this. The bottom to top body measurments are way out of proportion with a cyclist. I have tried to show this with my choice of photos!

    In which other sport can a pigeon chested weakling become a hero as long as he has "the legs"? Cycling
  • mattshropsmattshrops Posts: 1,158
    my involvement in this is this question-
    when your legs are aching climbing a hill, is it your lack of strength or the inability of your "engine" to supply what is required?

    I dont know the answer but im leaning towards the engine theory.
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    mattshrops wrote:
    my involvement in this is this question-
    when your legs are aching climbing a hill, is it your lack of strength or the inability of your "engine" to supply what is required?

    I dont know the answer but im leaning towards the engine theory.


    It is unlikely to be lack of strength or your engine. More so to do with muscle make-up and energy transfer.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    If you want to go up hills fast, go up them faster.
  • mattshrops wrote:
    my involvement in this is this question-
    when your legs are aching climbing a hill, is it your lack of strength or the inability of your "engine" to supply what is required?

    I dont know the answer but im leaning towards the engine theory.

    I asked a similar question on this thread... http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... &start=100.
    about halfway down page six - the answers were very helpful.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,660
    I asked a similar question on this thread... http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... &start=100.
    about halfway down page six - the answers were very helpful.
    That's a cracking thread for all sorts of reasons, not least that it's a very entertaining and enlightening. CoachFerg certainly gave good value in his 50 posts on BR.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    I asked a similar question on this thread... http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... &start=100.
    about halfway down page six - the answers were very helpful.
    That's a cracking thread for all sorts of reasons, not least that it's a very entertaining and enlightening. CoachFerg certainly gave good value in his 50 posts on BR.

    Amen to that.
    As mentioned, this forum is now 1 short of actual coaching advice that should be heeded to as a cyclist... reading back on this thread, you can understand why this forum has lost that source.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    jgsi wrote:
    I asked a similar question on this thread... http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... &start=100.
    about halfway down page six - the answers were very helpful.
    That's a cracking thread for all sorts of reasons, not least that it's a very entertaining and enlightening. CoachFerg certainly gave good value in his 50 posts on BR.

    Amen to that.
    As mentioned, this forum is now 1 short of actual coaching advice that should be heeded to as a cyclist... reading back on this thread, you can understand why this forum has lost that source.

    Yeah. Now all you've got left is a bunch of people who know the right answer because they've read it somewhere but don't have the links or expertise to back it up; and a (far more numerous) bunch of fu*king morons who don't read anything, but think a few months riding a bike and an article in cycling plus overrides decades of research by proper scientists. Still, nothing quite like being right, eh MSR?
  • neilo23 wrote:
    I bet the poor OP never dreamt that he'd open up a can of worms like this. Poor thing ;-)

    P.S. I'm not really getting involved in the argument as enough people have already stated their opinions. Just wanted to prove that not all climbers have legs like cocktail sticks.

    Yes, what have I started!! Thanks for all the advice guys, I'm now going to try and make some informed decisions from it (wish me luck)
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,492
    P_Tucker wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    I think maybe your theory's are all Internet and book related and don't really relate to what it takes to climb a 25 mile long pass at 11,000 feet.

    Yeah! Eggheads with their fancy pants book-learnin'.

    south-park-oreilly-factor-goobacks-redneck-douche.jpg

    So, go read all about climbing and power and strength. Then head for the mountains and see if reading about it helped. It would also help if you kept a running log describing whether you were using strength or power or both and at what times. It would be interesting to find out what percentages of either or both were used and when. This might sound difficult but I'm sure that your book will spell it all out for you. Should be a piece of cake. :wink:
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    dennisn wrote:
    So, go read all about climbing and power and strength. Then head for the mountains and see if reading about it helped. It would also help if you kept a running log describing whether you were using strength or power or both and at what times. It would be interesting to find out what percentages of either or both were used and when. This might sound difficult but I'm sure that your book will spell it all out for you. Should be a piece of cake. :wink:

    :lol: Bless. You keep charging at those windmills
  • P_Tucker wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    So, go read all about climbing and power and strength. Then head for the mountains and see if reading about it helped. It would also help if you kept a running log describing whether you were using strength or power or both and at what times. It would be interesting to find out what percentages of either or both were used and when. This might sound difficult but I'm sure that your book will spell it all out for you. Should be a piece of cake. :wink:

    :lol: Bless. You keep charging at those windmills

    I thought you were done with this thread? (As you've said TWICE) already.


    And you call everyone else stupid? :roll:
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    P_Tucker wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    So, go read all about climbing and power and strength. Then head for the mountains and see if reading about it helped. It would also help if you kept a running log describing whether you were using strength or power or both and at what times. It would be interesting to find out what percentages of either or both were used and when. This might sound difficult but I'm sure that your book will spell it all out for you. Should be a piece of cake. :wink:

    :lol: Bless. You keep charging at those windmills

    I thought you were done with this thread? (As you've said TWICE) already.


    And you call everyone else stupid? :roll:

    No, now that I've won (thanks to that link to the coachferg thread) I'm gloating.

    *thrusts hips at MSR*

    You'll notice that the stupid people who were proven wrong are strangely quiet, with the notable exception of dennis who I can only assume is a troll or a moron.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,492
    P_Tucker wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    So, go read all about climbing and power and strength. Then head for the mountains and see if reading about it helped. It would also help if you kept a running log describing whether you were using strength or power or both and at what times. It would be interesting to find out what percentages of either or both were used and when. This might sound difficult but I'm sure that your book will spell it all out for you. Should be a piece of cake. :wink:

    :lol: Bless. You keep charging at those windmills

    I thought you were done with this thread? (As you've said TWICE) already.


    And you call everyone else stupid? :roll:

    No, now that I've won (thanks to that link to the coachferg thread) I'm gloating.

    *thrusts hips at MSR*

    You'll notice that the stupid people who were proven wrong are strangely quiet, with the notable exception of dennis who I can only assume is a troll or a moron.

    OK, I'll bite. You've won. Now would you please explain to us lesser mortals the difference between strength and power(other than there is a power meter and not a strength o'meter - yet). You know when strength is used or not used and the same with power - right? Please tell us why strength is not important - if that's you're belief, and if having strength is useless why do so many world class athletes, in all sports, pump the iron when obviously it does them no good, at least according to all the "coaches" on this forum? And please don't give us anything about so called endurance sports or cycling being "different" from other sports.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Honestly, if you don't understand it after reading this thread or (even better) the coachferg thread, then maybe you're just not meant to understand it. I can't think of how to explain it any more simply than "the forces you need to put out on a bike are typically very low. In almost all cases, the limiting factor is how much oxygen you can get to your legs".

    I'd be a rubbish teacher.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    P_Tucker wrote:
    I'd be a rubbish teacher.
    You're more tolerant than me - I'd have slapped him round the head and sent him to the naughty corner 3 pages ago
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,492
    P_Tucker wrote:
    I can't think of how to explain it any more simply than "the forces you need to put out on a bike are typically very low. In almost all cases, the limiting factor is how much oxygen you can get to your legs".

    A friend of mine has talked me into doing yet another Bicycle Tour of Colorado next June. As I try and get in some sort of shape this coming Winter and Spring I'll keep reminding myself , and my legs, that all I'm really going to need are "typically very low" forces to get me up and over some of the highest ridable roads in the world. I'll let you know just how "typically very low" my output was. My legs shouldn't even be sore? Right?
  • Murr XMurr X Posts: 258
    dennisn wrote:

    OK, I'll bite. You've won. Now would you please explain to us lesser mortals the difference between strength and power(other than there is a power meter and not a strength o'meter - yet). You know when strength is used or not used and the same with power - right? Please tell us why strength is not important - if that's you're belief, and if having strength is useless why do so many world class athletes, in all sports, pump the iron when obviously it does them no good, at least according to all the "coaches" on this forum? And please don't give us anything about so called endurance sports or cycling being "different" from other sports.
    Dennis, on the third page of this thread... http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopi ... sc&start=0 ...you said this...
    Pretty much everyone knows I'm an idiot of sorts and tend to spout off somewhat. Just ask frenchfighter and bikingbernie. Particularly about things I believe in. I know it's not an excuse. More of an explanation of who I am. Getting older and more arrogant as time goes by. Sorry if I offend on occasion. I always regret it but don't seem able to control it. Especially if I believe strongly. And I do believe very strongly about "pumping iron"(as you probably have guessed by now). I offer my apologies to any who were offended and will try(and I've said this before) to be a bit "calmer and use more reasoning" about things.
    And I know you're all saying "Yeah, sure, right, we've all heard this before", but it's the best I can offer. :oops: :oops:


    I suggest you read through all of that thread to remind yourself that we have been here before and I did my best taking time to put my knowledge across back then.

    Murr X
  • neilo23neilo23 Posts: 783
    Just found this definition:

    Strength is the amount of force your muscles can produce. Strength is often measured by how much weight you can lift or how much resistance you can overcome. people with good strength can perform daily tasks efficiently- that is, with the least amount of effort.

    Power is the ability to use strength quickly. it involves both strength and speed. People with good power might have the ability to put the shot, throw the discus, jump high, play football, and speed swim

    So the difference is that Strength is the amount of force your muscles can produce, and Power is the ability to use strength quickly.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,492
    neilo23 wrote:
    Just found this definition:

    Strength is the amount of force your muscles can produce. Strength is often measured by how much weight you can lift or how much resistance you can overcome. people with good strength can perform daily tasks efficiently- that is, with the least amount of effort.

    Power is the ability to use strength quickly. it involves both strength and speed. People with good power might have the ability to put the shot, throw the discus, jump high, play football, and speed swim

    So the difference is that Strength is the amount of force your muscles can produce, and Power is the ability to use strength quickly.

    Most interesting and very logical sounding. especially the part about "people with good strength can perform tasks..... more efficienty".
  • Physiologically & physically speaking:

    Strength is the maximal force generating ability of a muscle or group of muscles.
    By definition it occurs at zero velocity. However, practically speaking and in the context of the primary muscles involved in cycling, we can define strength as the maximal mass lifted in a one rep free standing squat.

    Power is the rate of doing work, or of energy transfer.
    It can be also defined as a force x velocity
    Power can refer to very rapid acceleration activities taking only fractions of a second or a few seconds (e.g. throwing, sprinting) or to much longer duration activities (e.g. endurance cycling, running, swimming).

    For a start, force and power are not the same thing. You can apply a huge force to something (e.g. push hard against a brick wall) but unless it is also moving, then you are applying no power.

    Also by definition, the greater the rate at which we do something, the lower the force we are able to apply. Even in maximal sprint efforts on a bike, there is a linear relationship between maximal force applied to the pedals and the rate at which we are pedaling.

    Typically, the forces involved in endurance cycling are sub-maximal, significantly so.
    e.g. even at 300 watts, at regular cadences and crank lengths, the average effective pedal force is less than 20kg, which means that regular cycling (a vast majority of which is performed < 300W) requires forces roughly an order of magnitude less than (i.e. 1/10th of) our strength.

    What matters is being able to apply such low forces repeatedly for long periods and our limiting factor for that is not our maximal force generation ability but rather the biochemical processes going on in our muscle cells, i.e. our aerobic metabolism (ability to turnover ATP).

    Increasing strength (i.e. maximal force generation ability) has not been conclusively shown to result in ability to increase our sustainable power, which isn't all that surprising since the physiological adaptations resulting from training that increases strength (e.g. enhancing neurological recruitment, but more importantly, increasing muscle fibre cross sectional area via hypertrophy and associated mitochondral dilution) run counter to those that improve our ability to turnover ATP (i.e. increased mitochondral density and capillarisation inside the muscles, reducing the cell diffusion distance and so on).

    The density of mitochondria (which are the energy plants inside our muscle cells) and the ability to readily exchange gases (O2 & CO2) and key metabolites (e.g. glycogen) is the primary limiting factor in endurance cycling.

    Fewer mitochondria per kg of muscle mass = lower sustainable power to mass.

    To increase strength (beyond an initial neurological improvement which occurs in the first few weeks of such training) requires hypertrophy, which in turns reduces our power to mass ratio.

    Now if one is talking about training (with weights for example) that doesn't increase strength, then that's not strength training, and it's a different discussion.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    dennisn wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    I can't think of how to explain it any more simply than "the forces you need to put out on a bike are typically very low. In almost all cases, the limiting factor is how much oxygen you can get to your legs".

    A friend of mine has talked me into doing yet another Bicycle Tour of Colorado next June. As I try and get in some sort of shape this coming Winter and Spring I'll keep reminding myself , and my legs, that all I'm really going to need are "typically very low" forces to get me up and over some of the highest ridable roads in the world. I'll let you know just how "typically very low" my output was. My legs shouldn't even be sore? Right?

    No need - your legs already know, thats why they let you produce the low forces for hours on end. I tried to lift 160kg on the leg press this morning, which is for me a heavy weight - I managed 4 reps. I didnt have to tell my legs it was heavy - somehow they just knew and collapsed after 20 second of effort. Amazing stuff eh?
Sign In or Register to comment.