squats and leg-presses?

cenkee
cenkee Posts: 71
edited May 2013 in Road general
Do you think lifts like squats and leg-presses have an negative effect on knee joints since they are hammered enough during pedaling for miles or is it just the opposite? I am sure there many gym goers and weight lifters among you road cyclists and I am curious about their take on the subject. I like cycling and I also like to lift weights I am sure thick legs are not something a cyclist would desire or am I wrong?

thanks and sorry if the question is a bit all over the place.
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Comments

  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,522
    within reason i wouldn't think doing those exercises is going to cause any issue unless there's already an underlying problem

    leg size depends on the speciality, sprinters are often quite large and some track cyclists have enormous thighs, robert förstemann's are gigantic, he does squats with big weights...

    http://au.sports.yahoo.com/news/olympic ... world.html
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • I've been doing squats, single leg presses etc with no bad effect on my knees. I've seen good results in my ability to punch up climbs and sprints
  • cenkee
    cenkee Posts: 71
    I see. Thanks for the replies. I will continue on my leg workouts then.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    If the squats /presses are done properly then they are unlikely to have a negative effect on joints, I would have thought.

    It won't be of any benefit for cycling though, unless you are a track sprinter. For endurance cycling though (ie any discipline other than short track events), stick to on-the-bike training, as gym work designed to improve 'cycling leg strength' is a total fallacy.

    Loads of discussion on this stuff in the training forum. Worth doing a search. Meanwhile, here's a link to a good thread on the topic..

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/126133/g ... rove-power
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    I've been doing heavy squats for about 15 years now. Great for helping power up steep climbs and sprints. :wink:
  • cenkee
    cenkee Posts: 71
    Thanks for the link imposter. Actually my aim is not to improve my cycling by lifting weights, I was curious if doing both leg workouts for bodybuilding and road cycling could have negative effects on knees because of the heavy workload . I ve decided to continue squats and presses but with a high rep low weight approach.
  • city_boy
    city_boy Posts: 1,616
    Adding in leg extensions can help to strengthen the muscles around the knee, and changing foot positions especially on the leg press give an overall development of the different quadriceps muscles.
    It is also important to include some hamstring exercises such as leg curls and straight-leg dead lifts because strong quads and weaker hamstrings can lead to problems, particularly in the lower back.
    You should always train antagonist (opposite) muscle groups equally. For example, if you specifically train your abs, you should include specific training for your lower back to prevent muscle imbalance.
    Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not happy.
  • bernithebiker
    bernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    I used to think this was beneficial, but you only have to look at Wiggo and Froome to see that these guys have hardly any big muscle mass going on.

    A new guy turned up to our group ride and looked the weediest, scrawny thing you ever saw, with no muscles whatsoever to speak of. Looked easy meat. Turned out he was Cat 1, and I couldn't hold on to him on long climbs.......
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    I used to think this was beneficial, but you only have to look at Wiggo and Froome to see that these guys have hardly any big muscle mass going on.

    Froome lacks any sort of flesh whatsoever. He literally resembles a skeleton!
  • notnot
    notnot Posts: 284
    Of course, you can be extremely lean and pretty light while still lifting heavy weights - so long as you don't eat enough to gain weight. Small muscle gains might be an issue for competitive cyclists who are trying to avoid carrying any excess weight, but for folks like me it's the pies not the squats which mean I'm carrying a couple of kg more than would be ideal for cycling :)

    Weight training good for health (e.g. keeping bones strong), especially if your main exercise is something low-impact like cycling.
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    Mo Farah powerlifts. Not much flesh on him. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/ap ... n-marathon
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    ooermissus wrote:
    Mo Farah powerlifts. Not much flesh on him. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/ap ... n-marathon

    Mo Farah isn't an endurance cyclist. The forces generated in running are much higher.
  • edten
    edten Posts: 228
    Mo Farah isn't a cyclist yet one would think that an endurance runner wouldn't need to lift weights either but clearly one of his well paid and knowledgeable coaches believe it is beneficial just as many pro cyclist coaches believe it benefits road cyclists. I (and probably the likes of most posting here) really have no idea whether it benefits cycling or not. I think an off season of weights did benefit my cycling, but I know of others who have had less positive results.

    I think the one important thing you must do before doing heavy presses and squats is to build up to it. Lots of dynamic strength work to build the foundations so your body can handle heavy and explosive weight work.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    if someone can explain to me how stronger legs will benefit an endurance cyclist, I'll hit the gym tomorrow ;)
  • NeXXus
    NeXXus Posts: 854
    Imposter wrote:
    if someone can explain to me how stronger legs will benefit an endurance cyclist, I'll hit the gym tomorrow ;)
    As will I. How long do you reckon it'll be before someone (who is not me) mentions Chris Hoy? :lol:
    And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made.
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    Imposter wrote:
    if someone can explain to me how stronger legs will benefit an endurance cyclist, I'll hit the gym tomorrow ;)

    it certainly isn't an open and shut case..

    Cycling-Specific Leg Strength Training

    Rationale for strength training: Some people argue that strength training is not necessary for cyclists.
    They say that cycling relies mostly on cardiovascular fitness and you can get all the leg strength you need
    by riding. They also claim that off-the-bike strength training is not cycling-specific therefore useless.
    While I agree that cycling is first and foremost a cardiovascular sport, leg strength is still important.
    Cycling is a power sport. Power equals force times speed. Force is the amount of effort you put into the
    pedal stroke and speed is your leg rpm. Here‟s why I disagree who say strength training is not required,
    and why I believe it should be part of a cycling training program.

    First, cycling requires leg strength. Stronger cyclists who can continuously crank out more power must
    also put out more force per pedal stroke. If two cyclists are pedaling at 90 rpm and one is putting out
    more power, he must be putting out more force on the pedals and using more strength to do so. Power =
    strength x speed. If leg speed is equal then the only other variable is force, which is driven by leg
    strength. You can work on increasing your cadence, but there is a ceiling on how fast you can pedal, so
    your main power improvement from increased cadence is limited. The more force you can continuously
    generate, the more power you can put out. Strength => force. The upward limit of strength is much more
    open ended than leg speed. Therefore you should work on strength. Riding a bike will give you a lot of
    the strength you need to ride well. However, there are times when you could use more strength to turn
    the pedals, such as when you are accelerating, charging up a hill or sprinting. It is possible but difficult to
    build this type of strength just on the bike. During the summer I typically recommend doing one strength
    workout on the bike each week, to maintain leg strength. But in the off-season, I believe it is a good idea
    to do some gym leg strength work. You can build more strength in the gym than you can on a bike. Even
    if strength training isn‟t necessary, it is certainly more efficient and time-effective to work on strength
    training off the bike.

    read more:
    http://www.cyclesportcoaching.com/Files ... aining.pdf
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    There's no point in having strong legs and a weak core - the benefit of doing exercises like free squats is that it really helps to build lower back strength. I do squats on a Bosu - really engages the quads. One and a half squats are good too - full squat, rise to half-way, back down again and then extend.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    Monty Dog wrote:
    There's no point in having strong legs and a weak core - the benefit of doing exercises like free squats is that it really helps to build lower back strength. I do squats on a Bosu - really engages the quads. One and a half squats are good too - full squat, rise to half-way, back down again and then extend.

    Squats/Deads/Stiff Leg Deads = Strong 'Core'
  • bernithebiker
    bernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    The danger here is overestimating the amount of force you need to turn the pedals; it actually isn't that much.

    You are applying a small force rapidly, time after time.

    Unless you are a track sprinter looking to develop explosive force over a very short time, you would be better off concentrating on overall cycling fitness than leg strength.

    It's a hard one to digest, and it took me a while, but I think it's correct.

    If you must, then I would say that rapid squats, (circa 30 per minute) with no weight at all is of the most use. Or jogging up stairs.
  • NeXXus
    NeXXus Posts: 854
    viewtopic.php?f=40011&t=12908935&p=18181699#p18181699

    viewtopic.php?f=40011&t=12902120&p=18109520#p18109520
    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.
    And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    edited May 2013
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    if someone can explain to me how stronger legs will benefit an endurance cyclist, I'll hit the gym tomorrow ;)

    it certainly isn't an open and shut case..

    Cycling-Specific Leg Strength Training

    Rationale for strength training: Some people argue that strength training is not necessary for cyclists.
    They say that cycling relies mostly on cardiovascular fitness and you can get all the leg strength you need
    by riding. They also claim that off-the-bike strength training is not cycling-specific therefore useless.
    While I agree that cycling is first and foremost a cardiovascular sport, leg strength is still important.
    Cycling is a power sport. Power equals force times speed. Force is the amount of effort you put into the
    pedal stroke and speed is your leg rpm. Here‟s why I disagree who say strength training is not required,
    and why I believe it should be part of a cycling training program.

    First, cycling requires leg strength. Stronger cyclists who can continuously crank out more power must
    also put out more force per pedal stroke. If two cyclists are pedaling at 90 rpm and one is putting out
    more power, he must be putting out more force on the pedals and using more strength to do so. Power =
    strength x speed. If leg speed is equal then the only other variable is force, which is driven by leg
    strength. You can work on increasing your cadence, but there is a ceiling on how fast you can pedal, so
    your main power improvement from increased cadence is limited. The more force you can continuously
    generate, the more power you can put out. Strength => force. The upward limit of strength is much more
    open ended than leg speed. Therefore you should work on strength. Riding a bike will give you a lot of
    the strength you need to ride well. However, there are times when you could use more strength to turn
    the pedals, such as when you are accelerating, charging up a hill or sprinting. It is possible but difficult to
    build this type of strength just on the bike. During the summer I typically recommend doing one strength
    workout on the bike each week, to maintain leg strength. But in the off-season, I believe it is a good idea
    to do some gym leg strength work. You can build more strength in the gym than you can on a bike. Even
    if strength training isn‟t necessary, it is certainly more efficient and time-effective to work on strength
    training off the bike.

    read more:
    http://www.cyclesportcoaching.com/Files ... aining.pdf

    That guy sounds a bit clueless, to be fair. Cycling is not a strength sport. Assuming general good health and normal physical function, we already have all the leg strength we need. If you can stand, walk, hop and/or jump unaided then you already have sufficient leg strength for cycling at the highest level. The rest - as has been pointed out many many times - is all down to development of your aerobic capacity.
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    edited May 2013
    Imposter wrote:
    That guy sounds a bit clueless, to be fair
    So even a cycling coach knows nothing compared to the genii on this forum?
    Imposter wrote:
    ot a strength sport. Assuming general good health and normal physical function, we already have all the leg strength we need. If you can stand, walk, hop and/or jump unaided then you already have sufficient leg strength for cycling at the highest level.

    Disagreed. It may be enough to compete at high level but is it always enough to win? For example a bit of explosive power would come in handy for uphill breakaway attempts and the odd sprint. More power doesn't necessarily mean more mass so I fail to see any reason why not.
    the rest - as has been pointed out many many times

    By the likes of yourself you mean?
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Bustacapp wrote:

    Disagreed. I may be enough to compete at high level but is it always enough to win? For example a bit of explosive power would come in handy for uphill breakaway attempts and the odd sprint. More power doesn't necessarily mean more mass so I fail to see any reason why not.

    Power is not the same as strength. Once you understand that, you will begin to understand that you don't need stronger legs to be a better cyclist.

    Bustacapp wrote:
    By the likes of yourself you mean?

    By me (incidentally) but also by others far more qualified than me from a sports & excercise science and high-level cycle coaching perspective...

    Have a read of the link I posted on p1.
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    Imposter wrote:
    By me (incidentally) but also by others far more qualified than me from a sports & excercise science and high-level cycle coaching perspective...

    If a professional cycling coach won't convince you then sorry but there's no point me staying in this thread.

    Bye.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    By me (incidentally) but also by others far more qualified than me from a sports & excercise science and high-level cycle coaching perspective...

    If a professional cycling coach won't convince you then sorry but there's no point me staying in this thread.

    Bye.
    Oh the irony
  • You are asking two questions.

    1) are they bad for your knees? - answer No. They are fine. Arse to floor are the best and free squats in the cage are by far and away the best.

    2)is it good for cycling - No not done as a power lift.

    Squats are all round great exercises and are great for betting the body to lay down bigger muscles, they are great at burning calories. But their benefit in cycling is limited to getting a stronger core, and retaining your flexibility.
    When God gave out brains I thought he said trains, and I said "it's OK I already have one".
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    By me (incidentally) but also by others far more qualified than me from a sports & excercise science and high-level cycle coaching perspective...

    If a professional cycling coach won't convince you then sorry but there's no point me staying in this thread.

    Bye.

    You haven't read the link I posted, have you? In any case, it actually doesn't matter about the professional quals of any of these coaches. The simple fact is that there is no science to suggest that strength training has any positive effect on endurance cycling.
  • pride4ever
    pride4ever Posts: 510
    You could do weights to improve leg strength so as to be competitive on sprints or over long flat sections or you could go out on your bike and do sprint interval training or TT training on bypasses. Both will get you the same result but only one of these styles of training will actually get you out on your bike. You decide. I pass people all the time with huge ripped legs, dont know if they made those legs on the bike or in the gym?
    the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.
  • philwint
    philwint Posts: 763
    Imposter wrote:
    if someone can explain to me how stronger legs will benefit an endurance cyclist, I'll hit the gym tomorrow ;)

    Thinking out loud here, I've not considered this before.

    Ok so for endurance there has to be some force coming from your legs, or you wouldn't be moving. I get the fact that the force necessary to turn the pedals is less than say a dead lift, but there is still some force there.

    Now come back to that dead lift force and the cycling force. The cycling force might be [insert made up number, say 15%] of the maximum force you can generate. So 15% of your total force can be maintained for x hours, lets say 5 hours cycling. Before you start to get seriously tired.

    Now what if you hit the gym so you max force increases. maybe that cycling force is now only 10% of your max. Does that mean you can keep going for longer? Or perhaps it means you can go 'up' a gear and increase speed by 5% over those 5 hours?
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    No.
This discussion has been closed.