GYM

Hello everyone,

I’m thinking of joining the gym to take up some weight training that will help me put more power in to the pedals. I’m not looking at body building or anything, i’m looking to get to the point where i can burn some fat and generally increase my avg speed by doing some weight training.

I’m also looking to dabble in track cycling. I dont live very far from the national cycling centre but my main focus is the road biking.

What’s your advice? Are you a gym goer? If so have you found going to the gym has helped you increase power on the bike or would you forget the gym and just spend as much time as you can on the bike?

Lemme know
«13

Comments

  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Weight training is not going to increase your average speed or your sustainable power on the bike. Time at intensity (on the bike) is the best way of doing that.

    Difficult to comment further without knowing more about you, how long you've been riding, what your cycling objectives are and how much time you have to train.
  • You don’t need a lot of strength to cycle. You do need a good level of fitness, and muscle endurance, if you want to cycle at any sort of ‘decent’ level though. If you do the sort of Gym work that encourages CV fitness and muscle endurance, rather than just bulking / strength it could be beneficial. Time on the bike is king here though.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I do a lot of gym work but I am lucky as I have free access to my parent's full squat rack and freeweights for free, actually, as I eat their food when I'm there I'm actually gaining. I don't think I would pay for a gym though as they do seem to be very expensive. I think the main benefit is a stronger core, a lot of which you can do in other ways without the big weights.

    I wish I had not listened to all the people saying not to do it/it doesn't take much strength to cycle. I don't think it has made me faster/more powerful in itself, but it has made me more comfortable, more aero, less injury prone and leaner, all of which in my mind are good benefits. I also think it's great for general quality of life/longevity. We (I) am not a professional cyclists, I believe there are so many other benefits from being a more well-rounded athlete that for me, that is reason enough.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Many reasons to go to the gym - some existential, some useful. However, the OP's question related to being able to 'put more power into the pedals' - as opposed to general conditioning.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Imposter wrote:
    Many reasons to go to the gym - some existential, some useful. However, the OP's question related to being able to 'put more power into the pedals' - as opposed to general conditioning.

    Exactly, people just need to read what the OP is trying to achieve without going off on one.
    Any nonsense about squatting mega reps with this that t'other will yield nothing but empty air on a bike when push comes to shove.
    The OP is not wittering on about any holistic value the 'gym' may have.

    On a personal note , I have checked the latest local gym prices and even the municiple is touching base at nearly 30 per month - I'll stick to faffing about on the turbo and trying to eat less and drink even less.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    My apologies to the OP for taking the thread off topic.
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    If you wanted to be better playing the piano do you think that playing Candy Crush would be good training?
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    This popped up on my Facebook feed this morning so I thought I'd share:

    https://www.facebook.com/globalcyclingn ... 550117533/
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Spin classes can be good for cycling if you have a decent teacher.

    If you're at Manchester they have wattbike sessions that would help more than generic gym stuff.
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    joey54321 wrote:
    This popped up on my Facebook feed this morning so I thought I'd share:

    https://www.facebook.com/globalcyclingn ... 550117533/

    All a bit ambiguous if you ask me.

    "...you can recruit more muscles which is always helpful when you're riding a bike and perhaps it comes in handy towards the end of a long bike ride too"

    How do you measure whether you would have been better off spending that time on the bike rather than in the gym?
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    joey54321 wrote:
    This popped up on my Facebook feed this morning so I thought I'd share:

    https://www.facebook.com/globalcyclingn ... 550117533/

    The random guy in the white coat (must be a scientist ;) ) seem a bit confused in that clip. He seems to be describing 'conditioning', because 'light weights' and 'high reps' are - by definition - not strength training.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Craigus89 wrote:
    All a bit ambiguous if you ask me.

    "...you can recruit more muscles which is always helpful when you're riding a bike and perhaps it comes in handy towards the end of a long bike ride too"

    How do you measure whether you would have been better off spending that time on the bike rather than in the gym?

    I agree, in the video it is a bit ambiguous but it's only a 30s video aimed at amateurs, not the 'scientific community'. I'm not defending it as such, the OP/others can take it or leave it as they want.

    The measuring/proof part though, that cuts both ways. How do you measure whether you would have been better off spending that time in the gym rather than on the bike? I don't have the answer other than my own anecdotal stuff that works for me as an N=1, though even that is shakey in terms of 'proof'.
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    joey54321 wrote:
    Craigus89 wrote:
    All a bit ambiguous if you ask me.

    "...you can recruit more muscles which is always helpful when you're riding a bike and perhaps it comes in handy towards the end of a long bike ride too"

    How do you measure whether you would have been better off spending that time on the bike rather than in the gym?

    I agree, in the video it is a bit ambiguous but it's only a 30s video aimed at amateurs, not the 'scientific community'. I'm not defending it as such, the OP/others can take it or leave it as they want.

    The measuring/proof part though, that cuts both ways. How do you measure whether you would have been better off spending that time in the gym rather than on the bike? I don't have the answer other than my own anecdotal stuff that works for me as an N=1, though even that is shakey in terms of 'proof'.

    The OP said he wanted to "put more power into the pedals". The point I'm making is that I'm pretty sure that he would be better off spending an hour doing intervals on the bike rather than in the gym doing squats and crunches. The guy in the video is talking about elite athletes, if the video is aimed at amateur's then it is misleading at best. Let's not get into the specifics here but an elite athlete has a training load probably in excess of say 25 hours a week of structured and very specific training. That's a very different training load than an amateur/hobbyist who would be better off sticking to the bike unless they are already maximising their training.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Craigus89 wrote:
    The OP said he wanted to "put more power into the pedals". The point I'm making is that I'm pretty sure that he would be better off spending an hour doing intervals on the bike rather than in the gym doing squats and crunches. The guy in the video is talking about elite athletes, if the video is aimed at amateur's then it is misleading at best. Let's not get into the specifics here but an elite athlete has a training load probably in excess of say 25 hours a week of structured and very specific training. That's a very different training load than an amateur/hobbyist who would be better off sticking to the bike unless they are already maximising their training.

    The 'guy' in the video isn't talking about pros, he is talking about cyclists. I agree with you there is a trade-off between 'cross'/strength training and time on the bike. Obviously, if you reduce time on the bike 0h and, say,12h in the gym you aren't likely to be a very good cyclist. However, at what point an hour in the gym is worth more than an hour on the bike is very difficult to determine and likely different for different people, their goals and their circumstances. Though for my money it occurs well below 25 hours/week, and, IMO it's something like 7-8 hours a week, maybe even lower for someone concentrating on track where high force because even more important. I am aware this is just my opinion, as your dismissal of strength is also just your opinion. We are just discussing to try and provide some food for thought to the OP/anyone else is his or her position.
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    joey54321 wrote:
    The 'guy' in the video isn't talking about pros, he is talking about cyclists. I agree with you there is a trade-off between 'cross'/strength training and time on the bike. Obviously, if you reduce time on the bike 0h and, say,12h in the gym you aren't likely to be a very good cyclist. However, at what point an hour in the gym is worth more than an hour on the bike is very difficult to determine and likely different for different people, their goals and their circumstances. Though for my money it occurs well below 25 hours/week, and, IMO it's something like 7-8 hours a week, maybe even lower for someone concentrating on track where high force because even more important. I am aware this is just my opinion, as your dismissal of strength is also just your opinion. We are just discussing to try and provide some food for thought to the OP/anyone else is his or her position.

    No hard feelings, I just don't agree that if you're doing 8 hours a week then dropping that to 7 and doing gym work for an hour is going to be more beneficial for cycling than sticking to 8 hours on the bike.

    The video is hugely misleading, all he says is that people are doing it more, mostly discussing track riders (I don't know many casual/hobbyist track riders that don't take their training seriously anyway) and no mention of how they improved more doing gym work, no mention of power outputs, times or anything. If you're advocating doing something different to the conventional wisdom at least have something substantial to back it up with.

    I'm sure someone more qualified than me will comment at some point, but all I've ever read about training does not support this.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    First hit on google:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20072042

    Though I am sure there are studies that fall on both sides.

    "The 3 studies with improved cycling performance replaced a portion of the athletes' ET (endurance training) with RT (resistance training), and 2 of the 3 studies included high-intensity explosive-type resistance exercises. Despite the limited research on CT (concurrent training) for highly trained cyclists, it is likely that replacing a portion of a cyclist's ET with RT will result in improved time trial performance and maximal power."

    Edit: "highly trained" in their eyes means > 7hrs/week
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    joey54321 wrote:
    First hit on google:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20072042

    Though I am sure there are studies that fall on both sides.

    "The 3 studies with improved cycling performance replaced a portion of the athletes' ET (endurance training) with RT (resistance training), and 2 of the 3 studies included high-intensity explosive-type resistance exercises. Despite the limited research on CT (concurrent training) for highly trained cyclists, it is likely that replacing a portion of a cyclist's ET with RT will result in improved time trial performance and maximal power."

    Edit: "highly trained" in their eyes means > 7hrs/week

    It's hardly surprising that strength training will result in improvements in maximal power - that's pretty obvious. For sub-maximal/endurance cycling (ie pretty much everything outside of track sprint disciplines), there is little/no evidence to suggest that strength/weight training will do anything other than add bulk when what is really needed is improved aerobic performance.

    This topic has been done to death on these forums over the years. Well worth doing a search, because all the available studies have been discussed (I don't think there's anything new at the moment in terms of research) and people far cleverer than me provide some pretty compelling evidence that it simply isn't needed for the majority of endurance cyclists with normal leg function.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Imposter wrote:
    Edit: "highly trained" in their eyes means > 7hrs/week

    It's hardly surprising that strength training will result in improvements in maximal power - that's pretty obvious. For sub-maximal/endurance cycling (ie pretty much everything outside of track sprint disciplines), there is little/no evidence to suggest that strength/weight training will do anything other than add bulk when what is really needed is improved aerobic performance.

    This topic has been done to death on these forums over the years. Well worth doing a search, because all the available studies have been discussed (I don't think there's anything new at the moment in terms of research) and people far cleverer than me provide some pretty compelling evidence that it simply isn't needed for the majority of endurance cyclists with normal leg function.[/quote]

    Who is going off topic now, the OP mentioned track cycling.

    Anyway, that studies was looking at tests over a time trial or time to exhaustion i.e. aerobic engine type stuff.

    And many people more intelligent than you provide some pretty compelling evidence that it simply is beneficial for the majority of cyclists with normal leg function. There are people releasing papers on both sides, all I am saying to the OP/anyone else is don't dismiss it as lacking any benefit because someone with no research in the area posted a message on a forum. Likewise, if you have tried it, properly, and found that for you it doesn't provide a benefit don't carry on doing it because someone with little research in the area (me) posted a message on a forum.
  • haydenm
    haydenm Posts: 2,997
    It does seem that the sorts of gym work aimed at cyclists is essentially recreating cycling in a gym ie high reps/low weight, that or core strength training. By far and away the best pure power training I have ever done is a hilly 10 day tour with 24kg on the bike. If I had very easy access to a gym it might be useful but personally I would spend the time doing hill reps in a high gear or something for a similar effect. Whatever works for you though, my 'local' gym is £59/m so I haven't tried :shock:
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    joey54321 wrote:
    Who is going off topic now, the OP mentioned track cycling.

    'Track' cycling covers both sprint and endurance disciplines. It's unlikely you will see track endurance athletes 'building up leg strength' in the gym, although I'm sure some conditioning work is part of the normal routine. Sprinters? much more likely. Having said that, compare the leg physique of someone like Kenny (fairly normal) to someone like Forstermann (fairly unusual, bordering on 'absurd') - only one of them has world & olympic sprint titles and it ain't Forstermann, fine athlete though he is.
    joey54321 wrote:
    And many people more intelligent than you provide some pretty compelling evidence that it simply is beneficial for the majority of cyclists with normal leg function.

    The evidence for strength work being beneficial for endurance cyclists (in terms of a performance benefit) is equivocal at best - which you will see if you delve back into previous threads on this topic. If you have new 'compelling' information, I think we'd all be keen to see it.
  • The easiest way to look at it is to work out what effects the terms that get waved about all over the place, without realising what those terms actually mean.
    The faster a given rider wants to go, with given conditions and given kit, the more power they have to produce.
    Power is simply Force x distance x pedal revolutions divided by time. Force is driven by strength, the distance component is mostly governed by technique and fitness, the pedal revolutions divided by time ( cadence ) is ultimately mostly driven by fitness and technique. So to put it simply, fitness and technique, count for more than raw strength. Working on fitness ( specifically VO2 max, and lactate threshold, primarily) by following a regime designed to do this, and working on technique, which is really only do-able on the bike ( be it turbo, or preferably real world ) will yield better results for a cyclist, than sitting in a gym, moving bits of metal about, primarily to increase muscle strength.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Imposter wrote:

    The evidence for strength work being beneficial for endurance cyclists (in terms of a performance benefit) is equivocal at best - which you will see if you delve back into previous threads on this topic. If you have new 'compelling' information, I think we'd all be keen to see it.

    Ah Yes, why rely on peer-reviewed studies and meta-studies that examine 10 years of research when I can listen to some random people posting on an internet forum. How silly of me.

    The easiest way to look at it is to work out what effects the terms that get waved about all over the place, without realising what those terms actually mean.
    The faster a given rider wants to go, with given conditions and given kit, the more power they have to produce.
    Power is simply Force x distance x pedal revolutions divided by time. Force is driven by strength, the distance component is mostly governed by technique and fitness, the pedal revolutions divided by time ( cadence ) is ultimately mostly driven by fitness and technique. So to put it simply, fitness and technique, count for more than raw strength. Working on fitness ( specifically VO2 max, and lactate threshold, primarily) by following a regime designed to do this, and working on technique, which is really only do-able on the bike ( be it turbo, or preferably real world ) will yield better results for a cyclist, than sitting in a gym, moving bits of metal about, primarily to increase muscle strength.

    That is indeed how weight training was perceived as before i.e. what change to VO2max does it elicit, none, therefore it doesn't improve cycling which is why a lot of older studies found no benefit, as they were looking for the benefit in the wrong place. As far as I understand it, the more recent studies which have looked at, for example, TTE or TT performance and found a benefit have been looking at the ability of the muscle to resist fatigue i.e. you can apply more strenth for longer (power), even when that longer means several hours.





    This is it from me, I've said what I wanted to, unfortunately, multiple times. Now down to the OP/other reads to make up their mind.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    joey54321 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:

    The evidence for strength work being beneficial for endurance cyclists (in terms of a performance benefit) is equivocal at best - which you will see if you delve back into previous threads on this topic. If you have new 'compelling' information, I think we'd all be keen to see it.

    Ah Yes, why rely on peer-reviewed studies and meta-studies that examine 10 years of research when I can listen to some random people posting on an internet forum. How silly of me.

    So you found one study that supports your confirmation bias, and you're sticking to it? ;) The point I was making is that if you did a search on this forum/topic, you would see a lot of very useful science-based discussion (including all of the other peer-reviewed studies which you probably haven't seen) on how the evidence for 'strength' work is at best equivocal. The available evidence (which is all discussed on this forum, if you can be bothered to look) does not support the notion of gym/strength work being beneficial from a performance perspective for endurance cyclists.
    joey54321 wrote:
    As far as I understand it, the more recent studies which have looked at, for example, TTE or TT performance and found a benefit have been looking at the ability of the muscle to resist fatigue i.e. you can apply more strenth for longer (power), even when that longer means several hours.

    Sounds like you have probably misunderstood what the study might have been telling you. Strength and power are not the same thing. Again, this has been done to death on here.

    To finish up - here's my sample pubmed offering - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19826297 - basically, a group of cyclists who incorporated leg strength routines into their training didn't get better at cycling, but did get better at pushing weights.
    In conclusion, although concurrent resistance and endurance training in well-trained cyclists enhanced 1RM strength, it did not improve overall cycle time trial performance and in fact was shown to reduce 1-km final cycle sprint performance compared with a CON group performing their normal cycle training.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
    Sky and BC do see a role for weight training. I don't claim any expertise but I'd ask why Stannard was quoted earlier this year crediting gym work for making him a more punchy rider or Wiggins saying he was in the gym putting on several kgs of muscle for the team pursuit in Rio?

    Either they are lying, poorly advised or it does have a place at least for some endurance riders.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Sky and BC do see a role for weight training. I don't claim any expertise but I'd ask why Stannard was quoted earlier this year crediting gym work for making him a more punchy rider or Wiggins saying he was in the gym putting on several kgs of muscle for the team pursuit in Rio?

    Either they are lying, poorly advised or it does have a place at least for some endurance riders.

    People train with weights for all kinds of valid reasons. But making your legs 'stronger' in order to 'put more power through the pedals' (which is what the OP was suggesting) is not one of them..
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
    Imposter wrote:
    Sky and BC do see a role for weight training. I don't claim any expertise but I'd ask why Stannard was quoted earlier this year crediting gym work for making him a more punchy rider or Wiggins saying he was in the gym putting on several kgs of muscle for the team pursuit in Rio?

    Either they are lying, poorly advised or it does have a place at least for some endurance riders.

    People train with weights for all kinds of valid reasons. But making your legs 'stronger' in order to 'put more power through the pedals' (which is what the OP was suggesting) is not one of them..


    Sure I do a very little myself to prevent a recurrence of back pain, general health and injury prevention but when a pro cyclist credits gym work with making them more punchy or they want to gain several kilos for a team pursuit that sounds to me like they are doing it directly for performance gain ?

    I've no horse in the race as I don't lift weights except a few dumb bell and body weight exercises at home but I just wonder why pro cyclists from the most sports science oriented team or nation would make those statements.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    It's like we've completely forgotten all of the other previous threads on this topic...
  • craigus89
    craigus89 Posts: 887
    Imposter wrote:
    Sky and BC do see a role for weight training. I don't claim any expertise but I'd ask why Stannard was quoted earlier this year crediting gym work for making him a more punchy rider or Wiggins saying he was in the gym putting on several kgs of muscle for the team pursuit in Rio?

    Either they are lying, poorly advised or it does have a place at least for some endurance riders.

    People train with weights for all kinds of valid reasons. But making your legs 'stronger' in order to 'put more power through the pedals' (which is what the OP was suggesting) is not one of them..


    Sure I do a very little myself to prevent a recurrence of back pain, general health and injury prevention but when a pro cyclist credits gym work with making them more punchy or they want to gain several kilos for a team pursuit that sounds to me like they are doing it directly for performance gain ?

    I've no horse in the race as I don't lift weights except a few dumb bell and body weight exercises at home but I just wonder why pro cyclists from the most sports science oriented team or nation would make those statements.

    How many amateur cyclists do you know who use the track regularly?

    Or, how many amateur cyclists do you know who want to build muscle mass for performance gain?

    I don't understand why people are butting up against this. Just because you (the royal you) do a few weights doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Sky and BC do see a role for weight training. I don't claim any expertise but I'd ask why Stannard was quoted earlier this year crediting gym work for making him a more punchy rider or Wiggins saying he was in the gym putting on several kgs of muscle for the team pursuit in Rio?

    Either they are lying, poorly advised or it does have a place at least for some endurance riders.

    The thing is they aren't weekend riders. It's their job. They have so much time to train and do everything they can to perfect themselves. I'd guess you can only do so much cycling before you fatigue so weights probably do help them.

    For most of us - we probably aren't doing the optimum amount of cycling.

    Do it if you want to - but if you want to be better at cycling - do that for the hours you have.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
    Craigus89 wrote:


    How many amateur cyclists do you know who use the track regularly?

    Or, how many amateur cyclists do you know who want to build muscle mass for performance gain?

    I don't understand why people are butting up against this. Just because you (the royal you) do a few weights doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.


    Sure it may not be I'm just asking the question why Sky and BC riders would appear to use strength training for performance gain? Nobody seems willing or able to answer that. I can't remember it being answered in previous discussions either other than to argue it is for injury prevention but doesn't seem to be what Stannard and Wiggins were saying.

    Of course if you have 8-10 hours a week to train it may not be a priority but that is a practical question of designing a training programme, by the same logic if you only have £500 to spend get a bike rather than a top end skin suit, it doesn't mean top end skin suits don't work.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]