"Cycling is not enough"

The foundations for successful riding

Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby ireland57 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:13 am

Alex, I'm in a state of confusion here.

The bike fit I just got done has set out a lot of strengthening and stretching based around my core strength and flexibility (or lack of it tbh).

The person who did the testing said that core strength was paramount to mountain biking and important to road biking.
I.e. if there's no core strength other muscle groups will take over.

In my case glutes don't do any work but lower back and quads do. This is possibly from lifetime of building work (lifting weights far too heavy for my size).
Regardless of the cause since I started following her suggestions (about a stable core helping the bike handle properly uphills, removing excess strain from the lower back and lower body stabilising instead of arms and shoulders doing everything) I suffer less pain.

The glutes should be working; they weren't; quads, lower back and shoulders did everything and suffered the consequences.
There's been improvement in less than 2 weeks.

What does control the bike?
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by BNA » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:10 am

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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby silkishuge » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:10 am

hmmm, I just thought I would post my little contribution to this discussion.

Since I started riding a few years ago, I have now achieved a 6 pack. Something I have not seen in 10 years so I guess I must be working my abs. I do alot of hills, about 900m to 1000m a day 6 days a week whereby I do a reasonable amount of off the saddle work.
I don't know much about training but I found that working on my upper body has made me stronger and when I have spills, I could always walkaway without any serious injuries. I did notice that when I stopped working my upper body, I was more prone to serious injury when I had a tumble.
My core work out is just pull ups. I have a pull up bar across the door way and I just do a few every time I walk pass it. I used do it in sets of 6 maximum efforts but could not be bothered now.

so summary is cycling good for abs, pull ups build my core and so less likely to get seriously injury from spills and tumbles. Being a commuter, I find that to be very important.

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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby Marty Moose » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:45 am

This is a easy to read article that does talk about injury and lack of core strength and also touches on bike set up as being a cause of some pain. Its not a journal but one would think the Author would have some idea.

http://www.bbclasses.com.au/files/36.pdf

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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby Mean Machine » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:21 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:We are interested in evidence related to trained cyclists.


Fair enough. My point, which I didn't spell out, was to reply to your "there's no evidence". There's definitely evidence out there that strength training improves cycling performance. The question, always, is whether or not one accepts the evidence (or even 'What is evidence?'). I personally don't.
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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:59 pm

ireland57 wrote:Alex, I'm in a state of confusion here.

The bike fit I just got done has set out a lot of strengthening and stretching based around my core strength and flexibility (or lack of it tbh).

The person who did the testing said that core strength was paramount to mountain biking and important to road biking.
I.e. if there's no core strength other muscle groups will take over.

In my case glutes don't do any work but lower back and quads do. This is possibly from lifetime of building work (lifting weights far too heavy for my size).
Regardless of the cause since I started following her suggestions (about a stable core helping the bike handle properly uphills, removing excess strain from the lower back and lower body stabilising instead of arms and shoulders doing everything) I suffer less pain.

The glutes should be working; they weren't; quads, lower back and shoulders did everything and suffered the consequences.
There's been improvement in less than 2 weeks.

What does control the bike?

You are wrong if you think the glutes are not doing any work. It just may not feel like it but they are working.

Flexibility and strength are totally different things, which are you talking about?

And are you anecdotally attributing the improvement to the better position on a bike (which is what I've been saying) or from 2 weeks of core work?

Core is helpful when upper body becomes more engaged, such as happens in sprint, BMX, MTB etc. and guess what will help the core for those events? yep sprinting and MTB and starts and accelerations and hard efforts etc on a bike.

Core are deep down, they don't drive the bike or provide the power.

Seriously, how much core strength do you think is needed to sit on a bike and pedal and hold yourself up? I mean both legs are only pushing ~ 14 kg on average when doing 250 watts and they are the largest muscles we have.

If you train, and some muscles are not up to the task, then provided training is progressed in a sensible manner, they will adapt to the stimulus. just like our legs and heart does.
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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:04 pm

Mean Machine wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:We are interested in evidence related to trained cyclists.


Fair enough. My point, which I didn't spell out, was to reply to your "there's no evidence". There's definitely evidence out there that strength training improves cycling performance. The question, always, is whether or not one accepts the evidence (or even 'What is evidence?'). I personally don't.

OK well if you want to include irrelevant studies as evidence (I don't), then perhaps I should have rephrased:
There is not a body of evidence that strength training enhances endurance cycling performance in trained cyclists.

Which is pretty reasonable given the underpinning physiological adaptations for strength and endurance run counter to each other, they are unrelated, and that we are simply not strength limited when riding a bike. The forces in endurance cycling are simply way too low (like an order of magnitude less).
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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:05 pm

The plural of anecdote is not evidence.
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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby ireland57 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:30 pm

I think I'll ride for a bit longer to try to understand how this works.
Last edited by ireland57 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Cycling is not enough"

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:14 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:

:?: None of the above discuss core strength but rather leg strength training.

The first and second items do not even have a control group. :roll:

The second and third items were performed on untrained subjects AFAIK. As has been repeatedly discussed, it's already well established that almost any regular exercise will be beneficial to performance for untrained individuals.

We are interested in evidence related to trained cyclists.

I am with Alex on this one. I don't have evidence but I do have an anecdote. I am an endurance cyclist and a couple of months ago completed a 24 hour cycling challenge during which I (fairly slowly) cycled 368km. I also have pitifully weak core muscles. In my case weak core muscles did not inhibit my ability to cycle 368km.

Earlier this year I did some interval training where I did 8 separate 60 second sprints in a 20 minute ride to work and the same on the way home. Climbing into bed that night I noticed that all of my core muscles were aching a lot... more than after a core workout.

From this I would conclude that in my case: 1) I can endurance ride without a strong core 2) I can build up my core for cycling by cycling (esp sprint training). It's not evidence though so I can't say that it applies to anyone else.
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