Strength training II

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Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:04 am

So, given that on-bike performance isn't proven to be improved by gym weight training, are there any other benefits such as less injuries? I know trackies spend time in the gym, does strength training help for pure track sprinters? Rather than squats, would walking up flights of stairs be more likely to build strength that crosses over into cycling?
Discuss...
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Re: Strength training II

Postby vander » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:04 pm

twizzle wrote:So, given that on-bike performance isn't proven to be improved by gym weight training, are there any other benefits such as less injuries? I know trackies spend time in the gym, does strength training help for pure track sprinters? Rather than squats, would walking up flights of stairs be more likely to build strength that crosses over into cycling?
Discuss...

Yep used for trackie sprinters and sometimes pursuiters etc for the standing starts. I think it does help but it is a long process from building the strength to making it usable on the bike, wont see the strength gains coming into effect for a good few months. Personally if you are going to do strength I would do it properly. Cant help to give it a go either try it for a while and see if it works for you. Unlike others on here I am against saying one thing is good and one thing is bad, everyone is different so some people may respond to different things. Could help your "sprinting" :)
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:31 pm

twizzle wrote:So, given that on-bike performance isn't proven to be improved by gym weight training, are there any other benefits such as less injuries? I know trackies spend time in the gym, does strength training help for pure track sprinters? Rather than squats, would walking up flights of stairs be more likely to build strength that crosses over into cycling?
Discuss...

I don't mean to derail the thread, but I think the premise of the example questions listed above is problematic* and as a result these sort of discussion end up not really addressing the issue(s) that matter. Nevertheless they can be entertaining and a learning opportunity, and it may be the intent to look at it this way, so I definitely acknowledge that.

* By problematic, I mean starting with a training method (in this case gym weight training) and then looking for ways it can be used/helpful. It's sort of bass ackward.

In one example used here, we might find that a track sprinter can improve performance with some gym work. But what the question fails to lead us to is whether that's the optimal manner in which to achieve the desired goal (which presumably is to become the best sprinter they can be with the training time/opportunity they have). By approaching it that way, we might find that it can, and likely should be part of the training diet, but because it addresses the issue of what sort of training is best for that person and at what stage.

e.g. one sprinter may actually need some strength training (or more to the point, training that elicits desirable physiological adaptations needed that are correlated with an increase in strength), but another has ample strength and their physiological development needs are different.

I see the same sort of problem with questions about particular interval types and so on.


Rather than the approach of starting with a training intervention, I think the question to be asked is "what do I need to do to achieve my goals which are <insert goals here>" and then to ascertain what the best training and other options are to address those needs and goals (and taking into consideration the individual circumstances).

Of course one then needs to be clear about what their goals are. It might be to do with cycling performance, it might be enjoyment and social interaction, it might be general health and well being, or it might be vanity. All legitimate, but different and of course while not all of them are mutually exclusive it certainly helps to be clear on the priorities.

e.g.
what's the best way for me to become a better track sprinter?
what's the best way for me to avoid injury?
what's the best way for me to look awesome on a bike?
what's the best way for me to be a faster time trial rider?
what's the best way to stay motivation and have fun?

Then we might or might not find gym training has a role to play, or that perhaps it is not as helpful an option as other training interventions might be.

By immediately confining our thought process to a particular method, rather than understanding the objective and particular circumstances, we may limit our thinking considerably and possibly overlook more effective options.


As for injury, well the most important things one can do on that front are:
- get a great bike fit
- don't attempt to ramp up training loads too fast for your present capacity
- avoid crashing (and there's many possible means by which one achieves that outcome)
- improve one's ability to minimise injury if you do crash (again several elements to that)

So in that lot, well gym weight training is but an option to consider, but a significantly less important one if other more important factors have not been addressed.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:30 pm

As someone who is trying to increase strength (through riding) I hope this thread doesn't get derailled like the last one. Thanks Alex for your considered responses in these threads despite some pretty poor responses to them from certain parties, I've always found them helpful..
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:16 pm

O.K. - I get what you are saying, Alexs, and I have to say that given the whole specificity argument, I often wondered how weight lifting would help cycling. I did read somewhere about how exercising one muscle group until damaged released hormones which benefited other muscle groups, in the example given arm power was increased by doing leg exercises... I'll have to see if I can find it again.

I spent hours last weekend cutting down trees, chopping them up and stacking the bits. Hamstrings and calf muscles were completely stuffed, the hammies in particular were extremely tender to the touch... but didn't hurt one bit on the bike.

And an interesting review.

But at the end of the day, building muscle groups you don't use on the bike has to mean you are carrying excess weight.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:27 pm

I seem to see a lot of guys ( some pros ) riding in the 53/11-12 in early season, especially on climbs... seated and standing... riding specific strength work?.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:17 pm

twizzle wrote:O.K. - I get what you are saying, Alexs, and I have to say that given the whole specificity argument, I often wondered how weight lifting would help cycling. I did read somewhere about how exercising one muscle group until damaged released hormones which benefited other muscle groups, in the example given arm power was increased by doing leg exercises... I'll have to see if I can find it again.

I spent hours last weekend cutting down trees, chopping them up and stacking the bits. Hamstrings and calf muscles were completely stuffed, the hammies in particular were extremely tender to the touch... but didn't hurt one bit on the bike.

And an interesting review.

But at the end of the day, building muscle groups you don't use on the bike has to mean you are carrying excess weight.


Yes, and serves to show that it's not black and white and certainly not conclusive, which is why I say it's equivocal with respect to endurance cycling performance. There is research claiming benefit, there is research showing a detriment to performance and researching showing statistically insignificant or no impact. Many look for the parts of research that supports their belief, rather have the body of evidence lead the conclusion.

BTW - as an aside with the aforementioned Ronnestad study:

- the intervention group and control group were not randomised (the participants chose which group they were in). This creates a bias that needs to be accounted for, or at least reported (it wasn't mentioned in the paper).

- there were significant differences in capabilities between the two groups before the intervention started which certainly raised my eyebrow - on average a 25% difference in peak power (or 18% in body mass normalised terms) and a 10% difference in 30-sec wingate power which tells me there is a reasonable possibility the groups were inadequately chosen and made up of riders with different capabilities and probably quite different mix of muscle fibre types. This is a different sort of bias that also needs to be accounted for.

- not mentioned in the published paper is that the intervention group were all male, the control group were male and female (one summary suggested 1 female, another reviewer I spoke with said there were 2). Again, this a bias that needs to be considered.

- the two groups did not have equivalent workloads (despite what was suggested in summary). Even so, for a study published in 2010, relying on HRM data as a means to control for on-bike workloads is somewhat antiquated, if not inadequate.

- the positive performance outcomes are reported by those advocating strength training but the decline in 30 second wingate power in the intervention group is usually not mentioned. Why not? If anything this is an element of performance you would expect to show strong improvement from such a training intervention. Can't have it both ways and claim causal link for the good stuff but conveniently ignore the negative. I didn't see anyone reporting from this study that adding strength training to your training diet will reduce or have no effect on your 30-second wingate power. That might be a bit of a bummer when you take a flyer 500 metres from the finish line.


So while the above contextual information certainly doesn't negate the study, it suggests to me that some people:
- over reach on their conclusion and apply a causal link to the reported correlations, when there may be other factors or biases that could plausibly explain some of the reported performance changes, and/or
- cherry pick the good stuff but sometimes forget to mention the whole story

Not to mention that one should be able to do better than was indicated in this study with better training (which gets back to one of my earlier points: even if there is a benefit, one needs to assess that against other well established effective methods).
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:29 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I seem to see a lot of guys ( some pros ) riding in the 53/11-12 in early season, especially on climbs... seated and standing... riding specific strength work?.

A form of training often called "strength endurance".

Even at lowish cadences riding at moderately higher power (e.g. ~FTP or higher), the forces are still significantly sub-maximal, such that one could never suggest it as a means to improve strength.

Put it this way, would you go to the gym to do a set of reps at 10% of your 1RM if your aim was to increase strength?
Nah, me either.

In reality, the term "strength endurance" is neither.

So the issue then devolves to whether it is beneficial, or more to the point, is it more beneficial than simply riding up the hill at the same speed in a regular gear?

It would require a decent amount of evidence to demonstrate that (there is one study claiming benefit IIRC), given that the demand differences are really (sub-maximal) neuromuscular and not metabolic.

Some claim it involves a greater recruitment/utilisation of fast twitch fibres, but that assumes i. you have any, and ii. that it would recruit/use them to any significant degree. In terms o the latter, that's somewhat unlikely given that such fibres fatigue very rapidly, yet this is an exercise people are capable of sustain for long periods.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:47 pm

It is very popular here... I don't think my knees would appreciate it much :lol: .
Anyway my off season is painful enough with the limited amount of running I do for CX.

So the question is... how do you know if a bit of strength training would actually benefit you considering seeing the results takes a fairly long time!.
Personally I think my leg strength is pretty good... ie I have big thighs and calves and being a lock in rugby for many years I know my legs are stronger than most, I think my issue is that I can't use all my strength very well in a sprint ( hence my relatively low 1300-1400 w sprints ) so why would I bother adding more strength by doing weight work... my problem is I can't put the cadence and strength together fast enough to produce the big numbers, but can do it well over more anaerobic periods hence good 1 minute power.

Sorry just thinking out loud... nothing more for me to do than on the bike sprint efforts to get the best out of what I have!.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:00 pm

toolonglegs wrote:So the question is... how do you know if a bit of strength training would actually benefit you considering seeing the results takes a fairly long time!.

good question

toolonglegs wrote:Personally I think my leg strength is pretty good... ie I have big thighs and calves and being a lock in rugby for many years I know my legs are stronger than most, I think my issue is that I can't use all my strength very well in a sprint ( hence my relatively low 1300-1400 w sprints ) so why would I bother adding more strength by doing weight work... my problem is I can't put the cadence and strength together fast enough to produce the big numbers, but can do it well over more anaerobic periods hence good 1 minute power.

and you have partially answered your own question.

IOW you are not force limited, but rather you are power limited, i.e. it's the rate at which you can apply the force that matters for peak power and sprint acceleration.

Now it is trainable, but some people will always have better peak power than others simply due to differences in muscle fibre type. More fast twitch fibre simply enables one to apply more of the force more quickly.

This is what seems to confuse people. Being strong does not equal being fast. And being stronger does not necessarily mean you will become faster. You don't acquire fast twitch fibres from gym strength work, you just get bigger versions of the fibres you already have.

I would suggest anyone wanting to improve their sprint /peak power / acceleration start with a good program of sprint work (standing starts, sprints, accelerations etc) as they are proven means to improve sprint performance and peak power, and then consider other forms of intervention later on if performance plateaus.

It's amazing how many people who do mass start races don't do any dedicated sprint training, often because they are not naturally good at it. But really, you don't need to be the best sprinter, just the best of who's left at the end.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Derny Driver » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:10 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
I would suggest anyone wanting to improve their sprint /peak power / acceleration start with a good program of sprint work (standing starts, sprints, accelerations etc) as they are proven means to improve sprint performance and peak power, and then consider other forms of intervention later on if performance plateaus.

It's amazing how many people who do mass start races don't do any dedicated sprint training, often because they are not naturally good at it. But really, you don't need to be the best sprinter, just the best of who's left at the end.

I find it amazing to hear the blokes who get beaten in the sprint at my club each week whinging about how they are not genetically up to it, when they have had no genetic testing and have never done any sprint work or sprint drills. How do you expect to win a bunch sprint if you have never practised such a thing.
One such non-sprinter joined my group for teams pursuit training, we did standing starts and some sprints off the derny and stuff and surprise surprise, after about 10 weeks, the improvement is miraculous!
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Marty Moose » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:44 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I seem to see a lot of guys ( some pros ) riding in the 53/11-12 in early season, especially on climbs... seated and standing... riding specific strength work?.


I've watched a few multiple world champs do this,more than one or two aussie champs, NRS pro's and find it helps me too.

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Re: Strength training II

Postby trailgumby » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:07 pm

I do (well, did - I need to get back to it) some weight training, however it is to address specific issues. I am majorly right side dominant, and without working the maintenance exercises I've been given end up with sacro-illiac joint pain and patellar tracking problems as my action gets out kilter, having fallen back to old habits and recruiting the wrong muscles.

But then, this is not "strength training" in the sense meant here I suppose.

Speaking of which, time to go do some stretches before hitting the sack.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby skull » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:09 am

I use to do a fair bit if gym work, it never benefited my riding. It did make ny previous job easier tho.

Since leaving the army I pretty much stopped gym work to try and lose the bulk I gained. I joined the army at 80kgs within a year I was 95kg.

Anyway this year I have signed up to do tough mudder. Our team has got together with a pt to build up for it. It has been mainly core endurance work rather than your typical gym junkie stuff and only twice a week. I have found that to helping complement the other bike specific training I do.

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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:40 pm

toolonglegs wrote:( hence my relatively low 1300-1400 w sprints )


My best ever after much practise was 1347W... for one second.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:55 pm

Speaking of muscle fibre types...

Study.

I haven't read it in detail yet, but...

Their "fast twitch" person was making peak power at over 160+rpm.
Their "other" person (lowest peak power cadence?) from their sample group make peak power at 120rpm.
My peak power (according to the PT log) is made between 100 and 105 rpm. :shock:

And I'm about to try out 180mm cranks instead of my usual 175 or 172.5 (depending on bike), which will reduce the effective cadence relative to foot speed.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby vander » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:17 pm

twizzle wrote:My peak power (according to the PT log) is made between 100 and 105 rpm. :shock:

And I'm about to try out 180mm cranks instead of my usual 175 or 172.5 (depending on bike), which will reduce the effective cadence relative to foot speed.


My peak power is about 90-105. So dont know if it means that much.

Looking at the study they say peak powers of 1800W then the 1sec powers on another graph is just over 1000W and for one pedal revolution was about 1050. Does this mean that the peak power just came from a small part of probably the down stroke? And their 1sec power (what I would call peak power) is actually closed to 1000 or am I reading it completely wrong?
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Re: Strength training II

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:42 pm

Twiz, my sprints power is a tiny bit lower with 180's, maybe 50w.
I am a definite slowtwitcher like you... But I am fairly confident in winning certain types of sprints ... Especially after a month or two of sprint efforts.
Although yesterday's sprint should have been right up my alley...but the legs (and spirit ) were cooked!
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:46 pm

vander wrote:Looking at the study they say peak powers of 1800W then the 1sec powers on another graph is just over 1000W and for one pedal revolution was about 1050. Does this mean that the peak power just came from a small part of probably the down stroke? And their 1sec power (what I would call peak power) is actually closed to 1000 or am I reading it completely wrong?


The lower numbers were peak for one pedal revolution. No mention of how the other measure was made.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:51 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Twiz, my sprints power is a tiny bit lower with 180's, maybe 50w.
I am a definite slowtwitcher like you... But I am fairly confident in winning certain types of sprints ... Especially after a month or two of sprint efforts.
Although yesterday's sprint should have been right up my alley...but the legs (and spirit ) were cooked!


Usually, at the end of a race, I have nothing - after the 96km the other week, I was back under 500W in less than ten seconds. The day before, I didn't even have a kick.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:54 pm

Note : That study is from 1981!
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Re: Strength training II

Postby doggatas » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:06 pm

I have reviewed a couple of race files from when i had a power meter. When sprinting it seems i make my peak power 3-4 seconds into the effort. Starts off at 85rpm, 3 seconds later cadence is 98 and peak power is hit. Cadence then ups to 105, power drops 150-200 watts and stays there for the next 7 seconds. From 3 crit races pattern is identical for all of them.

Perhaps when the cadence gets to 105 I need change up a gear to hold higher power?? Always a little hesitent in shifting in such a situation though. I will test this when I get my next PM.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:13 pm

twizzle wrote:Note : That study is from 1981!

data doesn't have a use by date.

Interestingly, the linear relationship they describe between pedal force and circumferential pedal speed at maximal effort has been replicated many times. You can see this yourself if you do a Quadrant Analysis plot of the first 5-6 seconds of a maximal standing start effort using an SRM power meter (other power meters don't work too well for this sort of analysis).

Typically peak power will occur in the 120-140rpm range for most trained riders, so to attain such a peak, you need to be able to get there first without being pre-fatigued. Neuromuscular fatigue kicks in after ~5-6 seconds, where after the relationship is no longer linear.

A good way to check max power is to find a "dipper" you can roll down one side to hit the bottom of a hill at speed and really gun it up the other side. You need to be fresh though.
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Re: Strength training II

Postby doggatas » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:21 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:Note : That study is from 1981!


A good way to check max power is to find a "dipper" you can roll down one side to hit the bottom of a hill at speed and really gun it up the other side. You need to be fresh though.


I give that a go when the SRM arrives.. :D :D
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Re: Strength training II

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:14 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:[
Typically peak power will occur in the 120-140rpm range for most trained riders, so to attain such a peak, you need to be able to get there first without being pre-fatigued.

120 is about the fastest I have ever hit in a race. The only times I've exceeded that is when trying to see how fast I can spin without bouncing - about 130-140. And yet I've seen people pulling 200rpm when warming up.

Re. dips before hills and getting leg speed up, I assume motor-pacing is for the same purpose? Draft to a speed then pull out into the wind to get the load?

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