The foundations for successful riding
19 posts • Page 1 of 1
When I started cycling I pretty much ditched my legs out of my weights routine, should I be doing weighted squats, leg presses, calf raises etc to get more power out of my legs?
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A category 1 cyclist at 70kgs might be putting an equivalent force of 20-30kg's into the pedals depending on cadence. That shows how dissimilar gym work is to cycling.
Furthermore, "bodybuilding" doesn't build significant strength. It builds muscle bulk, which comparatively for its size is not as useful as properly trained muscle.
You should ride your bike more, or harder, or both.
Leg strength doesn't translate into sustainable aerobic power gains I'm afraid.
I barely squat or deadlift anymore too, commuting 5 days a week just about drains everything in my legs, however I am trying to squat 1 once a week on my freshest day.
Cycling and weight traning are always going to work against each other, I guess unless you have a track sprinting focus.
You need to find a balance I say. They both have their benefits. Nutrition will also play a huge role in your efforts & recovery
Calf raises are a waste of time too. It's all about quads, hammies & glutes.
I'm always on the bike I cant get enough of it, track racing and road racing plus training equates to about 14 hours per week and that doesnt include using the bike as a form of transport so prob alot more than 14 hours.
So the general consensis is body building has no benifit to the sport of cycling whatsoever? I only asked because my personal trainer asked me why I had dropped legs out of my workout program, my response was that I thought cycling did enough for them so he asked me to find out if there was any benifit, so..... general consensis being no there is no benifit????
2008 Ridley Compact
It's not that there's no benefit whatsoever, it's just that cycling is mainly aerobic.
Look at the pro-peloton and there's a lot of big powerful thighs in there, but put it this way, if your main goal is bodybuilding, cycling won't replace your leg exercises. But if your main goal is cycling, "bodybuilding" won't help.
I'd rather have big powerful useful legs than HUGE useless ones.
Sorry, I don't know much about "body building" as a sport/hobby.
But if it is akin to strength training, then unless you are training for cycling events that require explosiveness, then it's questionable as to its usefulness. You say track racing but are you talking sprint or enduro?
Basically it just adds body mass, without a proportionate increase in sustainable aerobic power, and that will slow you down (well maybe not downhill ).
If you are sprint focussed, then weight training is a pretty common part of the training routine, although at the end of the day, you can be strong and slow (for a sprinter). So the type of weight training you do will be determined by what your specific training needs are as a sprinter.
Doing weights per se is not necesarily bad (not all weight work is heavy strength training) and people do them for many reasons but improving sustainable aerobic power (which is 99.5% of cycling) is not one of those reasons.
So if vanity, or sorting out other body issues (e.g. injury rehab, imbalances etc) is a reason, then by all means do the weights.
If going faster in a race, TT or on your club/solo bike ride is your objective, then I'd be looking at the time you are spending on a bike and how to maximise use of that.
Imagine how many hours you would be doing if you started turning up to thursday rides
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2008 Ridley Compact
I disagree to a point. I have read both sides of the literature and from my own experience can say that there is a benefit by weight training. What is more important is how you train with weights.
Bodybuilding programs for legs will not help a cyclist just as riding 700kms a week will not help a bodybuilder but there are benefits to lifting weights which emphasise the legs particularly compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans.
The reps and weight will also make a difference depending on what you are trying to achieve. Athletes in power sports want to train for explosive power and hit fast twitch muscles fibres, endurance athletes want to target slow twitch muscle. The athletes with the fastest muscle twitch isn't sprinters it is the big heavy powerlifters. They train for that explosive speed. This is simplified of course.
Weight lifting can also help injury prevention and prevent injuries from blancing other muscle groups particularly stabilising muscles. Squats makes just about every muscle in the body work particularly the legs and the stabilising muscles in the rest of the body.
I came off a bike at 40kph (motorbike not treadly, I wish I was that good ) and the doctors sighted my landing position and said the main reason I didn't break my clavicle was because of the strength of the muscle around my neck and chest
If your riding position tends to make the hamstrings work particularly hard it can lead to a muscle imbalance with the quads making you more susceptible to injury. Weightlifting properly can help prevent this.
I spent a lot of time weightlifting and power training when I was younger. I don't do it anymore due to limited time. But I do exercises such as squats, lunges and vertical jumps without weights.
Don't discount a weightlifting plan it may actually improve you in ways that you never thought about. But then again I am not a certified expert I just have had experience with riders and weightlifters, sometimes both.
I know track sprinters at the pro level do it. I have seen photos of LA doing weights. So guess there must be something for the cyclists. But guess it all depends on how its done and what are the objectives.
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I had been bodybuilding/strength training for years before I got back into cycling. Safe to say; it has not made me awesome at cycling.
What most people think of weightlifting focuses either on stimulating hypertrophy (building muscle tissue) or increasing strength (force production). Neither of these things will improve your cycling, which needs sustained power output (energy over time). My legs, while able to lift alot at the gym, get quickly tapped out on even small hills. In addition the extra mass gives you a less than desirable power/weight ratio. I hate hills.
'Weightlifting' covers a wide range of exercises with different goals; plyometrics, hypertrophy, strength, depending on the sport you are doing. I guess very carefully structured and planned weight training could improve your cycling. But I doubt very much the average person, or even a gym rat like myself would have the knowledge to conduct it.
There's really no substitute for time on the bike.
Oh you mentioned calf raises. Only serious bodybuilders bother with them. They build almost no functional strength, and are done almost soley for aesthetic purposes. (Excluding genuine physiotheraphy/rehab reasons).
Good post. Supports what Alex and others have said, nothing beats time on the bike.
If your objective is to be a weight lifter who also rides bikes, then I'd recommend that you keep full squats in one of your sessions as cycling doesn't doesn't fully substitute for all the things provided by that compound exercise.
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I was going to chime in with a simple "What Alex said" but there's something to be said for a light program of weights.
Not so much for hypertrophy or explosive power, but to reduce fatigue. I know doing a few core exercises in a week has helped a lot with trunk fatigue for me (which often shows up as back pain) and hoisting a few dumbbells and doing pushups is great for upper body strength which can flag on a long ride. You want to be able to focus on building your aerobic capacity while on the bike, not fighting fatigue related pain towards the end of your riding sessions.
While I suppose if you spent all your training time on the bike, those things would eventually improve, think about a light weights program as a kind of shortcut.
(note - not qualified in any way, shape or form and very slow on a bike, but improving)
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