Weight Training and indoor trainer

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Anonymous's picture

I've done some excercizing at a local gym to keep in shape while the rain keeps falling outside. I wanted to know what were the general thoughts on weight training to help cycling performance. Do most people not do it, only do repetitive sets of lighter weights...

If weight training is not advisable then I may just cancel my subscription and buy a indoor trainer (I havn't riden for very long so I still don't have one). Which one do people recommend. Is it worth going the high-end route for a trainer? The money I save on a gym membership over a year would be enough to buy a computrainer. Is that worth it?

Anonymous's picture
chris (not verified)
weight training

"I've done a lot of research on the subject and read many differing opinions and test results on weather strength training actually increases cycling ""performance"". My best advise is to search around on the web and books stores for info on physiology and learn about your body and what makes it goooo, then you can decide what is best for your personal goals

However, as far as weight training is concerned it's my experience that light-weight training gives you better endurance as far as your back, shoulders, and arms are concerned. Your muscles are better able to support your body on the bike rather than leaning over and resting your weight on hands. Also, having strong arms helps you when you're standing and need to pull on the handlebars for more leverage. Most important are strong abdominal muscles –for a number of reasons. And being generally strong should help prevent injury in case of a crash.

I can feel a big difference in the amounts of aches and pains in my back and shoulders during a long ride this year having spent the winter in the gym. And I still go to the gym and lift light weights at least once a week just to keep it up. It also feels really good to work and stretch your muscles in other ways. Yoga is great also, if your gym offers classes you should try it. Just don't over do the weights, you don't want or need to gain mass, just strength and flexibility.

As for legs, all the machines at the gym tend to hurt my knees, so I do squats, lunges with weights, calf lifts –or whatever you call them– squat thrusts which are the best of all. I don't do too much of these during the season though, I get all the leg workouts I need when I'm riding.

But as for actual ""performance"" the only way to reach your maximum potential as a cyclist is to design and stick to a training program for yourself –based on your goals– that is centered on the bike. Doing some light weight training is part of my routine and I find it beneficial, –physically and mentally – but the only way to get better is to ride. The trainers are fine up to a point but I've never been able to ride more than two hours on them and they really don't give you the same resistance riding does. Also I tend to overheat –even with a fan– before I reach my workout goals.

Most importantly, learning about your body will help you beyond anything me or anyone else says.."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

From what I have read, weight training to help cycling performance will help to a point. Although, for professional and highly competitive amateur athletes, specificity is the name of the game. For Lance Armstrong, any additional hours of exercise is best spent riding his bike.

For us mortals, any additional exercise will have a net result of increased fitness. If only weight lifting was an option, it would help with cycling _generally_ (see John's excellent post). On the other hand, an additional hour spent cycling in lieu of weight training would be of greater benefit to one's cycling performance.

Anonymous's picture
Lorraine (not verified)
Indoor trainer

I have an almost brand new trainer: an Elite Volare which I am willing to sell for $100. Elite's web address is www.elite-it.com. I am located in Brooklyn.

Anonymous's picture
Iamfaster (not verified)

You do weight training during the off season because you ride less and you need to maintain your muscle mass and strenght. During the ridding season, if you ride close to 200 miles a week or do some leg strenght interval once a week, you don't need weight training. The above routine already stresses your legs A LOT. With weight training, you would have tired legs all the time. Instead of weight training during the season, ride on a huge gear and do intervals with it.

Anonymous's picture
Doug (not verified)

If you're afraid of lifting and gaining muscle mass try alternatives. I'd suggest Pilates.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

"This is a rather interesting topic with mixed opinion. Some coaches favor weight lifting, others are against weight lifting. More and more, progressive trainers seem to vehemently oppose weight lifting, while old-school trainers tend to take the approach that weight lifting can't do any harm when done correctly, and may do some good. In terms of studies, the results are mixed and conclusions are hard to draw due to small sample sizes and poor selection of control groups. Personally, I am against weight lifting targeted to the legs but favor weight lifting targeted to the upper body but done in a manner different than traditional weight lifting for strength or muscle mass.

I am against weight lifting targeted to the legs because the power required by cycling is quite different from the power required by lifting weights, as cycling is an aerobic exercise and weight lifting is an anaerobic exercise, even when done with light weighs and relatively high repetitions. Any anaerobic power gained will be offset by increased weight therefore reducing climbing ability. ""Strength"" training for cycling is best accomplished through on-bike exercise such as hill repeats and low RPM stationary bike training. Given our continuing bad weather, finding a gym with spin classes would be a much better investment of your time. Even in nice weather, I like to incorporate one hard spin class a week into my training, generally on Tuesdays. I keep the RPMs low and he effort high, simulating a long climb. 45 minutes of this will make you a much better cyclist than 45 minutes of squats and leg presses. Rick Stern, one of the contributors to cyclingnews.com's fitness Q&A forum, shares a similar view, and cyclingnews.com's archives contains a wealth of information on this topic.

I do favor some upper body weight lifting and core body strength training. However, I keep the weights light and the reps high, with only an occasional session of moderate to heavy weights (once every three to four weeks during a cycling recovery week). Most of my lifting is done at light weights in the 15-20 and 40-80 repetition range. This avoids building muscle mass yet tones the body to better process lactic acid, also making your upper body more efficient, allowing more oxygen to be used by working muscles. Some gyms also offer various classes that combine light weigh workouts with some aerobics. These classes can kick your butt; I find them a welcome break from my normal training."

Anonymous's picture
Marc H (not verified)
Cyclists May Risk Bone Loss
Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
New method

"I had been doing traditional weight training in the off season, (that included the spring for the most part, due to weather), and I can say it helped me. Combined with a Zone diet, (www.drsears.com), I dropped over 20 lbs of fat and gained over 7 pounds of muscle since the end of February. I'm climbing much better now than at the end of last season.

I've decided to continue through the riding season to keep my back and upper body strong, but I wanted to change my routine because it had gotten, well...routine.

I picked up a book called ""Power of 10"", (www.power-of-10.com). The theory behind it is that muscles grow best when you stress them to failure. Their approach is to get you there in the shortest time possible, while avoiding injury.

You use mostly weight machines to help assure proper form, though they have home routines you can do without machines. You only do one set per exercise, 6-8 reps in the set. You take 10 seconds to lift the weight and 10 seconds to lower the weight, each rep.

Beginners work out 2x/week. Once you're acclimated to the method, you can combine both sessions into one, so you're only weight training 1x/week.

They believe in lots of rest and eating right, (cardio is optional). Their idea of eating right is very much like the Zone.

There are marathon runners on this program, and they swear by it for helping to boost their endurance, so I don't think it would hurt a cyclist.

I've only done one workout in this method so far. It was difficult to pick the right weight to get to failure- it's a learning process. I ended up going too light and doing way more reps than suggested. Also, actually going to failure is a bit intense.

As far as indoor trainers go, I'm no fan of stationary cycling. There's no breeze, and no matter what, it's just not the road. Bikes were not meant to be nailed to the floor.

For indoor cardio, I like an elyptical trainer- no seat to adjust, or misadjust as the case may be, and no impact like you get from running. Since I don't run, it's as close to cross training as I get."

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