core training

5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Has anyone used this product? the sales pitch is great,but the enthusiasm is a little over the top- because I need help w/ core work & lower back strengthing, etc...or other suggestions, sucesses.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Think About This...

"I was curious so I subscribed to the trial offer. While I do agree to Graeme's mental approach, the rest is suspicious. One of the problems with determining an optimal training approach is that comprehensive, multi-year studies do not exist. But some seminal works do exist; shown below is one of them, Coyle's ""Physiological and biomechanical factors associated with elite endurance cycling performance."" Its only fault is a small sample size (15 subjects), which may be why its pretty obvious conclusions were overlooked by many for years. However, subsequent studies support its conclusions, especially a recent N=1 by Coyle of a six-time Tour de France champion.

Coyle's conclusion is simple. Elite cyclists don't out perform their ""good-state class"" counterparts by having a higher VO2 max. Rather, their performance comes from an ability to work at a higher percentage of V02 max. Related, is the elite athlete's ability to generate high downstroke power, dispelling the ""pedaling in circles"" myth. Even more interesting is that elite athletes generate more force by having a higher percentage of Type 1 muscle fibers than ""good-state class"" athletes. Hence, the greater power is generated aerobically. Thus, "" it appears that ""elite-national class"" cyclists have the ability to generate higher ""downstroke power,"" possibly as a result of muscular adaptations stimulated by more years of endurance training.""

What does this mean? If you want to be a better cyclist, cycle more. While I am not against core body exercises and do some in the winter, if you want to be e better cyclist you must find the absolute minimum amount of time performing core body exercises so you can maximize your time cycling.

Below is an abstract of Coyle's 1991 paper:

""In this study we evaluated the physiological and biomechanical responses of ""elite-national class"" (i.e., group 1; N = 9) and ""good-state class"" (i.e., group 2; N = 6) cyclists while they simulated a 40 km time-trial in the laboratory by cycling on an ergometer for 1 h at their highest power output. Actual road racing 40 km time-trial performance was highly correlated with average absolute power during the 1 h laboratory performance test (r = -0.88; P less than 0.001). In turn, 1 h power output was related to each cyclists' VO2 at the blood lactate threshold (r = 0.93; P less than 0.001). Group 1 was not different from group 2 regarding VO2max (approximately 70 and 5.01 l.min-1) or lean body weight. However, group 1 bicycled 40 km on the road 10% faster than group 2 (P less than 0.05; 54 vs 60 min). Additionally, group 1 was able to generate 11% more power during the 1 h performance test than group 2 (P less than 0.05), and they averaged 90 +/- 1% VO2max compared with 86 +/- 2% VO2max in group 2 (P = 0.06). The higher performance power output of group 1 was produced primarily by generating higher peak torques about the center of the crank by applying larger vertical forces to the crank arm during the cycling downstroke. Compared with group 2, group 1 also produced higher peak torques and vertical forces during the downstroke even when cycling at the same absolute work rate as group 2. Factors possibly contributing to the ability of group 1 to produce higher ""downstroke power"" are a greater percentage of Type I muscle fibers (P less than 0.05) and a 23% greater (P less than 0.05) muscle capillary density compared with group 2. We have also observed a strong relationship between years of endurance training and percent Type I muscle fibers (r = 0.75; P less than 0.001). It appears that ""elite-national class"" cyclists have the ability to generate higher ""downstroke power"", possibly as a result of muscular adaptations stimulated by more years of endurance training.""

Below is an abstract of the Lance Armstrong study:

""This case describes the physiological maturation from ages 21-28 y of the bicyclist who has now become the six-time cons"

Anonymous's picture
Fred (not verified)
$119 to watch some dopey guy in his living room?

As an exercise and yoga junkie I went and watched the demos.

$119 is a lot to pay for 2 DVDs, especially these poor production quality programs.

Core strength and flexibility are definitely essential, not just for cycling but to feel good all day.

Take a look at Brian Kest's power yoga series. Plenty challenging.

I reccomend doing ab specific exercises no more than 3 dys a week. In fact, all muscles need rest time to repair and come back stronger. There are a million excellent ab exercise books. (Everybody wants the six pack - but you got to give up the beer and french fries)

Break up your routines to avoid boredom and to hit different muscles.

Buy 2 books, 3 good videos and a Swiss Ball for the price of this program.

Anonymous's picture
Terry Hildebrandt (not verified)

Thanks for the help - makes sense. Any recommendations?

Anonymous's picture
Sid (not verified)
Paul Frediani

Also check out Paul Frediani's Power Sculpt books (on Amazon). He uses the Swiss ball and some weights for a flexibility and core training program. And some of the books include an exercise DVD.

Anonymous's picture
Fred (not verified)
Specific recomendtions

"Truthfully, any home program will become monotonous over time. That said, here are a few suggestions:

Right now Amazon is offering a you kit from Gaim, including a mat (essential), a block and a strap for $15. That's too good to pass up.

A Swiss Ball is a cheap, simple and incredibly versatile piece of equipment. They usually come with a video. You can't go wrong.

If you are a really motivated self starter, Rodney Yee has a terrific book called something like ""12 weeks to balance"". If you actually followed his program you would stay interested and really advance a lot. But it takes a lot of discipline.

The Brian Kest DVD series ""Power Yoga"" will give you a great workout, but is sure to get boring if you use it more than occassionally.

At home, I use a cheap piece of equipment made by Altus called the Door Gym. It's basically resistance bands which attach to the top and bottom of a door. Good for Tris, Bi, Shoulders, and even legs. Not so good for chest and abs.

I'm currently doing a weight lifting program at the gym based on a book called ""Max Contraction"" by John Little. This is a very different, very efficient approach. But you have to do it at a gym.

I personally run and swim (in addition to bike) for variety and cross training. Some days I do intense intervals, and some days steady state.

Most important, be consistent and be patient. The promises that you can become a world class fitness star in 3 months end up being dangerous and de-motivating. The most important thing is to do something every day.


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