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How can weight lifting help?

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How can weight lifting help?

Old 09-04-19, 11:30 AM
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Radish_legs
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How can weight lifting help?

Headed into off-season now. Thinking about adding lifting to what I do, as a means of getting better.

But how exactly would it help? Surely it will help with sprint and peak power. But can it also help with things like FTP and 5 minute power?
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Old 09-04-19, 11:43 AM
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It will help with bone density so you are less likely to break something in a fall.
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Old 09-04-19, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
It will help with bone density so you are less likely to break something in a fall.
that by itself is a good enough reason
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Old 09-04-19, 12:03 PM
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It will also increase your sprint power by 50-100%
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Old 09-04-19, 12:06 PM
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On a more serious note, I think there are indirect benefits associated with being overall strong and healthy that help with stabilization and handling even for a primarily slow-twitch/endurance activity taking place over many hours, provided it doesn't add too much body mass.

Although this is not related to cycling, I'm preparing for a backpacking trip soon, and recently after a ~10 mi hike (with a 35 lb loaded pack) my legs were freakin' destroyed afterward. Somehow I think that if I had more baseline strength and conditioning that I wouldn't have been messed up as bad after such a basic "human" activity as moving a load from point A to point B on your back. Somehow I think that would translate to overall health, injury prevention, athleticism and lastly performance on the bike, as subtle and indirect as that may be.

It's been years since I lifted - 4 years ago I royaly FUBAR'd my back my doing too much too soon with the Olympic lifts - deads and squats. Fast gains and fully loaded sets of 5 weren't the best idea for me. Long femurs don't help either.

I think I'd like to get back into it again, starting slow and never getting below sets of 10. Plus you can go along way with lunges and step-ups. The step-up is such a functional exercise, I really enjoyed that one. I would do them with the long barbell on my back for some added weight, usually 60-80 lbs I think.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
It will also increase your sprint power by 50-100%
This might be correct. I do 28 reps in two sets alternating between 3 squats and 3 dead lifts with each set with a pair of 35 lb dumbels as one of 8 excersizes. I weigh 150 lbs.

As a recreational cyclist, I might be average at best for a 62 year old man , But I can climb almost any short hill.

On a steep local trail with soft gravel I must be careful not to spin the 2" medium knoby tires. Partly because my bikes 2 lowest gears are too far apart and I'm sometimes forced into using the 21 gear inch sprockets. But perhaps light weight lifting helps too.

Weight training IMO is at least as important as cardio for those like myself who's physicall activities beyond biking are somewhat limited.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 09-04-19 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 09-04-19, 01:05 PM
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I'm just getting back into lifting after 9-months off (unrelated injury). Where lifting (squats, primarily) helped me the most is with medium hills/rollers. After lifting a few months, I could do these segments with much less effort, leaving matches to burn for more serious climbs or sprints. What a trainer told me, and I've since read this about Peter Sagan's training, is that if you're gonna lift, go heavy/low reps on the lower body (working your way up and using good form, of course). Training maximum power supposedly gives you a more economical pedal stroke at threshold. If you're doing light weights and a lot of reps, you might as well hop on the bike and do hills, which would add a cardio benefit. Also -- both to prevent injury and encourage proper form on things like squats -- and also to improve pedaling efficiency -- work on hips and core stabilizer muscles in the gym. Lots of literature on the subject and I'm sure lots of people on here more qualified than I to explain.

One thing I have not quite figured out is how to balance lifting with riding and -- most importantly -- with recovery. If I lift on days I don't ride, do I need to add a no lifting, no riding recovery day? I can't imagine a lifting (lower body) day can count as a recovery day, but if I do two days of lower body a week, plus a rest day (or two), that really cuts into riding time.
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Old 09-04-19, 04:30 PM
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Its complicated and 'we' (the endurance community) still do not have all the answers. I think its a net positive if you know what you're doing, but most of us don't. I also think the rules are different for everyone, for example masters over 50 it may benefit more than a 20 year old kid who likes to climb.

One day I read a study where I should lift, the next day another study comes out that I shouldn't. Then there's what reps and sets to do, speed of lifts, rest periods, etc. all have a different effect.
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Old 09-05-19, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
I can't imagine a lifting (lower body) day can count as a recovery day, but if I do two days of lower body a week, plus a rest day (or two), that really cuts into riding time.
If you're concerned about the most fundamental metrics of performance on a bike - w/kg - I'd consider dropping down to 1 lower body day/week, unless you're target events are < 2 minutes (track sprinting). Do some intervals instead.
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Old 09-05-19, 05:34 AM
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Never mind being cycling.specific. Weight lifting helps you balance your overall health and fitness.

Last edited by KraneXL; 09-05-19 at 05:32 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-05-19, 06:23 AM
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Tmonk hit it best I think.

This is just what I did last fall/winter, and I liked it a lot:
For me, usually I start to run more as the weather cools and daylight wanes. I'd rather run in the cold/dark of evening than freeze on the bike. You can run in shorts down into the 40 deg F range if you keep moving. You're like a self contained little heater.

I usually use this to build my aerobic engine by running in the 10k range at tempo to SS (for run zones). Then usually a race pace 5k once a week OR some kind of speed work. It's longer distance now as 10k pace is under an hour and I like to have an hour of uninterrupted tempo/SS of run. So maybe 8 miles.

Before getting back into it, I start general gym fitness. I'll do some yoga/core involving the legs/core. Do some pushups. Do some assisted and unassisted pullups. Lunges with weights. Squats. I've been separating the leg and back aspects and not doing deadlift as I'd rather not have to worry as much about hurting myself. Then I'll keep this up into spring and do a duathlon as a little carrot on a stick to keep at the running through off-season.

I'll pair all that tempo/SS run stuff with longer gravel rides at tempo and SS. Then, once per week go hunt for KOM's or do something in the upper range.

Just me. I'll try it again this fall/winter.
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Old 09-05-19, 09:12 AM
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I'm not totally sold on lifting for the legs unless you're a sprintyboy. I do think some lifting is good for the core and arms though. Having your triceps and lower back fail 4hrs in to a race with a mountaintop finish sucks...
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Old 09-05-19, 06:48 PM
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One word: climbing. When you think of lifting that's the one clear advantage.

Muscles adds strength, but it also adds weight. Since general cycling is mostly about endurance, only a modicum of weight training is sufficient.
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Old 09-06-19, 07:16 AM
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Disclaimer: I like going to the gym and strength training so there is that aspect of whether it improves cycling performance.

I have found that strength training either on the bike or in the gym can provide added value increasing performance. The challenge for me is having enough energy and recovery to work it in to a training plan. If I lift in the gym at a hard enough level to be material to my cycling, I am tired on the bike. So if I want to improve road performance then I do leg strength training from October to January or some variation of that period.

If I am training more for track then I extend the time period. I can always do maintenance upper body and core work year round. My bread and butter leg strength exercises are deadlift, hip thrust, single leg seated press, Roman chair isometric hold and box jump. On the bike they are seated and standing starts and 100 meter jumps.

IMO, glute work may be the most important work that we cyclists do in the gym since strong functional glutes are necessary to protect our back. That is according to one of the physical therapy sponsors that supported one of the racing clubs I used to belong to. They also recommended the Roman chair iso hold for cyclist to strengthen the lower back / glute neuro connection and align the vertebrae.

I have a bad back and glute thrusts do not hurt my back where as deads and back lifts and other exercises that load up the vertebrae can. When I do deads, it is all about form and not weight and I use the trap bar and bend my knees more. The deads and the hip thrust are the most technical so it is good to have a trainer watch ones form from time to time.

It is easy for cyclists to get injured in the gym since we are like special snowflakes so keep that in mind when starting any strength program - less is more and form is everything.

Last edited by Hermes; 09-06-19 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 09-06-19, 07:22 AM
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Hip thrust video.

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Old 09-06-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
One word: climbing. When you think of lifting that's the one clear advantage.

Muscles adds strength, but it also adds weight. Since general cycling is mostly about endurance, only a modicum of weight training is sufficient.
Nothing helps my climbing like climbing. If I don't climb a lot the next time I try to do a long climb my back starts hurting bad. If I do lots of climbing it doesn't hurt so much. Stretching the back helps for everyday stuff, too.
I was knocked off of my motorcycle in 1982 and bounced on my lower back. Kinda lumpy back there ever since.

When I used to lift a lot I gained weight rapidly and got up to 235-240. I should try to do some light lifting again, always enjoyed it but I gave away my bench and weights when I moved 3 years ago.

Another advantage of lifting is adding muscle makes burning calories easier. This could help me as I have no control over my diet.
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Old 09-06-19, 09:12 AM
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Coach Frank Overton has solid advise and training plans that incorporate resistance training that focuses on increasing your FTP. FASCAT Coaching
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Old 09-06-19, 01:53 PM
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I don't know if I can link to the Wattage forum here, but if I can, give this a read. Otherwise go on theere and read the post titled "strength training impairs endurance muscle." Lots of cool stuff.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...ge/W3ccz756OXk

On an anecdotal note, I've lifted this year more for general strength (and aesthetics... I'm not vain...). Feel better, can do my job better. Cycling be damned, I'm happier as a result.
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Old 09-06-19, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Thanks, now I have to dump squats and do this!

Originally Posted by Ttoc6 View Post
I don't know if I can link to the Wattage forum here, but if I can, give this a read. Otherwise go on theere and read the post titled "strength training impairs endurance muscle." Lots of cool stuff.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...ge/W3ccz756OXk

On an anecdotal note, I've lifted this year more for general strength (and aesthetics... I'm not vain...). Feel better, can do my job better. Cycling be damned, I'm happier as a result.
I've read this a few times and I'm not sure if it applies to the low rep strength building model many endurance athletes use, at some point BDNF has an activation point, and it seems to decline with age.
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Old 09-11-19, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Thanks, now I have to dump squats and do this!
Not even close to being a replacement. A cosmetic exercise at the best.


I've read this a few times and I'm not sure if it applies to the low rep strength building model many endurance athletes use, at some point BDNF has an activation point, and it seems to decline with age.

There is always a crossover point, but the idea is to maintain a balance directed toward your preferred sports.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:00 AM
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Here is an interesting comparison of the hip thrust to a front squat. The hip thrust improved the running sprint whereas the front squat the vertical jump.

In the standing start at the track, we are taught to think run when we explode out of the gate. We have the bench and platform shown in the video for the hip thrust at our gym.

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Old 09-18-19, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
It will also increase your sprint power by 50-100%
It will generally help interval power, almost anything a couple hours or less. For the typical USA races it is generally beneficial. The kids that lifted improved a bunch reducing time on bike and increasing time in gym. USACycling coaches don't like that so much as they are trying to build multi-day endurance stage athletes and they tend to value road miles vs gym time. I think the gym time at the expense of *some* road time is worthwhile if you are a USA race type.
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Old 09-18-19, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
It will also increase your sprint power by 50-100%
It will generally help interval power, almost anything a couple hours or less. For the typical USA races it is generally beneficial.


General to the OP and on weights.
The kids that lifted improved a bunch (vs other kids) reducing time on bike and increasing time in gym.
Two went from Cat 4 to Cat 1 in about 3 years. The other kids, mostly didn't, or it took longer. They had the advantage of being kids, but it was interesting to compare. Same trainer trained '84 Gold Indi Pursuit Olympian with weights.
USACycling coaches don't like that so much as they are trying to build multi-day endurance stage athletes and they tend to value road miles vs gym time.
If you do USA type races, likely trading in road time for gym time will make you faster. Good to have a program and trainer.
You only need to look at what trainer Chris Dellasega is doing with those like Ashton Lambie to see weights work - for specific disciplines.

There is the increased body mass issue. If you want to be a road racer, hill climber, I still think it is beneficial, but the ratio is different. You might do 2-3 hours weights for 20 hours road.
Chris pretty much told my kid he needed to ride a fraction of road time to get more power. Chris put him on ~ 4 hours weights for 1 hour road.

Junior bailed on that program as he prefers riding and is not looking for a job cycling, but the gains were significant.
Kids likes riding so bailed on that program, but the power was huge. That is one, and a few more above data points.
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Old 09-19-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
... Chris put him on ~ 4 hours weights for 1 hour road.
I can believe that trading some time lifting weights for time on the bike is beneficial for USA type racing, but this 4:1 ratio is really surprising. With just 4 hours in a week of riding (which might be just 1 short and 1 medium length ride), you would spend 16 hours in the gym? I can't imagine what you could do in the gym for more than about 6-8 hours in a week.
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Old 09-19-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
I can believe that trading some time lifting weights for time on the bike is beneficial for USA type racing, but this 4:1 ratio is really surprising. With just 4 hours in a week of riding (which might be just 1 short and 1 medium length ride), you would spend 16 hours in the gym? I can't imagine what you could do in the gym for more than about 6-8 hours in a week.
For track, he was riding 1-2 hour week. Increased to 3 hours for a couple weeks before crit.
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