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Weight training plus cycling - what's the right combo? days on, days off etc

Old 08-08-19, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
How many years have you been lifting, and what sort of program?
I did some lifting 5-10 years ago, I still remember how to make a plan that shows progression. Hoy's book shows me the main lifts such as the big compound ones and a few extras. I'd add in a little arms and chest purely because I'm on an overall body journey as well as cycling. Nothing major.

No, the question was more aimed at the cycling turbo sessions/ intervals. How do I keep adding progressive overload to keep improving? Is it as simple as raising the watts target by a few or lengthening an interval? Do I keep a few core workouts but keep checking my FTP and let that up-level them? Again, this is really a question for a new thread I think. I have an endurance event this weekend and then I intended to have a week off afterwards. I'll delve more into my research then and then any more questions will be in another thread. I'll not derail this one.
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Old 08-08-19, 09:00 PM
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@Carbonfiberboy has been taking for a long time about going to failure. I saw a study recently which backed him up. I've been convinced that you have to lift heavy for hypertrophy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm thinking about using the chest press machine in place of bench press, and going to failure. My gym only has two racks, so I can't push to failure without holding other people up. And heavy benches can bother my shoulder.
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Old 08-09-19, 04:47 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
@Carbonfiberboy has been taking for a long time about going to failure. I saw a study recently which backed him up. I've been convinced that you have to lift heavy for hypertrophy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm thinking about using the chest press machine in place of bench press, and going to failure. My gym only has two racks, so I can't push to failure without holding other people up. And heavy benches can bother my shoulder.
Saying that training to failure is the one and only way to make progress is wrong and I don't agree with it...It depends what your goals are...If your goal is bodybuilding then training to failure may be useful if used correctly...If your goal is strength, fitness and health then you don't need to train to failure...If you goal is athleticism then you don't need to train to failure...If your goal is to get injured, burned out and stall your progress then yes you should only train to complete failure...There is also a difference between muscular failure and technical failure...Grinding out forced reps with a bad form or with a spotter after you've reached muscular failure is a bad idea and I don't agree with training like that...Isolation exercises can be taken to failure but there are some exercises which are technical and should never be taken to failure...me personally I made a much better progress on my pull ups when I stopped going to failure. I also do a lot of kettlebell exercises which I never take to failure.
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Old 08-09-19, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
@Carbonfiberboy has been taking for a long time about going to failure. I saw a study recently which backed him up. I've been convinced that you have to lift heavy for hypertrophy, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm thinking about using the chest press machine in place of bench press, and going to failure. My gym only has two racks, so I can't push to failure without holding other people up. And heavy benches can bother my shoulder.
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Saying that training to failure is the one and only way to make progress is wrong and I don't agree with it...It depends what your goals are...If your goal is bodybuilding then training to failure may be useful if used correctly...If your goal is strength, fitness and health then you don't need to train to failure...If you goal is athleticism then you don't need to train to failure...If your goal is to get injured, burned out and stall your progress then yes you should only train to complete failure...There is also a difference between muscular failure and technical failure...Grinding out forced reps with a bad form or with a spotter after you've reached muscular failure is a bad idea and I don't agree with training like that...Isolation exercises can be taken to failure but there are some exercises which are technical and should never be taken to failure...me personally I made a much better progress on my pull ups when I stopped going to failure. I also do a lot of kettlebell exercises which I never take to failure.
This may be useful information when considering how close to failure you want to push.
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Old 08-09-19, 09:08 AM
  #30  
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When it comes to weight and resistance training the most important thing for me is to avoid injuries and make my training sustainable long term. I just can't afford to be sidelined by injuries and burnout...I train with enough intensity to make progress and maintain what I have but not so hard that it leads to injury, exhaustion and burnout.
It's not fun to spend 3 days in recovery because of doing heavy leg day or tweak your back because of heavy deadlift day or suffer shoulder injury because of heavy bench press day... If I train today I want to be recovered by tomorrow and I don't like to have pains, aches, severe DOMS to interfere with my daily activities and responsibilities.
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Old 08-09-19, 10:09 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
This may be useful information when considering how close to failure you want to push.
For a cyclist, growth stimulus is not really the point. Fiber recruitment, also known as strength, is the point. Those new to lifting and doing strength work near or at their limit, meaning the last rep of a set is very difficult and the next would be impossible, will notice that their 1RM goes up much faster than could possibly be attributed to muscle growth. That strength increase is due to gradually increasing fiber recruitment. Muscles are very conservative structures, like much of our anatomy. They recruit as few fibers as necessary to do the job being asked of them. As is often pointed out, cycling is not a strength sport. The cyclist will normally only recruit a fraction of their muscle fibers. This works well because it reduces the metabolic workload, a good thing for a cyclist. However as the fibers being used tire, the muscle will ask additional fibers to come in and support the effort. Strength training improves the neuromuscular response to long-term stress. Won't hurt your sprint, either. During my fall/winter strength training, I put about 1/2" on my thighs, 1" on my upper arms, no more. My strength will go up about 50%. YMMV.

I'll go all the way to failure on lifts where stopping the lift or a having spot will work fine. I don't actually fail on lifts like squats where one can get hurt. I only go to failure once a week, a couple days before any hard ride or workout.

I recommend that beginning lifters or those who haven't lifted in quite a while, start with high reps, 20 or 30 - I use 30, though still failing a rep or two before the proposed end of the set. Research suggests that recruitment increases are about the same when going to failure, no matter the number of reps. High reps have a lower chance of injury while the athlete is perfecting their form, plus it increases endurance. More reps take more time is all. Theoretically one could do this on the bike, climbing in a big gear until one could not bring the next pedal around. I'd rather lift.
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Old 08-09-19, 01:29 PM
  #32  
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Training to failure can be an effective way to increase strength. (Google Ken Leistner, Kim Wood and Arthur Jones, and read some of their writings if you have any doubts in that regard.) However, it is not the only way to get stronger or, in my opinion, potentially even the best way to get stronger. Some incredibly powerful men (for example, Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski) would commonly train for several months leading into a powerlifting meet without ever missing a rep, rarely ever approaching failure.

It should also be noted that most people (myself included), even when attempting to train to failure, usually don't come even close to approaching real failure. Under the tutelage of a prior coach who was particularly skilled in "motivating" his lifters to push deeper and deeper into their pain threshold, I got the point where I could push a set of high-rep (20+) squats or deadlifts in excess of 300 pounds to the point that I was shaking and vomiting afterward. I did get stronger during that period, but I can tell you that my motivation to train diminished over a period of several weeks. It is hard to stay motivated when you know you're going to be completely wrecked in a few minutes and that you're going to repeat that experience a few times per week for months on end. (I now compete in time trials, so it's not as if I try to avoid discomfort.)

In my experience, the most important component of strength training is consistency, based on showing up and adding small, incremental gains for long periods. Most people don't have the patience for that, but there it is. Consistency requires, among other things, (1) staying injury-free, and (2) staying motivated to train, day after day, week after week, year after year. I think the number of people who enjoy training consistently to failure are in the minority, so maintaining motivation to train becomes a consideration. In addition, when I go really deep and push to approach failure, at some point, the pain and discomfort become so intense that I start to get a little, for lack of a better term, "loopy." Unless I have someone nearby who is watching my form and making corrections, it is really easy for good lifting technique to break down, and that's when injuries happen.

To be clear, we may just be defining the term failure differently. If the point is simply that you need to, at least part of the time, train hard and push your limits somewhat, I don't think too many people will disagree.

Last edited by SkepticCyclist; 08-13-19 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 08-11-19, 08:18 PM
  #33  
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A question for anyone: what rep ranges have you found to be most effective during the off season? I typically read that low rep/high weight schemes are most effective for developing maximal strength while hypertrophy is best served by using slightly less weight and higher reps.

At the moment I'm using sets of 3x5 (squat) and 1x5 (deadlift) twice a week, aiming to increase strength primarily. I use enough weight so that the last rep is difficult to finish but I don't go to failure. I will likely back off the loads around October/November depending on how things are going and as my cycling base miles start to increase. I've been lifting on and off for over twenty years but I have rarely had a consistent leg training plan. The end goal is an increase in my sprint performance next season.
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Old 08-12-19, 04:49 AM
  #34  
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Regarding cycling workouts, if I'm recalling correctly some GC champions like Jacques Anquetil did two gym sessions a week. Sprinters do more, including some massive weightlifting. Check out the videos of German sprinter Kristina Vogel (before her tragic accident and paralysis). She had massive thighs and glutes and could lift more than I ever could. And Chris Hoy must have hit the gym seriously -- nobody could develop that kind of physique naturally without some serious weightlifting.

I've never been a serious weight lifter. Didn't mesh with my primary sports -- boxing and cycling. While MMA fighters can benefit from weightlifting strength for grappling, boxers need flexibility and quickness, which are hindered by bulky muscles. When light heavyweight champ Michael Spinks bulked up in the gym to prep for winning the heavyweight title from Larry Holmes, Spinks caught a lot of flak from boxing pundits. The old school thinking was that boxers should never lift weights or swim. But Spinks beat Holmes twice (close and controversial decisions) and knocked the crap out of Gerry Cooney. So whatever he did worked for him.

It revolutionized boxing training to this day and now many boxers do some weight training. And some do a little swim training, or at least shadow boxing and footwork in the pool. But many overdo it and it shows in their lack of quickness and flexibility (looking at you, Keith Thurman, Yuriorkis Gamboa and a few others). Heck, some of the best boxers had only average muscle tone.

On the negative side, boxing trainer Jesse Reid believed excessive weight training ruined the career of Bruce Curry, former world light welterweight champ. I knew Bruce from high school and sparred with him when we were teenagers. I lost touch with him after that but noticed a radical change in his style after he turned pro. He went from being a slick boxer/puncher (who once gave Sugar Ray Leonard a good fight in the national finals -- Golden Gloves or Olympics nationals, I don't recall now), to being a reckless slugger. And by the end of his career Curry looked like he could no longer throw quick fluid punches, especially with the right. His left jab was still pretty good (one of the best I'd ever seen when he was in his prime). But his right was awkward, almost flailing, like most of us would look if we'd just finished a gym session and still had that massive pump but quavering muscles. Reid said Curry would actually try to sneak weights into his travel bag and refused to quit lifting. Bruce had a great physique, chiseled and muscular for a 140 pounder. But it didn't help his career at all.

I work out twice a week for about an hour, mostly body weight exercises. If a gym is available I'll use the weight machines. I use light free weights only for shrugs, unsupported curls, etc.

For best range of motion I'll do fewer reps with heavier weights, then switch to lighter weight/resistance with more reps to pump up and get full range of motion. Really helps with my old injuries (at 61 I've had way too many crashes, and been hit by cars a couple of times). I just did that on instinct, but recently some fitness sites advocate the same thing -- few reps with heavy weights, then go for the pump with more reps and lighter weights with full range of motion.

I also do a lot of stretching and massage, also controversial among serious cyclists. But it relieves the pain from old injuries. And I'm not in competition now so it doesn't matter if loosening the muscles affects my power and speed by a few nths.

Last edited by canklecat; 08-12-19 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:19 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by McNamara View Post
A question for anyone: what rep ranges have you found to be most effective during the off season? I typically read that low rep/high weight schemes are most effective for developing maximal strength while hypertrophy is best served by using slightly less weight and higher reps.

At the moment I'm using sets of 3x5 (squat) and 1x5 (deadlift) twice a week, aiming to increase strength primarily. I use enough weight so that the last rep is difficult to finish but I don't go to failure. I will likely back off the loads around October/November depending on how things are going and as my cycling base miles start to increase. I've been lifting on and off for over twenty years but I have rarely had a consistent leg training plan. The end goal is an increase in my sprint performance next season.
I've been doing gym sessions twice a week since I created this thread. So far so good. I do a mixture of high reps and then high weight. For example, I start on the bench press at 95 lbs to warm up and do 20 reps. Then I do 145 lbs and do 12 reps, then I go to 165lbs and do 8 reps, then 175lbs and do 6 reps. Then I go back to 145lbs and do 10 more reps, then back to 95lbs and I go 12 reps. On leg press for example, I start at a low weight, 160lbs and do 20-25 reps. Then I do two sets of 10-12 reps at 160lbs using only one leg and I alternate legs, hitting each leg twice. Then I go to 240lbs both legs and do 12 reps, then I do 400lbs both legs 8 reps, then drop it back down to 160-200lbs and do 20 more reps.

I take a similar approach each muscle group. So far it seems to be working pretty well for me. My goal isn't to just put on mass but to get stronger and in better overall shape and hopefully improve my top-end power on the bike, which I sorely lack.
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Old 08-12-19, 10:46 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
While MMA fighters can benefit from weightlifting strength for grappling, boxers need flexibility and quickness, which are hindered by bulky muscles.
It's a very common and widely held misconception that strength training makes people slow and immobile. A good full body routine that uses your full range of motion probably helps people become and stay more limber.

Also, bulky muscles take years to build, both in the gym and the kitchen. It's not that you do a few deadlifts and now you need new pants and shirts.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
It's a very common and widely held misconception that strength training makes people slow and immobile. A good full body routine that uses your full range of motion probably helps people become and stay more limber.

Also, bulky muscles take years to build, both in the gym and the kitchen. It's not that you do a few deadlifts and now you need new pants and shirts.
Nah, take it from someone who's spent a lot of time in the ring. Most weightlifting techniques are not helpful for most boxers. It needs to be tailored to boxing in general and to the style of the particular boxer. Depends on their style. It can be helpful for sluggers and inside fighters who throw lots of hooks and uppercuts. But it hinders full arm extension for pure boxers and long range snipers.

The difference in the case of Michael Spinks was his trainers were very careful to maintain the style that made him an effective amateur middleweight Olympic gold medalist and professional light heavyweight champion.

Too many other boxers who lift neglect the effects on their styles. They build up the biceps, which are almost useless for most classic punching techniques. This was painfully apparent when Keith Thurman faced Manny Pacquiao recently, and a few years ago when Bud Crawford dismantled the musclebound Yuri Gamboa.

One exception would be someone like Mike Tyson using powerful, short uppercuts. But Tyson didn't have great arm extension and needed to work his way inside. In his prime he used his feet to get inside, same as a prime Pacquiao.

In contrast Dwight Braxton/Muhammad Qawi was built like a miniature Mike Tyson, a fire hydrant of a man. He looked like a slugger but was actually a clever boxer with exceptional long range punching skills. He shocked many taller opponents with longer reach by outjabbing them, and countering rights over their fully extended jabs. He couldn't have done that if he'd been muscle bound from concentrating too much on biceps.

One thing you'll see some bike racers say is that the only way to get good at racing is to race. Same with boxing. Some careful weight and resistance training can help. But the way to get good at boxing is to box, including lots of shadow boxing, bag and pad work. It's all about timing, stamina, reflexes and anticipation, not strength. Very different from the grappling techniques and strength needed by other martial artists.
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Old 08-12-19, 05:05 PM
  #38  
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To be fast you need to lift fast and train fast....Most bodybuilders and power lifters who follow traditional weight training routines are slow, stiff and sluggish...While Olympic weight lifters and Olympic wrestlers and sprinters and track racers are the fastest and most explosive athletes in the world , because their training is different... It's all about how you lift and how you train, to be fast you need to lift fast and train fast.
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Old 08-12-19, 09:42 PM
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What's the right way to ask a stranger at the gym to spot you for situps and planks?
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Old 08-13-19, 12:11 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
It's all about how you lift and how you train, to be fast you need to lift fast and train fast.
Yes but... one can't become a successful racer by only ever riding fast; long base training rides and easy recovery spins are important alongside intense interval training. Likewise we need a good base of strength before training on the fast lifts. You can't just start cleaning 100kg unless you can already squat that much and more.

Last edited by McNamara; 08-13-19 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 08-13-19, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by OUGrad05 View Post
I've been cycling for 10 years now, but the first 8 of those years I wasn't very serious. A couple rides of 30 mins to an hour twice a week in the summer and fall. Then elliptical in the winter/rainy days, etc. In late summer 2017 I bought a road bike...GAME CHANGER...

I love it. I bought a Wahoo Kickr last fall to keep my training going in the off-season. I had some really good gains. My FTP last October was 216 (not very good, I'm 6'6 and weigh 191 lbs). Now my FTP is about 265-270, and I'm slowly making some gains.

Problem is I'm running out of times to ride, with a wife and two kids plus a full time job I can't ride 20 hours a week. I'm riding 5-6hrs a week between 90 and 120 miles. I am trying to find ways to slip an an extra half hour here or there. I've also been doing strength training from the house two days a week, mostly body weight. Push-ups, pull-ups, rows, dips, curls and shoulder presses with the dumbbells that I have.

I decided to start going to the gym, I get a better and fuller workout and it's fun going with buddies. I'm doing strength training two days a week now, same as alwaysm but using machines and free weights (I have a low back issue that makes some free weights tough) instead of doing it at home. My typical week looks something like this:

Monday: Recovery Ride, Zone 1, keep heart rate below 120
Tuesday: Harder ride, 50 min to 1 hr with some threshold work, some sprints with recovery (think Jon's mix type work out if you're familiar with Zwift). XSS typically in the 65-80 range.
Wednesday: Strength training, includes legs, but I don't work them super hard. I do leg-press, leg extensions and curls to work muscles and get them fully extended under strain.
Thursday: Typically another hard day on the bike, with hitting the legs a little on weds I'm now thinking about a Z2 or Z3 focus day and doing an hour.
Friday: Day off - maybe a few pushups or pull ups or a Z1 or Z2 ride but it's intermittent and not consistent.
Saturday: Typically a big ride day, group ride or a longer solo ride, 40-60 miles, sometimes longer. I mix in some higher power stuff here and try to find ways to make it hard even if the group is slower. For example my XSS is usually in the 150-250 range on this ride. My Strava relative effort is 200-300 most of the time, I've had a few creep into the mid 300s or upper 300s.
Sunday: Strength Training + a Z2 ride of 10-20 miles depending on how I'm feeling.

What can I do or should I do to continue to make FTP gains on the bike, maintain my generally good overall fitness as well? I keep getting told conflicting things about working my legs. One trainer told me that you could definitely lift the day after a hard ride because it works the muscles differently. Another told me that I could do the opposite, lift hard, then ride hard the following day, and I've had two trainers now tell me at consults that I should limit my riding after a leg day because if you continually tear those fibers you risk injury.

Right now I'm thinking that I'll hit the weights harder on Sunday since I have a recovery ride on Monday. Only do moderate leg days on Weds since I intend to hit the bike with a Z3 ride on thurs.

Any thoughts and tips would be welcome.


Currently reading Joe Friel's "Fast After 50". Lots of good stuff on exercise and recovery.
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Old 08-13-19, 07:51 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
To be fast you need to lift fast and train fast....Most bodybuilders and power lifters who follow traditional weight training routines are slow, stiff and sluggish...While Olympic weight lifters and Olympic wrestlers and sprinters and track racers are the fastest and most explosive athletes in the world , because their training is different... It's all about how you lift and how you train, to be fast you need to lift fast and train fast.
I disagree. While one obviously needs a large amount of sport specific training, this does not have to happen in the weight room. There is no need to "lift fast" if you want to be fast. The idea that powerlifters and bodybuilders are inherently "slow, stiff and sluggish" is a myth.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:14 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
To be fast you need to lift fast and train fast....Most bodybuilders and power lifters who follow traditional weight training routines are slow, stiff and sluggish...While Olympic weight lifters and Olympic wrestlers and sprinters and track racers are the fastest and most explosive athletes in the world , because their training is different... It's all about how you lift and how you train, to be fast you need to lift fast and train fast.
Good way to get injured. Don't listen to this post.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What's the right way to ask a stranger at the gym to spot you for situps and planks?
How much you adding that you need a spot?
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Old 08-13-19, 11:32 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
This may be useful information when considering how close to failure you want to push.
I've been meaning to thank you for posting this. Fatigue can be a weird thing to get a handle on. I think I'm mostly doing a good job of that, but life threw me a curve ball recently. I noticed that I don't get DOMS from lifts I do regularly, and "I can't do another set" is a different kind of fatigue than you get following a long, hard ride where your lungs can be a little uncomfortable and just don't want to expend energy. I think/assume it's more a CNS fatigue thing that I need to worry about - a run down feeling that affects everything.
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Old 08-13-19, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CyclingFever View Post
How much you adding that you need a spot?
Body weight. The truth is I really want this hot 70 year old lady to cop a feel.
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Old 08-15-19, 12:19 PM
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I used to train heavy until I reach failure or close to it.

Since my gym had changed equipment, I'm afraid to do that because the new bench presses don't have safety pins anymore so I can't crawl out from underneath.

Now I train close to failure and then do drop sets at 80% of max for ten reps, then another 80% for 12 and another 80% for 14 reps. I could feel the burn I never did before with straight heavy sets of 5/3/1.
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Old 08-18-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
I disagree. While one obviously needs a large amount of sport specific training, this does not have to happen in the weight room. There is no need to "lift fast" if you want to be fast. The idea that powerlifters and bodybuilders are inherently "slow, stiff and sluggish" is a myth.
I think the point was there is value in specificity of training. If you want to improve your sprint on the bike you’re probably better off spending your time sprinting on the bike than in the gym. If you’re a pro or retired with unlimited time available then there could be value in augmenting on the bike training with gym work but for most time restricted athletes working on the bike is probably a more efficient use of time provided you are ‘working’ on the bike and not just riding around.

Intersting article: Comparison of short-sprint and heavy strength training on cycling performance
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Old 08-18-19, 08:28 AM
  #49  
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Well, the way the military does it is mostly calisthenics and constantly pushing your limits.

An unscientific and possibly unhealthy form of what is basically HIIT and Zone Training. If I were you I’d do the same but be more scientific about it. After all if you fall out in the gym I doubt someone yells Corpsman and you get help in 1 minute or less.

You can can actually be better with less. Focus less on time and distance. Focus entirely on efficiency. Do the next-level-best as hard as you can for 100% of the time you are trying. You already have a solid base in body weight and calisthenics.

I only learned what this this really meant when I went to MCRD Parris Island and had my kidneys almost shut down. Once I was home I started playing with this idea and pushed it too far and broke both legs endurance running.

And now I’m here learning to love cycling because I focused too much on extending that time. Finding time away from family to get an extra 30 minutes and push a little further. When in reality I could improve in the first 30 minutes if I put out a true 100+% effort. More important, OP what are your goals? What is your purpose? That’s how you figure out how to improve. Constantly ask “is this directly pushing me forward”. It’s easy to get lost in training regimens.
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Old 08-18-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I think the point was there is value in specificity of training. If you want to improve your sprint on the bike you’re probably better off spending your time sprinting on the bike than in the gym. If you’re a pro or retired with unlimited time available then there could be value in augmenting on the bike training with gym work but for most time restricted athletes working on the bike is probably a more efficient use of time provided you are ‘working’ on the bike and not just riding around.

Intersting article: Comparison of short-sprint and heavy strength training on cycling performance
Oh c'mon Greg. That study shows you don't get better at riding your bike if you don't ride your bike. The gentle reader might want to search for Forstemann on youtube and see how an Olympic gold medalist trained. Or watch Peter Sagan work out in the gym. Here's a good article from Sagan's coach: Peter Sagan shows how he boosts his power with gym work | Cyclingnews.com
"Sagan, and all our riders usually do gym sessions focused on improving their strength. We're not looking for muscle hypertrophy but an increase is maximum strength of the muscles used in the power stroke," Vila explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
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