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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've made some really good gains in leg strength and power this winter and have converted it well into bike power and riding performance out on the road. I did it by doing a combination of off and on bike strength training, I did things like squats and leg presses in the gym combined with short HIT intervals on the trainer.

My concern is that I will loose what I gained this winter if I don't continue, but I think what I'm finding is that I'm riding harder now and this new harder level of riding might be enough to maintain strength during the season. I'm thinking you'll probably loose a some maximum strength, but that is probably good as you want to convert it into muscular endurance anyway for the most part, unless you're track sprinter or something.

Leg strength was always been my weakness, never had much trouble with endurance, I'm mostly a slow twitch muscle fiber rider, so the ability to apply more force has opened up new doors for me, and anybody that says strength training in the gym doesn't apply to cycling I just can't take serious anymore. They might have tried it, but did it wrong, or tried it with someone that was a fast twitcher with good neromuscular coordination that had little to gain from more raw strength and they saw little improvement or possible negative results in their real world cycling. I think that is why it's critical to know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are.

So most good coaches say to do some strength training to maintenance during the season, but I tried doing even a short maximum strength session in the gym and it left my legs sore for a couple days. But I think I was more sore then normal since I did it after a 1.5hr group ride, and I was under recovered from my prior workout as well, and I did squats which I haven't been doing for the last month, i was doing leg presses instead. But I only did like 4 sets, 1 warm up set, a moderate set and then 2 working sets. I'm only trying to maintain right now, but it's seems like intensity not volume is the difference between being really sore the next few days or being able to ride the next day. I was thinking I could just reduce volume so instead of doing 12-16 sets of legs I would just the do the minimum 3 or 4, but keep the intensity up. I could barely bend my legs the next couple days. i think the pre-fatigue from the ride then going to gym after and doing MS training really tore into me.

So my plan is to now, reduce volume but also reduce weight and intensity a bit, so instead of doing my maximum for 3-6 reps. I'll focus on doing 15 reps or so and having it not be done until fatigue, my goal is keep the nerves and motor units working efficiently, keeping the muscle fiber strong, but not trying to break myself down like I would when I am trying to build higher levels of strength.

What do you guys think, have you had any success with working in MS training during the season to maintain MS gains?
 

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-If you're trying to maintain the neurological adaptations you've made from strength training, that's best done through high intensity and low reps.
-Doing sets of 15 with enough weight to maintain any type of adaptation will generally make you more sore than doing low reps
-Plan your training around your gym time so that the day after your weight training, you aren't trying to do a hard workout. For example- intervals on the bike, lift weights, then next day, go for an aerobic/tempo ride, then you could even make the next day your off day. You should be good to go by day 3
 

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What works for one may not work for another, but... I give up on weight training in the summer in favor of getting stronger on the bike. To that end I schedule hilly rides and specifically use low rpm and a big gear. I try to stand up more for longer periods, the front of the thighs really burn if you can push a low rpm/big gear for 5 minutes.
Maybe I'm a wuss, but if I do try to work my legs with weights, it detracts from my cycling power for the next ride. It looks like you can recover enough. I would still recommend strengthening the legs from bike work rather than weights, if you desire to be better on the bike.
As a disclaimer I do still workout during the cycling season, but I do really light upper body stuff with lots of ab work and lower back stretching thrown in. I quit any lifting a week or so before a race also...
 

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I agree a bit with nOOky.

My goal has always been to gain strength in the gym and then apply it to the bike. The goal is to be faster on the bike, right? I've never had a problem gaining excessive strength in the gym. My problem is in the conversion to the bike. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to convert that 500lb leg press from the gym to the bike.

I'd suggest doing the fast twitch exercises on the bike and leaving the weights for the offseason, I've only found they slow me down in season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Andrea138 said:
-If you're trying to maintain the neurological adaptations you've made from strength training, that's best done through high intensity and low reps.
-Doing sets of 15 with enough weight to maintain any type of adaptation will generally make you more sore than doing low reps
-Plan your training around your gym time so that the day after your weight training, you aren't trying to do a hard workout. For example- intervals on the bike, lift weights, then next day, go for an aerobic/tempo ride, then you could even make the next day your off day. You should be good to go by day 3
I'm trying maintain everything that comes from strength training, I've found that intensity not volume is what makes me most sore.

I always plan my strength/hardest day either on Monday or Tuesday, but it would often leave me sore for days, I guess I just have a knack for beating myself up lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
nOOky said:
What works for one may not work for another, but... I give up on weight training in the summer in favor of getting stronger on the bike. To that end I schedule hilly rides and specifically use low rpm and a big gear. I try to stand up more for longer periods, the front of the thighs really burn if you can push a low rpm/big gear for 5 minutes.
Maybe I'm a wuss, but if I do try to work my legs with weights, it detracts from my cycling power for the next ride. It looks like you can recover enough. I would still recommend strengthening the legs from bike work rather than weights, if you desire to be better on the bike.
As a disclaimer I do still workout during the cycling season, but I do really light upper body stuff with lots of ab work and lower back stretching thrown in. I quit any lifting a week or so before a race also...
I've found that I'd have to break my bike to get the same kind of maximum strength stimulation that heavy weights can do. Doing hill repeats etc. is not strength training, it is muscular endurance training, which I do almost only on the bike. But maximum strength MS training where you do 3-6 reps of your maximum 1 rep max is simply not possible to do on a bicycle.

I find that strength training is like fire, it can work wonders for you're biking if you can convert it into muscular endurance, but I think once the season gets underway you have to use the minimum volume, frequency and intensity it takes to maintain, anything more starts to conflict with riding the bike I'm finding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
kbiker3111 said:
I agree a bit with nOOky.

My goal has always been to gain strength in the gym and then apply it to the bike. The goal is to be faster on the bike, right? I've never had a problem gaining excessive strength in the gym. My problem is in the conversion to the bike. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to convert that 500lb leg press from the gym to the bike.

I'd suggest doing the fast twitch exercises on the bike and leaving the weights for the offseason, I've only found they slow me down in season.
Again, you can't do MS maximum strength training on a bike, pedalling doesn't offer enough resistance even in the 53x11 up the stepest hill, believe me I've tried, all I did was end up breaking chains stressing my frame and handlebars out and going so slow that I'd fall over before I'd finish turning the pedals all the way around.

Maximum strength is like the raw ingredient for power and muscular endurance, then you have to pound it into shape with power and muscular endurance on the bike.

I was also doing heavy squats and leg presses, but I was also doing low cadence and high cadence very had but short intervals before and after my weight sets to help remind the muscles and nerves where I was trying to apply this force to.

My ability to sprint, close gaps, had improved very very much. I now can ride very fast for short periods of time, and now my focus in spring has to been to improve my FTP functional threshold power. My 1 minute, and 5 minute and 5 second sprint are probably all 1/3 or more higher in watts then last season, my FTP is about 120watts higher then last fall. When I first tried last fall to ride at 400 watts I could only do it for 20 seconds or so i couldn't believe someone could ride at that wattage for any length of time. But after a couple months of strength and power training I could do it for a minute, then 2 minutes, then I could do 500 watts for two minutes. Now just yesterday on the road I broke my personal bests

1100watts 5 sec
1 minute 512w
5 minute 388w
10 minute 330w

And that was after having done hard threshold intervals and power profling tests the last 4 days.

YOU CAN convert your gym work to bike strength you just have to do it properly, the movements have to be very close to in angle to pedaling motion, you still need to do on bike strength work in particular cadence work around the same time, single leg drills etc.
You want to get stronger, but also able to pedal faster and more efficient when you combine all three amazing things will happen.

It took me the whole winter also to improve my cadence and my ability to turn a big gear over fast and have more "power" my prior cadence was more of a mashing style 80-85RPM now I feel comfortable and self select at 90-105RPM range even when I'm putting how threshold watts.

So again, my concern is how to keep my improvements while still getting maximum riding during the season, I can't be sore for 4 days at a time now lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Andrea138 said:
Well, it sounds like yer just eff'd, then!
lol, I feel eff'd hahaa, but hey it could be worse, I'm just glad that I'm riding, some people are unable to enjoy sports because of illness or handicap, a year ago I was so over weight and sick with other health issues that it's really awesome to be active and a healthy weight again and even riding hard.
 

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It appears you are either going to have to settle for having strong legs and limiting yourself to 200 meter rides averaging 33 mph, or being able to ride 60 miles with less bulky legs and holding 20 mph :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
nOOky said:
It appears you are either going to have to settle for having strong legs and limiting yourself to 200 meter rides averaging 33 mph, or being able to ride 60 miles with less bulky legs and holding 20 mph :p
It's a myth that you can just put on tons of muscle.

1. I don't bulk up much at all esp. in my legs because I'm mostly slow-twich mucle fiber. I've been lifting hard since October and my legs just look a bit more tone and defined, but not much bigger, but they're much stronger and more fatigue resistant then before.

2. I would need to eat a ton to put muscle weight on, I know because I use to bodybuild and if I ate normal I hardly put any muscle on I just got stronger.

3. If you continue to ride enough while you train it's unlikely you'll put that much muscle on, too much endurance training actually will prevent your muscles from getting very big.

4. If you're every tried bodybuilding you'd quickly find out that it takes lots of time and food to put even a little muscle on, you're body isn't stupid, it's not going to pack on tons of extra calorie demanding tissue if you live in an environment that can't support it or require it.

I don't believe it's a one way or the other situation, but more of a balance you have to reach, that is unique depending on the individual and their physiology.
 

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What kind of racing do you do RTC.

Are you doing long road races or short fast ones.

During race season I honestly only lift with my upperbody, core and back. My legs would be toast after squats, leg presses and dead lifts.

Mostly I'm using the gym to keep me from breaking anything should I go down and to hold my body together to decrease injury risk.

Cycling requires too much energy to lift with the legs during race season. I could do it in my 20's, but I'm 35 now and don't recover as fast as I use to.

Honestly static type lifting done in the gym is okay, but I think there are better ways to develop explosive strength on the bike.

You'd have to ask yourself how much time do pros have to spend in the gym during race season. I'd so most of those Euro guys aren't going anywhere near it with their busy race calendars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm starting to do road races, 20-60 miles typically, so a balance of endurance, strength, power is needed, so I do a lot of different training, not just strength and power. I training my cadence, my pedaling efficiency, aerobic ability, VO2Max, Threshold, Sprints etc.

So every week I do at least one day of sprint training/anaerobic/strength gym, endurance long day, threshold day or two, and a hard group ride or race to bring it all together.

I'm also 35, so I'm starting my racing late in life, but honestly since I got back in shape I don't feel much different then when I was 25.

But my goal is just to get good at cycling, then carry that over into doing well in triathlons as swimming and running are my strengths, cycling is my weak point. But I'm loving cycling much now that I'm getting better not sure if I want to do anything else ahaha
 

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RTC it's my opinion if you're going to race and get better at it you need to cut down on the intensity at the gym during race season at least on your legs.

And bump up the intensity of rides.

You could spend time in the gym doing squats or you could do a series of sprint intervals that will directly improve your ability when your racing.

I've tried both in past years where I tried to add considerable strength to my legs and it worked, but sadly it didn't translate into better results when I was racing. I still think weight work is important, but sprint intervals such as 1min hard/recover 1min, 2min/2min, 3min/3min, 4min hard,4min recovery, then 3/3, 2/2, 1min all out have done more for me than leg presses ever did. And in order to do this your legs need to be completely fresh.

This year I spent a lot more time doing total body integrated workouts, working to connect the legs, core, upperbody at the same time. I'm doing some brutal workouts with the swissball and medicine balls that have hit me harder and made me sharper on the bike then the static lifts that I've focused on in years past.
 

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lessen the eccentric load

If you want to keep the strength you've gained then you need to hold on to the intensity as has already been mentioned in this thread. One way you can reduce microtrauma and hopefully DOMS is to reduce or eliminate the eccentric (negative) portion of the lifts you choose to do.

For the leg press you could press the weight up with one leg, and lower it with two. For the squat it would be difficult to accomplish without having someone there to help you all the time. What you could do though is switch to a deadlift (which might be a good thing to do anyway) and find a gym with a platform and bumper plates. This way you can lift the bar and simply drop it from the top position or at least lower it very fast as it will not matter if the weight hits the floor hard.
 

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shorter posts people!
 

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RightTurnCylde said:
...and anybody that says strength training in the gym doesn't apply to cycling I just can't take serious anymore...
Just in case this thread is viewed by someone who hasn't made up their mind to believe nonsense I'll say what needs to be said: strength training in the gym doesn't apply to cycling. "Maximum strength" has little relation to power on a bike. If the goal is cycling, weight training is, at best, a misguided waste of training time.

John
bike racer
former weight lifter
 

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JohnStonebarger said:
Just in case this thread is viewed by someone who hasn't made up their mind to believe nonsense I'll say what needs to be said: strength training in the gym doesn't apply to cycling. "Maximum strength" has little relation to power on a bike. If the goal is cycling, weight training is, at best, a misguided waste of training time.

John
bike racer
former weight lifter
What about the benefits of injury prevention?
 

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Preventing injury sounds like a good thing, but what does it have to do with weight training? There may be specific circumstances that call for specific measures, but overall I can't see weight lifting as key to injury prevention.

I do some swimming because it helps my back, but to say that swimming makes someone a better cyclist 1) is stretching the goal of cycling performance, and 2) is applying my anecdotal experience to everyone.
 
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