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Hello, fellow carbon-based life forms. I've been lifting weights off and on for several years, though mostly off lately. I'm also a runner, and have been slowly getting back to the high level I was at before injuries slowed me down (and forced me to buy a bike!). After a recent bike ride, I was disappointed in how slow and fatigued I felt under hard effort (climbing, etc.), even tho I was running a decent amount of miles (cardio improving, starting to lose weight), and resolved to hit the gym again. After the first day of light squats, my legs were throbbing! Running and cycling were not firing the muscles I didn't know I had! After 3 or 4 lifting sessions, I hit the road today, and boy, what a difference. More power, less fatigue, much better climbing, faster recovery, more confidence. And I was only squatting 105#max. I plan on sticking with, and adding to, the squats, and starting deadlifts soon. I'm sure the gains will taper off eventually, but for now, I'm pretty stoked.
 

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I credit my years of squats for being able to out climb a very large number of those wispy-leg guys during our local rides. There is nothing like waiting until the WLGs drop down a few gears, and then upshifting, getting out of the saddle, and hammering past them. Then as a plus, being 240lbs, I leave them in the dust on the downhill too.

Torque beats horsepower every day of the week :)
 

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OP - I think it's great that you felt so good today, and I definitely am in favor of lifting weights as cross training.

However, I would strongly caution against making the connection that your weight lifting had that much dramatic effect on how you felt today. It's much more likely that you were simply a bit more rested. You haven't had enough weight lifting to make a difference yet

Reminds me....I need to hit the weights tonight
 

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You haven't had enough weight lifting to make a difference yet
Reminds me....I need to hit the weights tonight
I disagree with this or at least I'd say there's no way to know for sure. If he's been through weight lifting cycles before where he made some progress then 3-4 sessions done correctly are enough for him to get back some of what he lost.
 

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Not on 15mi climbs @ 8% average grade. Lifting only increases your body mass, not good for climbing. Best climbers have high power/weight ratio so decreasing weight is the simplest way to go, @ least 4 myself.
Although you're overall point is right on, your comment about "lifting only increases your body mass" may or may not be right.

If you lift correctly to help your cycling then you can avoid any unwanted weight gain while still getting stronger. It all depends on your program design; weight, sets, reps, exercises etc..

A correctly designed weight program for cyclists and many other athletes takes into account that more cross sectional muscle area is not desirable and it can be avoided while still making strength gains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not on 15mi climbs @ 8% average grade. Lifting only increases your body mass, not good for climbing. Best climbers have high power/weight ratio so decreasing weight is the simplest way to go, @ least 4 myself.
Very true; I have lost some weight, which helps, I'm sure. It's hard for me to ride during the work week, which is where the running comes in. Weight loss is definitely a huge priority for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I disagree with this or at least I'd say there's no way to know for sure. If he's been through weight lifting cycles before where he made some progress then 3-4 sessions done correctly are enough for him to get back some of what he lost.
Although it had been awhile since I last lifted, I had been lifting within a couple of months or so, so I wasn't a total newbie. But even with 3 days of squatting, and not a lot of weight, I definitely noticed an improvement.
 

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Although it had been awhile since I last lifted, I had been lifting within a couple of months or so, so I wasn't a total newbie. But even with 3 days of squatting, and not a lot of weight, I definitely noticed an improvement.
That's why I don't think it's a surprise you made some progress again very quickly especially since the layoff had been so short. If you take a couple of months off of lifting it might take a while to get back to %100 of where you left off but you can get back a lot of strength very quickly. Compared to aerobic or anaerobic fitness, strength is a long lasting physical adaptation.
 

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Not on 15mi climbs @ 8% average grade. Lifting only increases your body mass, not good for climbing. Best climbers have high power/weight ratio so decreasing weight is the simplest way to go, @ least 4 myself.
I tend to agree with this. As someone that used to love doing squats.

I also agree with Andy that it did/does help me on climbs. But not as much as losing 30 lbs did.

I do not do squads anymore. I do dead lifts. I do core exercises. But don't really enjoy them.
 

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There's a lot of good information on this subject, including numerous studies. Without getting into a lot of scientific jargon, weight lifting doesn't do much at all for cycling performance, except for perhaps track sprinters. Weight training improves overall strength which is controlled by a specific type of muscle fibers. Those quickly wear out with exertion. Cycling motion is repetitive endurance and involves a completely different type of fibers. Cycling trains these and lifting trains the others.

But that doesn't mean your shouldn't do weight training. Your performance improves by being able to hold your upper body into a position longer, you may not get injured as frequently or severely, your balance is better, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting that weight training alone will make you a better cyclist. It's just another tool for increasing performance. When you think about it, cycling is a very quadriceps-oriented physical activity. I'm pretty sure track cyclists do a lot of lower body weight training; those guys usually have huge, bulging quads. Obviously, cycling is more of an aerobic, calorie-burning exercise, way more beneficial to overall health than lifting. But when you need that extra juice (sprinting, short to intermediate climbs, etc.) that's when you need to recruit all those muscle fibers in your thighs for bursts of high intensity.
 

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A correctly designed weight program for cyclists and many other athletes takes into account that more cross sectional muscle area is not desirable and it can be avoided while still making strength gains.
How exactly?

There are only two mechanisms to increase strength.

One comes from improved neural recruitment, gains from which plateau pretty quickly (a few weeks) and are not really transferable to cycling in any case, leaving the only other means to increase strength - hypertrophy.

So if you are not gaining muscle size, then after a few weeks you won't be gaining strength either.
 

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I usually do Winter base mileage in the gym and then lots of outdoor miles when Spring arrives.

So come bike season, the hills were always a challenge ... you know, keeping up with those 50 something girl riders who train in the hills.
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This year, I worked on leg strength over the Winter. Not bulking up, just getting stronger ... stairs , squats, leg lifts with weights.
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Results - Much better so far ... no issues with distance and the short hills are a breeze.
Next, heading out to the the Blue Ridge, Skyline Drive, etc. for some serious climbing ... Well, East Coast hills ... CO and AK later on.
 

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I lift to balance my fitness routine. Riding made me lose some upper body strength and this concerned me.

I limit my mileage for both running (>10 mi/wk) and riding (>100 mi/wk) and have incorporated swimming in the regimen.
 

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We are talking about very different goals here. My goal is to be able sustain 275-300w for > than hour while loosing weight so my speed on the long climbs goes up and I can keep going longer. I am not concerned about my general fitness level. For that I ride a lot of hills with power intervals and eat less and smarter. So far this year I have climbed 340K, but I am still pretty far from my goal. The other thing is that I want to sustain high intensity on multiple consecutive days like doing >10K of climbing 3-4 days in a row. I would work with weights if I would want to do short climbs and a lot of flats.
 

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How exactly?

There are only two mechanisms to increase strength.

One comes from improved neural recruitment, gains from which plateau pretty quickly (a few weeks) and are not really transferable to cycling in any case, leaving the only other means to increase strength - hypertrophy.

So if you are not gaining muscle size, then after a few weeks you won't be gaining strength either.
Neural gains from weight training can be made for much longer than a couple of weeks. Although not exactly applicable to this discussion; think about Olympic weight lifters or power lifters who stay in the same weight class year after year and continue to make progress. Certainly technique plays an important role in this but so do neural gains.

However, that's not really what I was getting after with my post. My point really is this - To many people, weight training = body building. This is a very narrow view and is probably equaled by body builders who view "cycling" as fasted state cardio on an exercise bike at 6am.

However if you're any type of athlete where less body mass is desirable then the equation is; resistance training = increase in quality of movement. How is this done? The best way right now is to get a FMS done and then have a program designed around the limitations that get exposed. Doing this type of stuff over the internet is like trying to do a bike fitting over the internet though. You can paint some really broad strokes but getting into details is pretty pointless when you haven't seen the person you're communicating with.
 

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Neural gains from weight training can be made for much longer than a couple of weeks. Although not exactly applicable to this discussion; think about Olympic weight lifters or power lifters who stay in the same weight class year after year and continue to make progress. Certainly technique plays an important role in this but so do neural gains.
OK, most neural gains will be done after maybe 6 weeks. But even still, such neural gains don't transfer across to the bike.

Olympic weight lifters get better at lifting weights by lifting weights. That's hardly surprising.

However, that's not really what I was getting after with my post. My point really is this - To many people, weight training = body building. This is a very narrow view and is probably equaled by body builders who view "cycling" as fasted state cardio on an exercise bike at 6am.
Agree, there is a difference between lifting weights, and strength training. Doing the former does not mean the latter.

However if you're any type of athlete where less body mass is desirable then the equation is; resistance training = increase in quality of movement. How is this done? The best way right now is to get a FMS done and then have a program designed around the limitations that get exposed. Doing this type of stuff over the internet is like trying to do a bike fitting over the internet though. You can paint some really broad strokes but getting into details is pretty pointless when you haven't seen the person you're communicating with.
You'll need to provide a little more to explain up how it increases quality of movement on a bike better than pedalling on a bike itself will (let alone improve performance).

Or if unable to explain how, then just evidence to show this occurs.

I suppose one has to define quality of movement on a bike.
 
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