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Any cyclists who are weight lifters?(18 posts)

Any cyclists who are weight lifters?WG1
Aug 24, 2001 7:56 AM
Just a general question. Is there anybody out there who lifts weights and cycles as well? I don't mean just lifting weights for leg strength, but upper body as well. Does the added muscle weight affect your performance on the bike (slow you down,less endurance)? Has anybody given up heavy weight training to become a "better" cyclist?
re: Any cyclists who are weight lifters?cincy1
Aug 24, 2001 8:11 AM
I was a competitive powerlifter for many years. I started cycling because running was too tough on my knees. I'm 49 so cardio endurance became more important to me than bulk. During the summer, I lift for my upper body twice a week and cycle three or four times. In the winter, I add a weight workout for legs and decrease one cycling workout (indoor training or a spinning class). There is no question that the added body weight you carry as a lifter slows you down on the bike ESPECIALLY on hills. My wife can still climb better than me. Every year since I have been cycling I lose around five additional pounds as I concentrate more on cardio. I'm currently at 190, down from 210. The end result: Each year I get better at cycling and my weight lifting poundages go down. I am comfortable with this trend. Good luck.
I lift 3 times a week.Thioderek
Aug 24, 2001 8:17 AM
I lift weight three times a week. Supersetting with about 13 machines. Only 2 circuits on each-10 or 12 reps. More for maintenance and strength upkeep than anything. Although I do blast myself with a good routine of sit-ups and crunches at the end. I do this year round. I find it helps to keep me up to strength throughout the year. It keeps the muscle mass on so as to burn more calories during the day. My bulk tends to go up during the winter, because I cant ride as much. But I slim down a tone up once I start riding and training specifically for the season.

Winter weight: 175-180
Summer wegiht: 163-168

Nothing really scienctific about it. Just a good routine of upper and lower body exercises coupled with a good training and riding schedule.

Try it, it works.
Aug 24, 2001 8:25 AM
Peloton is our resident weightlifting expert, but for what it's worth I lifted seriously for about seven years. I packed on a lot of weight, which is easy to do for an old guy. I tried to lift and cycle but it was too much for my body, I couldn't do both. I did an off season weightlifting routine a couple of seasons ago and I noticed that it helpled my climbing, but I was lacking endurance. I also built up my upper body after I crashed and fractured a bunch of ribs. I'd say weightlifting is best for the off season, I guess you could say I stopped in order to focus entirely on cycling. Actually I enjoyed lifting, it's just that I had to make a decision and I went with cycling. I can cycle every day, and if I got real serious about weightlifting I was looking at split routines and it just got too damned complicated. A good weightlifting program must be well thought out and you have to learn how to lift correctly. The pros lift, but they have the time, kind of hard to balance both if you hold a job down. All said and done, weight training can be beneficial.
I still have over 700 pounds of olympic weights in my garage, who knows something might happen and I might decide to lift again someday.
If you decide to lift I'd suggest getting some expert advice so you know what the heck you are doing.
re: Any cyclists who are weight lifters?ken vining
Aug 24, 2001 8:32 AM
Three or four times a week, upper body only. The added weight is noticable on the bike. I was also doing two nights a week of Jiu-Jitsu, but am taking a break from that. I have put on more weight since stopping the Jiu-Jitsu which was a very aerobic sport. Very difficult to balance a life around work, biking, motorcycling, lifting, and martial arts -- especially when married. Thank goodness my wife rides too.
re: Any cyclists who are weight lifters?_BLT_
Aug 24, 2001 8:35 AM
Yeah, my brother is a big pumper. We ride a lot together. His weight training does allow some less time and energy for cycling, and his bulk slows him down on hills. He's got almost 30 lbs on me and I can climb a lot faster. He can do a quick jump out of the saddle harder than me and he's pretty close to me on the flats.
re: Any cyclists who are weight lifters?DoothaBartman
Aug 24, 2001 8:53 AM
I once was a dedicated gym rat. At five foot nine I had ten percent body fat and weighed 183 pounds. I had a 44 inch chest and could hit 235 for five reps on the incline bench at my best point. I never kept track of squats cause I just kept adding weight every set. I've still got the pants I used to wear when I was that big, Levis 501's, you could see the stitches in the seams where I was stretching the fabric out. Those pants are like baggy silvertabs now...

I tried incorporating weights and cycling. It seemed easy when I was young and I rode mainly for fun. I never worried about average speed or distance or lactate threshold or gearing or weight of the bike. I just rode to get places and I worked out because I was good at gaining weight. When I took a break from lifting and lost a lot of muscle, I decided to really get into biking, and thats when I realized how pathetic I was on a bike. It seems to me all those years when lifting and max strength was the focus ruined my capacity for endurance. I can climb hills at a blazingly fast pace, but if I get out for a long ride I have a terrible avg. speed.

I also found that trying in earnest to lift while attempting to get better on the bike taxed my body to the point that I couldn't put enough time into one or the other to get better at either. If I lifted hard, I needed more recovery time and that meant less time on the bike. If I rode more often, that meant less workouts with the weights. You'll reach a point where a decision has to be made.

Of course, if you're lifting for flexibility and posture and general health benifits, I don't think the body would be taxed enough by that type of workout to make a dent in your cycling. I'll do some light back work when I really get into riding just because the back has almost no role in cycling and the shoulders can get hunched real easy. It's been my experience that lifting for gains in mass requires more rest and less aerobic activity. Also, you've got to eat like a pig to gain and it gets expensive. It doesn't make sense to attempt to gain by eating so much food just to end up burning it off by taking a three hour ride first thing in the morning. You've got to eat on top of eating to get your body to whatever certain size you want. It's just easier to save money on food, eat real clean for cycling, get shreded and buy more stuff for the bike with the money you would have spent gaining weight.
re: Any cyclists who are weight lifters?John Evans
Aug 24, 2001 9:23 AM
In the gym 6ft 250lbs going on 40 is ok. I'm just getting into road biking and I can see what these folks say about climbing is true, all that weight is a hindrance. But as I get into biking I feel like I have more energy at the end of a workout in the gym. I?m also trying to arrange what I call a harder rides around squat and dead lift days. Approaching 40 here?s a few things I?ve learned about myself. If I pick up any more hobbies I?m going to have to quit my job or mowing the yard or something to have enough time. Biking, lifting sailing and throw in a good cold beer and a football game and you?ve got no spare time. I?m never going to be a small guy so I can chose to be a big fat guy or a big strong guy. Right now I?m a little of both, I hope the bike will help here. I?m never going to be the strongest man in the world or the fastest on a bike, but I enjoy them both. Maybe I can be a decent power lifter as bikers go and a decent biker as power lifters go. And the main thing if I don?t do any thing and spend my life typing at this desk I?ll fall over dead one day and not have had any fun at all.
3-4 times a weekColnagoFE
Aug 24, 2001 9:23 AM
I'm no racer and I suppose the added bulk above doesn't help my climbing any, but I lift to look better and to improve strength. If you are a serious racer you probably better be a bit more particular about how and when you lift so you build the right kind of stregth for cycling and not a lot of excess bulk. Also lifting legs the night before a big race is probably not a good idea either.
Do Corona's twice a week qualify?(nm)Dave Hickey
Aug 24, 2001 10:35 AM
Mr. Hickey.9WorCP
Aug 25, 2001 6:40 AM
Please, we are trying to have serious discussion here. Now please pay attention and stop slouching in your seat.
Sorry, I'll do 6 elbow bends(nm)Dave Hickey
Aug 25, 2001 11:11 AM
Under the theory of "Use it or lose it"...cory
Aug 24, 2001 11:27 AM
I lift two to four times a week (try for a regular three, but it's not always possible). I'm also a writer, and I've done some research for stories about this question. Some of the pertinent points:
--An average person lifting weights a few times a week isn't going to pack on 30 pounds of pecs. It's just not going to happen. That takes immense, focused effort, and often chemical assistance.
--Once you get into your 30s, and certainly by your 40s, you're going to lose muscle mass if you DON'T do resistance training. You get scrawnier and weaker by the year. I'm 56, and I lift mainly because it makes the rest of my life easier. Fewer injuries, I can lift the bikes onto the top of the car, all kinds of stuff.
--Resistance work can HELP with weight control. Whatever muscles you build are burning calories all the time. If I stop lifting and keep eating, I gain a pound or two or three a month--about the same as if I stop cycling (sure, I could cut down on the calories, but I'd rather work out and eat).
--If you do gain a pound or two or five, so what? It's useful, functional weight, not just along for the ride. And you probably won't gain much. Imagine molding your massive pectorals out of hamburger. How much would it take? A pound or two, probably.
--I love cycling, but I'm not JUST a cyclist. Doesn't make sense to me to aim everything I do at making me better at an activity I'm too old and lack the genetics to be really good at. I'd rather be generally fit than one of those spider-arm geeks with the 30-inch quads.
Under the theory of "Use it or lose it"...Jon Billheimer
Aug 24, 2001 1:38 PM
I'm one of those skinny old guys. Like Cory, for me it's a use it or lose it thing. I used to lift three to four times a week plus ride 200 mi. per week on top of that. The last couple of years though that's gotten too tough. I couldn't get enough recovery. For the last year I started following Friel's/Bompa's periodization plan for cyclists and it's worked a lot better. During the summer I'm only doing a basic strength maintenance routine once per week. That's helped a lot and I've gotten faster on the bike, though I have lost some upper body mass. In the winter I'll pack on about 5 or 6 lbs. and gain about 20% in overall body strength. Works for me.
I lost it...DINOSAUR
Aug 24, 2001 4:57 PM
I haven't lifted seriously for three years. My 15 year old daughter could probably kick my butt (seriously, she takes Karate lessions).

Two things I found that really helped my cycling was losing weight and getting my seat position dialed it. It's hard to honk the hills when you are packing around 30 extra pounds. I noticed also I can get down a lot lower in my position as I lost some off my middle. Now my cycling shorts are too loose and my boys are doing a lot of bouncing around, I guess the ladies don't have this problem.

Now I'm lost with bouncing boys, all for the sake of trying to be skinny...
Damn, if it's not one thing it's another! (nm)Jon Billheimer
Aug 24, 2001 7:54 PM
Aug 25, 2001 10:42 AM
I've been lifting (relatively light) weights for 30 years. Got a Weider home exercise machine 4 years ago that has leg press, leg curl, leg extension, arm press, butterfly, cable crunch (for abs) and many other exercises. I add free weight for curls, squats and tricep work. I use a chin-up bar for hanging knee raises (for abs). I also use an "ab wheel" for more abdominal strength.

Using relatively light weights that allow 15 to 25 reps for upper body work will keep you strong (and looking good), without adding too much bulk. I've still got a lot more upper body than pro cyclists would have.

Even though I'm small at 5'-7" and 135 pounds, I've already hit the limit of the leg press function on the Weider exercise machine. I'm maxed out at 480lbs. and doing 35 to 50 reps at a time. Maybe a more advanced machine is in my future.
Aug 25, 2001 12:04 PM
Sure, weightlifting can help you in the sport of cycling. Even Tyler and Lance were put on a weight training regimine before the Olypics last year to gein power for the time trail event. Weightlifting can help your power output on the bike, which helps in time trials, sprinting, and even climbing. A properly designed strength training program can also help to increase flexibility which can help make you more comfortable and supple on the bike. Stregth training can also reduce injury risk as a strong muscle is less likely to be injured than an atrophied one. Strength training also helps to maintain good bone mass, which can be damaged by long hours in the saddle. The key in designing a cycling specific program would be to remember to keep the weight low, and the repititions high. Added bulk probably won't be too much of a problem if you remember to do this. Usually serious bulk only comes from genetics and heavy lifting. I would reccomend that you read as much as you can about strength training, and get a physical trainer to show you how to do exercises properly. The biggest problem you'll get from weightlifting is doing exercises improperly. Doing things the wrong way limits you gains, and can cause injuries. It's worth making sure everything is done right to get the most out of your training time.