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Weight training for legs, opinions/suggestions(9 posts)

Weight training for legs, opinions/suggestionsCalgaryDave
Jan 22, 2003 9:53 PM

Just curious to hear opinions on this subject. I've started indoor training (2x90mins/week) and complement it with XC skiing or alpine touring on weekends for endurance/base work, trying to apply Joe Friel's idea's as much as possible and have fun at it. I've been cycling for 15 years (age 37 now), mostly MTB, and am 6'0"/182lbs if that means anything. My strengths are endurance/spin and my weakness has always been power/climbing.
Two nights per week I go to a gym for some resistance training and stretching. My first available races are in April with primary ones in late June (MTB, 1 each of 40 and 100 miles) with a 50-miler in September.
My leg weights are done on an incline leg press (aka Rocket Chair). I'm starting with the following and will build from this as gains allow:
- 1 set of 20 reps @ 90lbs + slide carraige
- 1 set of 15 reps @ 180lbs
- 1 set of 10 reps @ 270lbs
- 1 set of 15 reps @ 180lbs
- 1 set to failure @ 90lbs, 50-60reps at this stage
- spin for 10 mins
- stretch for 15 mins

Keeping in mind that the weight is relative to a 1 rep max of approx 350lbs, my questions are:
a/ Do you think this is too little or too much at this early stage?
b/ What would you change and why?

Thanks in advance,
re: Weight training for legs, opinions/suggestionsStevieP
Jan 23, 2003 12:05 AM

You say that you are good at endurance but want to build strength. Strength is built from building the fast twitch muscle fibres. This mens using heavy weights for low reps. Doing lighter weights for higher reps (10+) will build endurance (which you say you already have).

For your purpose, it appears that you want to build muscle (strength and muscle size are related). To build muscle you need to put the muscle under a lot of stress. This means heavy weights. Whilst under stress, the muscle fibres break down. It is important to note that muscles only grow when they are recovering (i.e resting). You should already know this know if you have read Joe Friel's book.

I would recommend that, after a thorough warm up including a couple of sets of lighter weights (12-15 reps), you go a bit heavier. Look to be working in the 4-8 rep range and going to failure. Be prepared for stiff legs 24-48 hours after the workout and make sure you work some rest in so the muscles can grow.

Exercise choice is personal but squats are by far the best muscle builder. I would swap out the presses for squats. Squats will work more muscle groups than presses.

I would also think about adding some straight leg deadlifts for the hamstrings. I have made the mistake of only working quads (leg extensions) and now I get sore hamstrings a lot during and after rides because they cant cope with the same loads as my quads. Now I am going to start doing straight leg deadlifts.

I have no specific programmes for you but you should be able to make one yourself. I would say 5 sets of squats (2 warm ups)& 3-4 sets of straight leg deadlifts. Go as heavy as you feel comfortable.Dont push it too hard at first - build up to it.

Now, I have no qualifications in this subject but it is something that I have researched lot as I have been weight training on & off for years.

Remember to eat plenty of protein to help the muscles recover and grow. This is really important. Training is only the half of it - the other half is proper nutrition. Whey protein is considered the best.

There is loads of free advice on weight training on the web so you should be able to get more advice there.

Hope this helps

Jan 23, 2003 5:44 PM
I didn't read all of Steve's post but I don't feel I need to. He's telling you to do squats which are good... and straight leg deadlifts. 2 great excercises, however when done improperly you'll possibly hurt yourself bad. Then the fact he says strength and size are related makes me trust his advice even less. If this were true body builders would go to the Olympics... but the truth is comparitively to the size of their muscles they are very weak. With a proper program you can get a lot of strength with minimal gains in size unless you are naturally pretty built. Thats why those little tiny guys at the olympics doing olympic lifting throw twice their body weight over their head.

re: Weight training for legs, opinions/suggestionsryder1
Jan 23, 2003 4:34 AM
If your trying to follow Friel's periodization plan, why not just use the weight program he has? Do you have the book? If not go to - I think you can find alot of info without paying for it under the workout descriptions.
Jan 23, 2003 5:40 PM
Go see a personal trainer. Then once you get the excercises down pat maybe try Friel's plan. But theres no use going into the weight room and dicking around doing the excercises wrong even if you have a good program like Friel's. And the thing about Friel's is it leaves no room for personalization. Are your weaknesses and strengths the same as the person he decided he'd write the book for?

re:Second the higher weight suggestion.dzrider
Jan 23, 2003 7:18 AM
I'd also do some lunges, both front and back, and toe presses. Lunges are an excellent all around leg builder and put some good demands on your core muscles. Toe pressses build the calves and should help if you need to stand up, point your toes a bit, and hammer.

The trick for cyclists is how to add strength without bulking up. The very high number of reps you're doing is certainly one way to accomplish it, but you won't add much strength for the amount of time you're putting in. Another, and imho, better way is to do a circuit of different exercises without taking much of a break between sets so that your heart rate stays elevated.
Jan 23, 2003 5:38 PM
Go see a personal trainer and get advice from them. Your asking people on here who have no idea what your background is what to do. On top of that most of these people learned what they are doing from trial and error and some reading. How do you know they are right? 90% of the people in the gym don't know what they are doing... they just do it because they think it looks or feels good and it may be neither in reality.

Jan 23, 2003 5:27 PM
GO SEE A PERSONAL TRAINER! I've had a long week so I'm grumpy and I'm going to very blunt. I'm sorry to say this but you aren't even in the right ballpark when it comes to a good weight workout. SO PAY THE MONEY AND SEE A PERSONAL TRAINER!!!!!!!!!! NNNNNNNNOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just thought I'd get that in three times early on. Honestly I'd take the time to explain to you the basics of weights but I don't think you have very many good ideas in the weight room. The fact you only do 1 excercise and its leg press completely triggers this reaction. You'd be better off being taught by a personal trainer than spending the next couple years stumbling into the weight room by advice people give you into a good program. Even then you might not get there and theres a definite chance of injuring yourself in the process and you'll be that far behind where you would be if you started now.

In a couple months after you've gone to a personal trainer a couple times and gotten a program we'll talk about periodization.

Where to go in Calgary if you want a good programPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 24, 2003 7:10 AM
I didn't realize you were in Calgary. Sorry for my grumpiness yesterday... I've been having a very stressful week and it all got put into this topic. If you want an awesome program I'd recommend talking to a company called Peak Power Sport Developement. All of their people have a masters degree in kines meaning you are getting probably some of the most qualified people in the city. If you want more info on them go to or feel free to email me at Nick @ .