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Balancing time in gym vs. time on bike--advice needed(14 posts)

Balancing time in gym vs. time on bike--advice neededMilliet
Sep 4, 2003 4:21 AM
I recently started commuting to work on the RB (18 miles R/T). I would like to ride at least 3x/wk or more. However, I am also trying to keep my daily lunch-hour routine in the gym which I have been doing for 6 months now. It goes like this (solid hour each day):

Thurs or Fri- Back/ABs/Chest

I have been commuting on the bike for 1 month now and have noticed a problem. On Tuesday I do legs. I really DO legs, hard and intense for an hour. Squats, curls, extensions, lunges, calf raises...the entire muscle group. This makes it tough to ride home. Then Wednesday morning (5:30am) it is real hard to get back on the bike. Thursday I am even more sore and riding the bike is difficult. It usually take 48hrs min for my legs to recover from the gym work out. Another 48 for all the soreness to dissipate. I feel like I am not allowing my legs to recover properly by riding the bike. Particularly the quads.

Over the past week, I have been taking longer routes home and some longer rides on the weekend. 46 miles last Saturday which was great and 34 miles after work yesterday which totally sucked. Legs felt spent after first 5 miles.

How do road bikers balance time in the gym? Assuming they workout in the gym...

All advice and suggestions welcome.

Ron Milliet
Petal, MS
Sep 4, 2003 4:41 AM
Half of muscle development is RECOVERY. Overtrain and all you'll do is get weaker. Personally, I lift weights only in the off-season. Weight training in the off-season will definitely get your cycling season off to a fast start. In the early season I may also lift weights instead of ride if it's raining or too cold (I absolutely refuse to ride in the rain).

There is no way that I would attempt to ride serious mileage and weight train the legs at the same time. As you've found out, it takes at least 2 days to recover from a hard weight training session.
my experiences exactlytarwheel
Sep 4, 2003 5:20 AM
I found no benefit at all from weight lifting my legs during cycling season. My climbing legs would be toast for days after a tough workout in the gym. I weight lift now primarily to keep my upper body and core muscles in shape, which is a good complement to cycling, which does little to develop those muscles. If you want to develop your leg muscles for cycling, try intervals or hill repeats.
Ride slower.dzrider
Sep 4, 2003 4:59 AM
Pedal quickly and softly allowing lots more time to get home. You may want to reconsider some aspects of a weight training program that consistantly leaves your legs sore for 2 days afterwards. Do you experience the same soreness when you do your chest or back?
Ride slower.Milliet
Sep 4, 2003 6:01 AM
I alternate "legs light" and "legs heavy" every other week. On the light days I will simply do less weight, more reps/sets. I am not as sore after light days.

I should also mention I am an amateur soccer player. We play 2 to 3 times per week, all year long with 3, 2-day tourneys during the year. So my workouts naturally focus on leg development. I am always pushing legs harder than other muscle groups. I DO get sore after working out other areas, but nothing like legs. Just a little sore for about a day.

I picked up recreational road cycling as a way to add an additional cardio component to my regimen, to cross-train, and as a way to cut down on the amount of time I spend on the pitch. At 35, my joints are taking a beating playing soccer.
As you knowfiltersweep
Sep 4, 2003 5:03 AM
there is a long recovery time when exercising large muscles, like quads. As a recovering gym rat, I struggled with this issue for years until I just simply gave up. Now I ride all summer and "do the gym" all winter.

I'm simply happier NOT even thinking about it.

The key is to rethink how and why I workout, and to get rid of the counter-productive obsessive elements and stay focused on my real motives. It isn't a big deal to regain muscle mass lost through cycling because it is almost like the body has a "memory" of its previous state- rather than agonize over the fact that I've had a 15-20% loss in strength.

The other issue I found is that they gym prompted me to focus on the superficial "cosmetic" nature of working out (how I LOOKED) rather than the performance oriented "workout" of cycling. As you are probably aware, there are all sorts of very unhealthy individuals who are monstrously ripped, but in poor cardio conditioning (as an example).

BTW- light cycling IS a better way for your legs to recover than you might think- as sore as they are. Riding home is very different than squatting several hundred pounds... and there is a ton of literature out there about warming up and cooling down for lifting using some form of cardio.
I agreekjr39
Sep 4, 2003 7:18 AM
fs has hit on it. Light riding after working out your legs will do wonders as a means to work out the lactic acid and help recovery.

I work out my legs once a week and ride my bike to and from the gym. Usually the next day I am sore, but it goes away pretty quickly. (ie, doesn't last 2 days....anymore.)
Lift lighter, more reps when riding that day. nmSpunout
Sep 4, 2003 5:08 AM
how about going full body instead?ColnagoFE
Sep 4, 2003 7:53 AM
I lift MWF full body. Isolations are gonna kill you for riding. Something simple like Squats, DL, Chins, Bench, Military press, weigted situps, hanging leg raise, weighted calfs, seated rows? Go heavy--3 sets of 8 or so. Alternate heavy with lighter days...timing the lighter days so that you are most ready to ride--like the weekends for most of us.
I struggle with this toolemmy999
Sep 4, 2003 8:18 AM
I have been going to the gym for at leat 10 years and lifted 5 days/week and did some MTB on the weekends, I would do some running or other cardio, but was never consistent. About 1 year ago I started running 4-5 miles 2-3 times/week so I changed my workout to:

Mon: Chest/Back
Tues: Run or MTB
Wed: Bi/Tri (arms)
Thur: Run or MTB
Fri: Legs/Shoulders
Weekend: Run or MTB at least once

This was ok but if you work your legs hard on one day, it is hard to run or bike the next day. This summer I started road biking and I have essentially ended the leg workouts (but will resume them in the winter) and only run 1 time/week. So in the winter I will run more road bike very little MTB some but add the leg workout back to my routine.
Sep 4, 2003 8:36 AM
I dont think anyone mention strecthing, make sure you take the time out to strecth before and after your leg workout, i find it really works wonders
If you have time...a spin helpsColnagoFE
Sep 4, 2003 8:51 AM
Stretching is great after a workout--before is probably a waste of time IMO though a 5 minute warmup on a bike or warming up with a set or 2 of lighter weights does wonders. After a good leg workout, a 15 minute spin on the bike or stationary bike helps after a leg workout assuming you have the time (which I don't).
You might want to ask this in the triathlon forumSpoiler
Sep 4, 2003 8:59 AM
Those guys have to juggle upperbody workouts, running and swimming. I have one suggestion about your workout routine. Change it! Switch it around. Working out the same body parts in the same order on the same days will only get you so far. After a while your body gets accustomed to it and progresses no further.

Every month, make some changes in your routine. Swap around muscle group combinations, take different days off, use a different rep/set combination. You could start by totally skipping legs on Tuesday. With the cycling and soccer, you won't lose too much strength.
You might want to ask this in the triathlon forumMilliet
Sep 4, 2003 10:37 AM
Good advice. I had been thinking about mixing it up. I think I will. I have only been riding a month so I am still working on the logistics of commuting and getting comfortable on the road.

As others posted, I should rest from the bike some, but I am finding that difficult. I want to ride it all the time. I suppose if/when the novelty wears off, it will be easier to take a break. Also, I think I will "slow" down on the commute after leg days.

Good advice from all...thanks.