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Climber needs upper body strength(6 posts)

Climber needs upper body strengththe flying bean
Nov 18, 2003 2:34 AM
My local fire station is seeking firefighters and living right opposite the station, I have applied to join. I've just scraped through a very basic strength test, though the station commander says I will need to strengthen my upper body. Being classic hillclimber build, I'm light and have arms like matchsticks. Frankly, although fit I do need to seriously increase my strength.
Are there any similarly built riders out there who have been faced with this situation? Or do you think it's possible to increase one's upper body strength when you've spent a lifetime riding bikes and have never lifted anything heavier than a pint of beer?
I'm only on trial with the fire brigade at the moment and cannot attend callouts. However, they attended a local incident to which I cycled. I was humbled at these beefcake firefighters taking a great interest in my bike when I turned up. It would be great to be part of their team but I'm so darn slightly built I feel I could be the weakest link.
Your views and experiences are keenly sought.
The Flying Bean
re: Sure why nothudsonite
Nov 18, 2003 4:51 AM
If you are a climber, your leg muscles are probably well developed. It also means that you are capable of putting on muscle mass if you work at it.

Join a gym and get yourself a personal trainer to work out with. You will quickly develop upper body strength. You may not build a lot of mass quickly, but you will see your strength increase over a matter of months.

After a couple of months you will be able to train by yourself. But the first few months is critical to learn how to lift weights correctly. The trainer will also provide the motivation necessary to keep at it. Expect a very sore body at first, but the training will pay off.
lift with your legs nmandy02
Nov 18, 2003 7:04 AM
Sure you can--and here's why they want you toCory
Nov 18, 2003 9:03 AM
I was a volunteer firefighter in a good, well-trained department for 10 years, and FWIW, I agree with their argument. This sounds dramatic, but you could easily be in a position where somebody's life depends on your ability to lift or at least drag a pretty heavy weight, including another firefighter.
In the departments I've been around, there's never been much objection to female firefighters, but quite a bit to 130-pound firefighters of either gender. One of our training exercises, which everybody had to do, was to bring an "unconscious" 200-plus pounder (me, many times) down a three-story ladder. There's a technique; it's not all strength, but if you can't do it, I can't blame them for not wanting to go into a burning building with you.
The bright side is that you probably CAN do it. Just a couple of months on a well-designed resistance program will make a big difference, and you can find those programs all over.
bad news... (long read, sorry...)funknuggets
Nov 18, 2003 9:09 AM
well, unfortunately it took me >6 months off the bike and not running more than once a week to slow my metabolism sufficiently to start building decent mass. It is amazing, though, how quickly your body can start to change and develop. Then, with a decent "base" weight program to get my tendons and joints "ready" for the heavy weights, I started noticing results, most notably in the arms, shoulders and back. With a good structured program and a good diet (most important factor), you will eventually be able to pack on some beef.

Supplementing is probably essential. I dont know you, nor do I know your metabolism or exercize habits... but I think I was likely like you. I was 5-9 and 154ish. I took off several months and stopped running altogether. After about 4 months of a steady program I was at 170ish (protein, glutamine, and creatine), and 1.5 years later I was at 192. I could no longer run comfortably, and would basically explode under hard efforts on the bike. I got tired of my joints always being sore, and consistently growing out of my clothes, plus was tired of eating and paying for supplements.... so I gave it up and I am happy about it... but, since I haven't lifted hardly at all in 2.5 years, I have only dropped 22 lbs despite approximately 10K on the bike.

This is my verbose way of saying if you want to get BIG BIG... you gotta get off the bike. If you simply want to get BIGGER, you need to ride less, and train really really really specifically, and compensate with diet. It is hard for me to emphasize how amazing and efficient the body is. Lance's diet specificity is a good example. I did some research and found that the body would rather metabolize protein than fat. It takes on average 3 times more energy to metabolize a fat cell, so your body would rather use the protein that is needed to grow muscle mass for energy. That is why you need to eat so freaking much protein just to grow, and if you are riding... your body is theiving that protein for energy to ride. Not the ideal situation for you.

So, I think you can get bigger, no doubt. If you are serious, I would STRONGLY advise a personal trainer who will consult on diet as well. For big gains in a limited amount of time, for structure and motivation... they can provide amazing results. Do your research and get a good one though.

One last thought, hit the squats and deadlifts hard. They exercize the biggest muscles of the body and trigger more growth hormone to be released and help the rest of the body to grow. Be ready to be more sore than you ever have before.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The Funk.
re: Climber needs upper body strengthSkooter
Nov 18, 2003 9:45 AM
Use Creatine and hit the weights 4 times a week. You might not put a lot of mass on but you will get stronger.