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Strengh at a specific velocity question(4 posts)

Strengh at a specific velocity questionCyclomoteur
Nov 14, 2001 2:17 PM
Hi guys, seems like I don't understand something here !

Jon mention in the last musculation discution : "The strength you gain is very specific to the velocity at which you've gained it"

Can I deduct that my slow reps at leg presses aren't has usefull has the fast ones?;
1- I do leg presses at 10rpms;
2- I increase my sprints at 10rpms;
3- I sprint at 120rpms;
4- Therefore I would get better results in sprints (let's say I have a 120rpm cadence) if I do my leg presses at 60rpm (witch is closer to 120rpms).

Wayne has said that : "You do not make new muscle fibres (cells) when you lift weights, you increase the contractile proteins within fibres, thereby increasing their force producing ability"

If this is true, it would mean that the strengh is not effected by velocity;
0- Eliminate eny recharge system (blood...) in the equation;
1- Let's say that when I use ¾ of my cells force producing hability to get 600watts for 120 times .5sec;
2- This would mean I can do 600watts for 100 time .6sec with the same ¾ of my force producing ability.
3- Let's say I use ¾ of my FPA when I put 53-12 @ 100rpms for 200m
4- THis would mean that I use the same amouth of my FPA when I put 53-12 @ 120rpms for 200m
5a- So : strengh is not affected by velocity
5b- So : streng may be affected by velocity becuz of something else then speed of movement;
6- My slow leg presses would have the same effect on sprints, then the fast ones


So meaby all the strengh is afected by something else : recharge system (blood)

1- When doing one turn of crank, my quads get 1/2 turn of break due to circular movement.
2- When I sprint at 120rpms for 1min, each leg quads have 120 times .25sec of break, total of 30sec break
3- When I sprint at 100rpms for 1min, each leg quads have 100 times .3sec break, total of 30sec break
4- When there is a break, the muscular cells recharges.
5- My sprints at 120rpms and the ones @ 100rpms have the same amouth of breaks, so recharge system does give the same amouth of energy back to the cells.
6- Therefore strengh at specific velocity is not affected by the recharge system either.


Ouch ! Seems there is something I don't know or I mistake
Could you clear the velocity question ?

re: Strengh at a specific velocity questionJon
Nov 14, 2001 10:13 PM
Last year in Peak Performance Online, exercise physiologist Owen Anderson reported on several
specificity studies done with respect to strength gains made at one velocity transferring to a
higher velocity. Example: in one study subjects were measured for their leg strength doing seated
leg extensions at 30 deg per second, 90 deg per second and at 270 deg per second. They then followed a strengthening
program at a velocity of 90 deg per second. When retested, concentric strength improved by 20% at
90 deg per second, but only by 13% at 30 deg per second and not at all at the higher velocity of
270 deg per second.

The point of all this is even though contractile strength and cross-sectional mass may increase
as a result of strength training, there is also an underestimated neural component which governs
the rate and sequence of motor unit innervation. And herein lies the principal of specificity.
So in answer to your question, yes, if you're pedalling a bicycle @ 120 rpm, squat strength
gained at 20 reps per min. will not help you out a lot. You need at least a power cycle in your
program where you move a weight in a similar range of motion to cycling at as close to cycling
frequencies as possible.

Beyond a baseline level of strength and muscular endurance, in order to get stronger and faster
on the bike you need to do strength and speed work on the bike.
Why are you lifting weights?Wayne
Nov 15, 2001 7:53 AM
To get stronger in the hope that this will translate to increased (short-term, sprint) power on the bike, correct? I think all the talk about specificity should make you realize your goal in the gym should be to get bigger cycling muscles, so that when you do your on the bike workouts your central nervous system has more muscle mass to produce force with and when it's recruited at the same speed as before you produce more power (force (bigger gear) x distance (or rpms)), which makes you go faster.
Should you necessarily worry about the speed at which your doing your exercises in the gym? I don't think so. There is a inverse force-velocity relationship. Basically the faster you move the less force you can produce or the slower you move the more force you can produce. Go to the gym and do a dumbell curl with your biceps 1 time as fast as you can, start at 5 pounds (rest inbetween) and increase by 5 pounds each time until you can't lift the weight anymore. You'll see how much slower you're moving by the time you're approaching the most you can lift than you were when you lifted the 5 pounds. I think it's pretty obvious whatever the stimulus is for increases in muscle mass, it involves the production of high forces (and probably some fatigue so that by the end of the exercise set you're sure to have recruited most of the motor units at their maximum force generating ability). But if you're moving really fast (say comparable to the speed when cycling at 90-120 rpm) the force won't be very high, and you probably won't be providing much stimulus for muscle mass increases.
What works for increasing muscle mass?
I would recommend doing 2 sets of 8 - 10 repetitions of exercises that use the same muscles as cycling (squats, leg press, leg extension), by the last couple of reps you should be almost unable to complete the movement. Shoot for 10 each time, if you can do 10 increase the weight. Try to move as fast as possible if you want, you'll only move as fast as the force-velocity relationship allows anyway. If you have a weight that you can only do 10 times this probably will not be anywhere near the speed of movement in cycling. But that's all right, you just want to get your legs bigger (usually takes 6-8 weeks for size gains to show-up, but you'll get stronger at the exercises due to the neural component much sooner than that).
What about doing the high reps (15+, even 25 or 50+) some trainers recommend? I think research has shown that these produce almost no gains in size (or strength if your looking at the absolute (1 rep max) of a exercise). So why bother?
What about low repetitions, like 1-5, like powerlifters or olympic weightlifters use? These will certainly cause size gains but not as much as the 8-10 rep range, and strength gains probably involve a larger neuromuscular recruitment component than the 8-10 reps, and you're putting yourself at a greater risk of injury by using the higher weights.
In summary: Don't try to mimic cycling contraction speeds in the gym while weight lifting, do 8-10 reps to failure that use the same muscles as cyling. This should be the most effective way of producing size (transferable strength) gains.
Do on the bike workouts designed to increase your power. Be completely recovered and sprint for less than 30 seconds (either up hill or on the flat). This should provide the neural component (and perhaps some size increase stimulus as well) to your goal of increasing you're sprint (maximum) power.
Also a good workout for providing some kind of strengthening (size increase) stimulus to you're cycling muscles is to do a rolling hilly ride staying in big gear all the time. So that you grind up the hills in a low rpm (say 40 -60 rpm) (remember the force-velocity relationship) if you're muscles are contracting slower they're capable of producing higher forces. Don't try to go up the hills fast just grind your way up them (seated and standing).
Nov 15, 2001 1:12 PM