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Starting lifting(21 posts)

Starting liftingwerdna
Feb 12, 2002 10:00 AM
I want to peak in mid-June. I am considering starting weight lifting because I just got access to a gym. Is this wise or am I too late to reap the benefits? I am tall (roughly 6'1") and light (roughly 150 lbs) so I think strength is one of my weaknesses. I have difficulty on days with lots of wind. It seems like I just get thrown all over the place and headwinds are killer. Short steep climbs also are a problem for me.

I have lifted 2 years ago using Freil's plan, but I haven't seriously lifted since then.

If so, should I use Freil's plan again? Start with AA? Can I shorten the time frame?

re: Starting liftingbruce
Feb 12, 2002 10:18 AM
I don't know alot about peaking, but I know that I lift twice a week with riding on the in btween days. I do legs and shoulders on Tuesdays, and Chest back and arms on Thursday. Evrything I do is circuit training with high reps with relatively light weight. I know that it helps, especially during the times that you have stated. I ride on Monday, Wednesday, and usually on the weekends. Since you want to peak around June, I wouldn't do alot of heavy work until after the season, but I think any kind of weight training can help in any sport and I don't get paid to say that. It also helps to keep fat deposits down(something you probably don't have to worry about) b/c of higher muscle mass. Now you will probably gain some weight, but I don't think that it will effect you in the negative.
Yes on the weightsJoeBob
Feb 12, 2002 11:57 AM
I'm a similar build. The one year I really lifted (lots of lunges, squats, leg curls) I was definately stronger. I would suggest making legs, lower back, and abs a priority and doing them 2 times a week, with a goal of increasing strength. You can see strength gains within 6-8 weeks so it's worth it. I plan on decreasing the weight and increasing reps just before my first peak. I can't see why you can't keep lifting all year, especially if it is one of your limiters (weaknesses).
too late!merckx56
Feb 12, 2002 2:48 PM
you should have been in the gym in november and out about now! not everyone has the diesel power to tame a headwind or the jump to get up a steep, short climb. the fact that you weigh 150 isn't helping you either. i weigh 180 inseason, and have no probs with headwinds.
if you want to do better on the short-steeps, go do them!
you must practice what you are not good at! the only reason i can stay with the front group on all but the high climbs, is the fact that i have done them all so many times
that i have a)gotten better at them and b)know where to suffer and where to hide and recover. it's not all about strength.
In theory yes... practise notuffnick
Feb 14, 2002 5:40 PM
I completely disagree that you can only do weights if you do them in the winter... if you start them now you may not see as great a strength gain as you would if you only incorporated weights into your early season training but any extra strength is welcome when riding so if you hit the weights once a week like everyone says in the morning then an aerobic ride in the evening then you'll be fine. Also possibly incorporate a hill climbs in a big gear at a lower cadence to turn the weight room strength into bike strength.
In theory yes... practise nomerckx56
Feb 15, 2002 7:07 AM
that's great, but try doing that routine and racing saturday and sunday. weight work should be done in the winter, before the season starts. there's too much risk of injury continuing weight work through the season.
start lifting when the time changes in the fall and end around the middle of february and the benefits are much greater than once a week. i lift (except for this winter) three days a week in the off season (two heavy, one for reps) and always spin my legs out after the session.
if you live in the frozen wasteland of the north, you can lift for a longer period, but in the southeast, the season starts next week!
In theory yes... practise nopeloton
Feb 15, 2002 11:06 AM
Four monthes to racing gives him a long time to make huge gains the weight room. Neural pathways, tendons, and muscles will also be stronger and muscle balance and flexibility can be increased by a very large percentage in that time. It would be very beneficial to start a strength training program even at this point in the year. Muscle balance and injury prevention are the real goals here for cycling in the weight room. More sport specific goals like short, steep climbing and headwinds are best addressed on the bike in a sport specific situation. Some of the strength gained in the weight room will transfer to helping these movements though. I would also not reccomend that one gets out of the weight room at this time of the year. Improvements can be made through even a race season with proper recovery and a good plan. Maintaining a well thought out strength training program through the year will lead to better flexibility, less injuries, and better muscle balance with can lead to better cycling technique and suppleness on the bike.

Get in the weight room. Just use good form, and contact a trainer in your area to help you make the most effective, safe usage of your time there to achieve your goals.
Starting liftingallervite
Feb 12, 2002 3:55 PM
You can lift all year, but only in a maintenance sort of program. I do no more than 3 times a week, no more than 3 sets an exercise, fairly light weights, around 20 reps and only back, abdominals, and upperbody during the season.

Merckx is right that you need to work on your short hills and headwinds on the bike, but I think there is still time to include a brief weight prorgram before you start doing some serious intensity.

If I was you, I would do two or three weeks of AA, three weeks of strength work, take a week easy, three weeks of musc endurance. That should take you into the second week of April. Then I would do maintenance program from then on since strength is one of your limiters.

Remember the key is to slowly translate the gym work to strength work on the bike.
Four months away!James Curry
Feb 15, 2002 10:32 AM
I say 6' 150 pounds means you're a runner's build. Possibly a very slow-twitch muscle composition. You might have to work extremely hard to gain significant muscle size and strength. But hey, why not try a small plan. I am a big proponent to full-body workouts, especially if you want to climb well. The calves connect to the hamstrings which draw their power straight from the back muscles-it's not just about doing leg presses.

I would suggest a 2 month experiment, including a protein shake immediately after the weight training. Start out with pyramiding exercises, focusing only one muscle group per day. This gives you six days for your muscles to heal. After the two month period you'll know if you are the type who puts muscle on quick or not. Oh, and eat a lot!!!

Here is what I mean by pyramiding:

10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps.
Each lower repetition should have increased weight.

Keep the reps low and intense, but not so much that you cant finish the pyramid. Do this as listed above with every muscle group!!! Once a week.

If this is working for you, devote the next two months to level intensity training, specializing in the areas you want to really build.

I start doing legs twice a week at this point, and increase the reps to 12 or 15 about 3 or 4 sets. If you have lifted before, you know the common mistakes-I as a biker avoid squats, as they are a general leg workout, and don't target specific muscles. I also have scholiosis (is that how you spell that?) so that has some bearing for me as well. No if you want to do squats, do it on one of those machines that has the counterweight and the cage-other words, so you're not free-standing, but pushing the weight up a guided bar. Anyway, put your legs way way way out in front of you body. Sit down as if doing a wall sit-not any lower. You will find this to isolate the quads in a new very painful way! A great muscle builder for bikers, but again watch your form on the back! And don't be afraid to be sore. Sore is good, as long as rest is given. The one muscle group a week concept actually puts raw strength on quicker than juat about anyother way, save steroids.

I lift a lot, and have been for years. These are just things that I have found to be very helpflul. Hope they help you put on some muscle and kick ass in that race in June.

are you alsoWoof the dog
Feb 15, 2002 2:56 PM
the guy who a long time ago said that you could pull sugar stored in your upper body muscles into your leg muscles when you need it?
No-that guy is in a permanent diabetic coma now.James Curry
Feb 20, 2002 6:41 AM
Feb 15, 2002 3:21 PM
Okay, first you say you are a big proponent of full body workouts, then say do one body part a day once a week. What's up with that? Also, your recommendations on using a Smith machine, especially with putting the feet in front of the plane of motion, is just asking for knee injuries. By doing the one-body-part-a-day routine, you're putting your body in a constant state of repair, and trying to continually redirect that "repair energy". You'll soon find yourself constantly tired, and teetering on that edge of overtraining. Don't do it! As a classic ectomorph, you are most likely a hard-gainer type. Two full body routines a week will do the trick, go with big movements, blast those routines hard, and EAT (the only good advice that came from Mr. Curry). Post again if you want a plan laid out for you.
What?!?!?James Curry
Feb 20, 2002 6:46 AM
Is works for me. Each muscle group has one full week of recovery-granted you maintain a good protein intake to repair the muscles, there is nothing wrong with this. You put on muscle very fast this way. Brider has obviously a big wussy and is afraid of going to the gym because he might get his ass kicked by some muscle head.

I think he types more than he trains.
O.K. O.K. That was a little harsh.James Curry
Feb 20, 2002 7:57 AM
I apologize for that Brider.

But some things work very well for some people. I am a fast twitch rider. WHatever gains I hope to see in May and June are directly proportionate to how hard and heavy I lift right now. By August of last year I had lost muscle and at least 10 pounds off my target weight and was dwindling on the edge of sickness, but I was still eating like a horse (good foods also, not junk). I am one of those enjoy-it-while-it-lasts riders. So I am a huge proponent to muscle-gaining exercises. I actually will drink one of those protein shakes everyday during this season (something I hope will keep my weight up!)
WHat works for me obviously is not what you would recommend, so we are probably two very different riders.
Obviously you haven't read my other posts..brider
Feb 20, 2002 8:30 AM
either here, at Slowtwich, TNO, or Testosterone Magazine. Here's a little history on me. Graduated from UW in '88 as a triathlete (the actual degree was secondary) at 145 lbs, 5'11". Got to near pro level, but realized the $$ wasn't there to quit my day job and go training full-time. Went into bike racing, and did pretty well as a Cat 3. Gave that up for a while to get some business ventures going. Now most of my training is weights and a couple days of riding and running. I'm now at 205, and no tub-o-lard. I do avoid the gym, because I have my own at home. Yeah, I went through that "body part a day" phase. What you're ignoring is the CNS effect. Hey, if it works for you, that's fine, but for MOST people it doesn't, and especially for some one who's trying to fit it in around an already full cycling schedule. So, Mr Curry, I'll be watching for you, and when I see you, expect a pose-down :^)
Two questions:James Curry
Feb 20, 2002 10:18 AM
What is the CNS effect and
what the hell is a pose-down?
Two answersbrider
Feb 20, 2002 11:25 AM
CNS effect = stress on the Central Nervous System -- when lifting heavy, you REALLY tax the CNS, which requires recovery as well. By not taking days between sessions, the CNS doesn't recover.

Pose down = the final judging event of a body building contest when they're all on stage at once and trying to one-up each other (actually a very comical thing, you should check it out some time). The antics are just hilarious. One guy will strike a pose, and another guy who knows his development of those particular muscles is better will stike the same pose next to him. Or some one will get in front of some one else, then some one else gets in front of him... It's like a buch of third graders, really. I was being EXTREMELY facetious on that one.

Basically, we're going to agree to disagree on this. And no, I've never touched a Bowflex.
145 to 205!allervite
Feb 26, 2002 3:08 PM
Yipes. I went the other way. Weights for ball sports and a little Pole Vaulting to weights for endurance sports. They are definately not the same programs.

Mr. Curry I would guess (though I do not know) is experiencing the same thing I did when I started racing. My first season I went from a very solid, low body fat % 170 lbs. to a scraggly 130 lbs.; and all in one season! I was way overtrained and constantly getting a cold. The fact is that the first year of real racing is difficult for your body to adapt to even if you are in pretty good shape. I think next year Mr. Curry's system will be more efficient, and like me, he will find that he does not need that weight gain shake anymore. I maintain 155 lbs. without any supplemental calories now.
No No Wait, I know who you areJames Curry
Feb 20, 2002 10:26 AM
Didn't I see you on that BowFlex Commercial. Yeah that's it! :-)
Four months away!weiwentg
Feb 17, 2002 10:53 AM
>>10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps.
Each lower repetition should have increased weight.<<

In my experience, this may not be such a good idea for a slow-twich person (especially if you're doing every set to failure). the idea is that slow-twitchers (e.g. me) can't recover so fast from high-intensity training. so, best to keep the volume a bit lower.
After about 2 years of lifting, I got to the point where I did 3 exercises for major muscle groups, 2 sets each. That makes 6 sets total.
As a beginner, I'd recommend starting with a whole body workout and high reps - 12-15 - and 1 set of each exercise. the reason is that you don't yet have the physical coordination to lift heavier weights with good form. as you get more experienced you can start a split routine and drop the reps. and, of course, increase the number of sets of each exercise.
YMMV, of course.
Smith machinepeloton
Feb 20, 2002 3:06 PM
FWIW- There are better options than the Smith Machine for squats. Free weights here are safer and give you better results. Placing your feet directly under the bar on a Smith machine squat creates enormous amounts of anterior shear force on the ACL. Placing the feet far ahead of the bar to prevent this makes it hard to maintain lordosis of the lower back and makes one susecptable to injury there. Either way, you put the back or the knees in a compromised state. The Smith machine locks you into a plane of motion that doesn't follow your body's natural range of motion in a squating movement. The bar should follow an arced line of motion that moves horizontally as well as vertically. The Smith doesn't allow this.

Free weight squats also involve auxilary muscles for balance and lifting the weight. You get more out of the same amount of time spent lifting. You also don't get compromises in the body's natural range of motion like with the Smith. It's an easy choice- free weight squats are more biomechanically correct and get you faster, better results. Just stick with squats- just make sure your form is good! (Form is the key)