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To lift or not to lift...(4 posts)

To lift or not to lift...RockyMountainRacer
Sep 6, 2002 6:55 AM
Okay, the time for off-season training is almost upon us (and likely here already for some of us). My last race is tomorrow, hopefully I will finish the season off with a good performance to make up for last weekend (where I got destroyed)! I have a chance to win our local mountain bike series if I get first or second in the race, but that will be hard of course...

So after a well-deserved period of hiking and camping to get away from the bike, I will get serious again. Should I spend a lot of time in the weight room on strength work, or should I do it on the bike? I plan to ride a minimum of 3 days a week all winter long. I like to ride at night with a NiteRider light, so it is not a problem for me. Do you folks think I should make those rides easy distance and get my strength work in the gym? Or should I do my strength work on the bike with sprints and big-gear grinding. LeMond highly recommends that you do this on the bike. Friel highly recommends that you do this in the gym. What a conundrum!

I have an extensive lifting background because I played lacrosse for a long time. I have not touched a weight in 1 and a half years since I stopped playing and started riding all the time. I am worried about gaining weight in the weight room. I am one of those short stocky guys who puts on muscle pretty quickly--of course, I used to lift primarily to put on bulk so I wouldn't get pushed around on the field so much (high weight, low rep). I am thinking that if I do lift, I may have to do more high-rep lower weight stuff, but will this defeat the purpose of gaining maximum strength? I have lost 10 pounds of muscle mostly from my upper body since I stopped lifting a lot, and I DO NOT want to gain that back. It has taken all this time of a lot of riding to melt that off. Should I cut out upper body weights alltogether and just do push-ups and sit-ups?

Let me know what ya'll think...
re: To lift or not to lift...853
Sep 6, 2002 8:01 AM
Weight training is helping me gain alot of strength, I'm on my 4th week of both dieting and lifting and I can already see the benifits. If you are worried about gaining upper body mass do this - Heavy, relatively low reps(8-10)for legs using basic lifts like Squats,lunges,Leg presses,hack squats and straight legged deadlifts.
Lighter weight,higher rep for upper body, again stick w/ the basics - pullups,dumbell rows,shoulder presses,bench presses,barbell curls,skull crushers(these cover every main upper body muscle)...
You do not need to do specific excersices like Concentration curls and cable crossovers these are Bbuilding moves that bring out detail, you just want overall strength. Also I recommend that you do Abs and Calfs every weight training session using high reps (15-20) These are stubborn muscles that recuperate quickly and need constant stimulation to gain strength.
Hope this helps.
I will post an up-date on my "Body For Life" challenge as soon as I get my Body fat measured on monday. 4 weeks down and 8 weeks to go, and the results so far are very positive.
And that's w/ only 3 25min cardio sessions and 3 weight training sessions a week!
I vote to ride the bikeozone
Sep 6, 2002 2:12 PM
I used to lift similar to a Freil schedule for 2 years about 4 years ago. For the last 2 years my coach has had me away from the gym and doing strength workouts on a trainer. Compared to 4 years ago I am 8 pounds lighter ( mostly upper body muscle ) and a lot better climber. Instead of doing squats I do workouts on a trainer with high watts/low cadence followed by plyometrics. It has made a big difference in my climbing. I have lost top end sprint power but I have gained climbing strength. On a group ride I may never win a sprint but come to the climbs and I can set the pace.
It sounds like you race mtn bikes like I do. I would say try more on the bike strength and less gym. If you want a fast sprint hit the gym.
You will need to do core strength work at a gym or at home.
re: To lift or not to
Sep 8, 2002 11:46 PM
i cannot completely relate to your situation because i train as a triathlete. i used to lift like you . . . actually i'm ashamed to say i still do all year round. now it's going to change.

i'm reading Joe Friel's "Triathlon Training Bible" right now. The issue of weights vs endurance is not so simple in triathlon . . . because they're are actually several categories of ability: aerobic endurance, anerobic endurance, speed, power, etc

in triathlon (and much in cycling) we must train all of these areas before peaking in race season in order to be the best atheletes we can be. some workouts are anaerobic (higher HR), but most aerobic (lower HR) . . . and of course, the gym

keep in mind, that any lifting can only help you (Prevents injuries, builds the anaerobic, etc) the thing you have to watch out for is that lifting does put much more stress on your body in endurance sports. so it takes much more time for your body to recover from training. you made need more rest; better plan your training. you may need to cut out harder cycling days when you're sore from lifts.

slow-twitch (endurance) fibers recover faster than fast-twitch. however, the aerobic system builds slower than the anerobic. SO, YOU MUST at least keep your fitness levels up. several weeks off aerobic activity, and your back to square one.

you have to decide what kinda of cyclist you are. if you need power, i'd go with medium-to-heavy lifts. if want to be fast, contract faster. if you want muscle endurance, lift lighter-to-medium lifts with high reps.

as Joe Friel says in his book, make a list of objectives. don't aim for everything (like i do) or you'll end up in failure. in the base periods, you go for adaptation - that is, just lifting to lift. then you move to more specific training for speed and power. AND CUT OUT THE LIFTS at least a week before important races.