New posts

strength training discussion thread

March 24, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
Posts: 10976
Joined: June 4, 2008

Looking for some feedback: I'm in decent shape, 5'11, 160 lbs. My primary motivation for going to the gym is for general fitness and to build/maintain strength for cycling and skiing.

If that is your only motivation I'd suggest you focus on cycling and skiing as those will work out your muscles that you use to cycle and ski. As for general fitness, that is something that is impossible to pursue in the long term.

As someone who trains pretty extensively, I can say that I didn't get my resort-powder legs until early March (and I'm of the minority that looks forwards to leg days over upper body days).

If you're looking for other, more tangible reasons to strength train there's a bunch of us here who can offer suggestions.

March 24, 2014, 9:37 p.m.
Posts: 1521
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

If that is your only motivation I'd suggest you focus on cycling and skiing as those will work out your muscles that you use to cycle and ski. As for general fitness, that is something that is impossible to pursue in the long term.

As someone who trains pretty extensively, I can say that I didn't get my resort-powder legs until early March (and I'm of the minority that looks forwards to leg days over upper body days).

If you're looking for other, more tangible reasons to strength train there's a bunch of us here who can offer suggestions.

There are a few other reasons I work out. I hope that additional strength training will provide cycling benefits (both road and mountain) in terms of speed, endurance, agility, and injury avoidance. I've also had some knee pain which my physio suggested is partially due to muscle imbalances in my legs (likely due to having strong "cycling" muscles from a lot of miles on the bike, but little else in terms of strength training). I'd like to avoid any further complications from working certain muscles excessively while completely ignoring others.

What do you mean by general fitness being impossible to pursue in the long term? I realize "general fitness" is pretty vague, but I don't know how else to express the concept I'm getting after. As a full time desk jockey, I can feel my body deteriorating every day I spend staring at my monitor. I want to stay strong enough to continue cycling/skiing/etc. I guess just doing those activities regularly would probably be enough, like you suggested, but I'm curious why you say general fitness is impossible to pursue.

Thanks for the responses!

Way back from the old school days of NSMB…

March 24, 2014, 10:10 p.m.
Posts: 10976
Joined: June 4, 2008

I've also had some knee pain which my physio suggested is partially due to muscle imbalances in my legs (likely due to having strong "cycling" muscles from a lot of miles on the bike, but little else in terms of strength training). I'd like to avoid any further complications from working certain muscles excessively while completely ignoring others.

Not to take anything away from that prognosis whatsoever, but do you do any form of massage? Be it through some other person, or something like foam-rolling? I have knee issues and a lot of it is from a ton of neglect in keeping my IT band and other parts supple. If you do get massage, and you haven't threatened to kill the person if they touch the side of your thigh like that again, you might want to check it out.

What do you mean by general fitness being impossible to pursue in the long term? I realize "general fitness" is pretty vague, but I don't know how else to express the concept I'm getting after. As a full time desk jockey, I can feel my body deteriorating every day I spend staring at my monitor. I want to stay strong enough to continue cycling/skiing/etc. I guess just doing those activities regularly would probably be enough, like you suggested, but I'm curious why you say general fitness is impossible to pursue.

I've seen a lot of short term faces in the gym. The high majority of them do general-fitness. The few people I've seen long term are doing something specific with obvious goals in mind.

I say it's 'impossible' because without specific goals the gym becomes an incredibly boring place and you will quickly find other things to do in that time. Furthermore without those goals, and if you don't have a good trainer, you'll likely not take the initiative to learn what you need to do in order to stay balanced and continue progressing, which sends things further south.

March 26, 2014, 8:32 a.m.
Posts: 1521
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

Not to take anything away from that prognosis whatsoever, but do you do any form of massage? Be it through some other person, or something like foam-rolling? I have knee issues and a lot of it is from a ton of neglect in keeping my IT band and other parts supple. If you do get massage, and you haven't threatened to kill the person if they touch the side of your thigh like that again, you might want to check it out.

I do foam rolling to work on the IT band and I'm going to start getting some massage work done as well, on the advice of a knee specialist I saw . I definitely struggle at keeping those parts supple too.

I've seen a lot of short term faces in the gym. The high majority of them do general-fitness. The few people I've seen long term are doing something specific with obvious goals in mind.

I say it's 'impossible' because without specific goals the gym becomes an incredibly boring place and you will quickly find other things to do in that time. Furthermore without those goals, and if you don't have a good trainer, you'll likely not take the initiative to learn what you need to do in order to stay balanced and continue progressing, which sends things further south.

Understood, I can relate. I have dropped off the wagon in the past and stopped working out regularly, and in hindsight, a lack of goals and routine were probably a big factor.

I think I'll take syncro's suggestion to put together a circuit and focus on upping my consistency and frequency of workouts.

Thanks for the feeback!

Way back from the old school days of NSMB…

March 26, 2014, 8:55 a.m.
Posts: 431
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

I don't want to turn this thread into a Crossfit discussion. However, this CF document does a really good job of defining general fitness in a way that nicely captures the trickiness of balancing strength, power and endurance (and others).

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ-trial.pdf

There's nothing better than an Orangina after cheating death with Digger.

March 26, 2014, 8:57 a.m.
Posts: 1061
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

^^^

that's one of the things i like about crossfit.

context is everything

March 26, 2014, 5:14 p.m.
Posts: 203
Joined: Feb. 19, 2006

Just get a broomstick or similar pole. Put it along your spine and over your butt. If there is no gap between the pole and your back, you're rounding. Eventually, you'll know when you're rounding or not just by feel.

This cannot be overstated. Learn to feel what your body is doing. If it helps, you can also record video of yourself doing various things, then review. If you're concerned about something being off, focus on that and try to remember how it feels through the range of motion. Review video again and again until you can associate how it feels to what you can see.

If you can feel what's wrong, it's much easier to fix problems with form.

I am training as though I am going to compete as a power lifter (back into it since October after a year+ off). I've taken some program principles from the late, great Doug Hepburn, and have modified them to fit my schedule. I also practice aikido and am getting back into cycling.

I'm happy to talk strength programming with anyone!

April 14, 2014, 1:32 p.m.
Posts: 12663
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Came across this gem via the blog of an Austrian lifter/physical culturist….intense.
Thought I might share it with you Folks and some of you perhaps appreciate the video.

Nest of Giants

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer

May 6, 2014, 2:11 p.m.
Posts: 59
Joined: Feb. 18, 2014

i've been taking a sandbag class for the past 5 months. MAJOR workout, focused on HIIT, balance, core, stability, multi-muscles etc. it's helped my running and maybe riding (new to riding so who knows). i think it's helped my lactic acid threshold quite a bit too. highly recommend it.
lots of guys in the class who's butts get kicked every time just like the girls. :)

Nov. 23, 2014, 10:12 p.m.
Posts: 7566
Joined: March 7, 2004

I have been doing the stronglifts 5x5 program for about a month and am happy with the results so far. I haven't been riding as much, which is ok because I'm finding I am too fatigued from doing squats 3x per week to put out my normal effort on the bike. Normally I would be spending a lot of time on the indoor trainer this time of year, but i have not once this fall. Middle of January would be 12 weeks of doing this stronglifts program which is when most people max out and have to switch to a different program.

My half-baked plan has been to focus on strength training until the clocks change back and then go back to riding. But I am thinking I would probably like to keep lifting 1x per week just for some maintenance. But I'm wondering how to transition to riding (and xc racing) season. In January should i be looking at less strength training and more indoor trainer time? To be honest the strength training benefits on the aspects of my life outside of riding are more important to me than my mid-pack racing efforts…but I don't want to be totally out of "riding" shape come april. What say you NSMB?

Nov. 23, 2014, 11:03 p.m.
Posts: 14627
Joined: Dec. 30, 2002

My half-baked plan has been to focus on strength training until the clocks change back and then go back to riding. But I am thinking I would probably like to keep lifting 1x per week just for some maintenance. But I'm wondering how to transition to riding (and xc racing) season. In January should i be looking at less strength training and more indoor trainer time? To be honest the strength training benefits on the aspects of my life outside of riding are more important to me than my mid-pack racing efforts…but I don't want to be totally out of "riding" shape come april. What say you NSMB?

I found it hard to keep up my gym routine of way back when once I got back on the bike. Looking back, I think I easily could've dropped two days from the gym (was 6/7 days) to allow for riding and recovery. Depends how often you need to ride vs want to ride and how much maintenance you want to keep up or the muscle mass you want to keep.

I'm not sure what the 5x5 program entails as I havent googled it yet but if one of those 5's is a reference to the number of days, just space it out an extra day or two. Weeks are only linear on a calendar so you could 4x5 then ride and recover/day off. To keep the body guessing, start day 1 on the bike and then continue on the routine but rest after day 3 or 4 and then continue. Hardest part most people say about the gym is keeping the routine going. So make your own routine out of what you need and want to do.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

Nov. 24, 2014, 2:10 a.m.
Posts: 1061
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

I have been doing the stronglifts 5x5 program for about a month and am happy with the results so far. I haven't been riding as much, which is ok because I'm finding I am too fatigued from doing squats 3x per week to put out my normal effort on the bike. Normally I would be spending a lot of time on the indoor trainer this time of year, but i have not once this fall. Middle of January would be 12 weeks of doing this stronglifts program which is when most people max out and have to switch to a different program.

My half-baked plan has been to focus on strength training until the clocks change back and then go back to riding. But I am thinking I would probably like to keep lifting 1x per week just for some maintenance. But I'm wondering how to transition to riding (and xc racing) season. In January should i be looking at less strength training and more indoor trainer time? To be honest the strength training benefits on the aspects of my life outside of riding are more important to me than my mid-pack racing efforts…but I don't want to be totally out of "riding" shape come april. What say you NSMB?

i have been and am down this road regularly, except year round and not just seasonally. i have not done reasearch on this, but what i can give you is years of anecdotal evidence. for example i've done the nimby fifty at about 4hrs time while still squatting 315 for sets of 8-12 reps so i can give you some good insight here. as you're aware, you obviously can't maximize results at both ends of the stick, so you have to choose one or the other. the advantage of continuing to lift is increased power for sprints and short climbs and i recommend it. but, there is a point at which the lifting will start to negatively impact your riding and you of course want to keep your lifting below that point. considering that you're an experienced rider/racer you're well aware of where your performance on the bike should sit and should be able to quickly judge if you're doing too much. i will say that there are variables that can skew things one way or the other, but not so significantly that you're going to have a horrible time with things. the important thing is paying attention to your performance as previously mentioned.

firstly i would recommend training more than once per week. each muscle group should get hit 2x/wk but do your main lifts only once per week - ie train legs 2x/wk but squat only once per week. each workoout do a full body routine that has a few compound movements with opposing intensities for upper/lower body. so hard lower/easy upper and vice versa. in terms of how hard to train the short answer is to keep your strength training at 70-75% of your typical hard effort effort training day for your main lifts such as squats and at 40-50% for your secondary day doing something like step-ups for example. intensities for your upper body workout will be slightly different though. the volume (total number of sets/reps) should be kept fairly low and this will be easy to achieve as your training intensity is relatively low as well. the reason for this is that it takes far less to get ready for a 225lb squat than it does for a 315lb squat. you want to do 1-2 warmup sets and then 2 working sets. you can experiment with more work, higher intensity and/or one more set, if you feel your strength performance is starting to slip too much, but pay attention to your performace on the bike. if it starts to suffer then you need to scale back a bit.

here's a couple of sample workouts, these should only take you about 30 minutes to complete. do compound sets by doing two exercises together as i've listed.

workout A - "hard legs"
legs - squats @ 75%
shoulders - standing DB press @ 50%

back - pull ups @ 75%
chest - push-ups @ 70%

lower leg - standing one leg calf press @ 75% (free standing, not on a machine)
core - mountain climbers

workout B - "easy legs"
shoulders - high pulls or shoulder width grip upright rows @ 75%
legs - step ups @ 50%

chest - DB chest press @ 75%
back - chin ups @ 75%

back/legs - deadlifts @ 40%
core - superman planks

in terms of your on bike training, i would recommend doing a bit less than normal to account for the strength training by cutting back slightly on the volume and intensity of riding. without knowing what your training program is like or if you have one i would suggest something like the following:

one short and intense workout: 20min @ 90%
two shorter and easy/moderate workouts: 20-30min @ 60%
one long and moderate/more intense workout: 60min+ @ 80-90%

over the course of a week, i would combine the easy leg weight day with an easy bike day. between weights and bike this would give you 3 workouts per week where your legs are getting stressed and a total of 5 or 6 workouts. i would also plan a full rest day after the long bike day.

day 1 - hard leg day
day 2 - easy bike day
day 3 - short/intense bike day
day 4 - easy leg day + easy bike workout
day 5 - rest
day 6 - long bike day
day 7 - rest

context is everything

Dec. 15, 2014, 8:44 p.m.
Posts: 7566
Joined: March 7, 2004

I don't really have a set on the bike training program but I would usually do something like this:

tuesday - hard ride 1-2 hours
wednesday - rest
thursday - hard/medium ride 1-2 hours
friday - rest
saturday - hard ride 2-3 hours
sunday - hard/medium ride 2-3 hours
monday - rest

I think I am going to take your suggestion of lifting 2x per week and just fit riding in where I can and not really worry about training/racing this year. I think strength is an area I am really lacking and would be better off in the long run this way.

May 19, 2015, 2:28 p.m.
Posts: 12663
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Just wanted to share my enthusiasm with you. Last week I broke my personal record of reps of strict dead-hang pull-ups for five sets.

Before that I did a thousand rep of snatch-grip high-pulls for ten days, bar only and ten by ten with a focus on good form.
I think that one is a resukt from the other….

Even broke my pr on my commute yesterday.
I am really stoked. As Mr. West likes to say "That is all."

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer

May 20, 2015, 8:43 a.m.
Posts: 557
Joined: May 27, 2009

This winter I focussed on strength rather than the usual cardio or conditioning. Doing mostly a starting strength type routine I took my squat from essentially nothing having never done it to 1.5xBW or 300 lbs. While it felt good to see the numbers tick up now that I have transitioned back to outdoor activities riding, running, climbing its amazing to see how little of an effect it had on… well anything. Comparing the first few months of any season to the first few months of my post weights season my bike workouts are slower with a higher heart rate then the last few years…

Is there any non anecdotal evidence that strength training benefits other activities in otherwise fit athletic individuals?

At this point I think I am coming to the conclusion that weight lifting makes you better at …. weight lifting. And probably has its place, but that place is a couple months in the fall off season to potentially help with imbalances and injury prevention

Don't be an engineer, every one of them I've met is socially retarded

Forum jump: