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Gym & cross training.


Maximum Pace
Jan 14, 2007
What do you guys do besides riding?

I've been hitting the gym 3 to 4 times a week and working on my legs mostly.
Leg presses, calf raises, leg curls, leg lifts, bike machine etc... after 5 years of cycling only I can see an improvement.

Going to start mixing in a bit of swimming too now that the weather is warming.

Is just cycling enough?
I go to the local town sports center about twice a week. Usually just some rowing and chest presses to try and keep *some* balance between upper and lower body and to prevent fatigue in the shoulders/upper back on the longer rides.

They have ancient Lifecycles there that provide watts data and they're good for doing intervals (never have the displicine to do intervals outdoors, always having too much fun just riding.)

No leg strength work at all--from what I've read (on the Web, for what it's worth), it doesn't seem to do much for your cycling unless you're on the track (and sprinting?), but I have no idea if that's true or not...???

Also, a little core exercise routine about 2X week at home.

Would like to do another sport like badminton just for the variety, but cycling takes so much time, I'm not sure how to fit it in...
I had the 2nd computerised body check last night.

I've been working mostly on leg strength and riding the aero bike as much as possible.

Lost 3kgs in 2 months but the funny thing is (according to the computer) I lost about 500gms of muscle from both legs. :eek:

My over all core strength has improved a lot. My sore lower back pain has gone and it doesn't hurt when I sprint. 2 weeks ago I won the Sunday morning sprint which was a good confidence booster...

Talked to the gym instructor about cycling specific training but could tell I knew more than her... hope she looks into it and gives me some good advice.

Still need to lose a lot of weight.... :warau:
I use a cross trainer for an hour most mornings. Great for losing weight - you can burn about 1300-1400 calories in an hour according to the machine. Give you a bit of a cardio workout too - sit in 160-185bpm for around the last 20 mins. Don't help at all on leg strength or endurance, but I think they might help a bit on arm/shoulders to the extent required for heavy climbing.
Yoga & Carrot Juice

Actually, I don't drink carrot juice. Not regularly, anyway.

But, my wife and I did take up yoga about three months ago, and we try to do a 50 minute beginners' workout at least twice a week. I have noticed a significant improvement in flexibility and core strength. I suffer from regular lower back pain, but yoga and exercise have virtually eliminated daily discomfort. Since I began commuting to work last year, major pain has only occurred once. Hardly scientific evidence, I know, but I am a firm believer in yoga as an adjunct to sports & regular exercise. I no longer lift weights at the gym, as I prefer non-loading exercises, aerobic machines & swimming.

I would love to train for a triathlon, but I seem unable at present to commit to the rigorous cross-training needed. Actually, I just seem unable to commit to any kind of rigorous training... I just recently began experimenting with brick training (swimming, followed by cycling; cycling, followed by a run, etc.). Too soon to know how general strength and fitness are affected.

Edogawakikkoman, you say you have been going to the gym around 3 times a week and mostly doing legs. how many actual leg weight sessions do you do? I guess once a week should be enough, maybe 1.5 times, and twice a week the maximum. if you were doing 2 to 3 leg workouts a week, and if the the report of a loss in muscle mass was correct, you could easily have been over training.

i.e. a muscle group should need around 3 days to fully recover from a weights workout, and considering the amount of bike you also do, I guess once a week would suffice.

note also, even if you did two leg sessions a week and made some gains, that's not to say that once a week could be even more beneficial.

I spent about 10 years in the gym, mostly during my 20s, so my knowledge is dated now, but in general it seems that the gym monkeys do a lot less than what was done years ago. and further, maybe it's different for people who use gym to aid other sports as compared to bodybuilders.

I've given up the gym, and have been doing yoga for the past 1.5 years, I'm also a firm believer in yoga :) it gives a good balance of stretching, breathing, relaxing, balance and strength. I never did do abdominal training when I was in the gym... why do sit ups when you can be bench pressing?! so I had no core strength, but after a year of yoga my core muscles are way up! and still didn't have to do a sit up ;)

I may return to the gym one day, for some overall strength and balance, and to slow the natural loss of muscle mass as we age :) and then it would only be once a week (e.g. squats, bench, chins, rows). but for now, yoga seems enough.

also, I'm a little surprised some of you guys are on the bikes at the gym etc., any reason for not using wind trainers?
I agree with the overtraining. I tend to overdo things.
I'm on a program at the gym and it is really for people who are out of condition.
The gym monkeys take one look at my BMI and assume I have never done any exercise in my life.
The program they have me on can be done daily but I've been putting the weights up too high I think (trying to lift max load capacity).

Even if their figures on my leg muscle loss are correct, I've noticed my sprinting muscle power is a lot better than when I was just riding only. (could be due to stronger all over improvemnts back and gut etc as well).

I do an ab cruncher machine, a back extension machine and a ab twister machine which have all helped my core power. I should try yoga next as well. I'ma lzy stretcher and need more flexibility.

Today I had a full medical with the company I work at and there were improvements on last years figures except my weight is not dropping to where it should be. They asked me if I exercised and what I ate etc...

One reason I get on the bike at the gym as well is to warm up the body, watch TV at the same time abd concentrate on watts/calories/heart & cadence for a while. I add the kms done to my normal cycling diary as well to boost the tally.

I also use a roller at home when it's raining and took one up to the snow last week and had some good owrk outs on that. (got a good book full of trainer interval work outs).

There is also a gym at the school I work at so if my schedule looks good I may quit the gym and use the one at school in my free time. The scenary at the gym is nice too. :cool:
Is it a one day split? i.e. whole body gets trained in the one workout.
If so, and you are getting to the gym 3-4 times a week, maybe a 2 day split would be better, it would allow you to hit each muscle group harder and have more rest time. and rest (recovery time) is important :)

And nothing wrong with lifting more! i.e. less reps. I always enjoyed the 1 to 6 rep range :)

You could do a Lower (legs and abs) and Upper (chest, back, ...) split.
And if you are focusing more on legs, do the Lower day 1 to 2 times a week, and the Upper day once.

You could also have a Cardio day, where you don't do any weights, but 60 to 90 mins of just cardio (see below).

And even a Yoga day, if you try that and like it (if so, please try power yoga, and maybe hata yoga, but beware of yoga and original yoga, maybe too easy).

So, you could have 4 programs to choose from when you rock up to the gym:
A) Lower body and abs (bike for warm up, e.g. 10 to 20 mins)
B) Upper body (bike, as above)
C) Cardio (60-90 mins, again see below)
D) Yoga (and maybe bike, 20 to 30 mins).

Note also, that a weights workout should be around 45 to 60 mins, no longer.

So for example, one week could be: Lower, Upper, Lower
and the following week: Cardio, Lower, Yoga, Upper. etc.

Goods news on the sprinting improvement!!
I might consider doing a little leg training myself.
Although I'm not allowed to sprint, due to lower back troubles.
But I've always wanted bigger legs anyway ;)

Now to the cardio.
I think the reason behind cross training (at least 10 years ago ;)) is this...
As (I guess) you have cycled a lot, your body would have come efficient at doing so. Great for winning races and going on those long rides, but not so good for loosing those love handles etc. :)
An example of cross training could be going to the gym and doing 60 mins of the different cardio machines. Years ago I used to do the rowing machine, the stepper and bike, 20 mins of each say.
Depending on what they have there you could try and make up the total time with different machines, and even with no bike, keeping that for the other day's warm ups etc.
e.g. I couldn't run, so I used to walk on the treadmill. At around 6 km/h and on a step incline, calories can be clocked up :)
Point is, keep things different to keep your body on its toes and not becoming too efficient :)

And yes, ah- the gym scenery :) Another reason to try a few yoga classes ;P
oh and...

I forgot to mention, if the cross training and increased cardio doesn't lead to weight loss, then you may have to turn to the dreaded last resort:
a reduction in calorie intake!:eek: and this does include beer:confused:
Getting faster

Up until about July last year, my goal in the gym was to bulk up. Generally speaking, Mondays was chest and biceps; Tuesdays was legs; Thursdays was back; Fridays was shoulders and triceps. This breakdown, coupled with limiting my workouts to about 35-40 minutes each, ensured that I didn't overtrain. This, combined with whey protein supplementation (I don't eat meat), was very effective in building mass.

However, I was just getting into cycling, and a friend commented that I would probably be a faster cyclist if I shed some muscle. This may sound weird, but I was actually starting to get embarrassed when I went out in my cycling kit, because I was stretching it so much (god that sounds pathetic). It just looked a little ... overkill -- why all the muscles?

My big revelation came when I was riding out near Sagami-ko and met a guy from the Nalsima Friend team. It turned out we were both heading to Wada Pass, so we decided to climb it together. While we were riding, he actually commented on my arms. By this time, I was already feeling like more of a cyclist than a gym rat, and I bashfully told him that I was actually trying to slim down and develop more of a cycling physique. This was a big change for me because not long before then, all I wanted was big "guns." Anyway, he schooled me big-time on the climb, even riding back down after he had reached the top to help "pull" me up.

The previous day, I had done heavy squats and deadlifts in the gym (exercises that should not be done on the same day), as if training for American football. On the climb, I felt heavy and tired. And slow. It was pretty much at that point that I decided to change my training routine and do exercises that would actually benefit my cycling.

I'm still trying to find the right balance of exercises, but the upshot is this: I've lost about 7kg (down from 82kg to 75kg now) of mainly muscle since that day on Wada Pass and I am a heck of a lot faster on the bike.

Gone are the deadlifts and bench presses. Gone are the heavy lat pull-downs. Now my workouts are centered around core training, with some arms and back mixed in to stay toned and as well as maintain strength on the climbs.

For the legs, I do squats about every other week, but my main leg workouts come from the anaerobic bike trainer, on which I do intervals and measure my wattage. Recently, I may have been overdoing the intervals, hitting them hard on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This may have been causing me to lose power on the weekend climbs.

Like I said, I'm still trying to find the right balance/timing. I am definitely still learning how to train for cycling. But by focusing more on core work, consuming fewer calories and doing hard intervals, I have made real progress on the bike. Oh, and I still supplement with whey protein -- just not three times a day anymore.

I do miss the muscles a bit, though. :warau:

Deej, interesting stuff there.

I'm still keeping away from the weights, finally to (just!) under 80kg, usually I'm around 86kg if doing some gym work.
I was thinking it's nearly time to maybe do a light workout once a week, but one problem I have is that I've always loved heavy (low rep) training, and it's not long after I start up again that I'm trying to stack on the weight! Also, I guess I find it kind of boring lifting less than what I did in my prime ;P
As you say, it's about finding that right balance, and what you enjoy also.

And good point about the protein, I take some after training, be it yoga, cycling, gym, ...
BTW, what are you using?
I found it a little hard to get some WPI here, i.e. they seem to market it differently? Or just don't have it??
Anyway, now I using Kentai 100% CFM Weigh Protein.
in calorie intake! and this does include beer

Beer? From my cold, dead hands. :mad:

Seriously, though, great information here. I think it's time I implemented something more structured than trying to ride a lot and doing occasional random intervals. On Sunday, Pete was also telling me about very specific training for specific races/rides, and that's something I'd like to start doing as well.
Training/Racing for specific races.

I record my races data on my Polar HRM and then when I do the race the following year I get out the file for the race and look at my heart rate....the altitude in comparison and then get on the roller and try and duplicate the exact result again

Heavier gears for uphill simulation/lower gears for down hill simulation. (the heart doesn't know you've got the gears the wrong way around but it will feel the same it did in the race.

Shimofusa Friendly Park training. 2 minutes hard one minute very hard. Or 90 seconds hard 30 seconds very hard on the roller. The heart gets used to doing the 1.5km circuit that is slighly uphill at the finish line....

Saiko Lake is 10kms 2 km down 6km flat and 2km up...I've got th course on DVD at 40kph taken from the car. Set up the roller and the DVD and mimic slow easy down hill & the stress of the uphill at the 8km mark etc trying to mimic my race HRM data.....If I do this the weeks leading up to the race my heart has some indication of what is expected. (I hope).

With these new Garmin GPS monitors this kind of training can be much easier....you don't actually have to go to the mountain to ride it....simulate it with your HRM as a guide. I ride Yamanashi often but I only go there once a year.

I didn't go to the gym today but kept busy gardening/cleaning around the house etc..the blisters I get from weeding is harder than the gym anyway.

Back to the relaxing gym sessions tomorrow.
one problem I have is that I've always loved heavy (low rep) training, and it's not long after I start up again that I'm trying to stack on the weight!

I hear you. To be honest, my motivation to go to the gym has declined a bit since I stopped lifting the heavy stuff. I had the system down, and could easily chart my progress and see the results week after week. I felt in control.

Now, I'm trying to develop new training routines centered around my new life as a cyclist, and there is some guesswork going on, a little trial-and-error. And though I'm flying blind to an extent, I'm also enjoying mixing things up in the gym in ways that I never did before -- some medicine ball twists here, some back extensions there, weighted incline sit-ups. On rest days now, I'll often just stretch. Actually, I've been thinking a lot about yoga lately, as I am about the least flexible person you'll ever meet. I think yoga would help me in many ways, mentally and physically.

Ultimately, I'm convinced I'm in better shape and have a body that is much more "practical" now that I'm doing more core and flexibility work -- not to mention riding a bike in the mountains on weekends. :)

But I still enjoy hitting the weights, even if they are dishearteningly lighter than before. I just condense more target areas into a single workout.

And good point about the protein, I take some after training, be it yoga, cycling, gym, ...
BTW, what are you using?
I found it a little hard to get some WPI here, i.e. they seem to market it differently? Or just don't have it??
Anyway, now I using Kentai 100% CFM Weigh Protein.

Yeah, I hit the protein after my workouts and rides, too. I almost feel as though all the work is wasted if I don't get the protein in within 30 minutes of finishing.

I'm anything but an expert on whey protein, but when looking at products offered here, I often compare protein/fat/sugar/calorie ratios among brands. I try to avoid the heavily sweetened, high-calorie stuff, but sometimes the choices are limited. Right now, I'm using Weider Muscle Fit protein, which is far from top-of-the-line, but it's probably good enough for my needs (in other words, it fits my budget).

weight lifting for cyclists

Hi, I met some of you guys at Hotaka last year and just came across this site.

With regards to weight training, I can't recommend this book enough:


It helps you design your own off-season weight training plan. I was going to the gym 3 times a week through the winter but now just once for "maintenance", although it's hard to motivate yourself to do that as the spring weather arrives and you have more chances to get outside and ride.

Anyway, give it a look and see you at the next race!:bike:

thanks for the heads up about the book, looks like it could be interesting and useful.
what did you think of it Edogawa...? (Peter, is it? :))?
thanks for the heads up about the book, looks like it could be interesting and useful.
what did you think of it Edogawa...? (Peter, is it? :))?

Definitely a good book, the problem being, I have so many exercise books and they all have different approaches.

Just went to the gym and could feel my legs were still toast so did an easier work out and had a sit in the sauna.

Think I'll keep up the weigths just not so intense and ad in some yoga, body pump classes, and switch around on the aero machines a bit more and also jump in the pool now that's getting warmer.

I've got the triathletes bible, Lance Armstrongs 7 weeks plan, 2 book fulls of interval training and roller plans for HRMs and numerous other books....

Reading them all cuts into exercise time too...and furhter confuses me as to what I should do.
Yes, first post!

I wrote a bit about strength training using the book on our team's website.


The book details some good exercises, and guides you through changes in intensity through different training phases. I really enjoyed using it over the winter and I think I notice the difference on the bike this year.

Just that book alone should send you in the right direction. I know what you mean about too many books and cutting in on exercise time... true story... I used to work daft hours for a company in London before I came to Japan. My sister was a bit concerned, so she bought me a book called "effective time management" but I never had time to read it! How I love being able to waste away the hours now on the bike in the great countryside of Niigata!

Anyway, interesting site, keep up the good work!

Fat !

Have you got any recos for an old fat git on meds with delusions about getting up Kusatsu the week after next, then round Sado 210km at end of May, with a Tokyo Century Ride in between, interspersed with a near-permanent infusion of Sauvignon Blanc to cope with, amongst other aliments (or ailments).

Mind you - the bike is a feather !!

Looks like good stuff you are posting. I have just returned from the UK where the bookshelves are groaning with all the magazines covering Spring regimes. Can't help thinking, over recent weeks, that just getting on your bike and riding it works pretty well, if only to remind you of how better you really could be if you put your mind to it (ever so slightly tongue in cheek !).

Seriously though, Philip was on to me about intervals on the trainer recently and I am going to give that a go. I also realise that to achieve a healthy BMI I need to lose 8-10kg and that should help me up the hills too. Simple really.

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