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 Post subject: yoga vs weight lifting
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:15 pm 
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So, I've hit my mid-season slump but instead of trying to buy my way out of it I'm considering either yoga or hitting the gym. I understand both have benefits and drawbacks. Anyone have any advice?


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 Post subject: yoga vs weight lifting
Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:15 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:37 am 
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Well neither are really going to help your cycling.

Having done both for significant periods of time I would say weights are the best option for anyone who is living. Picking up and moving heavy things is a highly practical thing to train. Also if done correctly comes with a significant amount of flexibility anyhow. Proper strength training of likes of Rippetoe and co. would be my recommendation. Squat, deadlift, bench cleans etc. The downside is you'll be heavier and a few other negatives. But hell, picking up 120kgs is just cool. I have kids and a job that rewards strength so I lift a lot as well as ride. But not as fast as I used to be (unless it's a flying 200m).

Yoga, and I mean REAL yoga, is great if you want to find a bit of mental calm and balance. Unfortunately most gyms do not do real yoga and are glorified stretch classes with funky looking poses.

If you do either just expect the corresponding slide in cycling performance.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:58 am 
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Yoga can develop your trunk muscles, that will be beneficial for long hours in the saddle or sustaining an aerodynamic position. It won't help much for your bike specific performance though, I suppose.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:56 pm 
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Thanks for the responses. I figured yoga - even the real kind - would be a stretch, haha, but I'm surprised about the weight lifting. Why is it that on bike performance will slide? By gaining more muscle, will I not in turn be able to apply more force to the pedals? Obvisouly yes, weight will go up, won't power increase as well?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:16 am 
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DrunkinRoxtar wrote:
By gaining more muscle, will I not in turn be able to apply more force to the pedals? Obvisouly yes, weight will go up, won't power increase as well?


When you're spinning at 90rpm or more, you're really not putting much strength into the pedals. Not much force. Even in a sprint.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:27 am 
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Aerobic power has nothing to do with the amount of force required to move a weight 10,20,50 times.

The principals of specificity reign.

This is an oft raised topic, search through the archives in this forum and others for the long version.

More muscle does not always equate to more power (and you have more weight to lug around). Given that when cycling you would roughly perform 80-100 "reps" per MINUTE a leg press for 30reps does not translate. You could do 500 reps, but then, why not just ride?

As I mentioned for most people there are a host of real world benefits to lifting, just don't expect any transfer to cycling. CoachFergie is one who believed that even track sprinters do not need weights and they along with BMXers produce the largest amount of power of any rider. If they don't need it roadies sure as hell don't.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:04 am 
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Not that I will be saying that to a Sprinters face if I value what looks I currently have.

Cycling faster is not a matter of more force. At any given speed we can apply more force to the pedals. Certainly any aerobic event where the power is 150-600 watts (yes some pursuiters can sit on 600 watts, lucky buggers) you can always pedal harder. The limit is not strength. The limit is supply of energy to the working muscle or as Noakes would explain the drive from the nervous system to protect the body from harm. Either way, to reduce the limit you need to spend time training specifically to cause the aerobic adaptations in the working muscle or increase your tolerance for higher specific workloads.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:57 am 
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Go do some squats and deadlifts as your ability to lift grows it will make you feel awesome. And isn't that the point for all us non professional athletes. Don't forget bench, pull ups, and Arnold presses, keeps it well roundedrounded

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:17 am 
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I ride my bike to feel awesome. 27 years later and still need no supplemental, gimmicky or auxiliary awesomeness to put a smile on my dial then getting out and pushing the pedals.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:07 am 
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That's great the biking works for you.

But the original poster was looking for something to break a slump and the gym or yoga are excellent options. (I do both and they are great alternatives)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:47 am 
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DrunkinRoxtar wrote:
So, I've hit my mid-season slump


I took almost a week off then started back with some running, mountain biking and a road biking vacation. A break then mixing up the program worked wonders for me.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:49 am 
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I would look for on the bike methods to bust a slump. Drop the volume and lift the intensity. Allow for recovery and watch your power hit the roof!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:29 am 
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If it's the slump that's your main worry, just have a go at whatever you fancy. Something new to focus on will help lift your spirits.

As for the 2 options you mentioned, both can have a positive affect on your riding. Sure, leg presses on their own aren't going to give you a Griepel-like sprint, as the amount of force you apply to the pedal on each revolution (apart from a standing-start track sprint) isn't anywhere near the maximal force even Mr Average Joe can generate. However, the vast majority of us are no longer 18 years old, and able to get away with anything we throw at our bodies. Years of sedentary desk jobs, bad posture, body asymmetries, and thousands of miles on the bike lead to niggling injuries, muscle imbalances, and sub-optimal position on the bike.

The right weight program will help correct those muscle imbalances. Yoga can improve posture, flexibility, and breathing.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:41 pm 
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A few more random points :)

My experience is that while the two don't directly help your cycling speed, they boost your health and over-all athleticism. Just doing something different than sitting hunched over without any weight-bearing stress will (usually) make you feel more energized, less restricted range of leg motion, help your bone density (osteoporosis is bad news for guys who ride a lot) and on an intuitive level, having just a bit of meat on your frame helps when crashing. Cycling (especially lots of hours) is kind of catabolic and does a number on testosterone, so weights can help offset that.

If you watch lots of older vets out riding, often their spine/neck/shoulders look terrible on the bike from years of not stretching their range of motion or stabilizing their core. And then there are the back pains some people get.

I started weights and yoga once a week last year while racing elite and was generally healthier and more balanced from it. But I'm a skinny guy, so maybe weights help me more than guys who are pretty buff to start with.


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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:41 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:23 pm 
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While I don't think lifting can help cycling directly, it can help in other ways that might benefit your riding experience. Here's a great example-

I have a friend that went from cat 4 to elite in cross last season. He started commuting on a fixed gear in college, kept doing it afterwards, and generally rides 40 to 60 miles a day. He has no structure- he just 'does'. Some days is faster, some is slower, some is intervals, etc. He also likes to feel balanced as a person and there is a gym next to his work where he showers so he also lifts a bit twice a week. He also does yoga for an hour every day, but to be honest its just more of a prolonged stretching routine. He rides pretty damn well- he was beating cat 2 cross racers on a single speed during his first race and he can hold his own pretty well on the road too. His logic is that he's not getting paid, he doesn't really gain much weight from the type of lifting he does, and it makes it so his exercise and life are more balanced and one activity doesn't take over all of his focus.

I personally am going to be off the bike for about 6 weeks because I am burned out from racing every single weekend for the past 5 months. I work a desk job and my posture has turned to shit. My back is as crooked as an S and its not healthy long term, so I started doing mobility, stretching, and stabilization exercises and will start to do some trail running. Running won't help me become a better cyclist, but it helps me become more of a person and will make sure that I do something aerobic and don't get completely fat during the off season. I will probably continue to run 1-2 times a week during early base and keep up with the mobility work to minimize the damage done during the season. The only reason I don't lift is because I used to be a pretty high strong powerlifter (701 squat, 435 bench, 601 deadlift) before I started riding and I put on weight extremely fast even on reduced calories. I like doing circuit work instead and find that it gives me some of the same benefits without weight gain. I race on the road and my LT power to weight isn't amazing so I don't want to gain any more kg than I have to.

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