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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Two things on that. 1) the difference in the actual energy required to accelerate the heavy wheel v the lighter wheel is very small. 2) a harder gear may drop you cadence but if speed is a constant then the power (and effort) doesn't change.

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Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:52 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:43 am 
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Tapeworm wrote:
Two things on that. 1) the difference in the actual energy required to accelerate the heavy wheel v the lighter wheel is very small. 2) a harder gear may drop you cadence but if speed is a constant then the power (and effort) doesn't change.

1. I never suggested it made a large difference, I was only saying that is the only difference it would make!
2. The idea was to keep power output the same, but increase the force your legs exert on the pedals. Even though the amount of work you're doing is the same, you are doing it in a different way, which will affect your legs differently. Increasing force and reducing cadence by using a harder gear is similar to cycling up a steep hill (as in no more gears left) with a lot of extra weight on your bike. To have an appreciable effect, any added weight would have to be a reasonable % of total rider & bike weight. I think a harder gear is much better for building leg strength than a heavier bike. You can vary the resistance a lot more than by adding weight, you can do it on the flat, and you can always shift to an easier gear...

I hope you don't misunderstand - I am a firm believer in lighter+faster=heavier+slower, i.e. power output is what matters when training, and that people who load up their bikes are really wasting their time. Especially when they add like 2-3kg. But, if you are training specifically for leg strength then a 20kg bike is better than a 6kg bike (when doing hills). (Although I would choose the 6kg bike and put it in a harder gear, if that was my aim.)

EDIT: I'll just add that, personally, I think squats would be a better way to improve leg strength. When doing hills on the bike I think it is better to go up them in a sensible gear, as fast as you can. That way also enables you to maintain your threshold power for longer.


Last edited by g8torade on Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:50 am 
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Stats wrote:
i've never tried it - but i'm still wondering how would it make no difference? surely the extra weight would force you to use more strength to pull up during a pedal stroke?

Ever played on seesaws as a kid? Your crankset is pretty much the same thing. In the upstroke you don't have to lift your ankle weight because you have the very same weight on your other foot going down. You only have to use a bit more energy to overcome the ankle weights inertia to get them moving.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:05 am 
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If you want speed and power do uphill big ring sprints both seated and standing. Forget ankle weights

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:58 am 
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I find it amusing this thread because it shows how fashions change. And from the outset I think ankle weights is a non-starter and as someone else stated appears to be a recipe for ruining your knees.

In the late 60's when I started, the new thing on the block was weight training: it was the future and some of the cycling coaches in the UK stated the Continentals with their high training mileages would be consigned to the bin in the brave new world of increased strength.

There was a huge argument about this a couple of years ago on Veloriders (42 x 20 gearing for winter, i.e., one argued it helped the off season to kep ticking over). The new coaching wisdom was that such low gearing is a waste of time, but equally that weight training for strength on a bike (this crept into the argument) is also a waste of time.

So, like Starnut said, if it was based on strength then linebackers would be best on a bike. Now I know Lawrence Taylor was a great LB but I never envisaged him winning the Tour. And what Rusty stated was what the cycling coach suggested in the above argument. If you want to increase your strength, do big chainring intervals on a high gear on a hill.

Which now brings us back to the late 60's and early 70's when Merckx would train specifically at high speeds and behind a derny; or as Barry Hoban once told me as to why Roger DeVlaeminck was such a great classics rider, i.e., that they would do 200k training rides where everyone was wasted, but RDV would then do another 50 or 60k's at insane speeds.

Wonder what the next fad will be!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:34 pm 
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The Powercranks with the clutch in them will more effectively work your legs for cycling than ankle weights alone. They work your hip flexors hard and your coordination, its hard just to ride at all with them!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:45 am 
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neil7 wrote:
The Powercranks with the clutch in them will more effectively work your legs for cycling than ankle weights alone. They work your hip flexors hard and your coordination, its hard just to ride at all with them!


Powercranks will help de-train you. If you are looking at improving your power steer well away from them. There are some benefits to single leg cycling but it involves not having to pull on the upstroke. Powercranks are pure marketing hype.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:17 pm 
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sure riding a heavier bike or wheels will require you to produce more watts to keep up with someone with a lighter bike etc, but that only works when your required to ride at someone else's pace, and even then to get any real benefit it would necessitate that all your training involves following someone else's pace which is absurd. Last time i checked modern training is highly individualized..you train at a pace (watts these days) based off your current physiological limits in order to raise those limits, make them more efficient etc. It's not like you go to the gym and hammer out a set of squats based on what an olympic bodybuilder can do b/c u wanna become said bodybuilder..thats just a recipe for bodily harm and disaster. You have to train off your own limits not someone else's. Riding a heavier bike all the time...assuming your not a complete idiot and you train based off your own limits...will only make you go slower up the same climb as a guy who weighs the same and has a lighter bike Notice what i just emphasized...rider weight. How much you weigh has a far greater impact on how many watts you produce than a wheelset than is 2lbs heavier. When's the last time you heard someone blame their climbing performance on being 2 lbs overweight? NEVER! You can throw far more excess weight into the equation by being overweight than you ever can by adding weight to your bike. Therein lies the true ridiculousness of the 'heavier wheels/heavier bike = faster rider philosophy." If that were really the case then pro cyclists would be packing on 50lbs in the off season then getting liposuction right before their racing season begins. Sure adding more weight to the equation requires you to produce more power up the same climb than a lighter rider but its not like you couldnt simply ride harder. The bottom line is that you wont get faster(i.e. become a better endurance cyclist) from adding more weight to the equation. If your goal is simply to produce a shit ton of power then hit the weights till the cows come how and become a track sprinter....oh wait thats dependent on your own physiological limiters(i.e. how much of your muscle composition is fast twitch fibers). Any chump can increase his muscle mass but its not everyday you see someone win the Tour de France and thats why bike racing kicks so much more ass all other sports combined HA!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:44 am 
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I'll dig this out of the dust bin to say that I rode my trainer (Elite Power) up Alpe D'Huez today wearing ankle weights and...found it smoothed out my stroke and increased my power. I was very surprised. As someone noted above, the thing with pedals is that the pull up on one side is aided by the push down on the other so ankle weights should not help the pull back power much. What is not anticipated in the discussion above is that the extra ankle weight on the down stroke feels like it creates a flywheel effect on the crank, aiding the quad/glute combo on the way down.

The always inaccurate (with that trainer) power numbers were my highest ever on that course, my heart rate was fairly high, my time was the fastest, and I felt relatively less fatigue along the way. As counterinuitive as that may seem in light of this thread, that was the result. The weights were not huge, 2 lbs or so each, but enough to give momentum coming over the top of the stroke.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:41 am 
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The effect you refer to is known as inertia load cycling. There has been some research as to it's effects and why it works for some and not others. So far it hasn't translated to the road that i am aware of. Google "interia load cycling", also Jim Martin and Andy Coggan, both I believe have done research to this.

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"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:08 am 
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A bike with panniers that are loaded slow you down and make hills longer and harder. Thus works as a nice training aid.

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