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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:21 am 
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I am in agreement with most people on here in that core training is not a significant asset for most road cyclists, however, I came across this article today: http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/articl ... hing-31165

The guy obviously has an incredible background both in terms of practical and academic experience and quite a few Garmin riders have improved their TT under his tutelage. I was wondering if anyone had any idea if any of his research regarding core strength and metabolic efficiency was published and readable online? It makes logical sense that the core doesn't necessarily need to be strong, but constantly engaged so I am wondering how you could train just for minor engagement to improve overall lactate clearing, etc. It makes me rethink ideas on saddle position, shape, reach, and drop on both a TT bike and road bike.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:37 am 
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yeah the part on metabolic efficiency is quite interesting, especially when he mentions arm position. The few tips on position at the end are nice too. I might change my arm extension position after reading this article.

Surely the best way to use your core when TTing is... to use them as little as possible, since they can create fatigue and they are useless working muscles during the effort. Sure they need to work, but as little and as efficiently as possible.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:00 am 
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A few observations.

1) he refers to lactic acid being cleared. I am hoping this is a journalistic error and not one of the good doctor's.

2) overal the observations re: metabolic cost and position are highly valid BUT it is not clear how this is tested. You cannot put someone in a highly aggressive (aero) position and say "ah! This is too stressful in the rider," without allowing adaptations to take place. If after 3months of being in that position then maybe you can draw those conclusions.

3) there are also a couple of issues putting extensions forward, both pertaining to UCI regs, the first being that the extensions cannot be more than 75cm forward of the vertical plane from the BB, and second, that the arms cannot be past a 120degree angle.

4) Here's what Mark Rippetoe says on core strength training:- http://startingstrength.com/articles/co ... ppetoe.pdf

5) some observations by Alex Simmons re: aerodynamics for the IP http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2011/07/ ... r.html?m=1

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:01 am 
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Well he said that he uses a normal blood lactate test to test the positions while in the tunnel so I'd imagine that he just goes based on significant changes in those tests IE if the mean is lets say 3,3.1, 3.2, 5, 1 etc he goes for the best average and goes from there.

I'm familiar with Rippetoe since I have a background in elite powerlifting and I don't trust a single word of what he says- the internet has drastically overinflated his qualifications especially in regards to athletic training. In addition, I'm just wondering how someone would train the core not for strength, but for metabolic efficiency. I think we can all agree that for most regular road riders going the compound movement and heavy ab work route that is effective for true core strength isn't what he really means. I am wondering if static movements, planks, aggressive mobility work, circuits, or something of that nature might work just because the emphasis is more on metabolic efficiency longer slightly more aerobic type of off the bike training.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:58 am 
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I am sure the methods are more complex than detailed in a mere article but going on the face of it it would seem that time to adapt to a less than ideal position for power production but more aerodynamic does not factor adaptation time. As highlighted by Alex's blog the w/cda is the ruler to be measured by. I personally prefer to take extreme aero positions and then see if the person adapts. One has to consider how fast we would ride if the was no drag.

And I also think that one should ride in a TT position closer to 2-3 times a week if any sort of TTing is your goal.

Rippetoe is very outspoken and has a strong following. But that doesn't make him wrong. The points I take away from the article is that 1) the core is grossly misunderstood even by "experts" (my experience as well) 2) how does one really quantify if a person has weak core/core endurance?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:56 pm 
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I guess in this case its not a matter of pure strength, but the ability to recruit it during an aerobic effort to help with overall efficiency. In all honesty it sounds like:

1. Getting used to the position.
2. Making small changes to look at power numbers for the duration of the event.
3. Working off the bike to increase the imbalances that constrain one's position.
4. Don't neglect a weak link in this area if it is one because it can harm metabolic efficiency to some degree.

I wish there would be some sort of info on exactly how to tell if its a weak point and what you should do if it is (if you're a road cyclist). His position seems to be that there is a sweet spot around that w/cda area where simple power might not be the key determinant, but the efficiency at that power level. If you watched the TTT this year many riders had completely different positions than during the ITT- mainly the Sky and Garmin riders. I digress, but its kind of interesting to a degree. Although one might adapt to a more aero position over time the adaptation might not be necessary to get the fastest actual position in all reality. I think his point is that you don't have to guess and test, but can determine it all at once by looking at various biochemical profiles in the wind tunnel. I keep digressing, but his method has worked on the highest possible level, but he fails to note how one would determine where they are inefficient.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:41 pm 
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KWalker wrote:
If you watched the TTT this year many riders had completely different positions than during the ITT- mainly the Sky and Garmin riders.


Did I get this right? You're saying that some riders used different positions for the TTT compared with the ITT yes? Interesting - do you have some pictures to illustrate it?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:13 am 
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not that a sample size of 1 makes something true, but I've been tracking my own performance and every few months doing 1-2 weeks of work focused mostly on endurance in core musculature, and *boy* does it make a difference for me in the max 3-5 minute wattage I can put out (i.e. 10-15% gain in those numbers for me after months of relative stability) and only during those periods of increased core training. I've also seen that during those intervals, tightening my lower abs (the ones that are deep, not the rectus) immediately seems to change my form and allow me to go harder for longer.

That's been enough to sell me totally.

There are many critiques to what I'm saying, but I believe that the core training has allowed me to be more aware of those muscles and how to use them to my advantage, where I ignored them before or didn't have the strength to use them. This has improved my form and efficiency, no doubt, but I'm seeing such a strong effect that there should also be some other gains to boot. I read the weight-lifting article and didn't find it all that compelling.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:30 am 
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mrfish wrote:
KWalker wrote:
If you watched the TTT this year many riders had completely different positions than during the ITT- mainly the Sky and Garmin riders.


Did I get this right? You're saying that some riders used different positions for the TTT compared with the ITT yes? Interesting - do you have some pictures to illustrate it?


I don't have a reference handy but the Brit Track Team were looking into this I believe in terms of the individual and team pursuit. They found, IIRC, that what may be an optimised aerodynamic position for the IP hindered the other riders in the TP.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:28 pm 
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mrfish wrote:
KWalker wrote:
If you watched the TTT this year many riders had completely different positions than during the ITT- mainly the Sky and Garmin riders.


Did I get this right? You're saying that some riders used different positions for the TTT compared with the ITT yes? Interesting - do you have some pictures to illustrate it?


Yes, look at the bikes. Sky used bikes with lower basebars and higher elbow rests for the TTT, and then used their setups from earlier this season in the normal TT. I know that there was an article about the fitting done at Saxo Bank and they said that Cancellara had 3 setups- prologue/TTT, normal TT, and a hillier TT setup. The power demands of a TTT are different and since riders spend a lot of time out of the wind I would expect that maybe the bikes might have an emphasis on placing the rider in a position to put out more power for a shorter duration.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:17 pm 
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I think you will find that Team Sky used the same bars for both TT's with the same positions. The reason that they would have gone with that set up is that it is a much "cleaner" set up then there normal set up. I would think that they will keep them reserved for major TT's only.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:18 pm 
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Agree with the thought for ITT vs TTT. I also now remember Michael Hutchinson (UK time trial wonderboy) saying that he used a higher position for a 10m TT compared with longer ones as the 10 is about brute power whereas the others are about sustainable power.

Post some pictures, then we can clear this one up.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:11 pm 
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these are some links to pics on cyclingnews. The pics are not great for the TTT but is shows the set up/ body positions on some riders like Thomas (white jersey).
TTT
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-fran ... tos/180388
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-fran ... tos/180378
ITT
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-fran ... tos/184298
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-fran ... tos/184278
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-fran ... tos/184297

there are a number of reasons for having low base bar set up. One good reason when it comes to a TTT is that when your on the base bar your back/body shape is pretty much the same, allowing you to recover yet help keep aero in the team line.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:16 pm 
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A main focus of Ed Burke, PhD is to maintain balance within the body through strength training in off season, offsetting the eccentricities caused by repetitive use during the long cycling season.

No one's going to be a pro racer forever. So even if you are (going to be) a pro , this is worth some effort because eventually we will have to use our bodies for stuff like walking down the hall to play bingo or dominoes!


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Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:16 pm 


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