Ideas for weights training

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by Tapeworm

^ and I'll also add that this applies to aerobic cycling power pertaining to road cycling. CX, mountain biking, track, triathlon etc have different demands and would require different training.
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by Kermithimself

Thanks for the input TW. Just to make sure that I understand what you're saying

- Do squats, deadlifts, benchpress/pushups and chins
- Heavy weights, low reps - I usually do 4-5 sets with 3 reps
- Power cleans, jerks etc. are good for explosive power, but overall better to stick with the basic exercises listed first
- Kettlebells can be a nice addition to the basic exercises as it brings in some conditioning training as well

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by Tapeworm

Yep. :thumbup:

If you need more specific adaptations I can suggest more specific exercises. For example I am working on improving my strength endurance for BJJ - kettlebells and high volume work then become relevant.

Generally though if just an off-season "tune up" the basics will work wonders.

And, if anyone was wondering, the "core" gets plenty of work with a heavy barbell on your back, no need to do a gazillion sit-ups etc.
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by Rick

This video has some interesting training ideas: ... ure=relate

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by Courant

A bit late to this thread but just wanted to say Tapeworm is bang on the money. Four exercises (squat, deadlift, press-up, chin-up) get you the bulk of the way there. However, I also want to add that the only/main missing thing from these exercises is any kind of anti-twisting/rotation core work (anti-flexion/extension is covered by deadlifts and push-ups respectively). It's only a subjective opinion, but my personal feeling is that this is quite an important omission (having done variants of the big-four for a few years, and having started to introduce some other exercises last winter only to continue further this winter), mainly because a lot of the core loading you experience on the bike is asymmetric, also there's been some interesting research regarding back injury prevention. I could ramble about this a bit, but I think it's just worth saying that you might wish to look at some very simple additions to that program, e.g. the addition of a suitcase carry (can be done as a warm-up), palloff press (simple but devastatingly effecive!), press-up/row variants that have a twisting load component (e.g. renegade rows), or turkish-getups (my current exercise-du-jour, because it's technically challenging, curiously entertaining, and it's sorting out my hunched over shoulders!" onclick=";return false;).

Have fun!
Last edited by Courant on Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by sanrensho

Courant wrote: I could ramble about this a bit...

Please do!

I've been looking for this exact thing (db exercises with a core component) and you're post is very helpful. I do an upper body workout with dumbbells every other day for overall conditioning, and wanted to incorporate some core strengthening movements without breaking out the resistance bands.

[Edited for semantic reasons]
Last edited by sanrensho on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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by Tapeworm

Please read Courant's post carefully, the exercises mentioned help strengthen against twisting, the exercise itself does not twist the spine (great way to be injured). And I concur re Turkish get ups, very... interesting when they get heavy!
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
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by Courant


Gosh, where to start. First, from a performance point of view, in life and other sports in general, the core is often used to transmit rotational loads from the hips to the shoulders. Throwing, punching, running, carrying the shopping etc., all have this, and it's quite an important contributor to performance. At the basic end of things, every time you take a step, you put a twisting load on your pelvis (think carrying a big christmas present in its box from the post office ;-) ). In the extreme, e.g. in boxing or throwing sports, it's a performance limiter (the hardest punch you can throw is not dependent on your max bench press, it's dependent on the speed/recruitment of the core). I'm sure you can find better pictures of this, but the women's heptathon is a good case in point, these girls have awesome ab development and their anti-twist function during running is obvious (as it is with their other events). ... 21948.html" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Even on a bike you're in a similar place. E.g. when out of the saddle, your hips are rotating your pelvis one way, your arms are rotating the opposite, your core is transmitting this load. (And this is the one area I've noticed a distinct improvement on on-bike performance, getting out of the saddle and giving it beans now feels much more effective, I can really muscle the bars and keep my shoulders/back stable). (Google Serape Effect for more on this aspect of performance)

From an injury prevention point of view, there is scientific evidence that twisting and bending the spine at the same time is particularly bad. Developing the ability to withstand such loads is thus an important part of injury prevention. Bear in mind though that the other way to look at this is through flexibility mobility work - if twisting/bending of the spine places you in a compromised position, reducing the need for the spine to twist/bend through hip and shoulder flexibility work is equally as important. Stuart McGill has written lots on this, he has an excellent book and a number of papers to his name, also some interviews on the web to give you a flavour.

What this means in practice is to emphasise exercises that replicate this loading.

Don't bench press, use press-ups instead. Not only is the straight press-up a great core exercise (keeping your body straight, and it also recruits some important shoulder stabilisers - the bench has also zero core involvement), you can load it up in extremely challenging ways, also with rotational loading. If you're wedded to the idea of benching, then the one good bench variant is a dumbell press with alternating arms (i.e. you only work one arm at a time, the other stays straight and loaded). Similarly, if you're shoulder pressing, do it standing and with one arm working at a time. One arm dumbell snatches are also interesting if you're up to it technically. Some more ideas here: ... ch_press_1" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Bridges, both regular (one-leg ideal!) or side bridges.

Single leg variants of both squats and deadlifts (as above).

Chin/pull-ups are essential (though make sure you do them with good form to maximise training effect of shoulder stabilisers). But you can have fun with rows: inverted blast strap rows, also with one arm; renegade rows (essentially a loaded 3-point plank, very challenging!).

As before, suitcase carries, palloff presses (bands are good for this ;-) ), and turkish getups are all great (should be obvious why by now!). There are other variants on the palloff press theme too, see this links for some other ideas (e.g. med-balls etc.): ... e_exercise" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false; ... training_1" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Don't forget flexibility. Usefully, most of the above also challenge your mobility too, but (if you're like me and most other cyclists I know well!) you might require additional hip and shoulder work. Band stretches for the shoulder are particularly good; hips need hamstring, hip flexor, internal and external rotation work. ... e-missing/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Hope this helps!


"And I concur re Turkish get ups, very... interesting when they get heavy!"

As I said, "curiously entertaining" ;-). I must admit, i didn't get Turkish getups until I'd got the technique down and did my first "heavy", then the penny dropped and my other half got an excited my coming back from the gym going, "wow, this is a great *#!$ing exercise!!!".
Last edited by Courant on Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by Gonzalo

Well a good way to start, with doing 1 set of 4 of everything. A very manageable weight nothing that is difficult, to do 5 times. Legs one day upper, the other day.After three weeks or when you have no soreness, start adding weight and identifying your weaknesses and work on them.

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by sullifrog

Crossfit Endurance.

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by savechief


Your posts so far have been extremely informative. Thank you very much. I wanted to pick your collective brains a bit more based on some of the things that you've advocated.

I've heard both of you say to keep it simple with the basic lifts, and Tapeworm, you advocated high weight, low reps. In the past, I have followed a 5x5 program, specifically this one:" onclick=";return false; (Stronglifts 5x5)

If you're not completely familiar with this specific one, here are the highlights:

- Workout A = Squat, Bench Press, Inverted Rows, Push ups (apparently called press ups over the pond), Reverse crunch
- Workout B = Squat, Barbell overhead press, Deadlift, Pullup/Chinup, Planks
- 5 sets of 5 for squat, bench press, overhead press
- 1 set of 5 for deadlift
- 3 sets to failure for all the rest
- Increase weight by 5 pounds once 5x5 can be done with good form
- 2-3 workouts per week, alternating workouts A & B

I just wanted to get your opinions as to how this workout fits with what you think is beneficial to a cyclist. How would you modify it to make it more beneficial (sounds like adding some anti-rotation moves would be beneficial)?
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by Tapeworm

It mainly depends on what your particular goals are. I personally find the 5x5 are little brutal if you are trying to combine this with any decent amount of cycling as well. 3 set of 5 reps seems to be more generally accepted level and still produces results without putting you too deep in the hole.

If you were wanting a particular strength focus for whatever reason and could reduce the cycling volume then the Stronglifts program you've linked should cover all bases.

For any supplemental exercises to address specific weaknesses you would have to first identify what those weaknesses are first.

As for the benefits to cycling, there is all sort of voodoo and mystical explanations of what strength training does for endurance cycling - muscle fibre type conversion, increased motor recruitment, reduce energy cost etc etc, of which none has really been conclusively proven for endurance cycling... yet. Some studies are getting close but the other issue is the range of what constitutes "strength training".

The single most important benefit to strength training, the only one which warrants its use and the only "justification" that is required is the very simple premises that it gets you strong.

For most of us, even those who cycle are lot, are largely sedentary, sitting at desks or on chair and couches for long periods of time. There is a lot of our bodies which don't then get used. Strength training helps address this and keeps us physically able. If, without weight gain, you could improve your deadlift from 0 - 100kgs then you are, by definition, stronger. A stronger frame from the same weight can only be a good thing. It may not help your lactate threshold but it dramatically reduces chances of injury from twisting slightly the wrong way when bringing in the shopping, or lifting the kids up or picking up a pot plant... you get the idea.

If I'm wrong and there is benefit from strength training which does transfer to aerobic performance then this is just icing on the cake. I know I'll lift until the day I die.

In the example above I have one rider who has done exactly that, at ~68kgs bodyweight gone from never having touched a barbell to a 100kg deadlift. Now for a "proper" lifter this is peanuts but for a skinny enduro its pretty blood good. As training demands change the lifting may be dropped if it starts to interfere with the cycling but it will then be resumed when the training/racing volume changes.

That's my 2 cents. Again, changes depending on what goals are. If you're a track sprinter, or kilo rider, or cyclo rider etc then things would be approached slightly differently.
"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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