How to improve strenght without gym machines

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Posts: 417
Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 7:54 pm
Location: Italy

by toskij

I found some craft methods to improve my leg strenght and your opinions
are welcome:
-standing in front of a step 50-60 cm tall, carring weights ( I use 8 kg for hand), I go up and down changing legs. In my opinion this practice is like I throw legs down on pedals.during a climb.
- standing on the same step, in the diver position, I jump with both feet together more I can, and when landing I do a little bounce.
This exercise improve fast strenght and reactivity of leg muscles.
What do you think about?
too old to mtb, too young to die!

Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: West Sussex, UK

by marktickner

Many more exercises to concider if your looking to build usefull strength for your cycling:

1. Squats using own body weight with feet shoulder width apart (also try squats with legs same width apart as when you are cycling).
2. Squats using dumbells by your side.
3. Squats with one leg in front of the other approx. 15-18".
4. Lunges using your body weight.
5. Lunges using weights.
6. Calf raises on stairs with both legs together.
7. Single leg calf raises on stair.
8. Step up's onto chair or step approx. knee height.

Obviously there are many non cycling exercises but the most important thing to concentrate on is not the effort but rather the way you perform the exercise.
Slow and controlled is the way to build strength.
Think about perfect posture at all times.
Pause for 1-2 secs between lifts or exercises.
Keep your lower back in perfect alignment with your spine and do not arch it at all.
You should be able to perform every repetition perfectly and the last 2-3 reps should be an effort. Once finished you should be able to possibly perform 1-3 more reps. So do not go to fatigue!

A good guide to start is to perform 4 exercises. Do 2 sets of 15 reps with 30 secs rest between. Do this twice a week over winter for 6 weeks.
Then perform 2-3 sets of 12 reps at possibly a little heavier (remebering perfect technique!) for 4 weeks.
Then for 2-3 weeks perform 2-3 sets at 8-10 reps thinking of explosive movements. Speed and power. Heavier weights. Perfect technique and posture.

Once this programme is finished you should be close to racing (maybe 1-2 weeks away).

Functional cycle specific strength could be exercises like:
1. Perform a steady ride of bewtween 45mins - 90 mins at 50-70 rpm at a moderate heart rate (below lactate threshold and staying aerobic). The heart rate won't be high as the rpms are slow. Change gears where neccessary to keep the rpms correct.
2. Perform hills 3-4 reps of between 2-10 mins staying seated. Keep cadence consistant. Heart rate above lactate threshold to anaerobic threshold. Full recovery between repeats of 5-15 mins.
3. Same as above but standing.
4. Steady paced climbs but then power over the last 100m or so excellerating as hard as you can. This will build power.
5. Stay in a fixed gear (52x15/17 approx.) for 30-90 mins. The cadence will change throughout the ride as the terrain changes. Obviously for an extra challenge go on a hillier route! But do not change gears! Heart rate is dependant on the effort!

Many many ways to build useful and functional strength but keep the sessions interesting.
I use these technique sessions with the cyclists and triathletes I coach to great effect.

Have fun!

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Posts: 417
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by toskij

Ok marktickner, thank you for the contibution , but yours are the conventional methods we all apply in cycling, while I would like to know if the unusual exercise I mentioned really works for cycling or I am wasting time and if someone already used them and what results. Your answer seems to advice me to leave it.
too old to mtb, too young to die!

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