Saturday, March 06, 2010

Really! on the bike strength work!?!

a good article here and me doing a little bit of venting...


Gale Bernheardt recently had an article on active.com about an injured athlete she was working with. He could not do threshold intervals or tempo intervals for long periods. the collar bone injury was to much.

However, the athlete could do short very intense intervals. 20-40 seconds. so max efforts were prescribed. article here. At the end she notes improvement in not only shorter duration efforts but longer ones as well.
This is a good read. worth the 5 min.read. EK Endurance Coaching athletes will read this and say i did. "yeah! I was doing this 3 years ago!"

It is another case confirming recent studies with strength training (they finally use trained cyclist instead of random couch potato #1-2-3) and my own less scientific study I did over the last 2 years on this topic.


the short of that experiment:

Weights= max power gains of 2%
On the bike strength work= 10% gain in max power (in half the time as with weights)

This article also sounds like...
This and this the presentations I give about weights being a waist of time for cyclist and triathletes and ... OK that's enough of tooting the EK E.C. horn.


But Eric his max power didn't go up in this case? why?
Most likely because of his injury he wasn't ablt to really go ALL OUT on these shorter efforts. but rather at a 1' -5' mean, maximal power out put. still the results are great. also when doing on the bike strength work you get the added benefit of... well, riding! your effort, the strength your building is specific its... here's that word, "functional". AND... while these people are building "strength" they are also getting many endurance adaptations like capillary growth, mitochondrial density and, the big one here, better neurological function.

This is almost like doing one workout with two effects...

lifting weights is great. for lifting weights. I was having a conversation with 2 personal trainers a few weeks ago on a ski vacation about this. someone asked us in the bar

"do you think P-90X really works?"
"hell yeah" i said.
"confusing muscles, making them adapt and grow all the time sure it works, but for what?" I said. "what are you gona do with this new strength? if its pull ups, flinging ropes around, doing shoulder press while standing on one leg, yeah. if its a bike race or 1/2 ironman. no way"

My new friend Mike (a personal trainer for years) chimed in
"yep. he's right. I see people, alot actually, who improve greatly on leg press but when they go to do squats, nothing. no improvement, it doesn't transfer"
I had never heard this example before but it made perfect sense to me. still it sounds hard to believe...
his friend, another personal trainer, looked over and said. "all of my muscle is for show only. if i help a friend move or something, i'm the first one to get tired". We all laughed. funny but true.

A Few things I have heard some highly respected coaches and personal trainers say/ talk about:

~There is no such thing as cross training. (cross working out maybe)
~Functional strength work is the only way to go.
~Weights might help but at what cost? how much time is it gona take to improve 1%?
~If your weakness is week enough it will hold back everything else.
~Even if your weakness is not race specific it can be the cause of you not reaching your goal.
~X-country will make you stronger at x-country skiing, not riding. you'll stay "fit", happy, and it'll keep you from gaining weight. but it won't directly make you ride faster.
~Fitness is in the muscles! your lunges don't get bigger!

So... miracle intervals? not really, just smart training.

5 comments:

Nick T. said...

Gonna have to respectfully disagree with you on this one… While weight training or other “cross training” activities are not a substitute for time on the bike, they definitely can be used to compliment it in a properly thought out training plan (i.e. don’t lift on your rest day!).

Couple thoughts:

1. Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity and involves very specific muscle groups. Too much specific training in ANY sport can lead to muscle imbalance, and increase the chance of overuse injuries like tendonitis. Since most of us are “training for life” it bears to reason that adding some amount of cross training will make us healthier and less prone to injury. This can be as simple as going for a walk with your significant other (spouse, dog, etc.) regularly.
2. I don’t have anything handy to cite, but it has been proven that stronger/fitter core muscles reduce fatigue over longer endurance events. These muscles are not loaded specifically enough in on the bike training and thus need to be worked out separately. There is a reason most ProTour teams have now implemented core workouts/yoga during training camps!
3. At some point, more specific muscle overload will be necessary to continue to increase results. Maybe its not needed to take your sprint from 1300-1500 watts, but probably to take it from 1500-1700! There is a reason most track racers and specific sprinter types hit the gym.
4. I have felt stronger and more stable on the bike the years I have used a specific weight/plyo metric routine. (and I have tried both) That is enough for me!

EK Endurance Coaching said...

good points. Clarification:
~Core training is always necessary. not talking about that.
~Injury prevention is KEY! staying over all healthy and avoiding muscle imbalance may be necessary. weights are one way to do that. Yes train for life!! I like it!
~Take sprint from X to Y with weights... only if you have LOTS of time. I don't. track races is a different animal. Taking 3 hrs a week to get .001% is worth it to many on the velodrome.
Good points! Thanks Nick!

Anonymous said...

well said by both. Thanks Eric!! when's the Fall training camp??

Erik Kenneth said...

Nice work EK. Nick may have a point that the benefits of weight training depend heavily on your current level of fitness and the training time you have to work with. (Why not do both and grab the 12%?) Like anything I suspect that weight training would need to be blended into a complete training plan like those you offer on your site. I will acquiesce to your knowledge in this area. (You can thank me later for the shameless plug.)

One thing you didn´t mention though is mental fatigue. I think this might deserve some attention. (Maybe an article?) I´ve always found that a switch to some cross-training activities during the fall and winter months served to keep me fresh for February when I needed to plug in those 30hr weeks. I´ve been known to take the entire month of November off the bike and running, swimming and weight training are my staples during the winter. I believe most of us have a finite amount of motivational reserves, and I choose to save mine for when I really need them.

Hope this helps.
Koep

Erik Koep said...

Nice work EK. Nick may have a point that the benefits of weight training depend heavily on your current level of fitness and the training time you have to work with. (Why not do both and grab the 12%?) Like anything I suspect that weight training would need to be blended into a complete training plan like those you offer on your site. I will acquiesce to your knowledge in this area. (You can thank me later for the shameless plug.)

One thing you didn´t mention though is mental fatigue. I think this might deserve some attention. (Maybe an article?) I´ve always found that a switch to some cross-training activities during the fall and winter months served to keep me fresh for February when I needed to plug in those 30hr weeks. I´ve been known to take the entire month of November off the bike and running, swimming and weight training are my staples during the winter. I believe most of us have a finite amount of motivational reserves, and I choose to save mine for when I really need them.

Hope this helps.
Koep