Upper-body training for cyclists

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Mar 14, 2016
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jsem94 said:
If it were beneficial, why is no one doing it then? Sorry if this has been supposedly answered about a dozen times already....
A few riders are doing it. Sagan is one of them and he's a total beast.

As to why the majority of the peloton isn't doing it... Well, like in so many other aspects of life, the "we've always done it this way" mindset is a formidable obstacle to adopting new approaches.
 
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CheckMyPecs said:
jsem94 said:
If it were beneficial, why is no one doing it then? Sorry if this has been supposedly answered about a dozen times already....
A few riders are doing it. Sagan is one of them and he's a total beast.

As to why the majority of the peloton isn't doing it... Well, like in so many other aspects of life, the "we've always done it this way" mindset is a formidable obstacle to adopting new approaches.
Sagan isn't a GT/climbing specialist.
 
Mar 14, 2016
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LaFlorecita said:
Sagan isn't a GT/climbing specialist.
Evans is. Anyway, I believe we both agreed Evans proves it's possible for a rider with higher BMI to win the Tour.
 
I don't think anyone has ever said that it isn't possible, they're just saying that it won't be an advantage.
As for the If they had stronger upper bodies they wouldn't crash as often argument, well... sure, if they had stronger upper bodies they might not crash that often, they'd also not get over the mountains as fast as they need in order to be GC contenders. Making it a choice between getting over the mountains quickly enough but maybe crashing a bit more than they would if they had bigger upper bodies, and not crashing as often but getting over the mountains way behind the GC contenders.
Besides, you seem to still be ignoring the fact that you don't need to have big bulky muscles in order to be strong. Here's a picture of Chris Froome's legs.



As you can see they're pretty skinny, no big muscles. Would you argue Froome doesn't have strong legs?
 
Mar 14, 2016
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RedheadDane said:
if they had stronger upper bodies they might not crash that often, they'd also not get over the mountains as fast as they need in order to be GC contenders.
Where do you get that from?
 
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CheckMyPecs said:
RedheadDane said:
if they had stronger upper bodies they might not crash that often, they'd also not get over the mountains as fast as they need in order to be GC contenders.
Where do you get that from?
If they had bigger muscles they'd have more weight to carry over the mountains. There's a reason guys like Kittel - who have big muscles so they'll be better at doing what's their speciality - are notoriously bad at climbing. It's not because they're fat.
Why are you acting as if the GC contenders not having big muscles is somehow a personal offence towards you? Can't you just... Let It Go?
(And don't make me start singing!)
 
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RedheadDane said:
CheckMyPecs said:
RedheadDane said:
if they had stronger upper bodies they might not crash that often, they'd also not get over the mountains as fast as they need in order to be GC contenders.
Where do you get that from?
If they had bigger muscles they'd have more weight to carry over the mountains. There's a reason guys like Kittel - who have big muscles so they'll be better at doing what's their speciality - are notoriously bad at climbing. It's not because they're fat.
Why are you acting as if the GC contenders not having big muscles is somehow a personal offence towards you? Can't you just... Let It Go?
(And don't make me start singing!)
I think we are the ones who should Let It Go because clearly CMP as too much a strong opinion regarding this subject, however wrong, for it to able to be changed on rational terms.
 
Mar 14, 2016
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RedheadDane said:
If they had bigger muscles they'd have more weight to carry over the mountains.
There are two main factors at play here:

A) as you rightly said, muscles in the upper body means dragging more weight up the climbs (disadvantage)
B) bigger upper-body muscles also clear lactate and other metabolic waste from the bloodstream (advantage)

In short, single-climb stages, factor A prevails and lighter climbers have an advantage. In long, multiple-climb stages which push riders' endurance to the limit, factor B prevails and bulkier climbers have the upper hand.

Mountain stages in Grand Tours tend to be long and contain several climbs, so bulkier climbers win out overall.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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CheckMyPecs said:
There are two main factors at play here:

A) as you rightly said, muscles in the upper body means dragging more weight up the climbs (disadvantage)
B) bigger upper-body muscles also clear lactate and other metabolic waste from the bloodstream (advantage)

In short, single-climb stages, factor A prevails and lighter climbers have an advantage. In long, multiple-climb stages which push riders' endurance to the limit, factor B prevails and bulkier climbers have the upper hand.

Mountain stages in Grand Tours tend to be long and contain several climbs, so bulkier climbers win out overall.
I've never heard of the notion that bigger upper body muscles increase peak aerobic performance in sports where the work is done with your legs, but it makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense also that this effect would outweigh the extra work to be done due to being heavier when the climbs are long, and thus the extra weight debilitating.
 
Mar 14, 2016
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SeriousSam said:
I've never heard of the notion that bigger upper body muscles increase peak aerobic performance in sports where the work is done with your legs, but it makes perfect sense.
I posted a supporting link a few pages ago.
 
Feb 6, 2016
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CheckMyPecs said:
LaFlorecita said:
Sagan isn't a GT/climbing specialist.
Evans is. Anyway, I believe we both agreed Evans proves it's possible for a rider with higher BMI to win the Tour.
1) Someone asks why riders - especially GT specialists by implication, given that you've been claiming that they should be doing this most of all, despite the fact that it's diametrically opposed to their specialisation - aren't doing this already.
2) You say a few are lifting eg Sagan.
3) It's pointed out that Sagan is not a GT/climbing specialist
4) You bring in Evans, who has never been shown to be doing upper-body training.

Do you see the problem with your logic here?
(In fact, Evans all but directly contradicts your argument: Evans has a high BMI because he has developed musculature for power CLM, which is how he won his Tour. If he had that BMI because he looked like your avatar, he would NOT have won the Tour.)
(Also, BMI sucks.)
 
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Maaaaaaaarten said:
How is this discussion still going on? Isn't it obvious Checkmypecks is just trolling by this point? :p
His persistence is almost admirable at this point. It's like a shotgun approach but nothing hits. A bird-shot approach, if you will. But he just keeps reloading and shooting away, trying to fend off the rationalist hordes, like Bowie at the Alamo. So I salute you, CheckMyPecks, you've really made the grade!
 
Mar 14, 2016
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LaFlorecita said:
RedheadDane said:
Funny... most multi-climb stages I've seen have been won by a lighter rider. :)
Lighter climbers use less energy on the climbs than the heavier climbers :) that's why they usually do better on multi-climb stages
Yet, as we know, cycling is about more than just managing your energy budget. VO2 max, haematocrit, metabolic waste clearance and so many other factors influence the equation that it's simplistic to say lighter climbers have the advantage just because they spend marginally less energy.
 
Mar 14, 2016
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Danny van Poppel pulled off a spectacular handlebar grip yesterday to stay on his bike in the outrageously dangerous finale of the Tour de Suisse stage (a big round of sarcastic applause for the race organisers for needlessly putting the cyclists' life and limb in danger by placing a corner 150 m before the line).



Van Poppel's exploit has been variously described as "defying the laws of physics" and "unbelievable". We all know Danny did not actually defy the laws of physics, so the most scientifically parsimonious explanation is that he used his strong forearms to grip the handlebar hard —a conclusion supported by the picture, where we can see his arms are virtually the only point of contact between Danny and his bike.

I do not want to saturate this post with pictures, so I'll just be posting the link to a picture showing Danny's forearms, but you'll see they are significantly bigger than the average pro cyclist's.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leuven_-_Brabantse_Pijl,_15_april_2015,_vertrek_(B159).JPG
 
You know what Van Poppel isn't? A GC rider.
Nobody ever said bigger upper bodies couldn't be an advantage for sprinters, in fact it might very well be, what with all the boxing they have to engage in. (Not literal boxing, of course!)
I think it's safe to say the GC riders know what they're doing; seems to work pretty well as far as I can see. :)
 
No, that's about as much core strength as it is forearm strength. And also forearm strength =/= size. Often when I am try to save a crash if I put more effort into my core I save it better than when I just use forearms.
 
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RedheadDane said:
You know what Van Poppel isn't? A GC rider.
Nobody ever said bigger upper bodies couldn't be an advantage for sprinters, in fact it might very well be, what with all the boxing they have to engage in. (Not literal boxing, of course!)
I think it's safe to say the GC riders know what they're doing; seems to work pretty well as far as I can see. :)
He's constantly avoiding the obvious. Better to just let him be because he certainly isn't listening or just trolling.
 

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