Upper-body training for cyclists

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
yetanothergreenworld said:
If memory serves, Sergei Belov's excess pectoral weight lost him the 1985 Hell of the West on the Morgul-Bismarck wall:

I don't think it was just the pectoral weight. Look a those arms! No wonder he blew up so early on that climb.
 
The muscles that are developed are primarily anaerobic good for 2 min( max 5 min) power but absolutely useless in a >4 hr race which is predominantly aerobic. They might be good for some sprinters to get a little more in the sprints but that's the only utility on the bike. The requirements of the hands on the bike are also predominantly aerobic( its only 7 kg bike). They are essentially dead weight. One might get away with them on the flats but in the mountains they will cause one to get dropped. The transition from skinny to looking muscular requires to put on at least 5 kg. That means a reduction in p/w from 6 to 5.6 for 7kg cyclist or from top 10 to mid pack in a GT.
 
carton said:
yetanothergreenworld said:
If memory serves, Sergei Belov's excess pectoral weight lost him the 1985 Hell of the West on the Morgul-Bismarck wall:

I don't think it was just the pectoral weight. Look a those arms! No wonder he blew up so early on that climb.
Also, I don't think they had adequate wind-tunnel data on roller derby helmets back then. :rolleyes:
 
Re: Re:

Cance > TheRest said:
CheckMyPecs said:
MikeTichondrius said:
CheckMyPecs said:
Jancouver said:
Why? Because it is all about power to weight ratio and upper body muscles are just an extra weight :cool:
It's better to lose a few seconds than to lose your dignity.
Username coherent with argument.
I can think of many reasons why cyclists should train their upper bodies to boost their performance:

*stronger forearms mean cyclists can grip their handlebar better and thus prevent falls
*stronger abs and core muscles protect the spine and help prevent back injuries

etc.
Many of the best bike handlers and descenders in the peloton are actually climbers with skinny arms.
Not at all, ever riders' best descender list contains sprinters and guys like Cancellara.
 
Mar 14, 2016
3,093
4
0
Re:

SeriousSam said:
Armstrong was quick uphill despite his weight, not because of it.

This, surely, is the ideal cyclist upper body
Clinic issues asside, 99.9% of cyclists would gladly exchange what Lance achieved "despite" his muscles for what they achieved with their scrawny little torsos.

Another example? Check out German track cyclist Robert Förstemann:



His palmares includes 2 bronze medals and 1 gold at the WCs, bronze at the London Olympics, and a silver and a gold medal at the ECs.
 
Aug 4, 2010
11,337
0
0
Re: Re:

PremierAndrew said:
CheckMyPecs said:
Jancouver said:
Why? Because it is all about power to weight ratio and upper body muscles are just an extra weight :cool:
It's better to lose a few seconds than to lose your dignity.
Your dignity has nothing to do with how your upper body looks. The majority of people work out because they are insecure about themselves/their bodies, and gain self-esteem by making themselves stronger, often in the hope of becoming more attractive to the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter)

Road and track cyclists have absolutely nothing to gain from gaining muscle on their upper body (except maybe to a very limited extent the cobbles specialists)
Very good post.+100


Also the Forsterman pic belongs to clinic :p
 
Mar 31, 2010
18,136
2
0
CheckMyPecs said:
This is pathetic.



I've got a big upper body and I manage to win a few races here and there every season. Sure, I win at the amateur level, but blokes with better genetics than mine should be able to do the same in pro races.
I get your frustration. I also don't like these overly skinny guys, especially when it's not their build and or they are tall and it looks terrible (froome, dombrowski, gesink, mollema, kruiswijk, zakarin) I almost puke.

I much rather have these guys tearing down mountains and races












unfortunately they will be harder to find. only prospect is colombians since they can all climb no matter what their body is, but they are often small in lenght.

in general every upperbody gram is a lost gram. you need no power there. doesn't stop me form rooting for the guys that actually look like they are something or at least look natural
 
Re: Re:

burning said:
Cance > TheRest said:
CheckMyPecs said:
MikeTichondrius said:
CheckMyPecs said:
It's better to lose a few seconds than to lose your dignity.
Username coherent with argument.
I can think of many reasons why cyclists should train their upper bodies to boost their performance:

*stronger forearms mean cyclists can grip their handlebar better and thus prevent falls
*stronger abs and core muscles protect the spine and help prevent back injuries

etc.
Many of the best bike handlers and descenders in the peloton are actually climbers with skinny arms.
Not at all, ever riders' best descender list contains sprinters and guys like Cancellara.
Mind you, I didn't say all of the greatest bike handlers are climbers, just that many of the best descenders are climbers. Which is true. There are many good bike handlers/descenders among the TT'ists, classic riders and sprinters, as you say. Point being, the whole "arm-strength makes better bike handler"-argument doesn't seem to apply in pro cycling, at least.
 
Aug 31, 2012
7,550
1
0
Oh that's post retirement? In that case, seeing as he was no longer subject to the stringent anti-doping controls of cycling, there must be doubt as to whether this muscular physique was achieved unaided.
 
Mar 14, 2016
3,093
4
0
Re: Re:

PremierAndrew said:
Your dignity has nothing to do with how your upper body looks. The majority of people work out because they are insecure about themselves/their bodies, and gain self-esteem by making themselves stronger, often in the hope of becoming more attractive to the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter)
Being strong all around (not just the legs or any other individual muscle group) is a sign of fitness. And everyone wants to be fit, right? So when you have a weak upper body you're basically sending the message that you don't respect yourself enough to get out and get fit.
 
Mar 14, 2016
3,093
4
0
Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Mods, please nuke this thread into oblivion!
Why? You can't censor a thread just because you don't agree with the argument it presents.

The point I am making is supported by reliable sources such as this one:

Weight! Don’t Forget Your Upper Body

Generally speaking, cyclists have great legs and butts. That’s from the hours and hours of riding we do. However, have you looked in the mirror at your upper body lately? Ever notice that above your waist, your muscles (what muscles you have) aren’t as defined or impressive as your legs? Or have you seen the Tour riders take off their jersies? They look like emaciated prisoners of war. Cyclists like riding and tend not to like training in the gym. We are afraid if we train our upper bodies, we will gain unwanted weight, albeit muscle, that we have to lug up hills. In this article, the last in my series on strength training, I will lay out some reasons why you should consider strengthening your upper body and core muscles.

When we push on the pedals, there is a transmission of power through our feet to the pedals. However, there must be something for your legs to push off of when generating power to the pedals, and that something is your core. Your core includes the muscles of the pelvis, abs, lower back and diaphragm. The force transmitted to the pedals must be counteracted by transmission of that power through your core to your arms to the handlebars. Have you ever tried pushing hard on the pedals without holding on to the handlebars? A strong core, shoulders and arms will help transmit that power efficiently with little loss. If weak, you will lose some power through an unstable core. I’m sure you’ve seen riders who are moving all over their bikes. Upper body motion is wasted power.

Although we tend to think most about our legs getting tired when we ride, your upper body will also get fatigued on long rides. You’ve probably noticed your back, shoulder or arms getting tired on long rides. The upper body uses a fairly static position when we ride on the road and can get tired and sore from holding itself that way. A toned upper body will help resist fatigue on long rides.

http://www.cyclesportcoaching.com/articleCU5.html
Note that this is not just a generic fitness website —it specialises in training cyclists.
 
I see musculature on each of these riders that pictures that have been posted. It's not like the greased up photo in your avatar but I'm certain that dude wouldn't come close to making it in under the time cut off on any semi-mountainous stage of any professional level event in Europe. The pros look the way that they do for an obvious reason, one that seems to have completely escaped you.
 
Firstly, as has been stated by many, upper body bulk in cycling simply results in a waste of resources. Why would you want to gain weight in your shoulders and arms, when it provides no additional benefit for the majority of endurance cyclists* , but actively and demonstrably slows you down when going uphill?


Secondly, you're confusing functional strength with muscle size. It's possible to achieve one without the other.

Bear in mind that most pro cyclists are relatively small (<80kg, and often <70kg), so they only need strength relative to their small body size. And the demands of the sport mean that excessive strength isn't required anyway.
A 65kg man doesn't need to be able to bench press 100kg in order to function as a pro cyclist. But that doesn't mean that cyclists don't possess strength in certain areas. It's just that this strength, that is functional to the sport of cycling, doesn't result in bulging biceps and ripped pecs!

Lots of people talk about "core strength" without ever really considering what it means, and it often tends to be confused with having strong or ripped abs. Better definitions tend to be along the lines of "the muscles that attach to, surround and stabilise the pelvis & spine". This includes the glutes and the hip flexors. I'm sure we can all agree that pro cyclists having pretty strong glutes & hip flexors?!
Other "core" muscles include important stabilising muscles that are hidden from view. When was the last time you looked at someone and admired their Tranverse Abdominus, or their Erector Spinae? Exactly - they're both incredibly important functional muscles, both of which stabilise the pelvis & spine, but you don't see that strength in photos...

Pro cyclists are very strong, in the areas that allow them to function as pro cyclists. Otherwise they wouldn't be pro cyclists!
Unfortunately this results them looking pretty terrible a lot of the time, especially climbers, and especially tall climbers.
But being pretty doesn't win any bike races. Being functional wins bike races. And that's what pro cyclists care about.



* track sprinting is a different sport, and road sprinting may benefit from some small upper body strength gains
 
Re: Re:

CheckMyPecs said:
PremierAndrew said:
Your dignity has nothing to do with how your upper body looks. The majority of people work out because they are insecure about themselves/their bodies, and gain self-esteem by making themselves stronger, often in the hope of becoming more attractive to the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter)
Being strong all around (not just the legs or any other individual muscle group) is a sign of fitness. And everyone wants to be fit, right? So when you have a weak upper body you're basically sending the message that you don't respect yourself enough to get out and get fit.
Being strong all around is a sign of "general" or "all around" fitness.
Fitness is activity-specific. A rugby player isn't usually fit to be a cyclist, just as a cyclist isn't usually fit to play rugby, and a swimmer isn't fit to be an Olympic weightlifter, and a tennis player isn't fit to be a gymnast.

Being small in the upper body, along with having powerful legs & glutes, and a massive aerobic capacity sends the message that you're fit to be a cyclist!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
R Exercise & Fitness Discussion 0

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts