Upper-body training for cyclists

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Libertine Seguros said:
But climbers can and DO do core strength training and workouts. Just not the kind that will give you a six pack and a jacked upper body, because that's not what they want nor should want for their type of specialization.
Exactly. You can be strong without having bulky muscles.
 
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Yet more scientific evidence that strong arms are also beneficial for climbers:

Arm Exercises for Cyclists

Most of the attention in cycling is focused on your legs and lungs, understandably. But strong arms can also play a critical role in on-bike performance—most importantly, by fighting off fatigue.

"Having stronger biceps and triceps means your arms will be under less metabolic stress as you ride," says Inigo San Millan, PhD, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at University of Colorado Hospital's Sports Medicine Clinic, in Denver.

"Those muscles can then help remove lactate from your system during the ride, instead of producing it." That means more energy on long rides—and more power for climbs.

http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/arm-exercises-for-cyclists
 
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CheckMyPecs said:
DFA123 said:
It's only fair to let him know. I'm passing near Madrid tomorrow; I should probably pop in to give Contador the head's up that he could have won 15 GTs by now, if only he'd trained to be able to bench 100kg.
At least one more —with stronger forearms, he would've managed to hold onto his handlebar in the stage to Planche des Belles Filles in 2014.

DFA123 said:
Perhaps he'll be able to get another five years out of his career with this crazy new training method. If not, at least he can go and compare pecs with Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is yet more proof of the importance of training your entire body no matter what sport you practise. He plays football. He kicks the ball with his legs, he runs with his legs, he jumps with his legs... but he has an awesome upper body. And, like Armstrong in his heyday, he's arguably one of the best players of his generation.

Coincidence? I think not.
You have to be joking to compare the importance of upper-body strenght in cycling and football. Football is a contact sport, cycling isn't. Physical presence gives footballeres a clear advantage over other players. It's why you have large central defenders. Ronaldo has to be ready to go shoulder-to-shoulder with much larger players or he'd end up being pushed around.

There have been some shameful responses to this post as well. I actually think the thread is at least valid and at worst pretty amusing. Sad to see it take such a turn.
 
strength trainning is different from hypertrofy work. they can be relatively strong without lots of muscle. and you don't really need to be super strong to maneuver your bike. sagan is pretty small and manages well:

 
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MikeTichondrius said:
You have to be joking to compare the importance of upper-body strenght in cycling and football.
You are 100% right when you say upper-body strength is more important in football than in cycling.

My analogy was based on the fact that legs are the primary muscle group in both football and cycling, but upper-body muscles are also important and can deliver significant performance gains.

MikeTichondrius said:
There have been some shameful responses to this post as well. I actually think the thread is at least valid and at worst pretty amusing. Sad to see it take such a turn.
Thank you. I try to back all my claims with links and references.
 
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Re:

carolina said:
strength trainning is different from hypertrofy work. they can be relatively strong without lots of muscle. and you don't really need to be super strong to maneuver your bike. sagan is pretty small and manages well:

iirc this pic is about 2 years old,and he was not as good back then ;)
 
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Ryo Hazuki said:
cristiano ronaldo is homosexual and likes to look "good" like most homo's do. has nothing to do with his football. look at guys like messi or maradona to know what I mean
Oh please. All gays like to look "good". Where do you get this bs from? The word you are looking for is metrosexual, not homosexual.
 
Most cyclists actually do full body workouts in the off season. Obviously not enough to bulk up - which would be counter-productive - but enough to significantly strengthen the core and stabilising muscles that they need.

With the amount of catabolic cardio they do from Jan-October though, it would be impossible for most riders to put on significant upper body bulk. Only those who are extremely genetically prediposed to bulking up would retain moderate amounts of muscle. And, of course, most don't want to, because upper body weight serves little purpose in road cycling.

Recovery is another big factor. Where exactly could a rider find time to fit in squats, dead lifts and bench presses two or three times a week, during races or extensive training blocks? It would destroy their CNS, the DOMS from squats and deadlifts would seriously compromise subsequent workouts and they would be diverting time and energy away from much more beneficiall training on the bike.

Weight training is much more beneficial to amateur cyclists than pros. Because most amateurs are not pushing their body to the limit in their cycling training, so can afford to lift a few weights as well. Many also have sedentary jobs so have really weak cores, poor posture, chronically tight hamstrings etc... Pros generally have less of these issues; adding in weight training during the season is just a short cut to overtraining and a ruined year.
 
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CheckMyPecs said:
Mayomaniac said:
Of course you should work on your core strength and core stability, but a skinny cyclist won't exactly get a massive upper body just by working a bit on his core strength and doing stuff like planks.
Being bigger and having more mass makes sense for a cobbles specialist, not for a climber. That said, some of those super skinny, tall riders are probably taking it a bit too far, there has to be a point of diminishing returns when you're too skinny you can become a bit too fragile, it's easier to get sick and you should suffer more in the cold. One could also loose some and his power and suffer too much on the flat before the climbs, but that shouldn't be a problem for a top pro (there are a few guys like that, Formolo for example put on a few kg of weight when he turned pro because he was suffering too much on the flat stages).
I think we both agree on the basic fact —that having a big upper body, and particularly a strong core, is beneficial. Where we disagree is when you say it only applies to classics riders and particularly skinny climbers, whereas I say it applies to all pro riders?

Is that correct? :)
If it also applies to climbers why are all the guys you have mentioned classic riders or sprinters?
 
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CheckMyPecs said:
Yet more scientific evidence that strong arms are also beneficial for climbers:

Arm Exercises for Cyclists

Most of the attention in cycling is focused on your legs and lungs, understandably. But strong arms can also play a critical role in on-bike performance—most importantly, by fighting off fatigue.

"Having stronger biceps and triceps means your arms will be under less metabolic stress as you ride," says Inigo San Millan, PhD, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at University of Colorado Hospital's Sports Medicine Clinic, in Denver.

"Those muscles can then help remove lactate from your system during the ride, instead of producing it." That means more energy on long rides—and more power for climbs.

http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/arm-exercises-for-cyclists
More power means nothing if it adds more weight too. Up to a certain point it might be beneficial to have some arm muscles, but at a certain point (which will be quite soon) the added weight will overrule the increase in power. Keep in mind that professional cyclists might be skinny, but they are basically all muscle regardless. Might not be pretty, but still quite effective.

I find it hilarious how much you care about how 'everyone should have abs etc.' and can pull pictures of ripped, shirtless, but retired/amateur/track cyclists out of your hat at will. They must show up with your suggested searches on Google by this point.
 
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Ryo Hazuki said:
cristiano ronaldo is homosexual and likes to look "good" like most homo's do. has nothing to do with his football. look at guys like messi or maradona to know what I mean
So just because you care about your appearance you're suddenly a homosexual? Wow. Flawless logic.

The guy works super hard to be the best possible athlete and it carries over massively to the sport. His hairstyle has nothing to do with his performance, but you might as well look good while you're playing, ain't that right?

I don't like him, but I can't deny he's brilliant and insanely good looking.
 
Mar 31, 2010
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Re: Re:

jsem94 said:
Ryo Hazuki said:
cristiano ronaldo is homosexual and likes to look "good" like most homo's do. has nothing to do with his football. look at guys like messi or maradona to know what I mean
So just because you care about your appearance you're suddenly a homosexual? Wow. Flawless logic.

The guy works super hard to be the best possible athlete and it carries over massively to the sport. His hairstyle has nothing to do with his performance, but you might as well look good while you're playing, ain't that right?

I don't like him, but I can't deny he's brilliant and insanely good looking.
learn to f'n read. I said like MOST homosexuals and I don't say anywhere in that post that non homo's don't either
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
But climbers can and DO do core strength training and workouts. Just not the kind that will give you a six pack and a jacked upper body, because that's not what they want nor should want for their type of specialization.
I wonder why he doesn't reply to this.
Because pretty much all cyclists spend time in the gym and do a lot of core training, but train their arms as well. Just not for their looks, but for being a better cyclist. Carrying 10kg extra muscle weight isn't going to help them climb the Mont Ventoux.
 
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Re: Re:

Kwibus said:
Because pretty much all cyclists spend time in the gym and do a lot of core training, but train their arms as well. Just not for their looks, but for being a better cyclist. Carrying 10kg extra muscle weight isn't going to help them climb the Mont Ventoux.
Have you even read any of the various links and references I have posted? The following is just one of many ways that strong upper-body muscles can help on a long stage to Mont Ventoux:

The stronger your upper body, the less prone you’ll be to fatigue on long rides.

http://www.bicycling.com/training/fitness/time-build-strength-exercises-cyclists-season
 
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Re:

Red Rick said:
Why work on hypertrophy when hypertrophy is known to reduce the w/kg
The slight reduction in W/kg is more than compensated for by improved lactate clearance and other metabolic benefits of increased upper-body muscle mass.
 
Re: Re:

CheckMyPecs said:
Kwibus said:
Because pretty much all cyclists spend time in the gym and do a lot of core training, but train their arms as well. Just not for their looks, but for being a better cyclist. Carrying 10kg extra muscle weight isn't going to help them climb the Mont Ventoux.
Have you even read any of the various links and references I have posted? The following is just one of many ways that strong upper-body muscles can help on a long stage to Mont Ventoux:

The stronger your upper body, the less prone you’ll be to fatigue on long rides.

http://www.bicycling.com/training/fitness/time-build-strength-exercises-cyclists-season
It's a zero sum game though. Given the amount of time that they would have to spend in the gym to build significant upper body mass - what to they take out from their training schedule? Because they are training pretty much already at the limit of their recovery. Which would benefit performance on the stage to Ventoux more; having bigger arm muscles or doing an extra 50 on-bike interval sessions throughout the year?

They do significant weights in the off season, when recovery permits. This is enough to build and sustain bike specific strength throughout the season. Once again, bulk is completely unnecessary and counterproductive to the vast majority of riders.
 
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Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
It's a zero sum game though. Given the amount of time that they would have to spend in the gym to build significant upper body mass - what to they take out from their training schedule?
I'd argue the opposite point of view: big upper-body mass actually saves training time in the long term by preventing falls, lower-back injuries, lactate overload, broken collarbones and similar problems, which means riders can spend more days training and fewer days at home recovering from nasty injuries.
 
Re: Re:

CheckMyPecs said:
DFA123 said:
It's a zero sum game though. Given the amount of time that they would have to spend in the gym to build significant upper body mass - what to they take out from their training schedule?
I'd argue the opposite point of view: big upper-body mass actually saves training time in the long term by preventing falls, lower-back injuries, lactate overload, broken collarbones and similar problems, which means riders can spend more days training and fewer days at home recovering from nasty injuries.
Again its a zero sum game. Which is going to prevent falls (including broken collarbones), back injuries and lactate injury more? Having slightly larger upper-body mass (road cyclists will never have 'big upper body mass' because they do far too much catabolic training), or spending more hours on the bike - directly increasing their lactate threshold and improving their handling skills?
 
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Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
Again its a zero sum game. Which is going to prevent falls (including broken collarbones), back injuries and lactate injury more? Having slightly larger upper-body mass (road cyclists will never have 'big upper body mass' because they do far too much catabolic training),
No amount of training —within reason— is catabolic if you eat enough calories and, most importantly, you consume enough protein (2-3 g/kg of lean body weight).

See: http://www.completehumanperformance.com/dieting-protein-needs/

DFA123 said:
or spending more hours on the bike - directly increasing their lactate threshold and improving their handling skills?
Training alone or in a small group doesn't significantly improve handling skills for the simple reason that it doesn't adequately simulate racing conditions in a 180-man peloton. You can be a fabulous bike handler, but if the guy in front of you crashes, you're going to need big forearms to do what Sagan did.

 
Re: Re:

CheckMyPecs said:
DFA123 said:
Again its a zero sum game. Which is going to prevent falls (including broken collarbones), back injuries and lactate injury more? Having slightly larger upper-body mass (road cyclists will never have 'big upper body mass' because they do far too much catabolic training),
No amount of training —within reason— is catabolic if you eat enough calories and, most importantly, you consume enough protein (2-3 g/kg of lean body weight).

See: http://www.completehumanperformance.com/dieting-protein-needs/

DFA123 said:
or spending more hours on the bike - directly increasing their lactate threshold and improving their handling skills?
Training alone or in a small group doesn't significantly improve handling skills for the simple reason that it doesn't adequately simulate racing conditions in a 180-man peloton. You can be a fabulous bike handler, but if the guy in front of you crashes, you're going to need big forearms to do what Sagan did.

Literally everything you have written in this post is absolute nonsense.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
CheckMyPecs said:
DFA123 said:
Again its a zero sum game. Which is going to prevent falls (including broken collarbones), back injuries and lactate injury more? Having slightly larger upper-body mass (road cyclists will never have 'big upper body mass' because they do far too much catabolic training),
No amount of training —within reason— is catabolic if you eat enough calories and, most importantly, you consume enough protein (2-3 g/kg of lean body weight).

See: http://www.completehumanperformance.com/dieting-protein-needs/

DFA123 said:
or spending more hours on the bike - directly increasing their lactate threshold and improving their handling skills?
Training alone or in a small group doesn't significantly improve handling skills for the simple reason that it doesn't adequately simulate racing conditions in a 180-man peloton. You can be a fabulous bike handler, but if the guy in front of you crashes, you're going to need big forearms to do what Sagan did.

Literally everything you have written in this thread is absolute nonsense.
Fixed that for you ;)
 
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As a rationalist, I think it's important to keep facts and figures in mind. Here are the BMIs of a few noted GT men:

*Bradley Wiggins: 23
*Chris Horner: 21.6
*Nairo Quintana: 21
*Steven Kruiswijk: 20.8
*Rafał Majka: 20.7
*Esteban Chaves: 20.1
*Alberto Contador: 20
*Joaquim Rodríguez: 20
*Vincenzo Nibali: 19.8
*Fabio Aru: 19.7
*Chris Froome: 19.5
*Domenico Pozzovivo: 19.5
*Alejandro Valverde: 19.5
*Thibaut Pinot: 19.4
 

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