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  1. #1
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    Cycling and weightlifting

    Looking to get some other opinions. I have been cycling 20+ years, will be 42 this year and have started lifting the past 6 months. Being a true ectomorph I did this to beef up my upper body and get some lean mass.

    I also did this to burn more calories and to also start eating clean so I could trim some belly fat and get some some six pack abs and improve my overall physique and strength.

    I ride Sun, Tues & Thurs and lift Mon (chest/shoulders), Wed (bis/tris) & Fri (back/chest or arms). I also try to do some ab/core work every lift day as filler.

    Any thoughts? I have no desire to race anymore. I just want to be fit and not look spindly up top.

  2. #2
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    If your goal is to have a more "balanced" overall figure, then nothing wrong with that.

    Weightlifting never made me a better cyclist. Got to revisit that in a weight training class for a month. Since I couldn't just sit at the leg press or bike all class long, did end up gaining weight. Never been faster than normal, nor have I slowed down because of it. Leg presses did kinda bring me back up to speed because I was coming off weak in allergy season.

    I do think some weight training is good for the non-competitive cyclist. You really have no absolute reason to compromise your upper body strength, although competitive cycling requires it to a degree.

  3. #3
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    If you want to be a balanced healthy athlete, you are on the right track. Cycling tends to produce anorexic athletes with some muscles in the legs. Try to enjoy whatever sport you practice and make sure to stay away from injury if possible (Read: warm up and stretching). I have been lifting some weights myself recently and over the past few months my body is looking much better, although I haven't lost weight, but I do seem to have lost some fat and gained muscle. After all, the goal of non-competitive sports is too feel better. Riding bikes is great, but so are other sports too.

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    You only need a few basic lift exercises to strong and look good.

    1) squat: 5 sets of 10. If you're struggling with 5 reps then back way off on the weight.
    2) deadlift: 5 sets of 10
    3) pullup: 5 sets, reps will depend on your strength, but try for at least 10
    4) pushup: 5 sets, reps will depend on your strength, but try 10-15

    I do all of these exercises in one gym session. I like to do squats and pushups together, alternating sets in between. Then I hit the pullups, and usually I work in some calf-raises while resting. Then I hit the deadlifts. Sometimes I will do pullups and deadlifts together.. but keep in mind that deadlifts do work your arms.. so if you work them together, your pullup effort will suffer a bit. I can finish them all in under 1 hr easily, and then go out for an easy ride.

    These 4 exercises will hit every major muscle group in your body that you care about when posing in front of the mirror ;). Do it at least 2 days/wk, 3 is even better, but no more than 3 is necessary.

    You don't need all the fancy routines like bi/tri, chest/shoulder, lats, deltoid, blah blah, that the muscleheads like to talk about.

    I'm assuming that you are not looking to get massive like them muscleheads, not looking to "bulk up". I'm assuming you just want to be strong and tone overall, and have a structually healthy body for a 42 y/o.

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    I train running, cycling and strength, and feel it's a great combination for overal fitness. It's even possible to get to a very good level with it.

    What I really like in terms of strength is more crossfit-type trainings. Those are more intense than regular strength exercises. I bought some kettlebells for the purpose as well as using more traditional weights. The exercises burn a lot of calories and you will be sweating as never before, but the results are great. Lean, strong and functional muscles. Since several kettlebell exercises use primarily the glutes it also builds up strength suitable for cycling.
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  6. #6
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    If your goal is to add muscle mass, I would say that cycling is sort of antiproductive to that goal. I would say just use cycling for transportation.

    I know a few cyclist (one of them a fairly serious Cat 1) who gave up "serious riding" and mostly do crossfit type lifting.

    The Cat 1 was hit by a car from the back (put him in the hospital for a while) which really changed his whole perspective on training for cycling. He got hard core into lifting and added about 15 pounds of muscle (from 155 to 170 pounds). He's ripped as hell and is really loving it, posting occasional pictures of his ripped physique. He might come back to cycling one day (since he's fairly young) but he's definitely enjoying being strong and attracting chicks.

  7. #7
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    Someone mentioned pullups and pushups. I concur.

    Body weight exercises can build lean muscle without making you look bulky or getting musclebound. When three sets of 20 pushups are too easy either add another set or up it to 25 reps. And so on.

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    IMO, isolation lifts like bis/tris are a waste unless you just need to have killer guns. Do the prime mover groups (bench press, row, pull ups, row) and you'll gain all the functional strength you ever need with a decent amount of looking good as a bonus. Include squats/lunges/etc for a full body workout.

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    IMO, isolation lifts like bis/tris are a waste unless you just need to have killer guns. Do the prime mover groups (bench press, row, pull ups, row) and you'll gain all the functional strength you ever need with a decent amount of looking good as a bonus. Include squats/lunges/etc for a full body workout.
    This is good advice. Working individual muscle groups is old school and a bit of a time vampire.

    Two hard efforts a week of full body / functional moves is all you really need to compliment your cycling.

    Personally, I super set or double-up all my resistance training moves. IE: one push and one pull, then rest. You get a harder workout done in less time, and tend to keep your heart rate elevated throughout your gym time.

  10. #10
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    I also do two exercices at a time, e.g. bench press combined with trapezius or latissimus dorsi exercices. Makes for a fast and intense workout. I really don't get those musclehead who take two minutes between every rep.

  11. #11
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    Those muscle heads probably don't get why you ride miles and miles on a bicycle for fun. To each their own.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay T View Post
    This is good advice. Working individual muscle groups is old school and a bit of a time vampire.

    Two hard efforts a week of full body / functional moves is all you really need to compliment your cycling.

    Personally, I super set or double-up all my resistance training moves. IE: one push and one pull, then rest. You get a harder workout done in less time, and tend to keep your heart rate elevated throughout your gym time.
    Not really old school. It's just a different way of lifting for a different result.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    If your goal is to add muscle mass, I would say that cycling is sort of antiproductive to that goal. I would say just use cycling for transportation.

    I know a few cyclist (one of them a fairly serious Cat 1) who gave up "serious riding" and mostly do crossfit type lifting.

    The Cat 1 was hit by a car from the back (put him in the hospital for a while) which really changed his whole perspective on training for cycling. He got hard core into lifting and added about 15 pounds of muscle (from 155 to 170 pounds). He's ripped as hell and is really loving it, posting occasional pictures of his ripped physique. He might come back to cycling one day (since he's fairly young) but he's definitely enjoying being strong and attracting chicks.
    It really depends on where your priorities are. If weight training is all about the looks then it would require full dedication and cycling would be no more than some cardio to help burn off body fat.

    The OP seems to be more interested in general fitness and it is perfectly possible to build up some muscle mass. Look at Greipel, he's not exactly as skinny as Froome. A bit more emphasis on the upper body and you can get very functionally fit.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    You only need a few basic lift exercises to strong and look good.

    1) squat: 5 sets of 10. If you're struggling with 5 reps then back way off on the weight.
    2) deadlift: 5 sets of 10
    If you want to gain strength without adding weight, low reps with heavy weight is the way to go. 5 sets of 10 is endurance craziness. 3-4 sets of 3-5 is usually a recommended routine.

    Also watch your diet. You can't put on weight (fat/muscle) if you're not overeating.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    If you want to gain strength without adding weight, low reps with heavy weight is the way to go. 5 sets of 10 is endurance craziness. 3-4 sets of 3-5 is usually a recommended routine.
    Low reps with high weight is the way to put on bulk bass. The muscles will get tiny tears under the stress of the weight and will be repaired, after which the muscles are bigger. (Hence the peak loads used by bodybuilders.)

    Low weight with a higher number of explosive reps and a circuit of sets for various muscle groups will create lean muscle mass without adding too much bulk. The muscles will be functional and a high level of endurance fitness can be maintained.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    It really depends on where your priorities are. If weight training is all about the looks then it would require full dedication and cycling would be no more than some cardio to help burn off body fat.

    The OP seems to be more interested in general fitness and it is perfectly possible to build up some muscle mass. Look at Greipel, he's not exactly as skinny as Froome. A bit more emphasis on the upper body and you can get very functionally fit.
    Endurance sports reduces testoserone, and testoserone is needed to build muscle. So trying to work both simultaneously seems difficult.

    Good example with Griepel, but he's definitely a mesomorph. More like a superfreak mesomorph. That's the only dude in the whole tdf peleton my wife gets excited about. lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Endurance sports reduces testoserone, and testoserone is needed to build muscle. So trying to work both simultaneously seems difficult.
    Indeed. I find it difficult myself, but it's doable when you maintain a long term planning. I'm getting better at it these days, but it took me years and I train six to seven days a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Good example with Griepel, but he's definitely a mesomorph. More like a superfreak mesomorph. That's the only dude in the whole tdf peleton my wife gets excited about. lol.
    lol!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    Low reps with high weight is the way to put on bulk bass.
    What's the definition of "bulk mass"? Is it different than any other kind of muscle mass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    The muscles will get tiny tears under the stress of the weight and will be repaired, after which the muscles are bigger. (Hence the peak loads used by bodybuilders.)
    So you don't think it's possible to induce micro trauma with less than "peak" loads? Also, it's news to me that bodybuilders just use really heavy weights. There's a lot of sources that would actually indicate they use moderate loads with moderate repetitions. In contrast, Olympic lifters and power lifters lift really heavy loads a lot in training and manage to stay within certain weight classes year after year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    Low weight with a higher number of explosive reps and a circuit of sets for various muscle groups will create lean muscle mass without adding too much bulk. The muscles will be functional and a high level of endurance fitness can be maintained.
    So you're adding lean mass, but not too much bulk? Maybe this is the answer to my question above; there's lean mass and bulk mass.....? Please fill me in on the difference here. Also, what does "functional" mean?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcb View Post
    There's a lot of sources that would actually indicate they use moderate loads with moderate repetitions.
    Absolutely. It's all about technique, consistency and diet. 1RM is least of their concerns.

  20. #20
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    Man, you are on the right track. Nothing wrong with adding in some additional exercises if you simply want to look a little more even. It was posted above that there are a few exercises that you can do to hit everything and have shorter workouts. I also agree that lifting won't make you a better cyclist. Sure it may give you a little more strength in your legs but I have never noticed much of an improvement.

    None the less, I did the same thing a month or so ago. I took 2 months off the bike (rode all winter due to it being a mellow season out here on the east coast when I would normally be in the gym). I went from 185 to 198! I ate clean, a ton of calories and a very high protein level. I also drank close to a gallon of water a day! I did manage to stay on the bike but only once or twice a week and only for about 30-40 per ride. At the end of what I called a bulking cycle, I broke the bike back out and shifted my workout schedule around. I have now pretty much only been back in the gym once or twice a week and on the bike 3-5 days. I am now back down to 180 but look bigger than when I started. I guess that was actually the goal. Not going to lie, I was starting to out grow all my damn clothes (a financial factor that I did not account for!) so going back down in weight was a good thing! I feel better being back out on the bike now. Not that I am much faster but just enjoying it more than I remembered before lifting. Guess it is just a nice change of pace if you will.

    I am dealing with some cramping now (just posted a thread about that) and have to wonder if it has anything to do with the extra muscle I have put on over the years of bouncing in and out of the gym or just age.

    In any case, do what you enjoy and make sure you use good form over heavy weights. Don't let pride get ahold of you in the gym. Better to go a little lighter and get something out of it than to be put out of commission due to tearing a ligament or tendon.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcb View Post
    What's the definition of "bulk mass"? Is it different than any other kind of muscle mass?
    Muscles can get big without being too tight. Just a lot of volume through a combination of muscle and water and fat.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcb View Post
    So you don't think it's possible to induce micro trauma with less than "peak" loads? Also, it's news to me that bodybuilders just use really heavy weights. There's a lot of sources that would actually indicate they use moderate loads with moderate repetitions. In contrast, Olympic lifters and power lifters lift really heavy loads a lot in training and manage to stay within certain weight classes year after year.
    The peak loads are used by bodybuilders only at specific times. Most of the time they will try to get rid of the fat inside the muscles and later (close to competition) the water in order to get the muscles as dry as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcb View Post
    So you're adding lean mass, but not too much bulk? Maybe this is the answer to my question above; there's lean mass and bulk mass.....? Please fill me in on the difference here. Also, what does "functional" mean?
    Lean mass is about getting rid of the fat inside the muscles and creating longer (rather than shorter) muscles that can do aerobic exercises with weights. The muscles will stay thinner, but will feel like steel cables.

    Being functional is being able to actually perform various exercises. Bodybuilders can't do swat with their muscles because it's all about the looks. I've seen olympic canoers put bodybuilders to shame in the gym, purely because they train for a different purpose. (Nothing wrong with bodybuilding btw.)
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  22. #22
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    Cycling and weightlifting

    I'm 40 and same body type as the OP. I spend a lot of time on my mountain bike and a fair bit of time on my road bike. I'm the first to admit I'm never gonna win a race - I just love riding my bikes. I find that weights a couple times a week really helps me with building lean muscle mass and has been a positive in my 'training'. ( not that I'm actually training for anything)
    Perhaps not as applicable to the road but the increase in upper body and core has definitely made me a better mountain biker. Much more comfortable in the techy stuff and much better balance as I'm stronger.
    I say do whatever feels right!
    Last edited by bikeriderguy; 07-24-2013 at 08:40 PM.

  23. #23
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    Subscribed, for this winter. ; )
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by weasy View Post
    Looking to get some other opinions. I have been cycling 20+ years, will be 42 this year and have started lifting the past 6 months. Being a true ectomorph I did this to beef up my upper body and get some lean mass.

    I also did this to burn more calories and to also start eating clean so I could trim some belly fat and get some some six pack abs and improve my overall physique and strength.

    I ride Sun, Tues & Thurs and lift Mon (chest/shoulders), Wed (bis/tris) & Fri (back/chest or arms). I also try to do some ab/core work every lift day as filler.

    Any thoughts? I have no desire to race anymore. I just want to be fit and not look spindly up top.
    Heck yes - it's good you added some weight training! Especially for the over 40 crowd it can be important to produce testosterone and keep things in balance. Even if training for competitive cycling, most cycling coaches/training programs include weight lifting for the Masters athletes. Be it by reading Joe Friel, Dave Morris, following a plan from one of the Training Peaks plans available for purchase, or whatever - weights are part of the plan. More as maintenance during the cycling season, but through the traditional phases during the off season.

  25. #25
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    I don't get the "just ride your bike more and more and more" mentality that a lot of people seem to have, unless your a grand tour contender and want to win up the most ridiculous mountains on earth I think its important to have muscle mass and it will help your cycling at any level except the highest level.

    Now I am not saying you should be a bodybuilder but generally speaking, having a chest, arms, shoulders and back that don't look like they will blow away in the wind is a good thing. Also if you crash that extra muscle will come in handy. Since most races are crits around the block and not up the stelvio, we will survive with some extra mass. I have been putting in a lot of miles and disintegrating lately, I think its time to hit the gym.

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