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  1. #1
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    Why do Clydsedales have low lung capcity?

    I have transitioned from the weight room to the long epic mtb rides and I find myself in the back of the pack. I am wondering if this has anything to do with adding muscle to my frame and having more body mass for the lungs to handle properly?

  2. #2
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    As with weight lifting/bodybuilding, genetics have alot to do with it. I have had my capacity tested as part of my allergy testing and have scored 130% for my age group. You'll get better with time though. Have fun.
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  3. #3
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    i use a HRM and every ride i vow to either

    a - go further
    or
    b - do a regular route at a faster pace.

    i monitor my HRM so i dont over exert ( <170) and i build up endurance.

    works for me.

  4. #4
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    energy

    Quote Originally Posted by sgaarmy
    I have transitioned from the weight room to the long epic mtb rides and I find myself in the back of the pack. I am wondering if this has anything to do with adding muscle to my frame and having more body mass for the lungs to handle properly?
    Well, I think is not that you have low lung capacity per se.. (Although you can increase it... and should).

    I beleive the problem resides on power requirements... Bigger muscles eat up more energy, is like having a V8 vs a 4cylinder. Unless you need the torque (like when lifting weights), the 4cylinder will go much farther with the same amount of gas.

    One of the by-products of muscle movement is heat (actually most energy is lost here and not used for movement). The heart has to work overtime sending blood to the skin to cool it down. Also the sweat loss is a big problem. To add insult to injury, fat on top of the muscle makes things worse.

    So between the energy spent on bigger muscle movements, plus obviously more weight to carry, plus more heat retained in system, you will run into problems way before other types of bikers.

    There are many details I've ommitted, but you get the idea....

    Now, not all hope is lost. You should train to get better, but there are ways of setting the correct pace for your body type/condition to get better performance.

    I personally find that if I get to the trail 1/2hr. before my thin friends, and warmup the engine, I can keep up with them twice as long. I also take much more care in my hydration, I use Accelerade mixture as well as water... I also watch carefully no to hit the high heartbeat area (over 80% hbmax) for more than a few seconds. Trying to keep up in a tough hill and hitting this range for long, will seriously hamper total ride performance. I prefer to catchup on the downhill (with technical and momentum advantage)...

    ultimately there are just some guys I cannot ride with and enyoy my day... i'm getting better though....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borinken
    Well, I think is not that you have low lung capacity per se.. (Although you can increase it... and should).

    I beleive the problem resides on power requirements... Bigger muscles eat up more energy, is like having a V8 vs a 4cylinder. Unless you need the torque (like when lifting weights), the 4cylinder will go much farther with the same amount of gas.

    One of the by-products of muscle movement is heat (actually most energy is lost here and not used for movement). The heart has to work overtime sending blood to the skin to cool it down. Also the sweat loss is a big problem. To add insult to injury, fat on top of the muscle makes things worse.

    So between the energy spent on bigger muscle movements, plus obviously more weight to carry, plus more heat retained in system, you will run into problems way before other types of bikers.

    There are many details I've ommitted, but you get the idea....
    There's some good info here. I'd add the fact the heart has to pump blood through a lot of extra tissue. The extra "volume" of blood vessels contained in the extra muscle and fat tissue of a larger person mean the heart is working overtime to pump all the blood through. A non-muscular, lean person is at a great advantage in endurance activities because of this. Of course, this is not the only factor, others are mentioned above and I'm sure there are many more.

    Patrick

  6. #6
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    After about 2 months of riding ~3 times a week (8-15 mile off road rides) I've gotten to the point where I can keep up with the majority of local recreational riders on all but the steepest of hills. I've easily got 100 lbs on most of them too... However, my HR still shoots up too high when the trail gets wheelie-steep for more than 1/4 mile.


    On the more gradual climbs these tricks work well for me:

    Push a gear or two harder than most the other riders. The lower cadence will quickly tire your quads on the first few rides, but you'll build their strength remarkably quickly.

    For the really long climbs: breathe in your nose and out your mouth. If you start inhaling through your mouth, you're probably pushing just a bit too much. Try to maintain a speed that will still allow you to hold a conversation...

    Know your climbs ahead of time. If there is a particularly steep section ahead, plan for it (whether you carry a bit more speed on a downhill to coast up the hill, or whether you cruise up a light grade saving energy for the steep part)

    Concentrate on keeping your upper body still, and your feet parallel to the ground. Rocking is wastefull and you want all your power going to the ground. On the same token, relax your grip on the handlebars. Avoid pushing/pulling on them as it too, just wastes energy...

    Every now and then pull up on the pedals rather than just power down all the time...

    If you find yourself slowing down a bit, shift ~3 gears harder and stand up on the pedals for a while.

    If you find your legs getting tired/sore, shift into an easier gear and spin at a higher rpm

    If you find you're getting out of breath at the higher rpm, shift back into a harder gear...

    Stay hydrated! Drink enough water so you never feel thirsty (mouth never dry)

    Eat. Yeah, you're probably trying to lose weight, but you'll still want to keep your body from going into starvation-mode... A Clif bar 45 minutes before a ride and again after 2 hours (if you ride that long) works well for me. Chances are you burn more than 250 cal/hour so you're still ahead...


    If the tops of your knees hurt (not the quads, but the knee itself) you probably have your seat too low.
    Last edited by SPDu4ea; 07-11-2006 at 11:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    If I could throw my 2 cents in as a C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Condition Specialist) the problem you are running into is specificity of training.
    You have spent a lot of time in the weight room increasing your ability to lift a heavy object a few times. Now you are asking your body to do a repetitive motion for an extended period of time. These are completely different types of muscle fiber.
    So to ride better, increase your weight room reps, decrease the weight..... and of course, RIDE YOUR BIKE MORE.
    Enjoy the sun, fun, rocks, roots, blood and bruises!

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the good advice:

    I have used some of these methods to increase my overall speed through out a ride. I mainly road solo and went on long rides at a slow pace in which I thought would help me loose fat/weight. I was embarrased by how slow I was when I went on the group ride and decided to train/work on my speed. I applied the hydration technique along with using the lower gears for the inclines to help reduce the work load for my heart. I found if i stand and pound on the lower gears I can achieve a lower heart beat as well. It wont take long now to get back to at least the middle of the pack now. Thanks,

  9. #9
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    It takes more energy and hence more air, lungs and heart work to generate that energy to move your weight the same amount.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  10. #10
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    There's some good advice here, I've just started training (weights and bag work) again after not doing much more than riding my bike for the past 2 years, I'm feeling good and think that by incorporating this with my riding I'm doing a good balance now.

    Incidentally I'm 240lbs and my lung capacity always shocks the fitness assessors as I guess I have a lot more poof than most people.

    However I am far from fit (although I'm getting there), I guess I just have big lungs?

    My HR tops out at about 173-182BPM on bike rides, averaging at about 159-161BPM, however when I run my HR is on average 10 BPM lower although I find running much much harder, what's that all about?
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  11. #11
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    There are a couple of reasons why your avg HR is lower while running... 1. It's a more consistent effort... you have to exert the same amount of energy per second to keep the same speed. With biking you don't. Whether you're on or off road you are changing your cadance, speed, gear, terrain. Where you rest on downhills, you bounce off the rev limiter on the way up a hill. Because going up takes longer than going down, you have a high avg heart rate. At the top of the hill you recover and get back into cruise mode, but look - you just covered half a mile while doing it! When you run your HR stays consistent, but because we're clydesdales, we have to run at a slower pace to feel comfortable, but that translates to a lower average hr at the end of excecise. Essentially, when we run, we don't have a lot of room left to pick it up a notch. Coming down a hill on a bike and knowing we have to go up hill gives us time to recover and give'er up the hill. With running, we fighting inertia with everystep!

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the reply, I can see why now...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgaarmy
    I have transitioned from the weight room to the long epic mtb rides and I find myself in the back of the pack. I am wondering if this has anything to do with adding muscle to my frame and having more body mass for the lungs to handle properly?
    Weight training is great for adding muscle mass, sure. But a few reps at high weights do nothing for lung capacity and endurance. Just ride more... you'll get there.

  14. #14
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    I'm doing 12,10,10,8 rep workouts at the moment, aiming for failure. Coming from the years I used to body build, I getting right back into it! However I'm also doing more miles on my bike my body fat has gone down about 1% in about 3 weeks which I'm please about, plus my HR is now averaging lower on my bike rides... When you put the effort in it's well worth it!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J
    There's some good advice here, I've just started training (weights and bag work) again after not doing much more than riding my bike for the past 2 years, I'm feeling good and think that by incorporating this with my riding I'm doing a good balance now.

    Incidentally I'm 240lbs and my lung capacity always shocks the fitness assessors as I guess I have a lot more poof than most people.

    However I am far from fit (although I'm getting there), I guess I just have big lungs?

    My HR tops out at about 173-182BPM on bike rides, averaging at about 159-161BPM, however when I run my HR is on average 10 BPM lower although I find running much much harder, what's that all about?
    You can raise the HR while running by adding interval sprints (called "fartlek") http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/063...e=UTF8&s=books. I guarantee you your HR will rise to and maybe even surpass your on the bike off road efforts. You will increase your power and stamina on the bike if you do intervals on the bike as well. Mountain biking kind of has "built in" intervals with all the up and down of the terrain, but doing some structured intervals on the road (once or twice a week) will improve your lactate threshold and should improve your mountain biking immediately.

    BB

  16. #16
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    It's not a question of lung function. you're probably just fine. As the other posts say it's all about power to weight ratio. As a respiratory therapist/clydesdale my advice to you is.....if you can still see those 150 lb guys in front of you at the end of a ride, you're really kicking their asses.

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