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  1. #1
    Tre1nt
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    How much weight for squats?

    I'm not trying to start a pissing match here! There's a good deal of interest in strength training in this forum -- I know not everyone agrees it's useful, but many do. If you're anti-strength training you might want to stop reading here.

    Enough disclaimers. Strength training appeals to me because I'm a time-strapped guy, and because I'm tall and skinny so generating leg force doesn't come easily. Mid 40s and racing sport/expert x-c. I'd like to move from front-pack sport to podium, and to mid-pack expert.

    At 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, I'm getting pretty comfortable with squats in the 135-215 lbs range -- twice a week I do something like this: 135X12, 185X10, 215X8, 215X6-8, 135X10-12. I'll also do 2X12 split squats holding 25 lbs dumbbells and 2-3 sets of hamstring curls (and some core/upper body stuff).

    My questions boils down to this: Is it better to focus on increasing the weights or increasing the reps at this point?

    At 225 lbs, I start to lose form. I squat to parallel -- not interested in going deeper -- and lightly touch a bench or box at the bottom of the movement.

    Hoping to hear from some experienced race-oriented riders ... would you say these weight loads show sufficient power for my racing goals? Or should I keep working on maximal force by upping the weights?

    One weakness in my plan is that I probably haven't done enough with cycling the lifting pattern -- I've gotten stronger so far by upping the weights and have not tried taking many step-back weeks, other than those dictated by job/family.

  2. #2
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    If your not going beyond parrallel... why are you doing squats? Do them right or don't do them at all....

    IMHO

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketrepairguy View Post
    If your not going beyond parrallel... why are you doing squats? Do them right or don't do them at all....

    IMHO
    I agree with this.

    Try mid range weight, practice full range of motion, and do the exercise with some explosiveness/ power. The amount of weight depends on how strong you are and nobody on the internet can really advise you on that.

  4. #4
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    Higher repetitioins is what you want! Mountain biking is an endurance sport not strength. I would stay in the 15 to 25 reps. If you want to take it to the next level try burpees! Hated by many, love by very few.

  5. #5
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    I've done somewhat the opposite of what you're doing. I used to do leg workouts quite regularly and have since switched to cycling quite a bit. My body can't seem to cope very well with both at the same time. That said, I think my leg workouts helped immensely in building up a decent base of strength on which to grow my cycling legs.

    When I was lifting for cycling (and not riding nearly as much), I did quite a few more reps than you're outlining (i'd say use less weight). I am 6'2", 165lbs. I'd use plenty of machines as well, but my big focus was on the free weights. I think with squats and lunges alone, you will get 90% of the workout compared to adding the machines and calf raises and all that other hoopla.

    Squats (5 sets):
    135lbs x 20 for warmup, then 155lbs x 18, then 175lbs x 16, then 195 x 14, then 225 x 12

    Followed by lunges (probably the most painful and helpful of the leg workouts). I'd normally do lunges the length of the gym which probably came out to 25-30 reps x 4 with 110lbs on the straight bar. Use dumb bells for bonus points and to help w/ the traps and forearms (but it's harder).

    I also just went to parallel on squats. Going below that really seemed to put a hurting on my knees, but I know most of my friends that were much more into lifting ( and a lot stronger) would advocate going below parallel. Use the most weight you can while still attaining the high reps and decent form. That number will be different for everyone. I am positive there is no way I could do those weights now that I've neglected the gym for so long. On the other hand, I can pedal better now!

  6. #6
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    Hmm, I suppose I have a different opinion than everyone else, so here's an alternate:

    5x5 for the squats, bringing the weight up and hitting a peak around set 3-4, back down on 5 if needed. Squats are for strength! Stronger legs = harder inclines. Your legs will get more endurance training biking anyways. You don't have to blast your legs at the gym every time either. In strength training, less is more.

    And do your squats below parallel, as deep as flexibility will reasonably allow (don't just sag down, keep the body tight). You'll end up working your hips, hamstrings and glutes more from it.

    Other lifts in the gym that will help riding - dead lift, power cleans or snatch, push press. 1 solid set of 5 dead lift per week is sufficient, and then reps of 5x3 on the cleans/snatch, 3x5 or 5x5 on the push press. This will help develop more power in your body as well as strength throughout the most used muscles in mountain biking! Pull ups and dips are good as well.

  7. #7
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    I also have a different take on this.

    I think it depends on your weaknesses and your body type. Sure you're 6 foot-165, but you can easily be either a mesomorph or ectomorph at that height and weight.

    If you're a mesomorph (like me), than your lifting is probably better served improving your muscular endurance, which is higher repetition, lower weight.

    If you're an ectomorph, then heavier weight and lower reps may yield more improvement. In my observations, it seems that ectomorphs improve more by integrating weight lifting to their programs (like Thomas Volker, who added 5 kilos of muscle over the years and is riding better than ever).

    I believe you can't go wrong with 3 sets of 10-15 reps of various exercises (squats, dead lifts, lunges, step ups. etc.). It's enough weight to strengthen the tendons, ligaments, and support muscles thus yielding a more injury free season; but at the same time light enough to produce less injuries from the lift themselves (heavy lifting yields injuries, especially for those in their mid-40's who haven't lifted in a while). I'm in my mid-40's as well.

    As far as the depth of your squat, I'm in the school of Joe Friel which preaches specificity in lifting. Try to emulate the pedal stroke in your squat, which means, you are far from legs being parallel to the ground. You're above that point.
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  8. #8
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    The best way to build strength without building size is high weight and low reps. Though this may seem like a bad idea, I can guarantee you that doing this once or twice a week is going to help you. I would suggest something like 3 or 4 sets of 3 reps for both squats and deadlifts. Do both of these with quite a bit of weight. A lot of cyclists forget about them, but if you're doing strength training, do deadlifts. They are just as helpful in creating power.

    Also, the best way to complete blow out your knees is to go beyond parallel. Just a bad idea, and it isn't going to help you.

  9. #9
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    You might want to look at

    Dave Morris, 'Performance Cycling'. He has a thoughtful discussion (though no scientific evidence referenced) of how weight training should be integrated into a yearly training program.

    His philosophy is that weight training is mainly an off-season activity that begins with light weight and many reps, moves to heavier weight and lower reps, with the final phase being explosive movements with lighter weights. My impression is that he believes competitive cyclists should have a one time squat max of 2-3 times body weight.

    Morris argument for the benefits of leg weight training seems to have two parts...(my interpretation)

    (a) LT performance can be more easily improved if the force applied on the bike is a lower fraction of maximum force

    (b) stronger lower body musculature is better able to respond to high intensity bike training, with recovery times reduced because stronger muscles are less damaged by on the bike work.

    Morris is a proponent of high intensity training (and long rest times). The thing he keeps emphasizing is that you race like you train, so you better go fast in training. Thus, he de-emphasizes long, slow distance work, or base training, relative to Friel, so it may be that strength work is more important to the Morris approach than other training approaches.

  10. #10
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    I am by no means a super fast, super skinny elite racer. I'm a bulldog. 5'7", 170lbs. But I can jump on my road bike tomorrow morning and hammer out a sub 5 hour century. Call me a fast all mountain rider.

    During the winter, my leg workout consists of.....

    Deadlifts @ 185lbs +/- 50lbs - to bring balance back to the neglected hamstrings, constantly changing weight and reps for muscle confusion

    Squats @ 185lbs +/- 50lbs - constantly changing weight and reps for muscle confusion

    Jumping squats @ 135lbs - for explosive power, yeah, I accelerate like a Lamb of God song this season compared to my training buddies. !!DISCLAIMER!! if you don't know how to do these safely....DON'T

    I will do pyramid workouts as well, I really focus on not doing the same thing every damn day.

  11. #11
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    Thoughts from someone who squats deep...

    1. The blanket statement that squating deep will destroy your knees is foolish
    2. The deeper that you squat, the lower your weight should be.
    3. Most of us could stand up right now and squat down and touch their butts to their heels 30+ times and wouldn't hurt their knees.
    4. Most injuries from lifting weights come from increasing weight too much too soon or using bad form
    5. Lifting weights can strengthen joints as well as muscles, but your muscles will usually increase strength at a greater rate
    6. Deeper squats put more stress on your glutes and less on your quads
    7. Most cyclists (especially those who don't lift) have weak glutes
    8. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and help to drive the pedal down
    9. Squating deep and heavy puts a lot of stress on your hip and the BIGGEST risk is a labrum tear
    10. For those people who have never squated or squated deep, I suggest that you give it a try
    11. I also follow Joe Friel strength training methods
    12. Training methodology is partially science based, and partially faith-based (even my own). This is very evident when discussing weight training with cyclists.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    I'm not trying to start a pissing match here! There's a good deal of interest in strength training in this forum -- I know not everyone agrees it's useful, but many do. If you're anti-strength training you might want to stop reading here.

    Enough disclaimers. Strength training appeals to me because I'm a time-strapped guy, and because I'm tall and skinny so generating leg force doesn't come easily. Mid 40s and racing sport/expert x-c. I'd like to move from front-pack sport to podium, and to mid-pack expert.

    At 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, I'm getting pretty comfortable with squats in the 135-215 lbs range -- twice a week I do something like this: 135X12, 185X10, 215X8, 215X6-8, 135X10-12. I'll also do 2X12 split squats holding 25 lbs dumbbells and 2-3 sets of hamstring curls (and some core/upper body stuff).

    My questions boils down to this: Is it better to focus on increasing the weights or increasing the reps at this point?

    At 225 lbs, I start to lose form. I squat to parallel -- not interested in going deeper -- and lightly touch a bench or box at the bottom of the movement.

    Hoping to hear from some experienced race-oriented riders ... would you say these weight loads show sufficient power for my racing goals? Or should I keep working on maximal force by upping the weights?

    One weakness in my plan is that I probably haven't done enough with cycling the lifting pattern -- I've gotten stronger so far by upping the weights and have not tried taking many step-back weeks, other than those dictated by job/family.
    I used to be able to do widowmakers with 185 ATG..(I'm about your size, lighter now) That year I was finishing 35-40 minutes back from the sport class winners.

    I stopped lifting and rode more (been two years) and am racing expert now.

    I have no clue what I could squat.. but I can tell you how fast i can climb a hill.

  13. #13
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    i have had a decent year this year after recovering from breaking my neck and right patella last year. 3rd place in cat1 35-39 at Nationals with some other good results like winning the Kenda Cup West Series.

    i used to lift weights in high school and college, now i ride bikes.

    i don't lift at all, i ride my bike lots.

    some very high level coaches have posted on here in the past (LMN is one) and basically the general consensus is that time spent in the gym would be better spent riding.

    there are exceptions to this rule. i think my wife is one. but generally speaking lifting is not at all beneficial.
    Try to be good.

  14. #14
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    Thanks to all who replied! I'm probably most persuaded by Poncharelli's advice. Bottom line for me is that I'm not interested in becoming a better weight lifter, I only want to be a better bike racer. Squatting beyond parallel, for instance, doesn't seem worth it when the risks/rewards are considered -- especially considering I was a competitive runner for 25+ years and switched to racing bikes because my knees and hips were breaking down from the run training! I'm more ecto than meso, so I'm going to stick with the lifting, keep the weights to what I can handle and bump up resistance when I'm ready. I'd love to train 5 hours a day on the bike and make everything super sport-specific but considering the time investment I think lifting is paying off well for me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LATAH_M.E. View Post
    1. The blanket statement that squating deep will destroy your knees is foolish
    2. The deeper that you squat, the lower your weight should be.
    3. Most of us could stand up right now and squat down and touch their butts to their heels 30+ times and wouldn't hurt their knees.
    4. Most injuries from lifting weights come from increasing weight too much too soon or using bad form
    5. Lifting weights can strengthen joints as well as muscles, but your muscles will usually increase strength at a greater rate
    6. Deeper squats put more stress on your glutes and less on your quads
    7. Most cyclists (especially those who don't lift) have weak glutes
    8. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and help to drive the pedal down
    9. Squating deep and heavy puts a lot of stress on your hip and the BIGGEST risk is a labrum tear
    10. For those people who have never squated or squated deep, I suggest that you give it a try
    11. I also follow Joe Friel strength training methods
    12. Training methodology is partially science based, and partially faith-based (even my own). This is very evident when discussing weight training with cyclists.
    Thumbs up to this

    At 225 lbs, I start to lose form. I squat to parallel -- not interested in going deeper -- and lightly touch a bench or box at the bottom of the movement.
    A big thumbs down on the box! That's a really a bad thing to do. Of all the advice you could get on your work out, the first thing you should do is get rid of the bench or box before you hurt yourself.

  16. #16
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    When Steve Johnson ran the Human Performance Lab at the University of Utah, he suggested the following 12 week, off-season program (slightly modernized by me).

    BS = Basic Strength = heavy weights, 3-5 reps. Pick a weight you can lift 5-7 times max and then back off 2. Complete recovery between sets.

    H = hypertrohy. Pick appropriate weight for 11-15 reps to exhaustion, incomplete revocery between sets.

    3 weeks BS, 1 H
    2 weeks BS, 2 H
    3 weeks H, 1 BS

    Power development is done in a sport specific manner after strength development. Do some in-season BS twice a week.

    Steve is or was president of Cycling USA and is former World Masters Road Champion.

    Larry

  17. #17
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    Interesting -- how many sets?

  18. #18
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    Interesting -- how many sets?
    H = 3 sets

    BS = 3-5

    In both cases, three sessions/week

    Here's a way to remember generic BS training. It's a 3-5 program: 3-5 times a week, 3-5 exercises, 3-5 reps, 3-5 minutes between sets. Which 3 exercises? You want a push, a pull, and a "core" (trunk). Add two if you are working on anything specific.

    My opinion is to skip any machine or isolation exercises unless you are rehabbing something. Be very careful of technique.

    Larry

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu View Post
    Dave Morris, 'Performance Cycling'. My impression is that he believes competitive cyclists should have a one time squat max of 2-3 times body weight.
    3 times your body weight would be impressive, that's for sure. I think 1.5 - 2 times is more realistic. I'd have to squat 555 lbs. to get 3 times my body weight. My football playing son holds the high school record at his school for his body weight squatting one rep of 425 (deep squat). But his legs are about twice as thick as mine. I'm happy to build up to and eek out what I can which is more in the neighborhood of 1.5 times my body weight.

    I like Dave's book as well.

  20. #20
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    The guys that have BIG power on the bike have MASSIVE legs. Spartacus, Thor, EVERY track sprinter, etc and you can guarantee either ongoing or at some point they have built in weight training.

    However, who in the XC world has massive legs????

  21. #21
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    I'm not worried about developing massive quads anytime soon ... the more I lift the skinnier my legs get! Which is fine by me, so long as the ability to generate power keeps increasing.

  22. #22
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbal View Post
    The guys that have BIG power on the bike have MASSIVE legs. Spartacus, Thor, EVERY track sprinter, etc and you can guarantee either ongoing or at some point they have built in weight training.

    However, who in the XC world has massive legs????
    Contador and LA have big power and do not have massive legs. Both are outstanding climbers and time trialists. I really doubt any of those non-track riders are lifting weights in any way that would make them bigger, if they are lifting at all. Weight is a big liability in their line of work. They are probably genetically predisposed to look the way they do. Also, lifting for strength does not increase size much. It is primarily a neuronal adaptation. Ex Fizz 101.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Contador and LA have big power and do not have massive legs. Both are outstanding climbers and time trialists. I really doubt any of those non-track riders are lifting weights in any way that would make them bigger, if they are lifting at all. Weight is a big liability in their line of work. They are probably genetically predisposed to look the way they do. Also, lifting for strength does not increase size much. It is primarily a neuronal adaptation. Ex Fizz 101.

    Larry
    The difference between track sprinters and Tour de France riders is the same difference as 100 M vs marathon runners. Look at any short distance sprinter (or ice skater), and they have legs like body builders. Marathoners have legs like tooth picks. It is in the nature of the sport.

    Explosive maximum contraction for short duration - Anaerobic - fast twitch muscle fiber - best for muscle hypertrophy.

    Sub-maximal contraction long duration - aerobic - slow twitch muscle fiber - Not for developing size.

  24. #24
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    Hi Bruce

    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    3 times your body weight would be impressive, that's for sure. I think 1.5 - 2 times is more realistic. I'd have to squat 555 lbs. to get 3 times my body weight. My football playing son holds the high school record at his school for his body weight squatting one rep of 425 (deep squat). But his legs are about twice as thick as mine. I'm happy to build up to and eek out what I can which is more in the neighborhood of 1.5 times my body weight.

    I like Dave's book as well.
    I thought that seemed like a lot of weight also. But there is the one point in his book where he discusses his personal application of the strength training principle as a competitive cyclist, where he says he developed a one time, off season, maximum squat 'over two times' his body weight. I'm guessing the that is not a deep squat, and most likely for squatting inside the rack (bar starting at the a low position, maybe even above parallel).

    I'm not even close...especially now in mid season. I have a lot of trouble doing heavy off the bike strength training in mid season. Really seems to require too much recovery when coupled with all the stuff that needs to be done on the bike.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    LA have big power and do not have massive legs.
    LA has pretty big legs compared to the guys he was out climbing. He's built like a mesomorph.

    Contrador is the real freak though. Skinny little guy who can TT with the big guys. that's pretty rare.
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  26. #26
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    squats

    at your height and weight id guess that your really not built to squat. id use shrug bar deadlifts instead. ive squatted 3xbw and still find shrug bar deads to be a far better lower body workout. this is especially true if done standing on a 4-6 inch platform for more range of motion and using higher reps 15-20

    http://www.newyorkbarbells.com/im-0063.html

    i have this one
    http://www.trapbartraining.com/

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by LATAH_M.E. View Post
    1. The blanket statement that squating deep will destroy your knees is foolish
    2. The deeper that you squat, the lower your weight should be.
    3. Most of us could stand up right now and squat down and touch their butts to their heels 30+ times and wouldn't hurt their knees.
    4. Most injuries from lifting weights come from increasing weight too much too soon or using bad form
    5. Lifting weights can strengthen joints as well as muscles, but your muscles will usually increase strength at a greater rate
    6. Deeper squats put more stress on your glutes and less on your quads
    7. Most cyclists (especially those who don't lift) have weak glutes
    8. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and help to drive the pedal down
    9. Squating deep and heavy puts a lot of stress on your hip and the BIGGEST risk is a labrum tear
    10. For those people who have never squated or squated deep, I suggest that you give it a try
    11. I also follow Joe Friel strength training methods
    12. Training methodology is partially science based, and partially faith-based (even my own). This is very evident when discussing weight training with cyclists.
    WTF is a Labrum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Contador and LA have big power and do not have massive legs. Both are outstanding climbers and time trialists. I really doubt any of those non-track riders are lifting weights in any way that would make them bigger, if they are lifting at all. Weight is a big liability in their line of work. They are probably genetically predisposed to look the way they do. Also, lifting for strength does not increase size much. It is primarily a neuronal adaptation. Ex Fizz 101.

    Larry
    Based on interviews I've heard with Darcy Norman, who is a conditioning coach for HTC-Highroad, they mostly do corrective and core training exercises, which are not meant to build strength but rather to correct movement patterns and build a solid platform to pedal from. They also do plenty of mobility exercises. The fitness portion is mostly left to the riding though.

    I think the basic strength kind of program is great for a beginner or sport racer, and in smaller capacities for expert level racers, but the higher the level of the racer, the more the training leans toward cycling and less toward strength training. Core and corrective exercises are definitely a good idea, though, because you can't get those on the bike.

    That being said, I will again suggest the OP do a basic strength program consisting of squats and deadlifts. This will help you the most.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Contador and LA have big power and do not have massive legs. Both are outstanding climbers and time trialists. I really doubt any of those non-track riders are lifting weights in any way that would make them bigger, if they are lifting at all. Weight is a big liability in their line of work. They are probably genetically predisposed to look the way they do. Also, lifting for strength does not increase size much. It is primarily a neuronal adaptation. Ex Fizz 101.

    Larry
    6w/kg for an hour when your 62kg is 372w. For Spartacus to do the same he would have to be putting out 492w. That is a MASSIVE difference and requires far more strength and therefore muscle to produce.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    LA has pretty big legs compared to the guys he was out climbing. He's built like a mesomorph.

    Contrador is the real freak though. Skinny little guy who can TT with the big guys. that's pretty rare.
    he has been very guarded with his weight over the years. he hasn't wanted people to be able to accurately estimate his w/kg - destroying the peleton when he was supposedly 72kg was somewhat believable but i've read plenty that suggests he is closer to 78-79kg suggesting there is plenty of muscle on those legs of his...

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    Hmm, Ok, a few things to address here.

    A proper squat does not endanger your body. You shouldn't sag your butt down to your knees, but you should be getting to at least parallel. Failing to do so sets you up for knee injuries as your hamstrings will be under developed. I can't find anything on squats causing labrum tears anywhere, and millions of olympic lifters squat far below parallel on a daily basis with a very low rate of injury. Not only are you neglecting your hamstrings, but it also lets you move higher weights than you should be moving. This over weights your spine. A good rule of thumb should be for all lifters - if you can't full squat it, it has no business being on your back.

    Here's a nice quote from Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe on the dangers of partial squats:

    "In a partial squat, which fails to provide a full stretch for the hamstrings, most of the force against the tibia is upward and forward, from the quadriceps and their attachments to the front of the tibia below the knee. This produces an anterior shear, a forward-directed sliding force, on the knee, with the tibia being pulled forward from the patellar tendon and without a balancing pull from the opposing hamstring. This shearing force - and the resulting unbalanced strain on the prepatellar area - may be the biggest problem with the partial squats. Many spectacular doses of tendinitis have been produced this way, with "squats" getting the blame."

  32. #32
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    Quite the diversity of advice here -- from the hardcore lifting perspective to the ideal of doing all the work on the bike and using lifting purely as a supplement. Ideally, I'd like too do the later approach, but like many masters guys (dad, job, etc) I'm hoping to cheat my time limitations a bit. Plus, with the 100-degree days at least the weights provide another indoor option. So here are my takeaways:

    - I'll emphasize low reps/high intensity -- suits my body type and weaknesses
    - Occasional hypertrophy weeks
    - Experiment cautiously with deeper movement
    - When in doubt, ride workout wins over strength training

  33. #33
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignition16 View Post
    .... do corrective and core training exercises, which are not meant to build strength but rather to correct movement patterns and build a solid platform to pedal from. .... do plenty of mobility exercises. The fitness portion is mostly left to the riding ....

    I think the basic strength kind of program is great for a beginner or sport racer, and in smaller capacities for expert level racers, but the higher the level of the racer, the more the training leans toward cycling and less toward strength training. Core and corrective exercises are definitely a good idea, though, because you can't get those on the bike.

    That being said, I will again suggest the OP do a basic strength program consisting of squats and deadlifts. This will help you the most.
    Nice summary.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    - I'll emphasize low reps/high intensity -- suits my body type and weaknesses
    - Occasional hypertrophy weeks
    - Experiment cautiously with deeper movement
    - When in doubt, ride workout wins over strength training
    that is a great plan.

    Since there is a doubt with weightlifting benefit, I've always made the weight workout supplemental to my riding. And typically only during the long winter (4 months).

    There has been statements made pertaining to threshold of weekly hours when weightlifting is beneficial. I believe it was around 8 hours.

    Another words.
    Total weekly hours = 6 = 4 riding + 2 weightlifting = not so beneficial to future riding performance
    Total weekly hours = 8 = 6 riding + 2 weightlifting = Gettin' better.
    Total weekly hours = 15 = 13 riding + 2 weightlifting = a much more beneficial week to future riding performance

    With 8 weekly hours, might as well remove the weightlifting all together. When targeting between 10-15 weekly hours (during base), it's difficult to go wrong, no matter what is done.
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  35. #35
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    Seems about right.

    For the remainder of the summer and most of the fall, a 3 year-old boy, an almost 2 week-old boy, and a wife who's desperate to regain her own fitness will combine to keep me mostly on the 6-8 hour end of the spectrum.

    I think I'll be able to maintain fitness and probably continue making strength gains if I stay focused. Next spring/summer I'll aim to come out swinging -- emphasize on-the-bike workouts and lots of 'em, I hope.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbal View Post
    6w/kg for an hour when your 62kg is 372w. For Spartacus to do the same he would have to be putting out 492w. That is a MASSIVE difference and requires far more strength and therefore muscle to produce.
    Not necessarily. Consider your musculoskeletal system a system of levers and pulleys. Some have better leverage and/or different muscle attachments across joints and those differences allow individuals to achieve power at one end of the lever without as much force on the other. For example, a relatively high femur-to-tibia ration favors more power. Lemond is a good example of that.

    Larry

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    I've been lifting and riding for 10 years.....my vote is lower weight/higher reps during cycling season......lower reps during the winter.

    Also give squat presses a try with dumbells.......not only will strengthen your legs, but also your core, shoulders and arms.

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    Back to the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    My questions boils down to this: Is it better to focus on increasing the weights or increasing the reps at this point?

    At 225 lbs, I start to lose form. I squat to parallel -- not interested in going deeper -- and lightly touch a bench or box at the bottom of the movement.

    Hoping to hear from some experienced race-oriented riders ... would you say these weight loads show sufficient power for my racing goals? Or should I keep working on maximal force by upping the weights?

    One weakness in my plan is that I probably haven't done enough with cycling the lifting pattern -- I've gotten stronger so far by upping the weights and have not tried taking many step-back weeks, other than those dictated by job/family.

    My experience has shown that if you are able to increase reps at a given weight, then you are able to increase weight at a given number of reps. The two are interchangable to some extent.

    The goal of any racer is to get faster and in order to get faster we must address weaknesses. Increasing reps will help your body learn to deal with lactic acid accumulation better and increasing weight will help with coordination/nervous system development and ATP energy system development, and both of these are good areas to improve for an XC racer. It could be argued that the lactic acid accumulation that happens during an XC race would suggest that increasing reps may be "better" training, but in my experience they both yield similar results on the course.

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    tf

    Quote Originally Posted by bridger View Post
    WTF is a Labrum?

    The (acetabular) labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the hip joint.

    -- From wikipedia

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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    some very high level coaches have posted on here in the past (LMN is one) and basically the general consensus is that time spent in the gym would be better spent riding.

    there are exceptions to this rule. i think my wife is one. but generally speaking lifting is not at all beneficial.
    What would you consider to be exceptions to this rule?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    nice summary.

    Larry
    +1.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebarker9 View Post
    What would you consider to be exceptions to this rule?
    without being rude, the exception is the "skinny fat" people. people that have naturally low amounts of lean muscle mass or have a tendency to atrophy faster than average.

    the best i could do to illustrate the difference would be when i was injured, my injured leg atrophied badly but the rest of me didn't suffer so terribly other than picking up some fat. my wife was injured this spring and didn't have nearly as much time off the bike but seemed to lose a lot more in terms of lean muscle and strength. i think women tend to be more sensitive to this due to hormonal differences, but i bet you could find examples of men that have similar issues out there.
    Try to be good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Not necessarily. Consider your musculoskeletal system a system of levers and pulleys. Some have better leverage and/or different muscle attachments across joints and those differences allow individuals to achieve power at one end of the lever without as much force on the other. For example, a relatively high femur-to-tibia ration favors more power. Lemond is a good example of that.

    Larry
    and it's all kind of moot when muscular strength isn't the limiter for that kind of power(FTP).. it's oxygen

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    The original question asked for race oriented riders. I've been a mid pack pro, which I think was a fairly good accomplishment, and I never lifted weights. Being fast requires lots of riding, not lifting. Maybe in the off season to strengthen tendons, fix imbalances, but specificity is the rule. Ride lots and sometimes hard, recover.

    You mention being time strapped. I got my best results in the Pro class on 4hrs per week of only riding. 2hr tempo ride or race on the weekend, 1hr with 20min@LT Tuesday, 1hr with 20min total intervals @VO2max Thursday. More time on the bike might have been better, but I was recovering well and that's what counts. I would definitely suggest commuting to work if possible to get more time on the bike. That goes a long way.

    Now I don't care about racing so much, but I actually am lifting lots and the improvements to my enjoyment of the sport are huge. I LOVE being able to throw the bike around. I choose to squat deep, ass to ankles deep. At 6'1", 160lbs I squat 3 sets of 5 @ 200lbs twice a week. Friel suggests 1.5-1.7x body weight for sets of 6 during the MS period, but that seems like unnecessary strength to me (and I'm a single speeder).
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    Just some random thoughts on whats been posted so far:

    Take a 1 or 3 rep max and then start on a sub maximal program using a progression of increasing percentages. Stick to the program for a year without changing it to see if it really works and how it affects your body.

    Squat to parellel or lower. Whatever you feel comfortable doing. However dont do quarter depth squats as it doesnt help anything. There is nothing wront with using a box or a bench to gauge depth but dont slam into it or risk a spinal injury.

    Before you back squat try front squating. The balance point changes the leverages allowing for a more straight up and down back postion (safer) and makes it easier to go deeper (especially taller lifters). Everyone can squat however some people are not built to back squat.

    You wont get massive legs by squating on a regular basis, especially if you are putting time in on the bike. It takes a concerted effort to gain substantial muscle mass. Even more effort to gain it in the legs. Most people could gain 20lbs of thight muscle and not notice it visually.
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  46. #46
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    Thanks Sideways and Yeti2424 -- appreciate the good suggestions! Things are calming down a bit after the new baby arrived and I'm hoping to dig into some good intensity work soon.

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