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  1. #1
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    Finally, A Non-Bike Workout That I Like

    I've never been a gym guy, or worked out with weights much. I used to be a furniture mover... and a landscape and lumber supply guy, before completing my studies and going to work in an office. After that, my only "strength" workout was shifting into high gears and pedaling up steep hills. While it is more fun, it has a pretty limited effect on one's body.

    I've fiddled with weights - diligently at times - seemingly without any noticeable results, eventually giving it up for more play time. Plus, indoor exercise...

    So I thought of making a "strength" workout that mirrored my riding:

    When I'm out of shape, I ride lower gears and shorter distance. When I'm more fit (later in the season), I mash harder and go farther.

    So, being that I'm in the midst of my longest "Winter" of strength training ever, and certain parts of my middle-aged body are either unnaturally loose or unnaturally tight, I figured I'd start, figuratively, in a "really low gear" and aim for a "very short distance" in an effort to stabilize my shoulder and my spine.

    A typical "set" is upwards of 50 reps. My first max reps, in one example, was 37. In a month I've doubled that. I was never sore. I can still lift my arms, and walk upright the following day. Probably the greatest comparison that it makes with riding, is that if I go fast, I can't go as far (as many reps), but if I slow down I can grind out a lot more reps. This is something that is much more rewarding and motivating to me than aiming for a certain weight/max lift (which is not my strong suit). And I can tell that as I go I can modify my movements, bands, or weights (that's all the equipment I have) to increase difficulty - just the same as you would shift up a gear. But even if I don't "shift up", as my pace increases, my power increases.

    I might do 1 set of anything in the morning, 1 at night, 1 after work... by the end of the day, total reps are well into the 100's, with little sweat. And when I do get fatigued, again I just slow down (just like riding), or go shorter (just like riding).
    And to keep it fun, I trade myself sets for beers (that's sets!), since my beer fridge is in the basement. If I go to the fridge, I have to do one set of anything before I am allowed to open it. Win-win!

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  2. #2
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    What exactly are you doing. I am confused.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  3. #3
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    A single speed will whip you into shape.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  4. #4
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    Sounds like stairs.
    Wanted, SRAM GX 2x11 rear derailleur

    It ain't supposed to be easy.

  5. #5
    Big Mac
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    All that, and no mention of what youre actually doing? What the hell?


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  6. #6
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    This sounds like a good topic for the Passion forum.
    baker

  7. #7
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    Sounds like you're having fun, which is good, but beyond that, what are your trying to achieve? One thing you might consider is deciding what it is you want to accomplish with your workouts and then research proven methods of optimally achieving that. Usual goals include things like building strength, building endurance and building power. These are different aspects of fitness that have different applications and are improved upon with different types of training.
    Do the math.

  8. #8
    Nat
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    Please revise and turn in again.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    What exactly are you doing. I am confused.
    LOL
    Glad you went there.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  10. #10
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    I was sure the activity was going to be Horizontal Mambo. Actually, maybe it is?
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Sounds like you're having fun, which is good, but beyond that, what are your trying to achieve? One thing you might consider is deciding what it is you want to accomplish with your workouts and then research proven methods of optimally achieving that. Usual goals include things like building strength, building endurance and building power. These are different aspects of fitness that have different applications and are improved upon with different types of training.
    Fair enough, everybody. What I'm saying is that the actual exercise, whatever it is, is not as important as the mental aspect of doing more, light reps, comparable to a distance, as opposed to heavier, lower reps. I might do bands with my arms or my neck, modified push ups, arm curls, squats, reaches, rows...These are all things I can do at the drop of a hat. And for me, without a set schedule, I can fit in sets throughout the day rather than try to set aside an hour here or there.
    It was mostly prompted by some strange shoulder noises, minor back issues, and a short minor bout of sciatica. I figure if I catch them early I'm way better off.
    Actual strength will go up eventually, but joint stabilization is the focus.
    The comments here are funny but true. Sometimes I forget that people can't read my mind or make the same inferences that I would.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  12. #12
    Meatbomb
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    You are strange....

  13. #13
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    Ha! I knew exactly what the OP meant because I am married to my wife!

    you can spend a lot of time and effort working out scientifically, and I applaud people (like my sons) who do that.

    however, 500 pushups is 500 pushups, whether you do them 10 at a time or 100 at a time. If you religiously planned every workout, recorded your results, reviewed your charts, drank your pre workout, ate x grams of protein etc, youd probably get better results than just randomly doing a bunch of reps of whatever grabs you at the moment. All those reps add up, though, especially over time. My ortho has me doing up to 50 reps for different light resistance things, such as bands or light weights, and it works pretty well for me. I am not as bulky as I was when lifting heavy, but I hurt less and weigh less, and I climb way better. Not to mention my blood pressure and cholesterol fell with the weight loss. Your method sounds good to me, especially if you have a family, job, and want time to ride. Its a classic example of doing what works for you, as long as the bases are covered.

  14. #14
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    I agree Fleas. Doing high intensity gym work (I mainly do full body stuff with 25-40lb dumbells) was one the best decisions I ever made. I started it to reduce the risk of injury from crashing which is why a lot of MXers do it, but it also had positive unanticipated benefits like no back pain, stronger core and ability to ride a hardtail with a slammed stem with no soreness for hours.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyAsheville View Post
    Ha! I knew exactly what the OP meant because I am married to my wife!
    Wait, wait, wait... your married to your wife?!?!?!

    however, 500 pushups is 500 pushups, whether you do them 10 at a time or 100 at a time.
    Well, yes and no. Use that analogy to miles on a bike. Doing 500 miles in 3 big rides separated by a week each time is not the same as doing intervals/sprints and training for shorter races. These two scenarios have little in common, but they both cover 500 miles.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    I agree Fleas. Doing high intensity gym work (I mainly do full body stuff with 25-40lb dumbells) was one the best decisions I ever made. I started it to reduce the risk of injury from crashing which is why a lot of MXers do it, but it also had positive unanticipated benefits like no back pain, stronger core and ability to ride a hardtail with a slammed stem with no soreness for hours.
    Reduced injury!

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Wait, wait, wait... your married to your wife?!?!?!



    Well, yes and no. Use that analogy to miles on a bike. Doing 500 miles in 3 big rides separated by a week each time is not the same as doing intervals/sprints and training for shorter races. These two scenarios have little in common, but they both cover 500 miles.
    ...in one day.
    ^^^ this is key!
    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyAsheville View Post
    Ha! I knew exactly what the OP meant because I am married to my wife!

    you can spend a lot of time and effort working out scientifically, and I applaud people (like my sons) who do that.

    however, 500 pushups is 500 pushups, whether you do them 10 at a time or 100 at a time. If you religiously planned every workout, recorded your results, reviewed your charts, drank your pre workout, ate x grams of protein etc, youd probably get better results than just randomly doing a bunch of reps of whatever grabs you at the moment. All those reps add up, though, especially over time. My ortho has me doing up to 50 reps for different light resistance things, such as bands or light weights, and it works pretty well for me. I am not as bulky as I was when lifting heavy, but I hurt less and weigh less, and I climb way better. Not to mention my blood pressure and cholesterol fell with the weight loss. Your method sounds good to me, especially if you have a family, job, and want time to ride. Its a classic example of doing what works for you, as long as the bases are covered.
    I wish you woulda posted something about this 10 yrs ago.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  19. #19
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    Gotcha
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    You are strange....
    Aren't we all.
    (not a question)

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Fair enough, everybody. What I'm saying is that the actual exercise, whatever it is, is not as important as the mental aspect of doing more, light reps, comparable to a distance, as opposed to heavier, lower reps. I might do bands with my arms or my neck, modified push ups, arm curls, squats, reaches, rows...These are all things I can do at the drop of a hat. And for me, without a set schedule, I can fit in sets throughout the day rather than try to set aside an hour here or there.
    It was mostly prompted by some strange shoulder noises, minor back issues, and a short minor bout of sciatica. I figure if I catch them early I'm way better off.
    Actual strength will go up eventually, but joint stabilization is the focus.
    The comments here are funny but true. Sometimes I forget that people can't read my mind or make the same inferences that I would.

    -F
    Huh?
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  22. #22
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    I expected all this smugness over on the road hike forums, not here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    I agree Fleas. Doing high intensity gym work (I mainly do full body stuff with 25-40lb dumbells) was one the best decisions I ever made. I started it to reduce the risk of injury from crashing which is why a lot of MXers do it, but it also had positive unanticipated benefits like no back pain, stronger core and ability to ride a hardtail with a slammed stem with no soreness for hours.
    Same here, I do this, core work, work on rock-climbing stuff, to all improve my mountain biking. It's hard to explain, but even for DH stuff, back in the day, it'd be hard to do a full run at a bike park, it'd be hard to launch off of a big jump or feature and keep my body from collapsing. Now, at 40 years old, it's like my body is rigid and I can simply "bounce" off all that stuff, non-stop runs, etc. That core/mid/upper strength is super important for that kind of riding and keeping your bike going in the direction you want, holding it straight in rock gardens, keeping it straight on landings, and so on. I also do it to improve my XC ability, but I can work more on things like intervals and high HR on the bike, so I concentrate more on that when riding. It also helps to mix things up, riding every day is detrimental to improving at some point, because you just can't work everything that you should work when you ride and there are inevitably weather days, etc.

    On just exercise in general, what the exercise is isn't really that important IME either. If you want to become more fit on a bike, less weight is usually a good place to start and if you want to be healthy, having a healthy body-fat ratio is one of the most important parts. To that extent, I dropped 60lbs of weight about 10 years ago by just simply walking and running...started walking, eventually worked up to running, kept it regular, got off the soda, the beer, etc., still occasionally had one, but never kept any in the fridge or bought at a supermarket. My parents just did the same thing, but they can't run, they can row, do stationary bike, etc., so that's what they've done, doing it regularly, have dropped about the same amount of weight I did and are not back at healthy weights. It's not so much what you do, it's doing it regularly and making sure you give yourself time to do it. Riding can help, but it's important to realize it's not as intensive as running or weight lifting, so it takes a bit more time set aside, but apart from that, it's the regular aspect and doing something every day.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...If you want to become more fit on a bike, less weight is usually a good place to start and if you want to be healthy...
    There's still a lot of variables there, and cycling can be a rather one dimensional measure of fitness. Less weight is good if you're talking XC/road and body fat. DH is better with more muscle mass than is optimal roadies or XC racers. And what about activities other than cycling?
    Do the math.

  25. #25
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    Lots of words to say something so simple

  26. #26
    Meatbomb
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    Is this about Jimmy's wife?


    Pictures or it did not happen.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyAsheville View Post
    however, 500 pushups is 500 pushups, whether you do them 10 at a time or 100 at a time. If you religiously planned every workout, recorded your results, reviewed your charts, drank your pre workout, ate x grams of protein etc, youd probably get better results than just randomly doing a bunch of reps of whatever grabs you at the moment.

    Similar to what I try to do when I can't hit the gym. Push for a certain amount of pushups and squats and break them down into sets.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    ... That core/mid/upper strength is super important for that kind of riding and keeping your bike going in the direction you want, holding it straight in rock gardens, keeping it straight on landings, and so on. ...

    ...
    +1!

    -f
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    There's still a lot of variables there, and cycling can be a rather one dimensional measure of fitness. Less weight is good if you're talking XC/road and body fat. DH is better with more muscle mass than is optimal roadies or XC racers. And what about activities other than cycling?
    In the big scheme of things, I don't see them very far apart. There may be more fat DHers?, but not DH racers at the top level of competition and while yes, they are going to have more muscular upper body, IME they are still at least high-expert for "XC" with some able to compete in the pro-ranks. Unless we are talking about body builders, a bit of extra muscle mass isn't going to matter, unless we are talking top 10 pro XC.

    My point is if you are really in top-fitness for DH, you're going to be pretty damn good at XC too (as far as fitness).

    If you just ride your bike downhill on shuttle runs and don't train, well, that's not what I'm talking about.

    And still, in general, less weight is going to be a good place for most people to start. The amount of water I saved when I got lighter was dramatic
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I can do at the drop of a hat.
    My off-season work out is picking up hats of varying weight. It's a simple exercise I can do (wait for it) at the drop of a hat.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    My off-season work out is picking up hats of varying weight. It's a simple exercise I can do (wait for it) at the drop of a hat.
    Mine is picking up after the kids all day after work. Burn quite a few calories doing that.

  32. #32
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Swimming is great for me. Cold water snaps your mind in focus and drains all the inflammation from your body.

    As far as reps, tempo and sets: how many reps at what tempo for how many sets is massively important. But I do agree training your mind is paramount, regardless of all other factors.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    ....
    Sometimes I forget that people can't read my mind or make the same inferences that I would.
    ...
    -F
    I do this too. Know what I mean?
    ....maybe not....

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by be1 View Post
    I do this too. Know what I mean?
    ....maybe not....
    Yes. Yes I do.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    My off-season work out is picking up hats of varying weight. It's a simple exercise I can do (wait for it) at the drop of a hat.
    Ba-dump.. tsh!

    (holy eye roll Batman!)

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  35. #35
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    Fleas is your alias, is that you Joey Chestnut? Funny topic!

  36. #36
    Dude...
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    I would like to agree, disagree, or play devils advocate, but I'm still not entirely sure what the OP was trying to say. But, if you're trying to say you hate lifting, and feel as if just doing random, call them exercises, and doing super high reps of those exercises (which isn't really great for your joints), will give you the same or similar results to actually having a plan, lifting weight that brings you to failure in the 10-12 rep range, then I would completely disagree. Doing high rep anything hardly makes you stronger. You're basically just doing another form of cardio.

    If you were saying something else, then feel free to completely disregard.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebry74 View Post
    ...doing super high reps of those exercises (which isn't really great for your joints), ....
    ^^^This implies that hiking/walking/pedaling for any appreciable distance "isn't really great for your joints".

    But I agree that high reps do not provide a real strength benefit. But it's better than nothing - which was my previous plan (I was all pedaling, and nothing else). Joint stability and flexibility are probably a greater priority for me. As time goes by, though, gradually adding resistance will be very similar to pedaling in a higher gear (or climbing steeper hills). But since I don't pedal such a high gear that I fail after 12 reps, I enjoy it a lot more.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    In the big scheme of things, I don't see them very far apart. There may be more fat DHers?, but not DH racers at the top level of competition and while yes, they are going to have more muscular upper body, IME they are still at least high-expert for "XC" with some able to compete in the pro-ranks. Unless we are talking about body builders, a bit of extra muscle mass isn't going to matter, unless we are talking top 10 pro XC.

    My point is if you are really in top-fitness for DH, you're going to be pretty damn good at XC too (as far as fitness).

    If you just ride your bike downhill on shuttle runs and don't train, well, that's not what I'm talking about.

    And still, in general, less weight is going to be a good place for most people to start. The amount of water I saved when I got lighter was dramatic
    This reminds me of that sprinters vs. marathoner meme:


    That being said, I know that lots of XC pros have packed on muscle, but a lot of them intentionally try to keep their upper body mass extremely low to maximize power to weight. Top level enduro/DH racers are going to have a pretty high level of total body strength and use a pretty regular weight training routine of some sort.

    As for exercises: some sort of hinging exercise whether that's kettlebell swings or deadlifts is pretty key for longevity and total body strength, imo.

  39. #39
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    I just splurged and bought a RipRow. That thing is awesome. The reps pretty much mimic what you'd do on a pump track or jump line with greater range of motion. You can do low or high resistance either fast or slow. So far, I've only done one workout at the highest resistance, but it felt really good. The other workouts I've done have been a mix of mobility work and endurance training, which also felt great and worked out just about everything from my arms down to my calves.

    Right now I'm doing the RipRow every day, sweet spot intervals twice a week on the trainer (ugh!), and mtb rides when the weather cooperates. We'll see how things go this Spring.

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