Author Topic: Weight training and cycling  (Read 9438 times)

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Offline qoncept

Weight training and cycling
« on: March 28, 2014, 12:32:12 pm »
After years of not being on a bike I finally bought one and plan on commuting to work as often as the weather allows with a long ride on the weekends (or maybe every other). I lift weights 5 times a week and I've been doing cardio 6 times, but I'll be replacing my usual cardio with the bike. A few weeks ago I went on my first ride that was more than just around the neighborhood, about 8 miles. The night before was leg night at the gym. I was very sore and riding 8 miles was a pretty big struggle. The next week I skipped leg day and breezed through 20 miles.

I don't know what to do about my weight training to make sure I'm still able to ride the bike. My gut reaction is to just skip leg day during cycling season (April-October probably). I'm a strong believer that effective weight training means lifting till failure, whatever weight you're lifting, and that means being sore the next day. Anything less and you're just burning calories, which isn't a bad thing obviously, but there are a lot of ways to burn calories. My preferred schedule has leg night falling on Fridays which would make a long ride on the weekends very difficult.

So.. what do people recommend? I'm hesitant to just stop my leg weight training, but also don't know how I can do it effectively and still be fresh to ride the bike.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 02:40:57 pm »
I'd reduce the quad exercises, e.g., the lunges and leg lifts. You can probably still continue the hamstring and calf exercises. But I do believe in a wide mixture of exercises, so maybe you can just take the next day off of cycling after your leg day, or make it an easy cycling day on the flats, and perhaps you make your leg days at the gym less frequent during riding season.

Long distance cycling benefits from a strong core and good triceps.

Offline DaveB

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 04:59:36 pm »
Bicycling requires very high repetitions at moderate force.  Most weight training emphasizes very high effort and limited repetitions so it's not specific to bicycling unless modified to achieve that end.  Most of the bicycle-specific weight programs I've seen emphasize the use of light weight at high reps. 

Offline qoncept

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 05:03:40 pm »
Thanks for the input, guys. I guess I didn't mention that my weightlifting isn't cycling focused. I don't lift to get in shape for cycling, I lift to get big and strong. I'm looking for the best way to do both. I think that means working my legs on days I'm unable to ride and like you said, lower weight and more reps.

Offline DaveB

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 07:56:05 am »
Big and strong, or at least big, is a negative for cycling as upper body muscle mass is just "dead weight" for riders.  So, your weight lifting is always going to compromise your cycling ability and all you can do is reach a balance that satisfies you.  If you are going to ride for recreation or fitness or to commute, the reduction in cycling ability won't be a problem.   Just don't plan to be a competitive rider. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 09:54:35 am »
Easy cycling on flatter roads might actually speed your recovery after your leg days at the gym.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 07:37:56 pm »
The interwebs will reveal numerous and contradictory articles and claims. Most programs are designed for competitive riders and therefore based on off-season maintenance and no small amount of ignorance so take what you know about resistance training and balance it against what you know about cycling. Weight training that results in pain is usually designed to build muscle. That's not at all necessary for cycling. You don't need muscle mass, you need efficiency. Ride more. Wall squats are my favorite.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline qoncept

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 12:33:50 pm »
Thanks guys, I think you confirmed what I thought - there's really no perfect answer. My typical lift till I can't lift any more leg workouts burn me out to much to ride (or at least commute) for the next couple days, and dropping them completely isn't a good idea. I'll just have to experiment and see how much I can do. I've also only ridden a total of about 100 miles since I bought the bike so maybe I'll start to be able to lift more. I definitely don't have an ideal cycling build, but I've worked hard for it and I'm not going to give it up. :) I'm not interested in competition, just several hours on the road by myself each week.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 12:35:43 pm by qoncept »

Offline max5480

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 03:34:09 pm »
Hi. I have this same problem. I don't lift to get faster on the bike, I lift and bike to stay generally for and strong. I find what works for me is doing a weighted squat routine after medium to short bike. You won't usually be able to do as many reps as going fresh, but I can usually squat close to my max for a couple reps at least. You might also want to try single speed mountain biking, which gives me a pleasure similar to weight lifting

Offline qoncept

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 03:37:46 pm »
Lifting after riding? I hadn't even considered that.. I like it! That'll probably make it a weekend only deal but I can handle that, and it should naturally keep me from lifting too much to ride the next day. Thanks!

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2022, 09:29:34 am »
I highly recommend Fred Matheny's book on training. For weight work see chapter 23
Used paperback copies can be found

Offline canalligators

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2022, 10:11:06 am »
Besides cycling and walking, I do moderate core exercises for general health, mostly so I don't hurt myself.  (I am still active with home improvement work, age 70.)  I also do some stretching, plus balance and knee strengthening routines.  I have no interest in building muscle mass for appearance, just for general good health

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2022, 07:32:48 pm »
I've tried it all, and now at age 74 and having survived (uh, for now) a gnarly nonmetastatic endocrine tumor disease, I do what I like, which is exercising daily, either hiking, biking, or gym bouldering.  I got sick of the boring aspects of weight training, and find I'm doing great with my present routine.  I'm still, after 2.5 years, recovering and getting stronger and improving aerobically.  There are setbacks now and then, but I just ease up for a while and then get back to it.  I feel at this age, I'm not interested in doing things that bore me (i.e. lifting weights) and that didn't seem to to get the results I wanted anyway. Of course, I was never looking for "big and strong", just for staying in shape.  I also have been unable to tour the past several years, because a hard day of exercise would require a couple of days of rest afterwards.  I am planning a multiday tour with maybe about 40-50 mpd for next summer and a backpack trip, but we will see how things go.......   
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Alessa3322

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2023, 04:49:19 pm »
I do sports regularly and it helps me keep fit. But I don't focus on training the way to feeling sore the next day. I can skip training if I go cycling/running. Sport is not only about discipline, it is important for me to enjoy it.

Offline rayed

Re: Weight training and cycling
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2023, 05:22:14 pm »
Special exercise bike is always a good idea. The huge plus here - you can train from home, no matter what is the weather outside and can stay in a great shape also in winter. This blog has tons of useful information about different exercise bikes which help people to lose weight. I am sure you will find everything what you need to know about those bikes and will be able to make the right choice.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2023, 04:07:54 am by rayed »