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Thread: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    I'd actually just suggest you do deadlifts and squats. Learn to do them correctly, and also work on torso strength. If it's your back that you're worried about, fix that problem because it's hindering your cycling performance as well -- your legs aren't going to put out maximal effort if your hips and back won't support it.

    A few suggestions. First, I actually encourage people to focus on deadlifts first. It's a simpler lift, although it's easily done wrong. Get behind the bar and when you set up, don't try to lift from the waist. Squat down enough so you are using your entire legs to lift with. And focus on crunching your hips forward while you're bringing your knees backwards. When you work the hips, your body will respond by working the rest of the chain. It's also not damaging to your back or knees or whatever if you do it right.

    Second, for squats, if you have problems with a standard front or back squat and are doing some squat variation, you are probably having a problem with your squat position. There are a lot more variables at work compared to the deadlift, but again, if you do it right, you shouldn't be hurting back or knees. That's an old wives' tale, with a few reasonable exceptions. Learn to do it right. Rippetoe, mentioned above, is a good resource to follow, and he does classes around the country. They are expensive but are worth it.

    Third, as a temporary measure, you can use a trap bar (also called a hex bar, though it sometimes isn't hex shaped) to do deadlifts. It makes it easier to carry the weight differently from a bar in front of your shins, but it's still the same story -- learn to do it right with a straight bar and you'll do fine.

    As for gaining strength without weights, two important concepts here. First, you have to stress your body at its current strength limit to achieve significant increased strength. Training at less than that simply doesn't bring about an adaptive response to increase strength. And second, there are a lot of muscles involved in delivering strength for a particular movement. The problem with machines (plate loaded and otherwise) is that they isolate muscles. That's their intent, but for building strength for cycling, you need an integrated result and they aren't that effective at it. An inclined leg press (sled) can be good if you have a particular problem or are recovering from an injury where you can't do free lifts, but you don't want to depend on it. Even a trap bar deducts some muscle groups from a deadlift, which means you build some strength in some muscles but not in the coordinated package you need to build cycling performance. You hear of so many cyclists who try the gym for the winter and don't come out stronger, and this is an important reason why. There have been some long threads on this forum about how to use weights effectively. I'd suggest you take a look at them so you at least can appreciate what the upside can be.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    I'm about 10 weeks into lifting for really the first time. I'm 46 and have spent most of my life on the bike, so I figured it was time to actually even out some of the imbalances as well as build some strength for both on the bike and off the bike. I am really enjoying it surprisingly, but now that I am starting base training I am curious about where people put their strength training in the mix.
    Chris

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    Check the Velonews podcast. They just had a great episode on strength training. In short, for base/offseason, prioritize strength training. As you get more into the season, prioritize on the bike training.
     

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    I've been doing a gym program and we've been doing Romanian Deadlifts and Squats on alternating schedule (Tuesday is deadlift, and Thursday is squats). At 41 this is the first I've ever been in the gym lifting weight, lifelong cyclist that just rode prior to this.

    Recently I've started digging into the info and science behind what we are doing.

    For squats we've not been doing full bottom out depth, and recently shorted up the depth from just past 90 to what might be called a 1/4 squat.

    Anyway here is some info for anyone that wants it.

    Quarter Squats Are Your Secret Weapon to Sprinting Faster and Jumping Higher | STACK



    The youtube video is about a study done on maximal strength training. The study is in the link below. Basically max you can lift for 4 reps in 4 sets. If you can do 5 reps add more weight, don't leave any in the tank. We're not here in our training yet but I think we're ramping up to it, we've moved from 10 to 8 reps and leaving 2 reps in the tank with our current weight.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8bd...a7e789cf78.pdf
    Brian Earle
    North Vancouver, BC
    Built a few frames in my garage.

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    Quarter squats are cool and all if you like massive VMOs and your jeans always around your ankles because your ass is as flat as a washboard.

    Or, you could be like Clarence

    Be sure to scroll to 4:00 and see him doing parkour stuff. BTW he's vegan. Happy Training!
     

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    A slightly different perspective: You principally build your quads in that last part of your deadlift or squat, but it's the glutes that will really give you power on the bike. For those, you want to go deeper. There's no special formula for "how deep," because some people have body morphologies that won't go deeper or won't benefit from going deeper. Like with measures such as knee-over-pedal, "how deep" has more useless legend attached to it. But the point for you as a cyclist is that the short squats let you heave a ton of weight and look cool but don't accomplish much for bike racing. It's wrong to assume that strength training should precisely emulate the range of motion in cycling -- in cycling you actually depend on strength in the movement ranges beyond what you measure while turning a pedal, plus you need to strengthen the entire range of movement or you compromise your ability to build the rest of your body chain.

    I'd still suggest any cyclist trying to improve performance on the bike needs to learn to do a couple basic lifts correctly -- the deadlift and the squat -- and then possibly add the clean to get greater speed and integrate the different parts of the body chain into one coherent action. You can still improve your cycling performance with weights even if you don't feel you can do heavier lifts (and by the way, body weight is commonly used among lifters but is meaningless -- you don't get to race better because you only lift 130 lbs because you only weigh 130 lbs). This improvement is because, if you use proper form with proper depth, you'll be improving the weaker parts of your range of motion, plus your back and other areas, all of which will improve your overall lifting ability over time as well.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Can I build strength without committing to proper Squats and Deadlifts?

    I do boot camp classes twice a week. It's an hour of core work with lots of squats, dead lifts, and lunges. I've increased my flexibility and can see improvement on my Zwift wattage. In the past, I've done trainer workouts with super slow cadence with high intensity to build strength. One minute at 50 rpm, one minute at 85-90 rpm, repeat.
    Weight Doper

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