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Get Strong Concurrently With Cycling
by Dr. Joel A. Bloom, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, The University of Houston Department of Health & Human Performance

Endurance is related directly to strength. Strong riders use a smaller percentage of their maximum strength on each pedal stroke compared to weaker riders. The concept is to have more at the end of a work session or ride. In essence, the goal is to train riders to last longer and have 'more' at the end of the ride. General strength comes from working in the weight room. Steve Johnson at the University of Utah points out in his research that if you improve your leg press by 25% you won't necessarily increase your cycling speed. The idea is to convert general strength into cycling specific fitness.

In the weight room, Johnson recommends the leg press because it involves the total combination of the essential cycling musculature. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals are constantly involved in transferring the application of forces in the pedal stroke. The lower leg muscles, soleus, gastrocnemius and peroneals along with the finite muscles of the feet function as supporting power elements and stabilize the leverage action of the entire leg. Many of the current weight training texts use the referral constant of one-third of the total body weight as an initial resistance in determining workload level. This is sound advice for the beginning trainer, in that instead of fatiguing the focal muscles of an action, multiple sets of 5-10 pound increments may be tested until a significant resistance set is established. This implies that a 180-pound athlete would begin seeking an appropriate weight load at 60-pounds/resistance. When found that this would be entirely too low to correlate to leg strength, incremental additions would be made until resistance is constructive. It may be that a determined workload could exceed one-third above rather than one-third of the person's weight, making our example appropriate at a 240 pound/resistance. This resistance implies that the resistance is both effective and comfortable to move 12-15 repetitions for a minimum of three sets. Although there is more to say on the subject, I will at this time pass to give you time to digest this much.

"DO NOT LEAVE BIKE TRAINING IN THE GYM-TAKE IT TO THE ROAD!"

Dr. Joel Bloom is an Associate Professor for the Department of Health & Human Performance at The University of Houston. His teaching areas include Kinesiology, Sports Therapy, Athletic Injuries, Facilities Planning and Aquatics. He is also co-owner of Cyclistics, a company specializing in Indoor Cycling Certification Programs and continuing education for fitness professionals. Dr. Bloom can be reached in Houston at 713-743-9847 or e-mail him at jbloom@uh.edu.

View Dr. Bloom's Bio




Weight Training
Lat Pulldowns
Pulldowns are a great exercise for the back muscles but avoid pulling the bar behind the head. Pull the bar down in front of the body toward the collar bone and with the bar just below your chin. Pulling the bar behind the head puts undue stress on the shoulders and rotator cuff.
Running
Avoiding Shin Splints
Do you have lower leg pain or shin splints from running? Running on hard surfaces, worn out running shoes and weak calf muscles could be the culprit. Try running on soft trails, buying a new pair of running shoes or adding calf exercises to your weight training routine.
Walking
The Talk Test
A great way to make sure you are staying in your aerobic fat-burning range is the talk test. If you cannot comfortably carry on a conversation with your walking partner you probably need to bring down the intensity to assure yourself that you are burning fat.
Fat Burning
Your Anaerobic Threshold
A great way to make sure you are burning fat during cardio sessions is knowing your anaerobic threshold or where your heart rate zone needs to be to burn fat stores. Find a gym or fitness center that offers anaerobic/VO2 testing. Merlino Fitness offers anaerobic threshold testing every month. Check out the link below for more details.
Merlino Fitness Metabolic Testing
Nutrition
Keys to Weight Loss
If you are trying to drop weight make sure you incorporate the following to get you on your way. Drink lots of water, don't skip meals (especially breakfast), do not eat late night meals or snacks after 7 or 8 pm and build as much activity into your everyday life as you can. Michael also recommends joining weight watchers to anyone trying to lose weight and keep it off long term.
Nutritional Supplements
Stay Away From Ephedra!
The weight loss/energy supplement is in the news again. Supplement companies that market this controversial supplement claim it is safe although many have died from this dangerous supplement. Make sure you check the labels of your nutritional supplements as many are laced with ephedra, also known as ephedrine or ma huang (the actual herbal).
Quick Tip Archives
Our archived collection of fitness and nutrition tips to help you stay focused and fit.
Tip Archives

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Take the edge off those sweet cravings with this healthy soy alternative to an ice cream sandwich without the unwanted calories and guilt.
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Take the edge off those sweet cravings with this healthy soy alternative to an ice cream sandwich without the unwanted calories and guilt.
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Grocery Store Archives
Our latest collection of on-line articles to help you stay focuses and fit.
Grocery Archives
 
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Pamela from Chihuahua, MexicoI work out 5 days a week and can't loose weight. I do spinning, tae bo and many types of cardio. Where am I going wrong?
Answer
Nutrition
Ross from Sidney, AustraliaI am currently trying to eat six small meals per day. Apart from breakfast and dinner, I always seem to forget or skip my meals during the day. I also need some simple, easy meals (snacks) that do not require refrigeration or preparation, apart from the obvious fruits.
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