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Form & Fitness Q & A
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The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Fitness questions and answers for May 13, 2003
Weights and recovery
Building leg strength
Broken ulna and radius
Weights and recovery
I am a 25 year old, Cat. 3 cyclist. I took the last year off from riding
due to graduate school. I did, however, maintain a steady running program in
the evenings. I started riding lightly (150 a week) about three months ago and
noticed a serious lack of strength (my short cuffs fit much more loosely around
my thigh). So, two months ago, I have been incorporating weights as proscribed
by Friel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since starting weights, I've stopped riding
on Wednesdays for fear of overdoing it because I have been sore, and I know
it can take muscles up to 72 hours to completely repair.
But I feel like I'm slacking. Is it okay to ride for two or three hours
at a light to medium intensity on Wednesday if my legs are still sore? Would
I be working a different system or just prolonging recovery? Also, if I am experiencing
very mild soreness on Thursday should I lift again? Am I being a wuss? Should
I just anticipate riding and lifting with a constant, mild soreness in my legs?
Otherwise, it seems, weights require two to three off days a week. What should
Austin, Texas USA
Brett Aitken replies:
Yes, you should definitely go out and do a light to medium intensity ride
on the Wednesdays. It is actually more likely to help the recovery process
of muscle repair from the previous day's weight training than to hinder it.
Not doing anything at all is like treading water (you're not going anywhere)
and you are more likely to feel heavy in the legs and sore on Thursday than
if you were to go out and do a light ride on the Wednesday.
As long as you have the time, the aerobic benefit of doing Wednesday's ride
is equally as beneficial as the strength gain of doing weights. This makes
it also a good option to do on the basis you aren't going to be overloading
any one energy system too much.
Don't worry about the mild soreness on Thursdays too much either. It comes
with the trade, your body will adapt and you may find that Wednesday's ride
may help alleviate this anyway. Stick with it!
Ric Stern replies:
Given your age, the time of year, and I assume you're an endurance racing
cyclist (cat 3), there really is no need to do any weight training, especially
as it appears to be interfering with your on the bike training, see http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern.
Assuming that you want to improve your cycling performance, this will be
best trained with on the bike exercises, such as endurance riding, tempo work,
sub time trial type efforts, and as you approach your season's peak higher
intensity VO2 max type work.
If you really wanted to do weights/resistance/strength type training, this
would be best done either in the off season, or after a period of rehab if
for example, a muscle has atrophied.
Kim Morrow replies:
It's good to hear that you are able to get back out on the bike again. Your
approach with weight training may need to be altered, however. First of all,
since it is already the month of May, you may consider doing on-the-bike specific
resistance work in order to maximize your training. Examples of this type
of workout may be big gear/low rpm steady state efforts or power hill sprints,
utilizing varying gear ratios. The approach you take will further depend upon
your unique race goals, the time of year of these key events, and your strengths/weaknesses
as a rider. If you are only lifting twice per week, I'd recommend a 3 day
rotation between lifting sessions instead of simply a 48 hour recovery period.
For example, during the early season preparation period, my athletes will
lift on a Monday/Thursday or a Tuesday/Friday. Again, this depends upon our
long-term goals. If I had an athlete who had a late start to the season, then
I would focus primarily on building strength/power on the bike versus in the
Finally, since you mentioned Joe Friel in your question, I asked Joe to comment
on your question. I am very familiar with his training approach and was concerned
that you may be incorporating weight training differently than he would recommend.
"Let me just say that if a rider has properly periodized his/her weight training
relative to on-bike training that soreness should never be an issue. When
weight training volume/load is high, riding volume/intensity is low. I would
also not recommend lifting with less than 72 hours between sessions when doing
two strength sessions per week. For older riders (40, 50 or so depending on
the individual) I recommend lifting year round but only once per week in the
Build periods. And these workouts are quite limited to make sure that on-bike
training isn't unduly compromised. All of this is described in my latest version
of the Cyclist's Training Bible which just came out last month." - Joe Friel
Building leg strength
I am a 30-year-old male cyclist who has been riding for two and a half and
racing for one and a half. Previously I was sedentary and overweight at 95kg
and hadn't done any fitness work for 10 years. I am 6ft 3in and weigh approx
76kg. My max. output is 473w and VO2 Max is 73. I have noticed my climbing ability
and endurance and aerobic capability in a road race is equal to my B grade competitors,
but I recently raced A grade (at the Range, against Brett Aitken among others!)
and was dropped early.
I seem to struggle on the flat with putting out a lot of power. Is this
partially due to my relative lack of conditioning as far as years in the saddle?
To remedy this is it better to start climbing seated/slowly in a big gear, or
will repeated interval sprinting help this problem? Do I need to hit the gym
for squats etc. I haven't done any specific training before, just chased better
guys all over S.A.
Ric Stern replies:
It'd be interesting to know what test the 473 W was the result of and on
what equipment. For instance, if this was achieved at the end of an incremental
test to exhaustion with an increment of 20-25W/min, then that's an excellent
At the level that you're at strength training won't have any beneficial effect,
as strength isn't associated with aerobic performance or endurance cycling,
see: http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern for a general overview.
Almost certainly, what you need to focus on is long, moderately intense intervals
at just below TT pace, which will bring up your sustainable power output and
increase your ability to put out this type of power for long periods of time.
You should be looking at incorporating one to two efforts of 20 to 30 mins
at a few percent below TT power/effort/HR, once or twice per week, after a
good warm up and with a small recovery period between each interval. These
workouts can be done inside on a turbo trainer or outside on the road. If
you're using power (e.g., Power Tap, SRM, etc) then every time the effort
becomes comfortable you can try upping the power output a few watts in the
Once you start approaching your peak fitness, then you can start incorporating
shorter higher intensity intervals of four minutes, see http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/trainingstern.shtml
Keep up the good work, and tell us how it goes.
Broken ulna and radius
I am a 35-year-old recreational cyclist. Last year I had a very good year
of riding, 1000 miles. 420 of that came from a four day tour that I have ridden
eight times in years past (DALMAC). My typical riding routine is 20-25 miles
on a Saturday and Sunday morning from April through August to prepare for DALMAC
which is Labor Day weekend. The Saturday night before Easter (April 19) I broke
my ulna and radius in my right hand so I am temporarily left-handed for now.
On April 24 I had surgery and the doctor put in a titanium plate (matches my
Serotta!) because I had compacted the ulna. My wrist was unaffected by the injury
so the bones just have to heal. I hope to have this plate removed in a year's
time since I don't think that titanium is a good thing to leave in the human
I never take aspirin. However, since surgery I'm taking two Motrin every
six hours during the day and two night-time Tylenol before sleeping to keep
the pain at bay. The incision from surgery has healed together nicely and there
is a minimum of swelling left in the wrist. I keep it elevated during the day,
in a carpal tunnel splint all the time except when showering, and I ice it for
15-30 minutes in the evening before going to bed. To retain flexibility in my
fingers, I try to keep them wiggling and bend them to maintain my full range
of motion several times during the day. They will put me through PT in a few
weeks time and have instructed me to do nothing with my hand until then.
My main question is: should I basically give up the idea of riding this
year to let the bones heal, or would it be safe to gradually get into riding
with the goal of doing a quad century at the beginning of September?
I'm a 6ft 1in tall, 185lb, male, husband, father of two wonderful girls,
small business owner.
Shelby Township, MI
Jim Lehman replies:
A few years ago I managed to fracture my radius twice in one year and I am
carrying around a titanium plate and screws as a memory of that year. The
first fracture occurred in January of that year and in my haste to return
to training, I got back on the road a bit too quick. I spent about six weeks
riding the trainer in an attempt to maintain a reasonable level of fitness
and then as soon as I was given the green light by the doctor I began training
and racing with a brace. At the time, I may kept some information from my
doctor, such as how much riding I was doing and I think this lead to his early
release date. I was able to ride with mild discomfort for the next couple
of months, but never with full confidence. In September of that year, I fell
on the arm again and broke the radius on the same fracture line - bending
the stainless steel plate that had been installed. Back to surgery I went
and this time they installed a longer, titanium plate with twice as many screws.
At this point, the doctor informed me that there was not much bone to work
with if I were to fracture it again. Upon hearing this, I took a more conservative
approach to training/racing. I did return to the trainer and was able to maintain
my fitness, but I did not return to the road for another eight weeks. The
time was spent maintaining fitness and ensuring that I would have full range
of motion in my wrist and elbow.
Long story, short - you do not have to throw in the towel for this season.
You can still train indoors and make use of the high quality workouts that
you can perform indoors. A well-balanced training program will allow to maximize
your time and alleviate some of the boredom that comes with riding on the
trainer. Focus on short, intense intervals. These will help you maintain your
current fitness and even improve it. Most workouts can be completed in 60-90
minutes. You may lose a little aerobic endurance during this time, but it
is much easier to re-establish this aspect of your fitness once you have been
given the green light to ride outdoors. You may try to do one long ride per
week, 90-120 minutes but don't stress over it and burn yourself out. Also,
make sure you are integrating your physical therapy routine into your training
program. You may want to talk with you doctor about a bone density scan or
calcium supplementation if you think you are at risk for bone fractures. And
finally, be honest and up front with your doctor so he/she knows exactly what
you mean when you say, "Well, I do some bike riding..."
Be patient, all is not lost.
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