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 June 25, 2003
Low Power/high heart rate
Resting heart rate
Max heart rate
Losing Upper body mass
Low Power/high heart rate
I am a 38 year old male, and this year I have been following a structured/periodized
training schedule for the first time, with the goal of raising my sustainable
power. Prior to this year, I just went out and rode, mostly mountain bike rides.
Most of my training is now done on a compu-trainer, with weekly mountain bike
rides. My training has been very consistent, following a three week on, one
week recovery pattern.
I started with endurance (>80 percent of Lactate Threshold Heart Rate)
and strength training, moved on to tempo (80-90 percent LTHR), and then sub
threshold (93-100 percent LTHR) workouts. During tempo workouts I did both high
rpm (90-105) spins and low rpm (60-75) in the hopes of raising my wattage. I
test myself every 6-8 weeks with a 30 minute time trial, using the data from
the final 20 minutes of the test.
After my first training block I saw the kind of improvement I was hoping
for - I raised my wattage significantly. Since then, however, I've only seen
an increase in my sustainable heart rate, not power. My average HR during tests
has gone up from 176 bpm to 181 bpm, then to 184 bpm, and most recently, 188
bpm. Average wattage during the test has remained roughly the same. When I try
to up the wattage, either by gearing up or raising rpm, my legs begin loading
beyond what I can sustain. The wattage meter on the compu-trainer indicates
I can generate loads of power in short bursts, so I don't think leg strength
is an issue. I'm only sustaining about 180 watts (based on the compu-trainer)
right now, even though I feel like I'm in good shape.
I have two basic questions, one about power, and the other about heart rate:
Shouldn't I be seeing an increase in power (wattage) as I improve my fitness?
I find it weird that my sustainable HR is going up, but not my wattage or speed.
Could this indicate that I am not fully recovered? Is it still too early into
my training (7 months) to see the kind of power gains I am hoping for (steady,
gradual increase)? Am I just a wimp?
Given my age, are these heart rates unusually high? On mountain bike rides,
I sustain even higher HRs than in training. My max HR has been about 195 bpm
for some time, but when reviewing my HR monitor after a mtn. bike ride this
weekend, it showed I reached a max HR of 229 bpm! All other data was consistent
with training and other ride data, so I don't think the monitor malfunctioned.
But 229 bpm? Is that physiologically possible?
Ric Stern replies:
Firstly, if you are using a power meter (in this case the computrainer) you
should define your training zones by power output and not HR (see: www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=powerstern)
as HR can depend on many factors.
If you use power to set your zones, then there's no need to discard the first
10 minutes of your test. You could base your 'TT' type training sessions on
the this figure.
Your HR might be going up if you are trying to ride at a specific power,
whilst increasing cadence (as efficiency decreases as cadence rises). It might
also be that your local temperature is rising (as we are in the summer in
the northern hemisphere) and your HR will increase in hotter weather.
Once you've found the average power that you can sustain for, say 30 minutes
then a great session is to complete one to three, 20-30 minute sessions at
about 95 percent of the average power. (I'd start closer to 90 percent and
gradually increase the power about 5W every couple of weeks so that you can
build up to about 100 percent). Just use whatever cadence is comfortable (between,
say, 80 - 100 revs/min). Don't concentrate on the cadence this is a secondary
issue, focus on your power output and gradually increasing it.
The 229 b/min you recently saw on your HR monitor is most likely a blip from
power lines, interference or the like.
Eddie Monnier replies:
First, kudos to you for taking a structured approach to your training. I
do agree with Ric that since you use a Computrainer for your tests, you should
also note the average power for the entire duration of your periodic test.
And this should be the primary test metric by which you judge your fitness
(though additional factors such race performances, etc. should also be considered).
But I also believe that you should continue to average the last 20 minutes
of your HR data from these tests so that you can use HR-based zones when you're
not on the Computrainer (and even if you had a power meter on your bike, I
personally still use HR zones to govern endurance training as they are easier
to govern than wattage and quite effective).
To respond to the first of your questions, bear in mind that one cannot realize
endless improvements in lactate threshold power. The duration over which an
athlete can realize improvements depends on their trainability and how long
they've been active in endurance sports. Although you "just went out and rode"
before adopting your structured training approach, you were most likely rather
fit compared to an untrained individual. For someone that has been training
for three or more years, I generally see them achieve their peak lactate threshold
power outputs (for which the 30-minute training TT is a proxy) within 8-12
weeks of focused training. Following this the focus often shifts to higher
intensity training specific to the target event. Following the target event,
the athlete may require a short detraining break and a subsequent rebuilding
of base fitness through the sort of lactate threshold intervals Ric described.
As for your second question regarding max HR, as Ric suggested, this was
most likely not an accurate reading but rather due to interference. Max HR
really is not comparable across individuals. Additionally, max HR does not
generally respond to training in experienced athletes. This is why I like
to derive HR zones from an estimate of lactate threshold heart rate (that
is, the last 20 minutes of an all-out 30-minute TT in training) instead of
max heart rate. And note here, that some athletes (myself included) actually
see a slight decrease in LTHR as they become more fit but a corresponding
increase in power. This is one of the reasons why using power to measure your
periodic fitness tests and to govern interval training is such a vast improvement
over HR-based training (though I tend to use power, HR and RPE collectively
as each has it's time and place and collectively provide a three-dimensional
view of training).
Dave Palese replies:
If I were training an athlete who's testing sessions were yielding results
similar to what you are getting, my first inclination would be that the rider
is overreaching and may be tired. Going into their testing sessions. You should
be sure to schedule your testing sessions at the end of a rest week so that
you are properly prepared to give your pest performance.
It isn't unusual to see big gains in output soon after switching to more
structured training plan. Gains, as time passes, are harder to achieve. That
is just the nature of adaptation and physiology. I would suggest reviewing
your training diary and look for elevated heart rates during your training
sessions and while at rest. Check to see that as your rest weeks go along,
you are seeing a trend downward in resting heart rate. If your HR is not dropping
through the week, your recovery protocols may need to be adjusted. I always
error on the side of going too easy.
The other thing to consider is how your performance is. Is the quality of
your performance in events rising? Results in testing sessions don't always
tell the whole story.
I have been suffering knee problems since April and I have made multiple
adjustments without complete relief - I'm running out of ideas.
I am female, 30 years old, 5'8", 134 pounds, long legs (34" inseam), have
always been in great shape but got more serious about biking last year. I am
riding a Bianchi Vigorelli that I bought new one year ago. Last summer I felt
great on my bike and rode approximately 75-100 miles per week without any issues
and had a goal of completing a century ride in the Fall. That is, until my last
ride of the season in late August - a 65 mile, extremely hilly ride in very
hot weather was the end of my season. I got 50 miles in before dehydration,
general bonking and pain in my left knee made me hop the sag wagon the remaining
15 miles. I didn't even try riding the rest of the season as my knee hurt consistently.
This Spring I started out very optimistic. I had been in the gym all winter
and my knee felt great. My first ride was 35 miles and everything went well.
My second ride I upped the mileage to 55 miles and my left knee hurt for the
last 20 miles. I have now realized that I probably jumped into the miles too
quickly (hindsight is 20/20). So, here is the order of the adjustments I have
made and the following results:
1. Went to general MD who said I have no weakness in my left knee and gave
me a prescription for Bextra (the newest super anti-inflammatory) and told me
to take 10 days off. I followed orders and had the same pain in my left knee
on my very next ride.
2. It was suggested to me that since my left leg is slightly shorter than
my right, to lower my seat. Tried that and not only had pain on the inside of
my left knee, but the outside as well, and my right knee hurt on the inside.
I couldn't go up/down stairs for a day after that experiment.
3. It was suggested to purchase shims to put under my left cleat, and to
raise my seat back up. Tried the shims and raised my seat back up - no real
improvement, though my left knee did not hurt on the outside. My right knee
still hurt on the inside as well.
I should note here that I have a leg length discrepancy while standing or
while sitting with my legs straight in front of me. But I have seen multiple
doctors over the years for an old track injury to my hip and I know that the
bones in my leg are of equal length. My hips are a bit asymmetrical and that
causes the discrepancy. My right hip was injured and has been good for the last
year. Back to the drama . . .
4. I went to a reputable bike mechanic for a real fitting on my bike. I
was reaching way too far to my handlebars and he replaced my stem with a shorter
one and put different handlebars on to allow me to reach the brake hoods (which
I couldn't do on my previous setup - I had done most riding in the drops to
that point). He also raised my seat up considerably. I had some relief almost
immediately in my left knee. But, both knees still hurt on the inside, but I
can manage to get through rides.
I feel like my pain is being caused by a fit issue versus damage to my
knees. After riding over a weekend I will take a day off and then by Tuesday
I can go for a run, do lunges, pretty much any workout without pain - it's just
biking that is causing me pain. I am currently riding on Ritchey SPD pedals
and am considering going to Look pedals. I have read that many people with knee
problems have solved them with better pedals. Of course moving to the upper-end
pedals is very expensive, but I am running out of options.
ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I live in Chicago and our
cycling season is short so I hate to miss out on all the great rides going on.
Dave Fleckenstein replies:
This sounds like patellofemoral pain.The big clue is significantly increased
pain with a lower saddle which causes increased loading of the patellofemoral
joint. The joint between the patella (kneecap) and the femur is an interesting
one - the patella sits in a shallow groove at the bottom of the femur and
as one bends or straightens one's knee, the patella should glide in that groove.
The track of the patella is determined by a number of things including knee
anatomy (Q-angle: aka knock-knee vs. bow leg), foot mechanics(supination/pronation),
VMO/quadricep strength (the VMO (vastus medialis oblique) is the large muscle
on the inside of the thigh that is more prominently developed on all cyclists
except myself), lateral knee tightness, hip flexibility, etc... I simplify
this into a tug-of war between with VMO recruitment and proper foot alignment
keeping the patella in the groove while poor anatomy, lateral quad/iliotibial
band tightness, and altered hip flexibility tries to pull the patella out
of alignment. When the patella is pulled out of alignment, it will cause wear
between the undersurface of the patella and the femur and generate pain.
The most typical (but by no means only) patellofemoral patient is a female
with an increased q-angle (knock knees), tight IT bands, over-pronating foot
mechanics, and weak VMOs, and attends high cadence spin classes all winter.
1. Continue with the Bextra - despite what the UCI and your mother told you,
drugs are good - in this case. Bextra is excellent at helping to reduce inflammation.
2. ICE - the most effective local anti-inflammatory around! 15-20 minutes
after each ride or workout.
3. Decrease ride intensity and length, just for a little bit. Your knee is
inflamed and if you don't allow it to heal, it won't. The Bextra and ice are
helping to provide some tolerance to work out, don't abuse it. Lower cadence
(80-90) and lower effort rides are your best bet. The lower cadence and effort
will decrease the irritation at the joint.
4. Consult someone (P.T., podiatrist, kinesiologist) who is well versed in
lower extremity mechanics. Orthotics, stretching, specific strengthening,
and anti-inflammatory modalities are all possible treatments.
5. New pedals are certainly an option. I am a big fan of the new Shimano
pedals, but feel that Look is certainly an appropriate option. I have also
had clients use Speedplay with relief, but have also seen them aggravate by
inducing more rotation at the knee.
I am a cat 4, male racer and looking to be upgraded to cat 3 in a few weeks.
Although I am 31 years old this is my first full year of road racing. I do have
about five years of general road riding and mountain biking in my background
with a handful of mountain bike races as well.
A couple of guys on my team and I were debating about how much fluids to
take in during a race. Specifically on a hot, humid road race of three hours
or more. I have heard and read a lot of different opinions, most of which recommend
as much as 8 oz every ten minutes. However, my riding partner said that he recently
heard that too many fluids can dilute your electrolytes and cause cramping.
What are your recommendations?
Ric Stern replies:
How much you need to drink will be dependent upon the intensity of the exercise,
environmental conditions (e.g., temperature and humidity), body size, genetics,
gender, and training status.
Bigger athletes tend to sweat more than small ones, sweat rates increase
with intensity, you sweat more in hotter and humid conditions, and the fitter
you are the more you sweat and earlier in exercise. Men tend to sweat more
General recommendations are to drink around 200-300 ml every 15 to 20 minutes
(during exercise) of sports drink (which needs to be 6 - 8 percent carbohydrate
solution, with electrolytes in it) even during short sessions (e.g., less
than 1-hour) as performance is compromised by hypohydration.
The advantage of having electrolytes is that it stimulates your thirst mechanism,
making you drink enough, whereas plain water does not stimulate your thirst.
Furthermore, there is a possibility of hyponatraemia (low blood sodium concentration)
if there is excessive water intake which causes a loss of sodium, which in
severe cases can be fatal.
To work out how much fluid you actually require you should weigh yourself
(nude) immediately pre exercise, then reweigh yourself (nude and towelled
dry) immediately after exercising and noting your fluid intake during exercise.
Each kg of weight loss is approximately equal to one litre of fluid loss,
thus, for a 70 kg male:
pre exercise weight = 70 kg
post exercise weight = 68 kg
volume of fluid consumed = 800 mL
duration of exercise = 2.5 hours
fluid deficit = 70 - 68 = 2kg
total fluid loss = 2kg + 800 mL = 2.8 L
Therefore sweat rates = 2.8 L / 2.5 hrs = 1.12 L/hr
Therefore, in this example this is the amount of fluid you should try to
drink during exercise.
My racing season has been brought to a grinding halt thanks to chicken pox.
Prior to contracting it, I had a planned rest week, which left me with a 7 week
block that I had planned to use to prepare and peak for one final race on August
3. I had just come off a peak at the end of May (clocking 36:40 for an uphill
time trial, 3-4 percent grade with a 7 percent pitch at the end, avg heart-rate
178bpm for that effort). It seems to me that I should now consider my race season
over since firstly, there is no way I could prepare adequately for August 3.
Secondly, the effect of the virus on my immune system probably means high-intensity
efforts won't help my long-term recovery. Lastly, I am moving out of the tropics
to Toronto in mid-August.
My questions are: What should I be thinking of doing from now till the end
of the year, bearing in mind that I will be coming off the illness, and then
transitioning to a brand new climate? I plan to partake in the usual racing
season in Canada next year. My thinking is to maintain levels of endurance and
then start training in November with a program of weights, pedaling drills and
sessions on the bike wherever possible, or can I start being proactive for next
year right now? I also have asthma that does not bother me at all in the humid
warm climate here, so are there any special adaptations I should think about
for the transition to Canada, specifically Toronto. I will be doing a yoga program
to keep my flexibility and suppleness up in the cold.
Dave Palese replies:
Firstly, I wouldn't blow-off your target in August. Go and do the race any
way. If you don't you'll be wasting all the work you have done till this point
in the season.
After you are clear to start back on the bike again and put in some hard
efforts, plan out your available time to train, doing workout specific to
your target and building in adequate rest.
If you go to the race, at least you went, and who knows, you may have a fine
Part of training with a plan is working your ability to be pulled off course
by illness and other events, and being able to get back on track. This is
a good opportunity. Stay focused on your goals.
As far getting used to the new climate... Don't skimp on the winter clothing.
There is no better investment in my book. Get good gear and it will make your
cold weather training much easier.
I'm 33 years old, been cycling now for approx 2 years, and getting fitter
and stronger all the time.
My vital stats are as follows:
Body fat: 15-18 percent
Resting HR: 41-45 bpm.
Max HR: 188 bpm.
Ave. km/week: 250-350
I ride in a local league during summer and plenty of fun rides. In the last
couple of races I have found myself in the final bunch sprint, but just can't
seem to get the timing right for the final sprint.
My biggest problem seems to be to keep the traction on my back wheel. I
tend to like sprinting in a nice big gear, so when I jump and start pounding
the pedals, I get the sensation of my back wheel lifting off the ground and
losing vital traction / power.
Could you please recommend some good sprinting skills drills / techniques
to improve my final sprints. Or any good websites / books that one can go and
do more research on sprinting.
I'm built quite heavy so I'm never going to be a serious climber, so I'd
like to really concentrate on becoming a decent sprinter! Please help!
Worcester, South Africa
Brett Aitken replies:
Your problem stems from from an uneven distribution of weight over the bike
and bad technique. It is usually related to a riding position where a rider
has their head forward and close to the stem, the feet are very pointed and
the arm position is very bent and under heavy load. The whole body is basically
too far forward.
This is not uncommon to see in riders who are sprinting but it happens to
be very inefficient. It makes it quite difficult to get maximum power through
a good pedal stroke and it also reduces the ability to use the arms for pulling
on the handlebars. This helps a rider apply maximum force through the opposite
pedal on the downstroke. Last of all it causes the uneven weight distribution
which in turn can result in a loss of forward movement. This is due to the
rear part of the bike flexing and bouncing around because of the large forces
applied in sprinting.
Although it is not easy to change a style or technique that may be imbedded
in you after years of riding, try to sprint with your body further back towards
the seat, head a little higher, arms more straighter and feet a little flatter.
Use the arms more as well which will create a slight rocking of the bike from
side to side. Try it first in slow motion to get the feel of it then give
it a go on different gears, speeds and gradients etc. It will feel very unnatural
at first but persevere and it will soon feel normal but you should find yourself
sprinting faster and have cured the loss of traction you were feeling.
I am a 24 year old road cyclist and want to start to do some weight training
during the winter to try and get a bit stronger.
Read a article written by Jonathan Vaughters, says to do leg extension.
Have read elsewhere that these are of little use for cycling.
What are your thoughts on this. Are hamstring curls, leg curls and heel
/ calf raises of any use?
What other leg exercises would you recommend besides leg press / squats?
I only have access to free weights.
Ric Stern replies:
For endurance cycling, there's no need to do weight training, as endurance
cycling isn't strength limited. Doing weight training, might even be detrimental
to your cycling performance. Full a full write up on the topic see here www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern
Concentrate on endurance training (e.g., several hours plus), tempo work
(e.g., couple of hours), TT type efforts (e.g., 40-mins), VO2 max type intervals
(e.g., 4-mins), and short sprints (e.g., 10-secs).
Resting heart rate
All these guys with low resting heart rates are killing me. In my 20 years
of racing, no matter how rested I am and no matter how many miles I put in.
I usually put in 150-170 or about 9 hours. My resting pulse never goes below
68-72. My racing heart rate is usually in the 170-180 range with peaks of 194.
Should I just give up because of my high resting heart rate or not pay attention
Dave Palese replies:
Brian, don't get caught up in the numbers. Resting heart rate is affected
by many more factors then just training volume. Remember, you train to improve
your performance in events, not to lower your resting heart rate. If your
performance in events is improving, then you are doing something right and
should keep at it.
Max heart rate
I'm a 42 year old cat. 3 male racer. This is my sixth year of racing and
training. My question: every year my max heart rate increases. Five years ago
I never saw over 170, now in a final sprint, or hard hill I hit 185+ max heart
Everything I've read or heard suggests that as you get older your max heart
rate will get lower.
Would you please comment on this?
Dave Palese replies:
I is possible that you are redefining your limits. What you may have defined
as a max effort in the past may is not necessarily a max effort for you now.
Losing Upper body mass
I am a competitive cyclist (Cat. 3) who has been cycling seriously now for
just about 3 years. Prior to cycling I did some weight lifting and consequently
have a good bit of muscle in the upper body which is quite a disadvantage when
the parcours is hilly. I know I'll never be a climber but I was wondering if
it is even in the realm of possibility to reduce upper body mass and if so how?
Are there particular foods to avoid? Are high mileage low intensity work-outs
Ric Stern replies:
The best thing to do is to avoid doing any exercises that use your upper
body (e.g., weight training). Couple that with hard riding, and any excess
muscle that isn't used will 'melt' away, i.e., use it or lose it! It will
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