POWER AND STRENGTH TRAINING FOR YOUR OVERALL HEALTH Posted by Lisa Caterbone
February 21, 2017
I found an interesting article on strength training on the Fitbit blog by Jens Voight. He talks about strength training and why it is good for cyclists to do an overall total body strength training workout to make all your muscles strong.
He suggests that strength training helps prevent injuries which leads to a a stronger body that can handle more workload before breaking down. He also suggested that getting your entire body strong will also help improve your performance.
I recently purchased a Harvard Medical School publication on strength and power training for this very reason. I wanted to find ways to one, get in shape, and two, make my overall body stronger. I was told my knee injury I suffered a little over a year ago was primarily because I did not exercise all of my leg muscles, concentrating only on my cycling muscles, which in turn caused my kneecap to shift or turn outward. I went through almost a year of PT because of this knee issue. The goal was to work my overall body muscles, along with the ‘other’ leg muscles I ignored for too long. (I really thought cycling worked all my leg muscles, but apparently it does not.) They had me doing a ton of balancing exercises, interior leg muscle exercises, hamstring / back of leg muscle exercises, along with core work. (I also suffer from degenerating spinal discs in my lower back).
I love the quote that Jens Voight uses to talk about strength training. He too had a lower back injury and instead of working on strengthening his body in the off-season, he would just jump on the bike and climb the mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France, causing even more pain on his lower back. His quote that I love so much is “Do as I tell you not as I did.” I bet you thought I was going to say “Shut up legs” since that’s the motto he lived by on his bike. But, no. Not this time. Take his advice and start strength training to keep your overall body in tip-top shape.
It only takes 20 minutes a day to get in a good strength training session.
I highly recommend the Harvard Medical School’s special report on Power and Strength Training for anyone who is just starting out. It’s a very thorough guide that talks about power training and strength training. It discusses in detail your muscles, explaining slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers. To equate these muscles in cycling, slow-twitch muscle fibers function best in low-intensity efforts where they can be supplied with constant oxygen. Think of riding your bike at a social pace for long periods of time, or a long-slow incline climb, one that does not exert too much effort, but is just a continual climb. Fast-twitch muscles, on the other hand, function best when you are in an anaerobic mode. Fast bursts like sprints. Higher intensity intervals, short steep hills or steep mountain climbs.
Strength and power training your body helps to train your muscles overall so that both of these types of muscle fibers to develop and make your body strong. By making your overall body stronger, studies have shown an improvement in performance and reductions in injury.
Here are some benefits of strength and power training:
Helps control blood sugar
Improves cholesterol levels
Improves the body’s ability to draw oxygen from the bloodstream
Helps with weight loss or to maintain your body’s weight
Eases lower back pain
Expands range of motion in joints
Boosts your mood
There are many websites and apps that offer strength training workouts. There are also online resources that offer personal trainer help in putting together a workout just for you. And, of course, you can find many, many videos on YouTube. But, don’t also forget that you can also go to the Clark County Library and search for Strength Training books and DVD’s to help get you in shape.
Many of these resources are free so you don’t even need a lot of money to get fit. You don’t even need a lot of fancy equipment to start. You can use your own bodyweight. You just have to have the desire to get yourself in shape.
There are a few things to keep in mind though before you start your workouts and as you progress with your fitness program:
If you have any injury or illness, consult your doctor before starting a program and get his/her recommendations on the best exercises to do, or what exercises to stay away from.
If you are experiencing any bodily pain during a workout, that means you need to stop and take note of what you are doing. A little pain like the saying goes “No pain, no gain” is OK. But if you are experiencing sharp pains like I did when I had my knee injury where I literally could not push down on my pedals if I stood off my saddle. There’s a problem there and you need to consult with a doctor.
If you need examples of a workout you can do at home, try this workout from FitnessBlender.com.
I really like the FitnessBlender website because they are an advocate of giving free workouts and advice to keep you healthy. Check out the site if you haven’t already.
I hope this article helps you to start strength training and motivates you to stay strong!
Local cycling club that rides in the Green Valley, Henderson, and Boulder City areas. They have their own ride calendar that is updated daily with a variety of rides for every level of rider. Check out their rides by clicking the website link below.
Southwest Bikes Sunday Morning Group Ride and Gun Range Ride
7290 West Azure #110
Las Vegas, NV 89130
This is our CLASSIC Sunday morning ride starting at 7:30AM. Promise of smooth sailing begins on Tenaya at an easy pace and head through Silverstone. We then head up Decatur and to the top of the Shooting Park. We regroup at the top and then coast down. We reverse the route back through Silverstone and at this point some people decide to head back for coffee (approx. 25 miles total). Others head out to the batch plant along the 95 frontage road. Then it's usually a trip up Grand Teton and back down to the bike shop and Starbucks (approx. 40 miles total). This ride is moderate to fast but we do not leave anyone behind. Plus did I mention the coffee afterwards?