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strength training advice?


I am pretty new and just completed two Olympic races. I clearly need to work on my strength.

1) Could you recommend 5 or 6 excercise I could do at the gym?

2) How to determine the weigth I should use, the number of sets etcetc.




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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Hi Jean,

    it's definatley a good idea to get some strength training in, something I think that many people underestimate the importance of. What you want from your weight training programme depends on what your goals are and where abouts you are in your training season, and as a result the advice you get could go on and on. It also depends on how experienced you are at weight training. However I will try and give some basic advice.

    If you are new to weight training you will need to start with some general strength exercises, these will also be useful to use during the early stages of the close season. Free weights are the best to use but only if you know what you are doing. Some core exercises are squats, deadlifts, good mornings, calf raise, barbell rowing, chest press and upright row to name but a few. These are mostly free weights exercises and if you are unsure about what to you may rather use weights machines i.e. leg press, leg extension, leg curl, calf raise, chest press, lat pulldown and shoulder press.

    These are all basic exercises to get started on and as training progresses you may want to use more specific exercises. No doubt you will get alot of advice about core stability training and swiss ball training. While I am all for this, people take it to the extreme and some exercises that are prescribed are ridiculous (and dangerous). Free weights exercises that require you to support your own body such as deadlifts and squats are far more effective.

    As for what weight to lift; you should start off lifting 3 sets of 15 repetitions if you are new to weight training with about 30 seconds between each set. The weight needs to be the maximum you can lift in that period, i.e. if you can lift the weight 17 times it is too light, especially on the last set. Remember that the weight has to be lifted correctley, if you can lift it 15 times but you lose control over the last 3 it is too heavy.

    The most important thing is to have an instructor at your gym teach you how to do these exercises properly or you could end up injuring yourself. What I written here is pretty basic and barely the tip of the iceberg, I spend weeks teaching clients some of this stuff, but good luck and I will be happy to give more advice if needed.


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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Something I feel I should add to my previous reply. Although I am a big believer in weight training, it isn't the only answer to improving strength. Try incorparating some hill sessions into both running and biking workouts and try sessions on the bike where you select a higher gear than you normally would. I am sure there is a lot more infomation out there about this sort of thing in training manuals.

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    jeanmongjeanmong Posts: 23
    Thanks Boycie,

    I have started to do weight training about 6 months ago, with roughly similar exercise you mentioned.

    3-4 sets of 10 repetitions. I am using machines. No heavy weights as I did nt want to get injured.

    I just want to build strength for hills riding and increase my speed + resistance.

    How much weight would you recommend I increase per week? (PS: I am 40, guess this could have an impact on the rate of increase?)

    You mention core, I just do sit ups, what are 2-3 execise I should do?

    Thanks again for your time


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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Hi Jean,

    sorry for the delay. Geting weight training right is a big subject area, but to try and answer your questions simply;

    Increase your weights as often as you need to, there are no rules. By this I refer back to my previous post. If you can lift the weight twice more than you need to, increase the weight (if your goal is 8-12 reps and you can lift it 14 times, increase the weight). There is no doubt a time when you come to a sticking point i.e. you can't do any more. At this stage you need to change your programme.

    There is no point in training unless you go heavy. In this I mean that if you stop lifting a weight after 10 reps, when you could have gone on to 15 then you won't get any real benefits. Muscles only adapt to overload and if you don't overload them, no significant improvements.

    Ideally your training during the season ( I assume you are racing at the moment) needs to be specific, this comes down to periodization which is a huge area to waffle on about here. I do very little heavy training during the season, and you may find it better to improve your hill running by running up hills (sounds obvious I know), what can be more specific to running than running? If weights are the way you want to go, I would work more for muscular endurance (3 x 15-20).

    As far as core stability goes, like I say, you will probably get more out of the strength exercises I mentioned before. However do use the swiss ball as it is good in certain measures, but the exercises are complicated to explain here, I would speak to the trainers in your gym and ask them to show you what to do.

    One more point is don't get stuck in the rut of doing the same training for too long. If you started weight training six months ago, you shouldn't be doing the same thing now as when you started. Hope that answers some questions.

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