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  1. #1
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    Sep 2007
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    "Muscle atrophy training"??

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    A motorcycle racer I follow on Twitter just used this term, which I'd never heard before, and a quick google didn't help.

    I'm assuming that what he means is training targeted to lose muscle mass without losing fitness. A lot of riders have been doing that in the past 3-4 years as they've discovered the limit where the detriments of weight outweigh the benefits of strength, and/or switched classes to a lighter more flickable bike.

    I'm guessing that this may be particular to motorsports, but maybe there are other sports where the weight of the equipment and the G-forces involved vary enough from discipline to discipline, and as technology develops, that this might be a question.

    Anyway, I'm curious as to what such training involves. Anyone?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  2. #2
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    This makes me think of when my trainer bulked down a few years ago in order to become a faster runner. He was hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and he wanted to reduce his weight by reducing upper body muscle mass. But I don't know how he actually did that. I will see if I can get an answer out of him.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    Isn't this similar to what Marty Nothstein went through when he converted from sprint/track to road racing? He started training for endurance rather than sprinting which meant he targeted the slow twitch muscles and neglected the fast twitch ones which were the bulk (at least that's my pea brain description of the concept).

    The neglected bulky muscles needed for sprinting and weightlifting will atrophy. It's not really training muscles to atrophy so much as just neglecting the muscles you want to shrink and training the ones that have been neglected before.

    editing to add stuff I found on a ski forum (see page 3 of thread)
    http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/...dustry-hype/60
    Last edited by SadieKate; 09-11-2009 at 08:22 AM.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
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    Deserto Rosso
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    From what I know, a great deal of endurance training (as in long distance/duration cycling) tends to induce the body to release copious amounts of cortisol.

    Cortisol is usually called the 'stress hormone' and is released as a response to stress and/or anxiety.

    With high enough cortisol levels, again, induced by lots of endurance training, the body can get into a catabolic state where it breaks down muscle proteins for energy.

    That I'm guessing, relates to the original poster's mention of muscle atrophy (muscle loss/shrinkage) as opposed to hypertrophy (gain/increase).

    For a great match sprinter like Nothstein, it makes sense as upper body strength isn't a help for aerobic/endurance cycling.

    Although as with anything, you can only change your body type so much - Nothstein would probably never look like Bradley Wiggins

    I'm curious - what motorcycle racer was it who made this comment? I follow motorbike racing a bit myself

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalaRoja View Post
    I'm curious - what motorcycle racer was it who made this comment? I follow motorbike racing a bit myself
    Ben Spies.

    Unfortunately for his MotoGP aspirations, all the training in the world won't help being 6'1".
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Ben Spies.

    Unfortunately for his MotoGP aspirations, all the training in the world won't help being 6'1".
    Hi

    Ah, Spies. He's quite a talent. Much as you say though, motogp, with the smaller displacement bikes, has become a bit of a smaller rider's domain. I think maybe, what, De Angelis and Colin are about the tallest riders in the paddock?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Minnesota
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    Yes -- fast twitch muscle fibers are better able to grow in size (hypertrophy). That is one aspect of strength.

    Strength also includes:
    Increased muscle cell recruitment; nerves recruiting more muscle cell bundles and more nerves firing.

    Increasing tendon strength -- this is one of the most important -- your tendons have built-in strain sensors (golgi apparatus). Your brain will limit muscle movement to match tendon strength. In times of dire need, such as a car crushing your spouse, you can override this limit -- even a tiny out-of-shape person has the potential strength to lift a car or telephone pole. The price is really messing up your tendons and muscles, though.

    Increased lactate threshold; more blood vessels, more mitochondria.

    Increased storage of glycogen, creatine (creatine phosphate is the energy system used for sprints at 90%+ heart rate).

    More into endurance, but the body gets more efficient at using fatty acids for fuel (higher fat / glycogen percentage) - to preserve glycogen stores.

    Strength Training
    for strength: 3 sets of 4-6 reps to failure (increases fast and slow twitch without a lot of muscle mass increase)
    for hypertrophy: 5-6 sets of 8-12 reps to failure (muscle mass increase, fast twitch strength increased)
    for endurance: 4 sets of 12-15 reps to failure (slow twitch strength increased, no muscle increase)
    rest muscles for 24 hours before training again - muscles heal.
    rest week (1/2 intensity) every 4-6 weeks - nerves, tendons, bones heal.
    Cycling weight training usually recommends endurance lifting, I prefer strength lifting. But I love lifting as much as biking -- and it fits well together seasonally -- so I am willing to increase muscle mass too.

    Plus with the new research on calcium loss in cyclists leading to osteoperosis greater than in sedentary people... doing strength sets to build up bone seems like an even better idea. (Eating more calcium is tricky - too much and you start calcifying your arteries.)
    Last edited by Yelsel; 09-11-2009 at 12:02 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Olympia, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelsel View Post
    More into endurance, but the body gets more efficient at using fatty acids for fuel (higher fat / glycogen percentage) - to preserve glycogen stores.
    Great post Yelsel! Seems very comprehensive. I wanted to see if you can clarify the statement above. Are you saying that...for endurance athletes, over time, the body is turning to fatty acids in food for fuel, as opposed to sugars from carb laden foods?
    I have always been curious about this aspect of fueling your workout.

    I am primarily a gym rat, lifting is what I fuel for, and indoor riding is my cardio...but going out on trails I find my fuel obviously isn't sufficient. One could argue that is because I have so much mass to carry around...but to a point one's fuel should be able to sustain a similar performance between two equally fit athletes...or not?
    Hiking, Biking, Paddling, Swimming, Surfing, & Running to my heart's content (or at least trying).
    You're never too old to try something new!

 

 

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