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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Far from home

    Question I want to pump up, how can I start?

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    Oh, lovely TE ladies, please lend me your insight on weight routines and gym machines.

    I've been living in the snowless city for over a year now and realizing how much upper body strength I've lost not doing my usual hiking, snowshoeing and skate skiing. We belong to the Y, mostly for the pool, and I want to be taking advantage of the other equipment to gain some strength.

    I have only used weights for a one semester class in high school (we won't talk about how long ago that was ), and have no familiarity with the machines or routines. I could afford to pay their trainer for maybe one session, and the Y does offer a free one hour orientation. So, I'm look for your ideas for books/other resources for a rank beginner to peruse to try to build a routine that will support my cycling.

    Thanks, ladies !!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Take them up on the free hour of training

    If you take them up on the free hour, you can get the trainer to show you how to use the equipment. As you are doing that, you can get them to recommend specific training for what you wish to accomplish. I think you'll be ready to do some work on your own once you are familiar with the machines.

    Make sure they also show you the free-weights. I've used both, and I believe (personal opinion here) that free-weights are very important. For myself, I will try and move up in weights more often with the free-weights than with the machines. It's a personal thing, but I get too comfortable with the machines.

    So get out there and get started! Get a good routine that targets ALL muscle groups. Once you've worked some on your own, then decide if you want to spend the money for more personal training. You may find you are doing fine without it. You may find you need the extra help.

    Good luck. If they offer a Body Pump or Rep Reebock class, give it a try. It's a weight class set to music and is fun and works the muscles well.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Benicia, CA
    I have been doing weights for the past year and some months. I started with free weights. However, this year, I am doing machines. My trainer is also an excellent cyclist (former racer)so after a year with the free weights, she started me on the machines.

    If you tell a trainer what you want, they should be able to find a compatible program to fit your needs. The key is to be persistent with your workouts. Also, you may not need to do heavy lifting- I doubt you want to look like a "bodybuilder"! So lighter weights and more reps to fatigue muscles may be the key to a stronger, more resilient upper body. Don't forget to do ab exercises too. Very important for cycling!!!!

    Good luck! I strongly believe in weight lifting for cycling!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Vernon, British Columbia
    Yup, weights are a great way to train for cycling! Use all the muscles, make sure you're using the right balance of weights (ie. - the bicep and tricep muscles should be trained using the same weight)... and don't be too afraid to push some big weights some times. The key to weights, like with many things, to get the best results you need to do different styles of lifting throughout the seasons. A bit heavier weight will increase muscle mass which burns calories faster and makes your cardio work more beneficial. Really heavy weights with few reps and few sets will increase your power (really important for sprinting, or sudden steep climbs like in mountain biking), lighter weights with many many reps will increase muscle endurance, also very important in cycling. Learn the basics, keep your routine roughly the same for 6-8 weeks, only increasing the weights as you need to, then change up the routine with either a different focus (as I mentioned above) or using different exercises for the muscle groups. I also prefer free weights, and also like to integrate exercises like pushups, too. Machines will help you isolate a particular muscle very effectively, while free weights will help you train all the corresponding little muscles during a full range of motion. Both are good.

    Take the free hour, learn all you can, read magazines and books, too, keep it interesting to keep motivated. You'll love it!!

    The butterflies are within you.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Christchurch, NZ
    I'm editing this because I didn't read your post carefully enough last time - I seeyou belong to a Y and want to workout there . But I second the BodyPump solution if it is availiable

    I do BodyPump for my resistance training (in fact I did a class this morning) it is group fitness class with high reps of low to moderate weight set to music. I find it hard to motivate myself to do solo weights workouts and didn't want to stump up for a personal trainer every week, so BodyPump does the trick for me. It is pre-coreographed (sp?) franchise style programme based here in NZ but availiable all around the world. The attached link takes you to a site that tells you where classes are avaliable.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I started doing a combination "spin & sculpt" class that's 40 mins on the bike and 20 mins of weight training. They also have various classes that do weight training. I personally prefer the classes since they're more structured. But if I just do a spin class, I try to put in some arm work on the weight machines. I can't really say I'm an expert there, I just do them at the weight I can handle and for 3 sets of 10 reps each.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    There are a large number of really good books out there. And even more lousy ones! I started from scratch without any help with a book by Rachel McLeish (sp?) who was the reigning Miss Olympia at the time. That was a long time ago. If her book is still available I highly recommend it. If you're interested email me and I can give you the publisher and exact title etc. This year I bought "strength training anatomy" an absolutely gorgeous book. Really outstanding, but you have to know something already to use it.

    I am a big proponent of free weights, cable machines and some ball exercises. These type of exercises require good form, balance, and the use of many accessory muscles. So they are closer to real life. The only downside is using bad form which can lead to injury. I find machines WAY too limiting in the range of motion and muscle fibers enlisted.

    Make sure you have fun so you'll keep it up. G'luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    I use the routines recommended for cyclists in Joe Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible. But I wouldn't recommend this unless you really want to focus solely on weight training for cycling.

    I agree with a lot of what has been posted already. I think it is very important to work on your core strength (abs). If you can, hook up with a trainer to get you started. Getting pointers on how to lift correctly and how to progress at the right pace is really important to get the most out of weights.

    A lot of cyclists only train with weights in the off season but for women over 40 (like me!) the recommendation is to do some amount of lifting year round. That's my plan for this year.

    Have fun!
    "It never gets easier, you just go faster." -- Greg LeMond

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Orange County, CA

    Talking My 2 cents worth

    There's already a lot of good advice posted so I have to add a tid bit of my own. I am a firm believer and do engage in building good core strength. There are so many benifits other than having a killer midsection such as balance (needed for cycling) and good posture. What's great about core training is that you can do it at home and you don't need heavy gym equipment to do it.

    A qualified trainer can help you develop a workout plan that would best meet your specific goals. Although, I do have to say that personal trainers can be really good or awful. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that even though they are certified, they sometimes give bad advise, teach improper lifting techniques or simply aren't that helpful. On the other hand, there are some really good trainers that can "put the hurt on you" in the good way. Sometimes you may have to go through a few trainers before you find one that clicks with your personality. Sessions are expensive but are (in my opinion) worth it to learn proper form and understand exactly what mucles your working and why.

    A workout buddy is also a great motivator to help you get the most from your gym workouts. It helps push you mentally and physically when you need it. But however you ultimately decide to strength train, have fun doing it becuase it will make it seem less like a job and more like play.

    Good Luck with your training.
    Last edited by fixiegrrl; 01-28-2006 at 11:41 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Personal Training

    I strongly recommend working with a personal trainer if you are just getting started.

    Find out what their experience is with cyclists or athletes (as you have some specific goals)
    Find out their education
    Find out their "angle"? What type of training do they like to work on? Balls or machines? Functional training or body building that kind of thing.

    Remember that core is NOT just abs, but everything supporting the trunk: mid and lower traps, hips even glutes.

    Good luck!

    "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."-Moliere

    "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." -Thomas A. Edison

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Just remember when lifting upper body weights shoulders back and down! and balance your training don't do too many shoulder/chest exercises w/o doing enough back!!! (speaking from experience here-and 2 months in p/t).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    This is a pretty cool site - lots of good info from a woman's perspective, and very down to earth. I think I heard about it from someone here on the forum:


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Far from home
    I apologize for taking so long to respond to everyone - allergies had me knocked out for a couple of days so that all my surf time was spent in a fog.

    Now I'm back and want to thank everyone for their wonderful informed responses. BikerZ, that site looks great! Next step, actually calling and making the appointment for the free "orientation" !

    You ladies keep me inspired and learning all the time . Thanks!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    NW Phoenix, AZ
    Another book : The Female Cyclist by Gale Bernhardt. Place a hold for it at your local library.

    She draws from the previously mentioned Joe Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible.

    It has some chapters with pictures and instructions on a begininng set of 9 weight training exercises, complete with a workout schedule - how many reps, at what speed, at what machine, in what order, etc and how many weeks of each type of workout. She starts with a simple "adapting your body" to move on to workouts for speed, endurance, hills.

    Your gym should have a person that can show you how to use the weight machines listed, without having to pay a personal trainer (pricey). When you have conquered the beginning part and are ready to branch out to more challenges, you could work with a PT on free weights. You might find a friend to split the cost/time with, if the pt is ok with it.

    I consider one of the most compelling reasons to weight train to be that is increases the stability of your joints.

    Lets all be arnoldettes. 9ouch that chick just kicked sand in my face.)
    "If I weren't the maid, I'd fire me."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    On my bike
    Also, be careful when you are starting out. You should be lifting light weights for multiple reps (12-15) to build up your connective tissue. Muscles will build much faster and if you aren't careful, you may end up with joint problems.

    Sumptuous is a great website.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

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