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Hi Folks. New member here. I ride single track 2-3 times per week, 45 minutes minimum, heart rate 140+ during most of it (I'm a 51 year old guy). Doing strength training in addition to cardio is now on my radar, but I'd like to know of the kind of riding I do qualifies (some or a lot) as strength work. I ask because a fellow rider said this riding works out the 'core'. Any thoughts would be very welcome! :thumbsup:
 

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Riding a single speed is a great core strength workout. After an hour ride at a fast pace with some decent hills, I feel more in my core than after doing 200 crunches. The standing while climbing uphill does most of this, and I've noticed getting much stronger in about a month and a half of riding. I fly up climbs on my other bike that I used to dread. You don't have to buy another bike, my SS is geared 32/17, so just use your middle ring and a cog on the rear you can barely push up steep hills and don't touch your shifters!
 

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Each person's body is different and will respond to training in different ways. You will get post after post of people telling you what works for them. What works for them will not necessarily work for you. Some things people suggest may even cause you harm. Take the advice people offer with a grain of salt, sift for things that may work for you.

There are two exercise truths that are universal.

1.Consistency is more important than intensity.

2.Cross training is important for overall fitness.

Find a routine of activity you are comfortable maintaining, pick something besides mountain biking to do for additional exercise. win.
 

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This:

There are two exercise truths that are universal.
1.Consistency is more important than intensity.
2.Cross training is important for overall fitness.

Find a routine of activity you are comfortable maintaining, pick something besides mountain biking to do for additional exercise. win.
I hit my bowflex for an hour or more two days a week, and work abs and low back 4 or 5 times a week.

I highly recommend Joe Friel's book Cycling Past 50. (You qualify old timer). The book covers all aspects of training, diet, stretching, etc etc for an event or just overall fitness and, as the title implies, it's directed towards us older guys. I picked it up in the late 90's, and have used it to develop a program that works for me. I continue to refer to it on a regular basis. It's a bit dated, but still full of good info.
 

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I ride on the weekends and do a Zumba Class on Monday, Jazzercise on Tuesdays, HipHop Workout on Wednesdays, Music Yoga Flow on Thursdays, Hacky Sack on Fridays.
Best Crossfit schedule ever!!! APRIL FOOLS!!! I JUST RIDE!! ALL DAY EVERYDAY IF I CAN!
 

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I feel that the most important benefit of strength training for cyclists is injury prevention. I do a circuit style workout involving mostly compound movements twice a week (one day upper body, one day lower). Upper body day I do pushing and pulling exercises (bench press/pushups, pull ups, military press, rows). Lower body day I do squats and dead lifts (nothing super heavy) and some leg curls and leg extensions to address the muscle imbalances that cycling promotes. 3 sets of each exercise, 10-15 reps

As far as core work, I've found that doing planks and side planks at least 3 times a week has helped with my back pain issues and also helped my endurance
 

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Try lots of different things. As you get older it will keep you fresh (mentally). When you feel good, go hard. When you feel tired rest. I believe the type of activity you choose will dictate intensity. Squeeze in some stretching and have fun.

Sent from my i9100 Warbird
 

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Since you're in your 50s and still riding, you're doing something right. I neglected everything else other than riding back in my roadie days and now I regret it. I'm 35 and sometimes my back hurts so bad that I can't even walk. I recently bought Tom Danielson's Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling's Winning Edge: Tom Danielson, Allison Westfahl, Patrick Dempsey: 9781934030974: Amazon.com: Books to try and save my back and to be able to continue cycling. I'm now a believer in cross-training and strength training.
 

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I feel that the most important benefit of strength training for cyclists is injury prevention. I do a circuit style workout involving mostly compound movements twice a week (one day upper body, one day lower). Upper body day I do pushing and pulling exercises (bench press/pushups, pull ups, military press, rows). Lower body day I do squats and dead lifts (nothing super heavy) and some leg curls and leg extensions to address the muscle imbalances that cycling promotes. 3 sets of each exercise, 10-15 reps

As far as core work, I've found that doing planks and side planks at least 3 times a week has helped with my back pain issues and also helped my endurance
I agree 100%. My philosophy is like this:

Strength - For manhandling the bike through corners and over trail features. For quick bursts of energy, sprints and short steep climbs.

A comprehensive weights routine utilising compound movements with free weights aimed at strength and conditioning done 3-4 times a week and split into upper body, lower body and core days.

Mobility - For staying loose and fluid in handling the bike through corners, over trail feathers and down steep descents.

A full stretching routine done after, not before excercise and on rest days.

Endurance - Both aerobic and anaerobic, for staying fresh throughout the ride and keeping your performance from slipping, both mentally and physically.

The ride itself can cover the aerobic side but I also like to do one or two 5k slow pace runs a week. High rep medium weight on lifting days as well as some sprinting helps with the anaerobic side.

Injury Prevention - Healthy joints and ligaments, functional amount of muscle mass to support joints and bones during a crash.

Stretching, body weight excercises and the weight lifting take care of this.

Recovery and Growth - For repairing and improving the body for the next ride so that you are always progressing.

Healthy whole food diet full of veg, fruit, nuts, low GI carbs, mono and poly fats and LOT's of lean protein. Healthy 6-8 hrs of sleep and days off will take care of this.

This all might seem like a lot of effort just to ride a bike but I see this as a philosophy for getting the most out of life, not just MTB riding. The bike riding is just one part of an over all idea to stay fit, healthy, mobile and strong for everyday life now at 32yrs old and for the future as head towards later years because you better believe I plan on hitting the trails for however many more years are left to me. When it comes to getting older, you either use it or loose it.

And this is all coming from a guy who 4yrs ago was a 266lb at 5'11" couch potato, who believed fit people where just born lucky. 90lbs of fat loss later and I can tell you it's about taking responsibility for your own choices waking up to your own potential and it's never to late to do so.
 

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Like most have said you need to find what works for you. Personally, I prefer body weight exercises and I have a few high intensity routines that also mix in an element of cardio. I alternate days with the following two routines and stretch every day on my lunch break. Usually I take one day off a week.

Each is a group of ten exercises with 10 reps and 5 sets each. No rest except for 30 seconds after the third set. It takes less than 20 minutes and I'm usually dripping with sweat by the end.
1.
burpees
back bows
mountain climbers
supine push ups
jumping lunges
push ups
high knees
plank knee-ups (in plank position, resting on your forearms, pull each knee forward parallel to the ground)
star jumps
jack knife crunches

2.
burpees
oblique raises
push ups
squat jacks
side planks w/leg raise
side lunge
dips
squat switch pick-ups (P90x inspired)
wide push up
jack knife crunches
 

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quick dirty cheap answer:

go to wally world get a pair of 15lb and pair of 20lb dumbbells

do arm work, shoulder work, upright rows...arnold presses...etc. bang out 15 reps of various exercises with dumbbells and you will find the bike is easier to toss around on the trail

do standard situps as well. works great for mtb
 

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12oz curls after riding and on some off riding days does the trick for me. I even up it to 16oz some days. Keeps me motivated to ride more to keep the belly in check. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks a ton, everyone! I obviously need to look at cross training. I have to say, you all are pretty impressive when it comes to non-MTB workouts. Jeesh! :)
 

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Clearly everyone seems to have a different routine, and can all boast positive results. I used to ride 4 days a week, but family life has claimed some riding time. But I have a gym at work, and use it every morning. I ride so much less than before, but (due to the weight training) am a much better rider now. I clean things that I used to HAB in the past. One key for me is variety. You do squats every day and your body will be used to it. So I rotate leg workouts:
Squats, one-legged squats, leg press, sumo deadlift (still works back, but more leg concentrated), sumo squat, push press (squat with weight under chin, do shoulder press with upward momentum), kettle bell workouts, lunges, box jumps, etc.

I obviously work the rest of my body too, with a variety of other workouts, just named the leg stuff, since bicep curls haven't helped me much on a climb, mainly just keeps my wife from kicking me out of bed :)
 

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I just mix up my riding to work different muscle groups.

Like some said, simulate single-speeding for heavy leg press-type work and core, find trails that work your arms, try pedaling seated only, sprint, climb... if you have the time, cross-training is good, but I'd rather spend the time riding.

-F
 

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Body weight rules! I have got the best results from mixing routines like the one below with a couple of days of interval training (usually on my bike on a paved trail). I'm in better shape that when I used to hit the gym, and when I ran my last marathon. More of an "overall" strength. For me it works!

Like most have said you need to find what works for you. Personally, I prefer body weight exercises and I have a few high intensity routines that also mix in an element of cardio. I alternate days with the following two routines and stretch every day on my lunch break. Usually I take one day off a week.

Each is a group of ten exercises with 10 reps and 5 sets each. No rest except for 30 seconds after the third set. It takes less than 20 minutes and I'm usually dripping with sweat by the end.
1.
burpees
back bows
mountain climbers
supine push ups
jumping lunges
push ups
high knees
plank knee-ups (in plank position, resting on your forearms, pull each knee forward parallel to the ground)
star jumps
jack knife crunches

2.
burpees
oblique raises
push ups
squat jacks
side planks w/leg raise
side lunge
dips
squat switch pick-ups (P90x inspired)
wide push up
jack knife crunches
 
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