How to increase leg strength / power

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  • How to increase leg strength / power
  • Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    I’ve been working hard over the winter to maintain my fitness, mainly running and rowing in the gym, and maintaining a strict stretching regime to improve flexibility for the coming season and fend of any niggling injuries. I’ve been getting out 4-5 times a month for a 2-3 hour ride, sometimes longer, but no more.

    I’m now finding that my cardio-fitness seems pretty good, but i’m lacking in power to pick up the pace and feeling weak on long climbs.

    Apart from the obvious just getting out there and riding, any suggestions on how to improve this quicker?

    Specific exercises, diet, supplements?

    Thanks in advance.

    hora
    Member

    Short term use of Creatine?

    tinsy
    Member

    Sounds like the obvious would be the best solution !

    Gary_M
    Member

    Interval sessions to increase speed.

    nina
    Member

    squats – lots and lots of squats either with weights or without.

    thomthumb
    Member

    get on the weights and the protein.

    wors
    Member

    but i’m lacking in power to pick up the pace and feeling weak on long climbs.

    Do more climbing? 🙄

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    What are the benefits (and drawbacks??) of using creatine?

    I could easily introduce some squats into programme.

    Over the winter I’ve been trying to develop lag strength – been using the turbo (tacx excel) and using power based workouts – seems to have been quite successful as I ride I’m finding my local hills significantly easier to get up then last year

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    What exercises might I include in a power-based workout?

    mrsflash
    Member

    When you’re out, try riding out of the saddle as much as you can.

    Wall sits?

    hora
    Member

    Longterm creatine use? Weight gain (more water in the muscles) and chances of ripping your ligaments (too much muscle power)/strain.

    markenduro
    Member

    get yourself a single speed

    hora
    Member

    Paceman, after the gym session/ride do you eat within an hour? Its important for muscle recovery.

    racing_ralph
    Member

    How about interval training?
    10 mins warm up
    30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5
    5 mins rest/spin
    repeat 30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5
    10 mins warm down

    racing_ralph
    Member

    Have a protein shake in the 20 mins immediately after exercise – not an hour!

    £6 for a big drum of protein mix from Holland and barrett

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    Hora

    Yes I do eat after exercise.

    I think I may have been focussing too much on my cardio-fitness over the last few months, as my legs feel drained pretty quickly out on rides now. I need to get that poer back a.s.a.p.!

    harry too
    Member

    “racing_ralph – Member
    How about interval training?
    10 mins warm up
    30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5
    5 mins rest/spin
    repeat 30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5
    10 mins warm down “

    I make that somewhere in the region of 10.5 hours, is that the sort of training I should be doing rather than 2 hours twice a week?

    ted850
    Member

    singlespeed and beast the local hills, worked for me last year

    turbo trainer power sessions are good too

    like a couple of people have said, make sure you refuel adequately too!!

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    Harry Too

    I think RR meant 5 mins rest x 5??

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Sprint intervals. Find a steep hill and power up it a few times.

    as my legs feel drained pretty quickly out on rides now.

    Different thing. Endurance and power/speed come from different metabolic processes, so you train for them differently and the proportions and timing vary depending on your goals.

    For endurance, you need to ride fairly slowly for long periods. For speed/power, do stuff like sprint intervals and go hard. It’s all out there on the net, or buy a copy of Joe Friel’s book.

    MTT
    Member

    Creatine is a terrible idea, do not touch the stuff for cycling.

    Intervals are the way, there is far more science to it than just sprinting up a hill for 20 seconds. Either buy a HRM or a powermeter. Work in zones to improve various aspects of your fitness, muscles tend to develop in harmony with the rest of your system for a particular task.

    Some intervals functional threshold HR/Power, 20mins On – 10mins Off (slow) – 20mins On

    Some high intensity – 5mins On – 2mins Off etc…

    Some killer – 20seconds On – 3mis off etc…

    As for supplements; A good energy drink like high5 without Aspartame, and a good quality protein powder (100g per day spaced out) like Reflex instant Whey.

    Best advice; Ride 3 times a week with a rest in between, that’s two hard rides and one easy ride. Easy ride = 30-40 MTB miles, mega slow, take some lunch and a camera, walkers should be passing you. Hard Ride – Near death experience, start slow and build up, should last no more than 90 mins. Finally; if it isn’t nailed down eat it.

    keavo
    Member

    big gear, high intesity sessions (turbo trainer is good for this). change your 2-3 hour rides for 2x 1&1/2 hours but ride some of it as fast as possible. try singlespeeding in hilly terrain.
    do some squats and lunges.
    cut down on running and when you do, go up some hills. don’t try all of this on top of what you allready do, just change things now and again.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    There isn’t much of a substitute for riding – 4 – 5 rides a month isn’t that much. It’s only a short ride each weekend. You need to be doing more than that.

    Do you have a turbo? Interval sessions – like the Russian steps approach – can be very useful on a turbo.

    Start steadily – you shouldn’t increase your training workload by more than about 10% a week.

    And make sure you have your protein – NB don’t mix with milk; mix with water – within 20 minutes after you finish exercising.

    mudshark
    Member

    I don’t think weight training would be of much benefit – I used to squat 140kg when I was into weights but since I got into cycling I’ve cut out leg exercises completely and am a better cyclist for it.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Either buy a HRM or a powermeter

    Hah, the OP surely wants to drop £900 just like that on a powermeter…

    He wants base fitness, for sure. So it’s long steady rides.

    Richyb
    Member

    Stop thinking about it and go and ride your bike?

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I think I may have been focussing too much on my cardio-fitness over the last few months, as my legs feel drained pretty quickly out on rides now. I need to get that poer back a.s.a.p.!

    If you’ve only been riding four or five times a month for a couple of hours, then what do you expect? It sounds like you just need to ride more. Brutal I know, but adding intervals onto, well, not very much basic fitness, isn’t going to turn you into a hill-climbing machine if you’re only riding once a week. Just try to get out more, lots more.

    Gary_M
    Member

    30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5
    5 mins rest/spin
    repeat 30 mins sprint and 30 mins rest x 5

    I think you mean 30 second sprints then 30 seconds rest. Bradley Wiggins 30/30’s. I’d like to see someone do 30 minute sprints 😉

    Premier Icon terrahawk
    Subscriber

    singlespeeding works well. If you’ve not got any big hills handy, stick a 36 tooth ring on it.

    I’m normally riding a 36:16 round here. Not cos I’m rock hard or owt, just because it makes little hills seem bigger 😉

    hels
    Member

    Traditionally one builds base fitness and endurance, power comes when you combine the speed with that fitness.

    It sounds like you are trying to do that backwards !! I am sure you have reasons for the schedule you have followed.

    Intervals and turbo sessions are all well and good but you might find you will do a race and show improvement, but it will burn out fast.

    As people who prolly know more than me have said, there is no substitute to getting out and riding.

    Pick some events that suit your strengths.

    jojoA1
    Member

    Hill reps and pyramids work well at improving power, I’ve found. I think squats/leg press exercises helped me.

    hora
    Member

    [Swiss Tony]I find cross training helps, horizontal, riding, breast-stroke and diving all with a beautiful woman of course[/Swiss Tony]

    MTT
    Member

    molgrips – how much is a HRM? Not £900.

    If you are serious about getting fit, a Powermeter is going to yield greater benefits than a set of carbon wheels or light set of forks. Of course a PM is not necessary but a helpful addition.

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    Thanks for all the advice, i’ve started commuting to work this week to up my riding time (13 flattish miles each way) and will try to build in some intervals. I also plan to start doing some squats / leg-presses etc. 😉

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    molgrips – how much is a HRM? Not £900.

    Clearly. But you did say powermeter.

    If you are serious about getting fit, a Powermeter is going to yield greater benefits than a set of carbon wheels or light set of forks. Of course a PM is not necessary but a helpful addition.

    Those things aren’t the same type of spend at all. The OP didn’t come on and ask how best to spend £900. Seems to me that he’s a relative beginner and hence wouldn’t really be keen or dedicated enough to spend hours of self-immolation staring at a few numbers.

    First step – get riding more; second step – do base in the winter and speed in the summer; third step – get a HRM and a book; fourth step – get a coach; fifth step – get a power meter, I reckon.

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    First step – get riding more; second step – do base in the winter and speed in the summer; third step – get a HRM and a book; fourth step – get a coach; fifth step – get a power meter, I reckon.

    I’ve definately worked on my base fitness over the winter so thats the second step covered, now time to up the riding, and up the speed in the summer. I’m not sure I need steps 3-5.

    MTT
    Member

    Molgrips, molgrips, molgrips, stop point scoring, the purpose of this thread is to help the guy increase his leg strength which is (as covered) linked to your overall fitness. As stated previously HRM’s and PM’s are great training tools. Everyone who wants to see the best results given time constraints (4-5 rides a month as stated in the OP) should invest in a HRM or a PM… it’s up to them which one they choose. In brief; getting out more is definitely the answer, as is mixing it up… but, assuming you don’t have time for 3-4 rides per week, intervals with a HRM or a PM are the most effective form of exercise for those with 3-6hrs a week.

    Ride you bike more, but if you don’t have time… ride it more effectively.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’m not point scoring, I’m saying talking about pretty specialist training aids when someone’s clearly just starting out with the training is a bit daft.

    Intervals are not neccessarily the best form of training, HRM or no. You need to work out what areas you want to train (base, speed, power etc) and work on that. From what he said I thought he needed base fitness, and doing intervals won’t help with what he asked. There is no substitute for hours if you want endurance, there’s no short cut. Speed can be gained for sure in short workouts, but not endurance.

    jaycmx1
    Member

    im with markenduro and terrahawk was gona write the same till i read there.get a single speed i ve only had mine a month and im already miles stronger on the climbs and hooking bigger gears.i think if nothing else it stops you sh*ting out and droping to the granny ring when you dont need to

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