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Monday, November 12, 2007

Unprofessional weight training

I think I need to get a trainer. No, not the kind you put your bicycle in so you can ride in your basement. I mean a person who can tell me what I need to be doing in the weight room to help me be a better cyclist.

Tomorrow on TGN Cycling Blog I'll go a little more into my reasoning behind doing this. Here I'll just record what I did during my first session in the gym. I'd like to say there is a science to it. Unfortunately that isn't the case.

After stretching I approached a machine that allows you to do squats without a spotter. This isn't resistance type machine. It uses real weights. You step under two padded shoulder harnesses and then when you lift the carriage picks up the designated weights and slides them up a pole. You can change the weights by pulling a pin out of one location and putting it in a new hole.

I started out at 45 pounds. Why? Well, I figured I didn't want to jump in and kill myself the first time out. 45 pounds is a fourth of my weight, so I figured that would be a good place to start.

One summer I worked at a camp in North Carolina that was about five miles above Lake Jocassi. I was a cook so there were opportunities for some free time. I used to run down to the lake and back each weekend. I would also run down to a waterfall about a mile from the camp every day.

I would also do a little workout program. Basically, you do push ups in a ascending order: 1 rest 2 rest 3 rest 4 rest all the way up to 12. Then you would go from 12 back down to 1. Before you were finished, you would have done 144 push ups.

After that summer, I was in the best shape of my life. Why do I mention that now? Well, I decided to do the same thing with the weights. I started out at 45 pounds and went through the same ascending/descending order. That first session was pretty easy.

I then upped it to 90 pounds. I went through the sessions again. Still feeling pretty good... I moved the pin into the 120 pound weight and did 50 straight lifts. Then I moved to about 10 pounds over my weight at 180. I did my weight 20 straight times. By this point my legs were starting to shake a bit.

Before calling it a night, I just had to give the max amount a try. So, I moved the pin down to 315 pounds - the most the machine would allow and did ten straight lifts. I was really pretty shaky by the time I finished that.

While I was lifting with my skinny cycling body, I overheard some guys talking. "Have you seen the new car commercial?" I heard a guy say. "It talks about how things have changed. They mention how our ideas of power have changed and they change from a scene of a body builder to frames of Lance Armstrong." That made me feel a little better. These guys might be able to out lift me, but I could run them in the ground on an hour ride.

I'm actually kind of looking forward to going back. I found a stationary bike there that can tell me my watts. I didn't play around with it until after I had done the lifting, so I was starting off pretty tired to begin with. However, it was cool to see the wattage.

Just playing around I had it up over 500 watts. For about five minutes I was putting out nearly 300 watts. At some point here I'm going to see what type of max wattage I can put out. Then again, it is like the weight training. I'm not exactly sure what the data is really telling me - just like I don't know for sure my training plan is really going to give me more explosive power in my sprints.

Hey, no pain, no gain...

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