No resting on the laurels (but planting 55 of them)


Weird – the fields are almost clear but it looks like the snow was just shipped in and dumped on the track.

This has been a further period of ‘other than cycling’ exercise.

Following the happy hour shovelling snow from the small hill in the village on Saturday, it was back into the gym on Monday (for a fairly restful session in comparison – that snow shovelling was hard).

After a substantial thaw over the weekend, Tuesday saw two and a half hours planting a new laurel hedge which, again, made the gym feel relatively tame. More digging proved to be another good all-body workout.

Over the weekend I did some reading to try to get to the bottom of the ‘low reps, high weights’ vs ‘ high reps, low weights’ debate. As I understood it, the wisdom used to be that low reps with high weights was the formula for body building – but now thinking has changed. I’m still a total layman but, with acknowledgement to the blog written by Pedal Strength, it seems that heavy strength training can develop fast-twitch fibres which can be very beneficial for cyclists.

Apparently, heavier weights, with low repetition, can significantly increase strength without adding large amounts of muscle. Increasing strength in this way can improve endurance, power production, and resilience to injury.

After a 40 minute walk this morning with Mrs O, it was back into the gym this afternoon for an hour with heavier weights and lower reps. Strangely, it was very enjoyable – there is satisfaction to be gained from lifting close to as much as you can (even if it isn’t that much by the standards of others).

I’m concentrating mainly on legs and core and trying to do the exercises properly.

Interestingly, on the adductor and abductor machines (working the muscles used to move the knees together and apart) I can use all the weights available on the machines (60kg – 132lbs) but with the leg press, extension and curl machines I’ve still got some weights unused.

I’d have thought my quads and hamstrings might be (relatively) better than my adductors and abductors – but apparently not. Equally, if a 62 year old tipping the scales at under 154lbs can use all the weights available, it may just be that some of the machines are themselves a bit lightweight?

Of course, the weights sessions must be accompanied by aerobic exercise – I’ve seen the suggestion that up to 3 weights sessions a week with 8 hours of cycling should work well. Clearly, I need to restart running and the turbo needs to take a bit of a beating, but I’m going to have to be careful to ensure that the weights don’t fatigue my legs too much to do that properly.

I’ve still not been out on the bike but I can feel the day fast approaching ….

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