Monday, 12 October 2009

Training begins

Coaches reckon it's a waste of time, but I have discovered over the years that good seasons follow a winter of weight-training and poor ones (such as the last two) follow years when, for whatever reason, I have not done any weights. The biggest difference seems to be in climbing hils and I am aware that my climbing has been awful for the last two years.

I'm not talking body building or even strength training here. I do fast repetitions of squats using light weights with a straight back. This last point is essential as I have a history of back problems and one mistake and it's not just the end of the weights but also much of the early season for me. It has been back problems that have prevented me from doing any weights for the last two years - though, in each case this was not caused by weight-training, but by, well, having a dodgy back.

Anyway, I am now quite good at organising the set up to avoid problems and the bar is kept on a high pedestal, so that I do not have to bend at all. I merely stand underneath and raise my shoulders up to the bar and off I go. Similarly, at the end of the session I can lower the bar on to the pedestal by bending my knees. It all makes sense really.

At this time of year, a typical 'starting out' session will entail two sets of 100 squats (with a short interval in between sets) with just 30kg of weights. The reps are eventualy done at pedalling speed, so approz. 92 per minute. But initially this will be too hard, so I settle for c. 60. It is surprsing how soon this can usualy be increased. When I can mainatain 92 reps per minute for two sets of 100 I will extend the number of reps. I do not increase the weight for two reasons: 1. I don't want to build bulk, and, 2. increased weight increaes the risk to my fragile spine.

It's surprising just how aerobic this session is. But when - in about a month's time - I am doing sesions of 4 x 120, this can actually become anearobic. I plan to do this every day, which should be attainable given that the whole session does not take long to complete. But it is a tough proposition I can tell you.

All I have to do now is avoid any problems with my back and all being well I will return to the bike in December.

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