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Leg muscle balance?
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 9970

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:59 pm    Post subject: Leg muscle balance? Reply with quote

I've started lifting weights at the gym for the first time ever! I pick a weight I can lift 12-15 times or more on each of the machines at the gym. It's interesting as it kind of measures the strength of the different muscles.

What surprises me is my quads can lift 85kg (12-15 times on the 'straighten the leg with the pad against the front of your ankle machine') but my adductors, both internal and external, can lift 105kg (12-15 times on the push the knees apart and push them together machine). To me, that seems to be a huge amount of weight for stability muscles and not a lot for main cycling muscles (I'm 90km, btw). My hams were also a lot weaker than my adductors but I can't recall a figure.

Anyone know if your adductor muscles should be stronger than your quads, is there a desired amount of strength (as a ratio) that your leg muscles should be able to lift in a 12-15 rep?

Thank you very much, I love you all. Very Happy
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JaffaCake




Joined: 28 Jul 2004
Posts: 1160
Location: Richmond Upon Thames

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno about muscles. I never had any.
Although (apologies if this is a dumb comment) I think the weights you move on resistance machines are generally shifted by strange lever contraption things (I have a degree in engineering) and because of these, the weights you are shifting, aren't necessarily equivalent.
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh right, so the numbers on the weights are irrelevant? That’d make sense, in a weird way! They're just a reference point.
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Matty W




Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be carefull when doing the hamstring curl, it's very easy to damage your lower back. Just out of interest what's the idea behind working on the legs in the gym?
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IronMike




Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are talking about weight machines, then you are not lifting 85kgs with your quads, or i would be very suprised if you were. Perhaps you are quadzilla, but i know that i max out at about 45 kgs. The numbers on the machines are most likely in pounds as 85lbs would be about right. Can't answer why you can do more on the second machine than the first, perhaps you just can!!
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Miguel In-some-pain




Joined: 24 Aug 2005
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Location: Bromley

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that if you have the same weight on two different machines, for example Leg extension(quads) and inner thigh(adductors), it would not necessarally mean you are lifting the same weight due to the pulley systems used on each machine differ. Also, I use the weight on the fixed machines for reference only as it is not a true weight and if I attempted it using free-weights it would probably lead to injury & embarrassment. I use a gym in West Wickham which labels its weights in KGs and I truly wish I could lift the amount it states on the fixed weight machines when using free-weights!!

To tell you the truth - can't lift much really Crying or Very sad

And how much will it help my weak cycling form??
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm back at the gym tonight to do some weight, I'll pay closer attention to the amount I'm lifting. It might be 85kg on the machine where you push your legs straight out in front (although in this case the foot board is fixed and you're pushing your body back). But the 105kg adductor number is correct and both my quads and hams can't get anywhere near that number, whatever the machine.

The reason behind doing weights is due to a piece in a book I've read that says "Endurance training leads to a decrease in contractile proteins in the muscle fibre whereas strength training causes a decline in the endurance characteristics. Therefore, if you train exclusively for either endurance or strength you may experience a loss of one or the other."

I definitely feel I'm low on bike strength as I pretty much stop when I get to the bottom of any hill and hit bottom gear, there's no powering up it or anything like that, just bottom gear each time. I'm fine on the flat, can push along but not on any kind of a hill. I also seem to get more than my fair share of injuries so I'm hoping some general strength work will condition the muscles not used so much in swim/bike/run to help out the main ones when they get tired.
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Leigh


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Joined: 11 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

as has been said said, gearing and leverages can affect the true weight you are lifting, but that is still and impressive hamstring curl

i would imagine strong legs are very useful in triathlons - they'll help avoid injuries, allow you to dig deep on hills etc

imho, you are better off in the squat rack. arnold once said, "machines are for sick people. men lift weights"
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Hoolio




Joined: 18 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have also just started doing some gym work on legs. Have been suffering with ITB pain and physio (very good sports physio who has worked a lot with tri injuries) explained that strength work would help to avoid injury. Said that all tri training is essentialy linear on the legs. i.e. do not use the muscles needed for quick changes of direction as per rugby, tennis etc. As fatigue kicks in these muscles become more important as they help to maintain stability and prevent hips dropping and knee twisting when running. He suggested work on quads and to use those machines that work the sideways movement of your legs. Not sure I've explained that very well but it made sense when he told me and seems to be working.
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islifejustaplayground?




Joined: 11 Apr 2005
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What weight you are pushing is irrelevant when it comes to machines, 85kg on one machine is 200kg on the next, or 10kg on another one, it depends on the system used to move the weight, the direction and angle of application etc.

Your quads should indeed be far stronger than your hip flexors/adductors, but like I said its to do with the machines not your strength.

As for what to do to strengthen your legs, squats are without a doubt the exercise you should be doing, forget about machines.

Squats whilst mainly working your quads, also work your glutes, hams, calves, and lower back, as well as other supporting muscles such as your abdominals. Yep, they pretty much work everything!

If you only want to strengthen your legs then you should stick to squats, deadlifts, hack squats, leg press, leg extensions, either stiff legged deadlifts(difficult to master) or good mornings, thats all you need.
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks people. I went back to the gym last night and I was talking out of my @*/$ yesterday. I can't life 85kg with a leg curl, it's 45kg Sad

45kg leg curl
45kg ham curl
65kg leg press
105kg adductor
105kg abductor - all 15-20 reps.

I'll email the pool, see what they say about their kit. It's all knew so maybe they'll still remember what the rep said.

What's a squat (other than a place where students live)?
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mdava




Joined: 31 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leigh wrote:
arnold once said, "machines are for sick people. men lift weights"

Arnie! Quality quote! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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wilbur4s




Joined: 06 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adductor/abductor machines actually use hams and glutes too.
get of machines, and start doing bigger movements.....
clean and press,
squats
deadlift
walking lunges (diagonal will target your inner/outer thighs better than teh machines)
chins
dips
etc etc

you are getting more stability around the joints if you use free weights, machines are good for beginners, and people use them to complement free weights...works on pure muscle strength better (they just wanna look big!), but we need strength in a stable environment as athletes.
your fitness coach at the gym should be able to give you some help, if not ask me and i'll give your program a look.

what are your goals andy? how's that core stuff going?
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 9970

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wilbur4s wrote:
what are your goals andy? how's that core stuff going?


My number 1 goal is to get around IM Austria in under 11 hours so all other goals point towards that. I've never done strength work at the gym so figured I'd better give it a go (especially at this time of the year where training is more casual and all the books suggest I ought to).

My current limiters are a huge lack of bike strength as I can't go up a hill in anything less than bottom gear, regardless of the incline, and I'm prone to injury. I'm hoping strength work will help with both of these, together with my usual training routine (that now includes interval work, never done that before either).

Core work seems to be going well although it's hard to tell really. My stomach muscles have been aching after a swim session which is new to me. I do feel generally stronger, body seems to feel different these days so gym work is doing something.

Our gym fitness coaches won’t talk to you about anything unless you pay them money for loads of coached sessions. They wouldn’t even tell me what machine might help with swimming muscles!

Thanks.
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woody




Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Posts: 201
Location: TISZAUJVAROS, HUNGARY

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For swim strength in the gym its hard to find exercises that follow the exaxt movements of swimming. Look to stabalise the shoulder muscles by doing a routine of exercises that follow every movement of the shoulders, these are best done with a theraband. For more strength look to do pull ups (most gyms now have an assisted pull up machine) or if you can't do this then lat pull downs.

You should focus on the stability around the joint before you work on strength!!!
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