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  1. #1
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    Really off topic and not the least bit controversial!

    Do any of you photographers/mountain bikers use a gym? I bartered my way into a gym membership so I have lots of machines available. Diabetes has done a real nasty job on me and the place I really need help with is the front of my upper legs (sorry don't know the lingo). Having a nice warmer-than-usual day yesterday, I tried bicycling for the first time in several years and they ached terribly!

    Two machines I tried were (1) a thing where you are on your back and you press weight away from you sort of upwards with your feet. (2) On my stomach, I hook my legs under this bar and curl my legs upwards. Neither seemed to do anything for the muscles I need to strengthen. Any ideas on what I should be doing?
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  2. #2
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    I use a gym, although I dought you could tell by looking at me. The company I work for has it's own gym right on campus so it's very convienent and free to all employees. The first machine you described sounds like a squat rack to me. This should work legs pretty good, but I think it targest your hamstring muscles (back of your legs). The 2nd machine you describe sounds like a leg curl machine which is also designed to target the back of your legs. I believe the muscles you are trying to work are called the quadroceps, or "quads".

    A leg extention machine would target the muscles you want. This is a machine you would sit in and hook the front of your ankles behind a bar. Then you would extend (straighten) your legs outwaords, lifting the bar, and the weights.

    Lunges are another way to work these muscles without a machine. Basically put one foot out in front of you, and the other one behind you a little bit. Make sure your feet are both pointing forward. Then just squat down like you're going to touch your back knee to the ground, while keeping your back straight. For some extra resistance, grab a couple of free weights and just hold onto them while doing this. You can do this while standing in one spot, or do it as a walking motion.

    I have also done a lot of biking and that helps too.

    There should be someone at the gym that could help you out too.

    FEEL THE BURN!!!!!
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  3. #3
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    No Gymn

    Michael-
    I'm glad to hear you're working on that diabetes. I don't use a gymn. And we can pretty much ride all winter, here. When it gets really wet or I don't have time to get out I have a trainer in front of the TV. I confess I haven't used it in about a year. But it should be good for your quads - I think those are the muscles you're talking about. Any kind of stationary bike will do. Generally, you want full leg extension on a bike. But if you really want to work those muscles, leave the seat down a bit. The lower it is, the more you'll work those quad muscles. Be careful, though. All your parts are connected. Work too hard on those legs and you'll likely end up with a sore lower back.
    Photo-John

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  4. #4
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: No Gymn

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Michael-
    I'm glad to hear you're working on that diabetes. I don't use a gymn. And we can pretty much ride all winter, here. When it gets really wet or I don't have time to get out I have a trainer in front of the TV. I confess I haven't used it in about a year. But it should be good for your quads - I think those are the muscles you're talking about. Any kind of stationary bike will do. Generally, you want full leg extension on a bike. But if you really want to work those muscles, leave the seat down a bit. The lower it is, the more you'll work those quad muscles. Be careful, though. All your parts are connected. Work too hard on those legs and you'll likely end up with a sore lower back.
    Thanks guys! Yeah, actually riding a bike would be the best solution. Unfortunately, its a bit too cold here for riding (I'm not a spry 22 year old anymore!) and the bike is, disgustingly, just too much right now. I'm not kidding, diabetes wasted me pretty well.

    The one device I talked about before turns out to be a "leg press" machine (very helpful staff!). That is supposed to help the quads but I don't really feel anything. I was started on 50 lbs, I think I'll boost it up to 75-100 pounds and see if I ache the next day.

    The other machine they showed me was the one where I sit up straight, put my feet underneath a bar, and lift them up almost straight. That too didn't leave any lasting pain with the 30 lbs they suggested. Maybe I'll boost that up too.

    I am also using some equipment for my weak upper body. Those machines and weights do hurt afterwards so I know they are working. Not all that useful for biking or hiking but I guess a balance is needed.

    To be honest, I really prefer the treadmill to the staionary bicycles. I guess I've always been a hiker first. Man, I just can't move my legs back and forth fast enough! At a walking pace of 3.9 mph, I'm walking as fast as I can. Sad, sad, sad.

    So, if I keep this up, maybe I'll be out biking this spring. Got my camera, ready to take photographs of, ugh, Cecil County Maryland. Anyone want to see photos of the cars on Route 40?
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    The Bike

    Michael-
    I think my trainer cost somewhere between $50 and $100. I have an actual bike that sits no it. It's in front of my TV, at home. I find something I can space out to and turn it up. It's great! If you're a hiker, and you have cable, put your TV on OLN. I think the TV is the key. And the bike will be easier on your knees.
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    Michael, when you strength-train your body, you need to consider opposing muscle groups to keep a balance. This helps prevent injuries.

    If the two machines you describe (as Michael says squat and leg curl machines) were the only two you used, it would do a decent job of this. Squat works the quads (large frontal leg muscles above the knee), while curl works the hamstrings (back of the leg above the knee).

    The other advice here is good. The leg extension machine also works the quads, and is a really good warm-up (or "pre-exhaust" as they say) to using the squat machine. Use lighter weights/ higher reps on the extension, then heavier weight/lower reps on the squat.

    Lunges are a great overall workout for the legs, but the form you use with them is much stricter and much more important (so you don't strain your knees) than the machines.

    If you want, round out your workout with calf raises (tippy toes) with or without weight, and sitting side leg extensions (pushing and pulling weight in and out to the sides to work the hip flexors and groin muscles).

    Like any workout, you want the specific muscle groups to be warm before you start your heavier exersion. Best warm-up for leg work is either the treadmill or a stationary bike.
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  7. #7
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    My two cents...

    I know you are looking for some specific infomation on this Michael, but all I have to say is..
    Just get on that bike and ride.
    Your body and mind will thank you for it. It will hurt a bit at first, but once you get into it you will feel better.
    Hang In There!
    Brian
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  8. #8
    Senior Member srobb's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    Michael, I can empathize with you on how diabetes has affected you. I know that all too well myself. You have gotten some real good info here, especially from Steve. The only thing I can add is that you were going in the right direction, you do need to add more weight, though.

    What would benefit you more would be what is called endurance training. That consists of doing lighter weight for a bigger number of reps in a set. You probably want to shoot for at least 15 reps in a set for three sets. The best way to tell if you need to add weight is the ease you have doing this. If you can do all you reps in all three sets fairly easy, you need to add more weight.

    I would do the leg curls and leg extensions on the machine and the squats. The squats will actually work both the hams and quads fairly equally.
    "No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit." --Ansel Adams

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter." --Ansel Adams



  9. #9
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    Quote Originally Posted by srobb
    Michael, I can empathize with you on how diabetes has affected you. I know that all too well myself. You have gotten some real good info here, especially from Steve. The only thing I can add is that you were going in the right direction, you do need to add more weight, though.

    What would benefit you more would be what is called endurance training. That consists of doing lighter weight for a bigger number of reps in a set. You probably want to shoot for at least 15 reps in a set for three sets. The best way to tell if you need to add weight is the ease you have doing this. If you can do all you reps in all three sets fairly easy, you need to add more weight.

    I would do the leg curls and leg extensions on the machine and the squats. The squats will actually work both the hams and quads fairly equally.
    Thanks for the suggestions. I hired a personal trainer the first day to set up a program for me. I told her I was looking for endurance first, so I guess that's why she has me doing reps of 15 each. I never thought about that.

    What I am doing now (I can't afford a trainer more than once a month, if that!) is to do two reps of 15. When I can do that, I raise the weight for next time. I think that is what you are suggesting. My leg strength must be more than I thought, in just 1.5 weeks I've raised the intial weights a few times. My upper body strength suggests that I'm lucky to support my own torso! Only two of those exercises have gone up in weight.

    There is an entire list of exercises that includes the ones you mentioned. Some are machines, some are barbells. My big disappointment is the treadmill. I do that every day (the weights every other day) and still see no improvement at all. I wonder if my age is putting some sort of ceiling on what I can do. Oh well.

    I will say that in just this short period of time, my insulin has been going nuts. Three episodes of hypoglycemia have hit me, two in the middle of the night. I've been reducing the dosage on my own, so that's a good thing in terms of costs (no insurance).

    Once the weather gets nicer, I'll start taking the bike out. Hiking in Eastern Maryland is pathetic so it's my second choice (just kidding). Lets hope I keep this up.
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  10. #10
    Senior Member srobb's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Biking - Really really OT!

    That is right on for that, Michael. For the endurance training you want to concentrate on how many times you can do the rep and not how much weight you can do. I think a lot of people may be surprised at their leg strength. I know I was at one time, but then I have always walked a lot and played some sports when younger.

    The treadmill will be good once you start building up some good muscle tone with the weights. It won't necessarily do that on it's own. The treadmill is really more of a cardio-cascular exercise which is still something good to do for the endurance.

    Being on insulin, you really need to watch it. Always try to check your sugar before and after working out if you can. That will let you know if you need to eat something before, or after, your workouts. Keep up the good work and watch the sugar.
    "No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit." --Ansel Adams

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter." --Ansel Adams



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