Use it or lose it.

Globalti

Legendary Member
Some on here will know that I'm in a bleak place right now and haven't cycled for about five months. My quads, calves and glutes have all but disappeared as the only action they're getting is short walks on flat tarmac.

How quickly does muscle rebuild itself after a long layoff? I can't see myself getting back in the saddle before April or May now unless I can bring myself to try the turbo trainer.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Some on here will know that I'm in a bleak place right now and haven't cycled for about five months. My quads, calves and glutes have all but disappeared as the only action they're getting is short walks on flat tarmac.

How quickly does muscle rebuild itself after a long layoff? I can't see myself getting back in the saddle before April or May now unless I can bring myself to try the turbo trainer.
I think you'll find that once you are able to get back on the bike your fitness will recover quite quickly. You may not get back to where you were when at your peak before stopping riding, but you'll find yourself most of the way there within a few weeks and the rest will come back over time.

I have a turbo trainer which I use infrequently - despite kidding myself that I'll start using it daily - but has been most useful when I've been off the bike due to injury - I seem to end up off the bike for a few weeks at a time - just exercising for a half hour a day does raise my mood significantly and helps keep anxiety and stress levels down.
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
If it helps, at age 47 I was in excellent racing nick but then developed Achilles problems which stopped me (running) for 6 months. In a race I'd have expected to win 6 months earlier, in October with similar opposition I was 6 minutes down (winning time about 36 minutes) in almost last place. Five months later after a good winter's training (again more or less the same opposition) I won (to their surprise).
So what? You have a solid base and getting back into regular riding with some weekly hard efforts, will get you back up there. A forced layoff happened for me again at age 52 (sciatica in October) but after 3 months off I got back running again and raced successfully in May. I put this down to decades of athletic training and endeavour which lays the foundation. A layoff is bound to reduce fitness levels but resumption of physical effort (sustained weekly training) will get you back up there in a similar time to the layoff.
Get the mudguards and longs on and get out there. If you can get out for an hour, don't think "it's too short to be worth it"; GET OUT there.
 

matticus

Über Member
Get the mudguards and longs on and get out there. If you can get out for an hour, don't think "it's too short to be worth it"; GET OUT there.
Yes! Every little helps :smile:

And if you really can't ride currently (I don't know your full circs, Globerrs) you can do a lot of leg strength stuff indoors, even without weights-n-stuff. Even running up stairs is worthwhile.
 
OP
Globalti

Globalti

Legendary Member
Ooh stairs... I remember them. Living in a bungalow at the moment and we've both noticed the effect on our leg strength.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
'Power-walk' up those Scottish hills!

I had 8 months off my bike in 2012/13 and suffered the same kind of muscle loss. I rebuilt my fitness by walking up the hill from Hebden Bridge town centre to Slack (just beyond Heptonstall) and back, 3 or 4 times a week. At first it was a struggle just to get up there, but then I started walking faster and faster. Eventually I was averaging 7 kph (4.5 mph) up the steep hill, and much more down again. After a few months of that my muscles were back!
 

Ming the Merciless

Formerly YukonBoy
Location
Inside my skull
It generally takes between 2 to 2.5 times as long to recover all your fitness. So if you’ve taken 5 months off expect it to take a year to fully get back to where you were. That said, endurance is one of the last things to go. So much earlier you’ll still be able to get out for longer periods but at a lower average speed.
 

Ming the Merciless

Formerly YukonBoy
Location
Inside my skull
May I enquire where you get this from? Or is this your own experience? I think for someone who was as fit as the OP, I'd be less pessimistic.
It comes from a study of elite cyclists who have had to take time out for various reasons. So it comes from a study of the fittest of the fittest. If your level of fitness was low to start then less time to get back to that level.
 

matticus

Über Member
But it must also depend on how low your activity levels go - sedentary, two legs in plaster etc -vs- quite active but not riding or training much. (I must admit, that figure reads as very pessimistic to me - with no evidence!)

Remember there is also a 90:10 thing here - it's getting the last bit of fitness back that takes the longest time. Some wouldn't notice the difference - but if you're elite and compete at a known level, you would REALLY notice the difference (e.g. between podiums and finishing 100th, or whatever)
 
Some on here will know that I'm in a bleak place right now and haven't cycled for about five months. My quads, calves and glutes have all but disappeared as the only action they're getting is short walks on flat tarmac.

How quickly does muscle rebuild itself after a long layoff? I can't see myself getting back in the saddle before April or May now unless I can bring myself to try the turbo trainer.
Trainer road do some good videos on the subject. I think they said that muscles shrink quite fast but their half life is massive so they never completely disappear for about 30 years, so if you've had it you'll get it back :okay: This is one of their vids on the topic:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79wJsthxM0A
 
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