Will bulking up leg muscles (strength training: heavy squats) increase average speed?

otherself

Fully lugged in.
Hi

Been struggling lately to average above 23.4mph on a 10 mile course (flat as a pancake here in southern Lincolnshire).

I have good developed calves (16 inches) but I feel my front and side thigh muscles are lagging. I don't know the name of these muscle groups, i'll have to look it up. I'm just wondering if there's guys on here who have built their legs up through heavy gym work and seen an improvement in speed?

In a back copy of cycling weekly I have, there was a guy who lifted heavy weights and built 3.5kg of lean mass in 12 weeks, increased his thighs circumference by 1.5 inches, but it didn't help him maintain a higher top speed. So I guess it doesn't work for everyone. But looking at TT specialist guys in The Tour, they are def. bulkier than climbers.

At my age especially (41), I'm by no means old or past it, but we do lose about 5lbs of lean mass per decade after age 35 or so. So "use it lose it" is the word! The leg muscles are the first to atrophy with ageing as far as I've read, followed by the arms last (in fact a study of 60 year old men working as carpenters showed they had equal grip strength to 22yo men working in the same occupation).
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I don't know how many time triallists do heavy weights, but this photo of Bradley Wiggins winning the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics certainly shows that his legs were not massive!

1024px-Bradley_Wiggins,_London_2012_time_trial.jpg
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
Unlikely to increase your speed, but provided you don't overdo it and wreck your knees, it may well contribute to your overall fitness and general conditioning which may have a positive effect of some sort.

But if you just want to increase speed then the most effective things are probably intervals and aerobic work and stuff like that. (And losing fat if you want to go quickly uphill and you have some fat to spare). Unless of course you want massive bursts of acceleration to get you up to speed like those muscly track riders.
 
Location
Loch side.
Stop measuring your calves. It bears no relevance to anything.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I'm fascinated to know what pedalling technique develops your calves more than your thighs.
Funnily enough, I noticed my calves developing before my thighs did!

I didn't think that I had much muscular development in my legs until I lost most of it in a very short time. (I lost about 3 stone in a month when I was ill in 2012, including an awful lot of muscle. It was scary to see my legs looking more like the normal size of my arms, and my arms looking more like a skinny woman's! :eek:)
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
Location
East Devon
Funnily enough, I noticed my calves developing before my thighs did!

I didn't think that I had much muscular development in my legs until I lost most of it in a very short time. (I lost about 3 stone in a month when I was ill in 2012, including an awful lot of muscle. It was scary to see my legs looking more like the normal size of my arms, and my arms looking more like a skinny woman's! :eek:)
Thinking about it, my unscientific observation is that those with large thighs and skinny calves tend to be the nodding-donkey style of rider. Big calves and thin thighs still puzzles me, though.
 
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