Building upper body strength without increasing [censored]
Posted 23 March 2003 - 05:00 AM
Posted 24 March 2003 - 11:55 AM
I suffered the absolute worst arm pump I've ever experienced at the races yesterday. My hands and fingers totally locked up. It was a rough track with a lot of braking bumps, acceleration bumps, and jumps that required bunny hopping. But I've raced it before and have not had this much trouble.
Your thoughts on a few factors that may have contributed:
1) I gave blood 2 weeks ago. Does that affect arm pump? I am in good cardio shape from mountain biking, but losing a pint of blood obviously affects red blood cell count.
2) I started weight training - just bench, military, common exercises. But I have not been doing them previously.
3) We received 40" of snow Tuesday-Thursday, so I did a LOT of shoveling. I was quite sore on Saturday and Sunday.
Given that I race motocross most weekends, what sort of training schedule would you suggest? Would it make the most sense to cardio Mon/Wed/Fri and weight train Tues/Thurs so my muscles can recover Fri-Sat?
Any thoughts on vitamins to take/avoid?
I got arm pump during practice, so I tried to relax as much as possible before the first moto. That strategy didn't work; totally pumped in a couple laps in moto #1. So I ran around and got my heart pumping before the second moto. I'm not sure if that helped or not as I still got arm pump pretty bad.
I really haven't had much trouble with arm pump in the past, so I'm not sure if it is the weight of the 4 stroke (this is my first year on a 4 stroke), the blood donation, shoveling snow, or what. This was the first race of the season for me and I was shocked at the problem.
Please keep the thoughts coming - very helpful!
Posted 24 March 2003 - 12:24 PM
Many people say bananas help and say it is the potassium. Your thoughts?
I tried an aspirin once and, while I didn't get arm pump, I did get a slight stomach ache and my arms felt like noodles the whole race - really sapped strength.
Any thoughts on Power Bars and such energy foods? And the timing - 1/2 hour before before the moto, 1 hour, etc?
Do you think there is a difference between grocery store vitamins, brand names like One A Day, GNC, vitamin cottage?
I wish I could just ride more, but job/wife/kids/reality put the squeeze on my time.
Posted 25 March 2003 - 07:39 PM
Like I said, I was just repeating what I have always heard about it, and since I don't have that problem, I was never really concerned with it.
Posted 25 March 2003 - 07:55 PM
Another note; Doing Deadlifts will find out if you are truly aerobically fit, I guarantee you that. That lift works more muscles than any other, and will get you winded and worn out no matter how fit you are. They are great, so start doing them, but find a site that describes proper form, it's very important to have proper form.
I work out intensely with heavy weights 3 times a week, and believe me, if you do that, hard dirt bike riding/racing, will barely challenge your endurance or strength. Think about it, you are going to be bench pressing almost as much as your bike weighs, on a regular basis, and deadlifting at least as much, once you have trained up to that weight.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 05:16 AM
I have to agree. Anyone ever notice that when you take time off from riding and then get back into it how sore you are from using your muscles in a different way than you would in the gym? I have seen many strong bench pressers that have to drop a bunch of weight from the bar when they do incline benches. This is because they focus on the flat bench most of the time. That is what they want, and by focusing on the bench, they are good at it. It's amazing what happens when you attack a muscle from a different angle. This is why bodybuilders continually vary their workouts. They need to fully develope the muscle from all angles. So, what I am saying is that riding will target the muscles you need to target. I am not saying to not workout with weights. An all around strength training program is great. By mimicking the same muscle movements as when riding, you can get those muscles stronger and controlling the bike will be that much easier.
As far as arm pump, I just recently read an article on vibration training. It was very interesting and I'm sure it applies to arm pump when riding. The theory is that vibrations can increase the force placed on muscle fibers by more than 3 G's. There is actually a product called the "Power Plate". You work out on it while it vibrates.
When exercising(riding) you are recruiting more muscle fibers that leads to a quicker pump. The vibrations are the bumps,jumps,the bike itself, etc. that you encounter while riding. A tight grip that gets increased from these vibrations would cause excess lactic acid build-up and cramping.
Another example that just came to mind to support this theory. Have you ever used a two man auger to drill holes in the ground?? The vibrations from the machine along with the turning of the auger and the weight of the auger goes directly to your forearms. I drilled 12 holes last year for a deck I was building. I can still remember how bad my arm pump was. This made the arm pump while riding seem like nothing!
My suggestion would be to try and relax more. Drink lots of water,keep the potassium up and stretch.
BTW, how big are you? Are you a bodybuilder or are you in need of losing some unwanted fat? If you are carrying excess weight, losing some will help. I don't say this to be mean at all. I read you had 21 inch guns. If you are 6'8" you may be proportional. If you are more like 6', you are either a bodybuilder or you are carrying excess fat.
The less weight you have to push and pull around, the easier it will be on your arms.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 07:05 AM
Posted 26 March 2003 - 04:57 PM
LMAO! I swear I almost used a jackhammer as an example. I also used a jackhammer to remove some concrete on the same deck that I mentioned in my previous post.
Do you think that EMS units would benefit that much? I have used them before for minor injuries. From what I know, they are more to increase blood flow as oppposed to building muscle/strength. Isn't this due to the relaxation phase not including an eccentric contraction and that a mini-stem can only produce a certain amount of concentric contraction?
You obviously are highly educated in human physiology and kinesiology. Are you a Physical therapist? PTA?
I think we will see more products that help aleviate arm pump. Something like super spongy grips or liquid motor-mounts. Anything to reduce the vibrations!
Posted 27 March 2003 - 12:10 PM
Posted 28 March 2003 - 03:01 AM
Posted 28 March 2003 - 11:19 AM
Another good point was plyometrics. I have never heard of that until reading this thread but after searching it on the web it seems to be like a lot of the crap we used to do in the military that I hated. But talk about being in great shape. I am not all about weights, weights and more weights. I went through the phase of free wights and creatin (sp) and all that crap and I although I was strong as hell I felt like crap and did not look the way I wanted. I was 210 and built but now I am 180 and in pretty darn good shape. Kind of back to my military days because I am doing a lot of those old exercises I hated.
Another form of exercise I am fond of is pilates. It looks a little weird for a guy to be doing it but it works. Go buy the Denise Austin video and you'll like it for sure.
Stretch. I cannot say this enough. You should stretch EVERYDAY regardless if you are going riding or working out. Stretching is the best way to get the blood and oxygen flowing in your body.
Lastly is the bike set-up. You said this was your first 4-stroke and the weight might be a little issue. Someone mentioned the bike set-up for ergo's and this is probably the most important thing to look at. Even more than all the exercise that has been discussed here. The riding season just started. You said you just raced your first race of the season. On a new bike I assume. Have you played with the set-up? Go ride a friends bike for a while and see if there is any difference. Still have some of those old 2-stokes? Jump on those and see what the deal is.
Well, just my thoughts. Good luck and I am interested to know if you find a great cure.
Posted 03 April 2003 - 12:41 PM
Any thoughts/feedback? Is it likely that Creatin caused my massive arm pump at the last 2 races?
As I said, I've not really had a problem with arm pump previously. I started upper body workouts and Creatin at the same time. Not sure what is causing what, but the arm pump has to stop! It's killing my results and just about killing me when I try to go fast with locked up fingers/hands.
Posted 03 April 2003 - 08:05 PM
Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:56 AM
But, as most racers will tell you, practice is different than racing. Some mixture of nervousness, not breathing right, intensity, and extra effort make arm pump occur on race day when it wasn't happening in practice.
So I'm hoping that not taking the Creatin will greatly reduce the arm pump problems. If that was the problem, I'll wait until the off-season to use that stuff.
I'm doing various exercises to increase upper body strength using light weights and high reps (20-25). Still doing the cardio workouts. Hoping my next race will go better and I'll achieve better results!
Posted 08 April 2003 - 06:53 PM
And what's a 250lb bike to handle when you can deadlift that or more? It's nothing!
However, I was just reading one of the newer posts, and found the vibration thing interesting. Never even considered that actually. It's true, vibration disrupts blood flow to the muscle, and thefore, oxygen uptake. This could in fact be a major contributor to arm pump. I had not even thought of that, but I'm searching for more info on it right now.
Posted 10 April 2003 - 09:26 AM
Posted 10 April 2003 - 01:15 PM
But seriously . . .
My one and only objective is to go faster when I race. I'm not interested in building muscles for the sake of muscles. I'm not interested in becoming a body builder. I just want to go very fast, as safe as I can. (In spite of the oxymoron with that objective!)
Unfortunately, I've been starting and stopping a lot of different things all at the same time, so it is hard to be sure what is causing what. Kind of like twisting all the suspension clickers and then trying to figure out which one had which effect.
I tried heavy weight, low reps, and Creatin for a while and got the serious arm pump. I started that program on the advice of a body builder sales clerk at the pharmacy in Safeway. Seemed like a good idea at the time. But, frankly, it just didn't seem right for my objective. Plus I thought about RC and Ferry and Preston and Pastrana and LaRocco and all the top guys. No massive chests/arms on any of them. I really doubt Fonseca can bench press a YZ80, much less a 450. But he goes pretty fast!
I really think the cardio work and light weight/high reps is more appropriate for my goal. So I'm running 1/2 hour every morning with my new, patent-applied-for Arm Pump Buster devices. I sawed off a section of an old handle bar and wrapped it in bubble wrap. Then I wrapped the handle of the dog leash (the 10' retractable kind) with bubble wrap. I squeeze the handles as I run - pulsating squeezes without ever totally letting up, trying to simulate mx racing. I don't have proof that it is helping, but it certainly gives me arm pump while on my run!
I did a mountain bike ride yesterday and did WAY better on the steep climbs than I have in the past (measured by a HRM), so the cardio work is effective. I have actually gotten very minor arm pump on the mtb in the past. Not yesterday. That's not conclusive, but a good sign.
Next race is April 27 in Pueblo; that will be the acid test. Until them, I'm off Creatin and not doing heavy weights. I am doing upper body work, trying to do it slowly and proper form, but the dead lift/squat/max weight/huge muscle thing isn't for me. The top local guys and the top national guys aren't Hulks, so that gives me confidence that I don't need to be either.
We'll see! Thanks for the advice and encouragement. Ping me again if I forget to report back!
Posted 11 April 2003 - 02:20 AM
You cracked me up saying you were confused so you just ate junk food last night but you forgot the beer. What is wrong with you? If you are going to do it, do it right. A twelve pack of Rolling Rock a day is what I say. The curls you do moving the bottle to your mouth is great exercise to reduce arm pump. A twelve pack a night means six per arm. Do this for a few days them move up to 14 a night and so on. You'll be arm pump free in no time.
Posted 11 April 2003 - 03:30 AM