I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a cyclist, not a bodybuilder—I lift weights because I have to, not because I want to. This past Saturday the temperature outside was in the low 40’s (5 Celsius), the wind was gusting at 30 MPH and it was pouring down rain—and I decided that a few hours outside on the bike sounded a lot more appealing than lifting weights inside. However, I do recognize that weight lifting is an important part of overall fitness. If you not a weightlifter but would like a great book to help you develop a weightlifting routine I would strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of The New Rules Of Lifting: Six Basic Moves For Maximum Muscle by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove.
The problem most cyclists have with weightlifting is simply time—they think that time on the bike is more beneficial than time spent in a weight room. However, while cycling will improve your aerobic fitness and endurance it will very do little for upper body fitness. Even if you have no intention of ever participating in a race you still need to engage in some sort of resistance training to improve your sprinting and climbing, as well as increasing your bone density (cyclists have a tendency to develop low bone density). Strong lower back and abdominal muscles are crucial if you want to ride very long in the drops. Without a strong core you are going to have trouble every time you ride!
Schuler and Cosgrove have been able to create a great workout plan that will stress all the body’s major muscle groups—and they have condensed it down into just six basic movements (the squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull, and twist). For each of these movements they offer numerous variations to achieve the goal. For example, with the traditional squat they offer variations such as the heels-raised back squat, one-and-a-quarter squat, front squat, and quarter squat.
The basic premise of the book is that by doing these six basic movements you will work all of your major muscle groups. While this approach will not satisfy professional body builders, it will do wonders for the rest of us! Let’s face it, do you really need a special exercise to improve the abductor pollicis brevis muscle? (In case you are wondering, it is the muscle that runs from your thumb to the center of your wrist).
The authors show how to perform these exercises is several ways—with barbells, dumbbells, weight stations, etc. Until two of my sons move out of our house I am not going to be able to have an entire room set aside for weight lifting, so I do my weight training with a set of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. Each Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds (in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds). Because of the beautifully designed dial system you can change the weight of a dumbbell in a matter of seconds. Each dumbbell has fifteen different weight settings available (5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 pounds).
The New Rules Of Lifting: Six Basic Moves For Maximum Muscle is a paperback book (7.5×9″ with more than one hundred photographs) and has 301 pages. This book retails for $18, but is available on Amazon.com for $14. The Kindle edition sells for $12. This book is published by Avery (a member of the Penguin Group).