How to increase your strength on the bike
Winter is the perfect time to work on bike strength for the upcoming season. The new season is not that far away and making use of this time while building a base after some off season down time is ideal. During the Base 1 training phase, athletes may choose to work hard in the gym (especially single sport specialists) but we are fairly time poor as age group triathletes and it is a fact that leg strength is not automatically transferred to the bike. It can be frustrating to see gym built strength fail to transfer to the bike. I recommend that the majority of strength training for the bike is done on the bike – unless you have areas that are very week and have been identified in a body screening by a qualified coach and you work on these in the gym to correct any in balances.
Below are several sessions that help build on the bike strength.
Be aware that the sessions described are difficult and can be stressful to your knees. Monitor your knees carefully and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort. Build up the number of repeats and duration of each repeat gradually over weeks. Injuries are often caused by too much, too soon. Have patience with yourself to see the best improvements.
Big Gear Repeats
On a flat course or indoor trainer pedal in a big gear, with a cadence of 50 to 60 rpm for 5 minutes. Your heart rate should stay in heart rate zones 1-3 (60-75% of max HR). That is well below lactate threshold. This workout is to stress your muscular system, not aerobic system. Start with repeats of 5 minutes and work gradually up to 20 minutes. Stay seated in the saddle with a quiet upper-body throughout the repeat.
Big Gear Hill Repeats
When you have built up to 20 minutes of big gear repeats on flat terrain you can do the same session on a hill to build additional strength. Remember to stay seated in the saddle with a quiet upper-body. Focus on leg strength.
This workout is similar to lifting weights in the gym, but done on the bike. On a flat course or indoor trainer pedal in a gear that only allows you to reach 50 60 rpm. While remaining seated drive the pedals down as hard as possible for 15 to 20 revolutions of the cranks. Do 6 to 10 of these, starting a new one every 3 to 5 minutes. Between force repeats spin 85+ rpm easily with light pressure on the pedals.
90 Second Hills
On an indoor trainer with a high resistance setting pedal for 30 seconds at 70 to 80 rpm with your heart rate in zone 1-2, shift up one gear and maintain cadence for 30 seconds, shift up another gear and maintain cadence for another 30 seconds. Your heart rate will rise but should stay below lactate threshold in zones 3 to 4. Spin at 85+ rpm with light pressure on the pedals for 90 seconds recovery between each repeat. Do this 8 to 12 times.
Want to improve your triathlon experience?
Want to improve? To find out more about how Multisport Consultants can help improve your race splits with a specific training program > click here, or if you feel you may require a more personalised training program, contact Multisport Consultants for more details.
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