How To Be More Powerful On The Bike | Strength Training For Triathlons

(up-tempo music) – Okay, today I’m going to be helping you to find more power on the bike, and who doesn’t want more power? Power is basically the holy
grail in the cycling world. The more power you have,
the faster you can ride. Now it’s hard for me to say exactly how much more power you might gain from following these tips, but they are all tried and tested, and for some it can be in the region of around 20 watts on their current FTP, which sounds pretty good. So here are a handful of my tips to help you find that extra power. Now most methods for increasing
your power on the bike include some level of hard
work, so spoiler alert: there is plenty of that
to come in this video. But I thought I’d start with one which requires very little of that. In fact I’d go as far as
saying it’s almost free power. Now there are a number
of debates out there as to the ideal cadence
for riding your bike, but I’m going to throw
that out of the window. There is no ideal cadence,
however there is a trend towards the higher cadences having a higher power output and better efficiency, so I’d really recommend you going out, trying out different
cadences throughout your ride and seeing which one you prefer. I’d actually try this during sessions, hit different cadences for different reps, and see whether any of them
were easier or more comfortable. (relaxed music) Now that’s enough of the easy power gains, now onto some hard work. So to increase our power on the bike, we essentially need to unleash it. Think of it as if we’re
just teaching our body what it’s capable of. See, a lot of people don’t really realize what they have the ability to do, so it’s just a case of unlocking that and then teaching our bodies and training our bodies how to use that. Now a great workout for this, which we see a lot of pros using is something called micro-bursts. This is short intervals of maximum effort, so on this we’re aiming to put down as much power as we possibly
can for each interval and this is a great way of training our neuromuscular system
and increasing our strength. So a good example session
is 20 minutes steady riding within Zone 2 with a 10-second maximal sprint every five minutes, then take 10 minutes of Zone 2 recovery and then repeat the 20 minute block again, but now with 30 second maximal
sprints every five minutes. An alternative session with less recovery is what we call a To Battle workout. This is a 10 second maximal sprint followed by 20 seconds within Zone 1 or Zone 2 recovery spin. Repeat this eight time through to make a continuous four minute block of effort. Take a six minute Zone 2 recovery and then repeat that session through
as many times as you like. Well on the flip side of this, you may want to team these
power burst intervals with some over-geared strength work. Now this is another subject for debate, but there is a good
reason why so many pros still choose to do these. They build strength, they
will recruit more muscle, they improve neuromuscular function, they can also improve pedal efficiency. You may even, over
time, see an improvement or increase in muscle mass too. Now the basic idea with
these over-geared workouts is to ride in a higher
gear or a bigger gear than you’re used to,
it’s as simple as that. When you’re starting out,
you may just want to go one gear bigger and then over time progress to two, three or more. So a good session to start out with is five times four minutes
over-geared at Zone 3, which is between 76 to
90 per-cent of your FTP, with six minutes Zone 2
between and after each rep. This is 50 minutes in total and over time you can increase the length
of the over-geared intervals whilst reducing the recoveries. Now obviously this
over-geared work is a tool and we’re using a rather over-emphasized low cadence to do that,
so just make sure that you don’t end up falling
into the trap of riding at this over-geared, low cadence
during your normal riding, and to do that just make sure that you’re mixing up your cadences
during your normal rides. Now the next method is to bump our Functional Threshold Power, or Functional Threshold Heart-rate up. Now this is essentially the
maximum power or heart-rate that we can sustain for 60 minutes, and to bump this up will actually mean that we can produce more power for a sustained period of
time before falling apart, and to do this we want to work
at or just below this level and that will therefore
mean that we can actually rack up quite a lot of time
at a very high intensity, and that’s going to
build not only strength and build our fitness, but it’s also going to
bump that threshold up, and this area or this zone is
what we call our sweet-spot. It is defined as being
between 88 and 94 per-cent of our Functional Threshold Power, and between 75 and 85 per-cent
of our maximum heart-rate. So one of my go-to sweet-spot workouts is four lots of eight minutes at sweet-spot, matching it with an 8
minute Zone 2 recovery. Over time you can start
increasing the intervals to 10 minutes, 15 minutes
or even 20 minutes and once you’ve done that then you can even play around
with reducing the recoveries. And finally, we need to think about where you’re trying to
increase your power. You see, naturally we will put
out more power on climbs but obviously that isn’t very
specific to riding on the flat. Whilst it is the same muscle
groups, the way in which we recruit them and the
way in which they work is very different, so if you are trying to increase your power on the
flat then do more training and do these sessions on the
flat or on an indoor trainer. Alternatively, if you are
trying to increase your power and improve on the climbs
then do more training and do these sessions on hills, or you can even pop your resistance up a little bit more on an indoor trainer. If you have enjoyed today’s
video hit that thumbs up button. If you’d like to see more from GTN, click on the globe,
subscribe to the channel. If you’d like to see four gym exercises to improve your power and
your strength on the bike, you can see that by
clicking just down here, and if you’d like to find
out a little bit more about that sweet-spot that
we’ve just been talking about, you can see what is sweet-spot
by clicking just down here.

11 Replies to “How To Be More Powerful On The Bike | Strength Training For Triathlons”

  1. I am a slow rpm rider on a TT bike – rare if ever get over 85rpm and that would be race day (on a road bike I’d be 10-15rpm more) interestingly I also found I generated most of my best power numbers on the TT bike (no “peloton drafting”) I have for moment stepped back from serious training but i did find overgearing worked for myself in regards to building endurance power – the short sharp blocks did not take to them. One possible side effect which has afflicted my wife of slow cadence/gear grinding/dieseling – hip tendon strains.

  2. I like over-gearing about 60rpm in training and when i go up hill i will either go in top gear or at least go 2 gears higher than on the flat. Helps with my knee stability, saddle comfort, also acceleration and top speed is much better than spinning. In races i do go lower with the gearing to keep a higher cadence but still ride like a diesel about 77-85rpm. I found when i spin i lose power and endurance and the saddle is way more uncomfortable. Do also try to do some gym work with heavy weight or lots of reps, experimenting a bit with what to aim for there.

  3. My cycling has improved massively by riding hard sessions with better riders, always gives you someone to chase up a climb

  4. Well, what can I say but, Fuck Powerade, fuck Gatorade, fuck Redbull, fuck all those sugar aided drinks,
    what you need for extra boost is about 4 lines of cocaine-eraide, gives me that power I need.

  5. @GTN
    I have tried to do the SweetSpot Workout you guys recommended here, but I could not get anywhere near 8 minutes at my supposed Sweet Spot Power. I have not done intensity in a long while and just thought it might be that. The FTP test I did was a RAMP test similar to zwift RAMP test.

    Is my FTP wrong or is it just a matter of easing into intensity since all my rides this year have been mostly Zone 2 base?

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