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Building Power


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As most of the hubbers are quite experienced I need some help.

 

How do you guys build power? I have received some conflicting info.

a) Go to a gim and start doing leg exercises.

b) Gim work will not help as you will develop muscles that is not used in cycling-so DONT go to gim (you just waist time), rather get on your bike and build up power on bike only.

If you only ride your bikes and build power there, what exercises do you do.

 

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Basically doing lots of gym work will make you good in the gym, not on the bike. If you have limited time, as most of us do, then the best exercise for cycling is cycling.

 

You can build low down power by doing hill intervals in a big gear (watch your knees) or explosive power by doing sprints. Two good exercises for this are:

 

- find a hill about a km long with a good gradient, I used to use the front of Ou Kaapse Weg. Pick a gear that gives you a cadence of 40rpm at 80% and then do it 10 times, roll through at the top and go back down as well as at the bottom to give yourself time to get the gear rolling.

 

- find a predominantly flat section of road that has a slight downhill at the beginning, again I used Ladies Mile. Use a biggish gear and indentify a starting point. When you reach it, jump from the saddle and sprint until you have spun it out (should be 200-300m, aim for at least 120rpm before sitting down).

 

Of course if you have a lot of spare time, by all means go to gym and work out but be careful of what advice you are given as muscle comes with a weight penalty and if you are a road rider the gain in power might just be offset by the gain in weight (the all too important power-weight ratio).
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As most of the hubbers are quite experienced I need some help.

 

How do you guys build power? I have received some conflicting info.

a) Go to a gim and start doing leg exercises.

b) Gim work will not help as you will develop muscles that is not used in cycling-so DONT go to gim (you just waist time)' date=' rather get on your bike and build up power on bike only.

If you only ride your bikes and build power there, what exercises do you do.

 

[/quote']

 

The "limiter" in endurance cycling is never power in terms of strength. In fact it has been shown that the average non cyclist has suifficient leg strength to cycle competitively. The limiter is always cardiovascular fitness but is often mistaken for leg strength due to the fact that when you start to exceed the limits of your fitness that you feel it in your legs in the form of a build up of lactic acid.

 

This means that any form of leg strength exercise (on or off bike) is pretty much a waste of your time and will serve no purpose other than to tire out your legs.

 

Your focus should be on improving fitness in general terms and more specifically addressing the areas of weakness in your riding such as short hard efforts for example.

 

There is a very informative (and very long) thread on cycling forums if you would like to lok at this further;

 

 

Or a summary by Ric Stern (one of the foremost experts on training principles);

 

"Going to the gym and doing e.g., weight training *will* help build strength. However, [ECP] endurance cycling performance (e.g., RR, TT, MTB, etc) is *not* limited by strength, unless you have a functional disability.

Force requirements for ECP are quite low, and can be met by untrained, sedentary, healthy, age, gender, and mass matched controls. Additionally, peak power tends on average to not vary between racers and healthy, non-trained controls.

Riding at typical race speeds and powers, can be met by most people (untrained). Strength, is defined as the maximal force or tension a muscle or group of muscles can generate, and thus as described by Hill's Force-Velocity curve maximal force (strength) can only be generated at 0 (or very close to it) velocity. In other words, Hills F-V curve shows that force and velocity are inversely proportional to each other -- at high (crank) velocity, force is very low (or zero), and very high force can only be generated at zero velocity (think of pushing against an immovable object such as a brick wall). At normal pedalling velocity (or even at low cadences e.g., 30 revs/min) forces are very low.

Power (output) is the sum of all the forces that are required to move your bike forward at a given velocity under given conditions. ECP requires low to moderate power, which most people can meet. however, these powers need to be maintained for long periods of time, and it is this that causes the difficulty. In other words, you/i/others can ride at the same power as e.g., Amstrong/Simoni/Ullrich (whoever) on climbs such as Alpe d'Huez, however, we won't be able to sustain that power for as long (unless you're in with a chance of winning the TdF). For example, an untrained person, might last for 30-secs, i can do about 5-mins and obviously, the likes of Armstrong manage it for 38-mins.

Therefore, none of our performance is limited by strength in ECP, but by limits of lactate threshold and VO2max. these are trained by cycling from a period of several minutes to several hours.

Intervals that increase VO2max and maximal aerobic power (MAP) are 4-mins at above 10-mile TT effort. Sustainable power is developed with intervals of one to four x 15 to 30-mins, and you also want/need to do sustained efforts of 90+ mins at a fairly brisk effort."
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Lancelot, this question needs a book to be answered properly.

 

Fundamentally, power = force x speed.  So, to improve power you can improve force, i.e. how hard you can push a pedal, and/or speed, i.e. how fast you can turn the pedals.

 

Finally, there is time - i.e. how long you can sustain a certain power, and this is your endurance.

 

What is really important is what type of event you are riding.  Each type of riding has different requirements of force, speed and endurance.  Then, you need to assess your own limiters i.e. what are you best at - force, speed, or endurance.

 

Based on your limiters, and your target event type, you can design a training strategy that may include weight training.

 

Sounds vague, but seriously there are no hard and fast rules.  This is why a lot of very successful riders don't get heavily into the science behind it, but they race a lot, because racing becomes the best form of training for that particular event type.  A lot of these guys' are well suited to their event type already, and use racing as their training.

 

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Bike Max you are 100%

Intervals that increase VO2max and maximal aerobic power (MAP) are 4-mins at above 10-mile TT effort. Sustainable power is developed with intervals of one to four x 15 to 30-mins, and you also want/need to do sustained efforts of 90+ mins at a fairly brisk effort."

 

 

 

smurf
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Bikemax, I agree, based on the assumption that lancelot is planning to do road races.

 

A collegue of my brothers who works at the Edinburgh Sports Institute has achieved massive success with the British Track racing team using weight training.

 

However, for road riding, I would argue that core strength training can yeild significant benefits.

 

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ok, so if you do ride road, and do weights, should you rather do this early in the week???.....and regarding weight gaining when doing gym work......doesnt aerobics exercise combined with weigths work better with fat burning ???

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Big%20smile

 

I agree with the above but am very careful as far as power intervals go..I have recently tried to do lightweight squats but in effect my knee is not ready because of the sensation I got afterwards....altho' I do from time to time do power intervals, however I concentrate on my Aerobic (cardio) fitness at maximum output as long as I can possibly sustain the effort....also not in big heavy gears...

 

"DTThumbs%20Up"

 
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ok' date=' so if you do ride road, and do weights, should you rather do this early in the week???.....and regarding weight gaining when doing gym work......doesnt aerobics exercise combined with weigths work better with fat burning ???[/quote']

 

Weight training is generally done during off-season and base phase.  And then it focuses on lighter weights more reps.

 

Some coaches advocate strength maintenance during the season, but this is generally limited to upper body and core strength.

 

Weight training can help fat burning because it increases lean muscle mass and therefore increases daily calorific consumption.

 

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Thanx guys. A lot to read but I really appreciate it. I do only cycle road.

 

The reason I am asking is that I see and hear person X critical power output is XX watts of power. I have found the tables classifying people Watt output/kg into a specific category and I need to up my watt output to be in a higher category if I need to see myself as good or very good.

 

Maybe I have thing way wrong. Maybe I am reading too much in these watt outputs and what people consider to be a good / acceptable power output. 
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lancelot, watts/kg need to be take time into account.  Critical power is associated with time i.e. how many watts for how long.

 

A good sprinter would have good power output over the 5 sec to 1 minute period, whereas a good TT rider would have good power over the 60 min period - usually referred to as Funtional Threshold Power or FTP.

 

Now, looking at road races, it would depend on the type categories you ride in.  The open seeded categories tend to be racing against yourself for your personal best, and team tactics etc don't play as big a role.  In this type of racing your Functional Threshold Power is probably the most important critical power to work on.

 

In the licensed categories, team tactics play more of a role, and the overall race time is less of an issue.  So, in these categories your VO2max critical power i.e. 5 - 6 min power is also very important because you need to be able to respond to the various surges and attacks that occur.  In order to win these types of races, or be in contention, you need a good 5-6 miniute critical power and a good FTP.  This is because most often the race is a series of attacks until a lead group gets away.  So to be able to get into the lead group you have to be able to sustain a high wattage for about 5 minutes.  Then the group settles into a rythm and it boils down to your FTP i.e. your long term sustainable power.  It is very seldom (in Vet's racing particularly) that the entire bunch arrives at the finish for a bunch sprint.

 

Universal truth - improve your FTP and you will improve your performance as a road racer.  Some of the best road racers that I know spend a lot of time working on this ability - guys like 101% regularly ride 40k TT's as part of their training.

 

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Thanx guys. A lot to read but I really appreciate it. I do only cycle road.

 

The reason I am asking is that I see and hear person X critical power output is XX watts of power. I have found the tables classifying people Watt output/kg into a specific category and I need to up my watt output to be in a higher category if I need to see myself as good or very good.

 

Maybe I have thing way wrong. Maybe I am reading too much in these watt outputs and what people consider to be a good / acceptable power output. 

 

As Bruce has said - the power / duration curve will dictate race performance to a large degree. Bottom line, without sufficient FTP in W/Kg terms you will not be in the race. Plenty of riders have sufficient FTP but struggle in the shorter durations and therefore never win a race and often miss the selective break.

 

We will always analayse a clients power profile and then use this to shape their programme to build on their weak areas. That having been said, all programmes spend a good deal of time building FTP - this is the key determinant of cycling performance.

 

Hope this helps
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I think doing legs in the gym is a waste of time (if you race / ride for longer than 15 minutes) or for the average rider / racer.

Do on the bike training as suggested by the others (using hill repeats, low cadence, high cadence efforts) - Keep in mind big gear low cadences below 60 rpm will stress your knees and should be avoided - especially cumulatively.

In gym rather exercise the other muscles that DONT get used whilst cycling and do some stretching.

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There still seems to be a feeling that on bike strength work has some benefit but there is no scientific evidence to back this up. There is however a study that demonstrates why it is of little or no benefit - before you waste significant training time on low cadence strength drillls - read this article;

 

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