Training articles

4 easy ways to improve your indoor cycling power

Interested in putting a little more power into your indoor cycling workouts?

If so, you've probably heard many recipes and hundreds of tips, many of which you must have tried. But are they really effective?

I have also had to try a few and I have realized which ones really work. Therefore, in this article I have decided to share them with you so that you do not continue wasting time on tests.

How about? Do you want to hear them? Let's get started then.

About potency

We already know that power is an objective measure that is expressed with the following formula:

Power = Stamina x Cadence

It is simple to realize that it depends on:

  • La fuerza (torque) exerted on the pedal.
  • La speed (cadence) with which we rotate it.

La we measure in watts and it is a way to quantify external load, unlike internal load we measure in VO2 or heart rate. We can say then that both variables are complementary to measure performance.

The power, Unlike the heart rate, it is not so influenced by external aspects such as dehydration, sleep quality, temperature or diet, but rather It depends on the physical condition of the user.

So let's move on to my favorite and effective ways to improve power by working on your fitness.

4 simple ways to improve your potency

If you've followed me here, it's about time we got down to business. Here are my four secrets:

1. Bet on active recovery.

Recovery between intervals of intense work is a strategic part of your training, especially when it comes to power.

It happens that a passive recovery, that is, one in which you rest between intervals, seems less effective when it comes to increasing power and a research has shown it.

Fifteen cyclists participated in three speed interval training sessions three to seven days apart over a month. In each session they did six 30-second sprints.

Each sprint was followed by four minutes of passive (resting still) or active (pedaling at 1,1 W / kg) recovery. The same recovery was used in each session and the type of recovery was randomly assigned to each of them.

The results indicate: "Active recovery resulted in 0,6 W / kg lower peak power output in the second sprint and 0.4 W / kg higher output in the fifth and sixth sprints".

Therefore, active recovery better maintains average power output compared to passive recovery when running multiple sprints sequentially.

2. Train at lower resistance with higher cadences.

Many cyclists especially when training on the road use the well-known recipe of train on climbs and the truth is that it works, but it is not the only alternative.

When we pedal on spinning bikes, the climbs are replaced with resistance or load, right? You put in adequate resistance and start pedaling harder, just like you would on a steep road.

Well, it happens as you already know, that in the formula of power the more resistance, lower cadence and therefore higher power in general. Then, I propose to train your power in a different and very effective way.

Work with power ranges.

For example, on your indoor bike or even on rollers if you use your traditional bike, perform series of between four and eight intervals of between three and five minutes each, with a cadence of 110-120 rpm at maximum power.

Tip: if you want to improve your power, worry about working with intense intervals.

A slow cadence, about 70-90 rpm it may not be enough to work all the necessary fibers. You see, not everything is practicing on climbs or with a high load, you also bet on combining high cadence exercises.

3. Work all the fibers of your leg.

For effective pedaling in terms of power, it is important to work all the fibers of the leg, since more efficient coordination will lead to higher mechanical efficiency and with it higher power (study).

For that, it is important to alternate between different cadenceYes, as we have already seen, but it can also be very helpful to strengthen your legs in the gym when you are not pedaling.

One exercise that has been great for me is the Bulgarian squat. It helps to gain a lot of force and then transfer it to the pedal.

Another good alternative is the front squat that you can do with your own weight, with a bar on your shoulders or dumbbells. Dumbbells are best for me.

If you want to add exercise outside of pedaling but do not get along with the gym, try doing front jumps with one leg at home and increasing the load with dumbbells to progress.

4. Discard very low cadences

Another point why the famous recipe that is used on the road to work uphill to gain power I do not like at all is because many times by adding resistance the cadence is lowered too much.

We are aware that high cadences are effective for neuromuscular work and low cadences are effective for strengthening fibers.

We have many different muscles in the legs that I will not detail here, but some are very strong and some are not so strong. Some of the strongest fatigue very quickly and some of the less strong resist fatigue better.

If you work with a lot of resistance and at a very low cadence, you will be working very strong fibers that tire faster. This fatigue will cause your power to decrease.

Therefore, verify that when you work at resistance, you do not go below 60 rpm.

Conclusions

You remember the phrase of the grandmother "skill is better than strength" because today it has been demonstrated. If you are looking to boost your power in indoor cycling, what will work the most for you is work smartly on your training.

This intelligence must be linked to adding strength and coordination to your entire leg, for which you will need more varied and focused workouts.

About the author Jorge Gómez

Founder of Skilledfitness.com. Passionate about the world of fitness and sports. Defender of science as a fundamental basis to master your physique. Self-taught by nature and researcher of the human body. I help you meet your goals and get in shape with sports science.

Bibliography

  • Ollie M. Blake and James M. Wakeling (2019). Muscle coordination limits efficiency and power output of human limb movement under a wide range of mechanical demands. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jn.00765.2015
  • Egla-Irina D. Lopez, James M. Smoliga & Gerald S. Zavorsky (2014). The Effect of Passive Versus Active Recovery on Power Output Over Six Repeated Wingate Sprint.
  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02701367.2014.961055

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