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  1. #1
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Can anyone comprehensively explain the Joe Friel triangle to me?



    I've read the training bible's explanation of this multiple times, but have never been able to grasp the connection between 1) these words and race/training situation and 2) these words and some physiological metric.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    I'm a little rusty on my bible recitle.. what is the explanation Friel gives? Can you quote it here for reference?
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    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    I'm a little rusty on my bible recitle.. what is the explanation Friel gives? Can you quote it here for reference?
    Not at the moment, at work.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

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    From what I recall, he uses the triangle to illustrate how the training activities (corners of the triangle) drive the results (lines of the triangle). For example, Friel would say it takes the combination of speed and strength work to drive better sprinting ability (let's say the metric is 10 second power). That said, I'm not sure I understand (or completely agree with) aerobic endurance + speed work = anaerobic endurance. It seems like it's saying if I do huge base miles and speed work, I'll have great 3 minute power? That doesn't seem right. It's been a while since I've read the book, I'm probably way off base on the entire thing.

  5. #5
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    im at work too but from memory isnt the primary triangle speed/skills, endurance, and strength?

    and then the secondary triangle where each of those intersect:

    speed and strength = power
    strength and endurance = muscular endurance (related to climbing and TT in particular)
    endurance and speed = sprint endurance (holding high cadence sprint)

    the advanced triangle isnt really scientific, just a way of thinking about the relationships between the basic components.


    the basic triangle makes a lot of sense as a way to identify and develop your limiters.
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    IMO this image does a better job at relating performance factors to physiological measures.

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    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badhat View Post
    im at work too but from memory isnt the primary triangle speed/skills, endurance, and strength?

    and then the secondary triangle where each of those intersect:

    speed and strength = power
    strength and endurance = muscular endurance (related to climbing and TT in particular)
    endurance and speed = sprint endurance (holding high cadence sprint)

    the advanced triangle isnt really scientific, just a way of thinking about the relationships between the basic components.


    the basic triangle makes a lot of sense as a way to identify and develop your limiters.
    It makes no sense to me. I can't get past even the basic definitions. For instance: "Speed". Speed of what? It can't be riding speed. I'll assume it's leg speed i.e. cadence - but that's why we have gears, to make sure no matter what velocity we want to ride the bike we can stay in a very narrow range of cadences. So how is it that better "speed" increases any performance on the bike - exception to track racing.

    Usually I think of myself as a reasonably smart guy, but Friel's concepts have been continuously testing that theory.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  8. #8
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    IMO this image does a better job at relating performance factors to physiological measures.

    I like that and will study it, but the missing link is where training contributes. I believe that's the importance of Friel's triangle, that it tells you more about which drills to do - though I might be wrong.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    ... For instance: "Speed". Speed of what? It can't be riding speed. I'll assume it's leg speed i.e. cadence....
    Yes, I believe "speed" refers to leg speed & pedaling efficiency. Friel is big on this, particularly early season.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grwoolf View Post
    ... It seems like it's saying if I do huge base miles and speed work, I'll have great 3 minute power? ...
    My understanding is that anaerobic endurance is in the 30s to 1min range - basically, how long you can sprint. I think the "speed work" thing makes more sense to trackies. It's going fast in small gears at high cadence (>120rpm). Anyway, this is how I understand it; maybe it's a hammer/nail thing with me being a trackie.

    And with the diagram, I think the intent is the corners are kind of basic, non-specific training modes; racing happens in area in the middle of the triangle, with most race efforts grouped in a circle in the center that touches the three sides. In the off-season, you work at the corners, and you move your efforts towards the center and become more specific as you progress to and through the race season.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    I like that and will study it, but the missing link is where training contributes. I believe that's the importance of Friel's triangle, that it tells you more about which drills to do - though I might be wrong.
    This may help show how training contributes to each factor.

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  12. #12
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    It makes no sense to me. I can't get past even the basic definitions. For instance: "Speed". Speed of what? It can't be riding speed. I'll assume it's leg speed i.e. cadence - but that's why we have gears, to make sure no matter what velocity we want to ride the bike we can stay in a very narrow range of cadences. So how is it that better "speed" increases any performance on the bike - exception to track racing.

    Usually I think of myself as a reasonably smart guy, but Friel's concepts have been continuously testing that theory.
    Because, in the end of a race, every other guy out there has the same gears as you (usually). The only factor that generates a winner is who spins that gear faster than the others. (Of course, tactics, etc... also come into play, but we're talking pure physiology.)

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    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Because, in the end of a race, every other guy out there has the same gears as you (usually). The only factor that generates a winner is who spins that gear faster than the others. (Of course, tactics, etc... also come into play, but we're talking pure physiology.)
    Mr. Madison, what you've just said ... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  14. #14
    HMF
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    The "Speed Skills" corner of the triangle confused me too, when I first read it. It doesn't quite fit.

    But basically, what he was getting at with the triangle, is that there are basic abilities and advanced abilities, and the advanced abilities are dependent on the basic ones.

    For example, pedaling for a long time is endurance, pounding a big gear is force. You need to work on both of those independently before you start to work on pounding a big gear for a long time, which is muscular endurance.

    Anaerobic endurance, to me, would seem to be a combination of all three corners.

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    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMF View Post
    For example, pedaling for a long time is endurance, pounding a big gear is force. You need to work on both of those independently before you start to work on pounding a big gear for a long time, which is muscular endurance.
    This is a start. So endurance = long easy miles. force = standing starts/low cadence climbs? Then what does "muscular endurance" get you in a race? repeatability? Like sprinting out of a crit corner 100x/hr without muscle contraction force declining over the repeats? This would be irrelevant to aerobic/anaerobic systems IMO. would it not?
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  16. #16
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    This is a start. So endurance = long easy miles. force = standing starts/low cadence climbs? Then what does "muscular endurance" get you in a race? repeatability? Like sprinting out of a crit corner 100x/hr without muscle contraction force declining over the repeats? This would be irrelevant to aerobic/anaerobic systems IMO. would it not?
    Friel refers to muscular endurance as being especially relevant to long races - road races - and time trials. Maintaining a high output for a long period of time, basically.

  17. #17
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    why you guys spend so much time to delve into some mnemonic? That chart is intrinsically flawed at representing exercise physiology the same way lewis dot structures is flawed at representing molecules (actually, the former is even more flawed) as they aren't detailed enough.

    that said, aerobic endurance is the capability to generate power by aerobic means, which means lots of oxidative glycolytic and lipolytic enzymes. Significant recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers occur at threshold to generate higher force, but there will be lactate produced, and your muscles will have to deal with the clearance of them (which, btw, doesn't need to go to the Cori cycle). Muscular endurance is ability to generate high power for extended period of time (think time trials & FTP) all the while that your muscles are operating further away from ideal physiological conditions, which is basically putting out power when fatigued.

    Sprinting 100x out of corners have everything to do with aerobic & anaerobic. Whatever the aerobic can't cover has to be covered by anaerobic during the burst. So higher aerobic capacity means less reliance on anaerobic system for power generation. Furthermore, muscle lactate generated anaerobically can be aerobically cleared. Anaerobic work capacity is limited and only recharges when there's not a lot of demand.

    If you really want to learn about this, read textbooks on exercise physiology and the two articles below. Reading Friel for exercise physiology makes as much sense as asking exercise physiologist for race strategy.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15131240

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22382171

  18. #18
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle

    FTW - this explains all about a triangle...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    IMO this image does a better job at relating performance factors to physiological measures.

    Is that chart a joke? It seems meaningless to me.

    I guess a better question is, how is it supposed to be used?

    Also, it seems to leave out the type of bar tape you have.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    why you guys spend so much time to delve into some mnemonic? ...
    Not a mnemonic. It's a model. Albeit, oversimplified, maybe.
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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    Mr. Madison, what you've just said ... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
    So you already know the answer? Why start the thread, then? My response, attempting to illustrate the concept of speed, if anything, was only guilty of over-simplification. But, considering your OP, I thought that's what you wanted.

    Or, rather, you could instead constructively address my statements' flaws and point out its failings.

    In the end, he who spins the biggest gear fastest, wins. Outside of tactics, tell me how this is wrong.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post

    In the end, he who spins the biggest gear fastest, wins. Outside of tactics, tell me how this is wrong.
    If you're discussing who spins the biggest gear the fastest from point zero to the finish in continual motion, then tactics would be meaningless in this equation.

    And unless that's what you're making reference to, then the equation is meaningless.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    ...
    In the end, he who spins the biggest gear fastest, wins. Outside of tactics, tell me how this is wrong.
    Rarely is the biggest gear in your cassette the one you are using to win a race. Dude, I don't think you quite know what the discussion is about.

    Talking about the utility of leg speed: training leg speed will make your pedaling motion smoother by improving your neuromuscular control, even if you never spin at 120+rpm in a race.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    If you're discussing who spins the biggest gear the fastest from point zero to the finish in continual motion, then tactics would be meaningless in this equation.

    And unless that's what you're making reference to, then the equation is meaningless.
    Correct. My apologies if my reference to "in the end" didn't make it clear. I was referring to a finishing sprint. That's also why I said to take out tactics, i.e.: break-aways, trailing position, etc...

    While my statement was not addressing the OP, I was trying to address this sub-topic the OP brought up:

    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    It makes no sense to me. I can't get past even the basic definitions. For instance: "Speed". Speed of what? It can't be riding speed. I'll assume it's leg speed i.e. cadence - but that's why we have gears, to make sure no matter what velocity we want to ride the bike we can stay in a very narrow range of cadences. So how is it that better "speed" increases any performance on the bike - exception to track racing.

    Usually I think of myself as a reasonably smart guy, but Friel's concepts have been continuously testing that theory.
    I was trying to show how better speed does positively effect performance on the bike, and not even just track as mr. butts said.

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