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Old 09-14-08, 10:41 PM   #1
irish pat
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How to build power

I am a good climber, can put out 5.15 w/kg for 30 min at lt. I would like to get more power in my legs though. Currently they call me the sewing machine. My race season is over and my powertap is off the bike until mid winter again. If I start pushing a bigger gear now and using low cadence and tougher gears, will it help me build power for next years racing season. I figure I should do it now while I have lots of miles under my legs, rather than waiting until early Spring when I will not have as many base miles under my legs.
I plan on doing some plyometrics, but will not be doing weights as they bore the hell out of me.
Thanks.
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Old 09-15-08, 06:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by irish pat View Post
I am a good climber, can put out 5.15 w/kg for 30 min at lt. I would like to get more power in my legs though. Currently they call me the sewing machine. My race season is over and my powertap is off the bike until mid winter again. If I start pushing a bigger gear now and using low cadence and tougher gears, will it help me build power for next years racing season. I figure I should do it now while I have lots of miles under my legs, rather than waiting until early Spring when I will not have as many base miles under my legs.
I plan on doing some plyometrics, but will not be doing weights as they bore the hell out of me.
Thanks.
Pushing big gears will help you to push big gears better. Is that what you want? What do you mean by 'more power in your legs'? Short efforts? Long climbs? Here is a summary of why big gears don't work from a post on another forum. - TF

btw - Why would you not use your PT???

"The low cadence drills to build strength are not going to help a normal road cyclist more than doing them at a normal cadence because:

- If increasing muscle strength is your only goal for this training session, go to the gym and do weights. Doing a thousand alternate-one-leg presses at very low weight isn’t going to do it.

- Road cycling is not a strength-limiting sport. You can have all the strength in the world and you are not going to go faster if you do not have the engine (energy supply systems) to support it. Hill climbing at a ‘normal’ cadence will provide all the strength the engine can use.

- Muscle strength and muscle contraction speed are not separable. When the muscles adapt to stress, they adapt to both. Building strength at one cadence does not necessarily mean strength at a very different cadence.

- Specificity: You are better off training the complete package (strength, contraction speed, technique, etc.) the same way as you are actually going to use it."
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Old 09-15-08, 04:21 PM   #3
irish pat
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Originally Posted by TurboTurtle View Post
Pushing big gears will help you to push big gears better. Is that what you want? What do you mean by 'more power in your legs'? Short efforts? Long climbs? Here is a summary of why big gears don't work from a post on another forum. - TF

btw - Why would you not use your PT???

"The low cadence drills to build strength are not going to help a normal road cyclist more than doing them at a normal cadence because:

- If increasing muscle strength is your only goal for this training session, go to the gym and do weights. Doing a thousand alternate-one-leg presses at very low weight isn’t going to do it.

- Road cycling is not a strength-limiting sport. You can have all the strength in the world and you are not going to go faster if you do not have the engine (energy supply systems) to support it. Hill climbing at a ‘normal’ cadence will provide all the strength the engine can use.


- Muscle strength and muscle contraction speed are not separable. When the muscles adapt to stress, they adapt to both. Building strength at one cadence does not necessarily mean strength at a very different cadence.

- Specificity: You are better off training the complete package (strength, contraction speed, technique, etc.) the same way as you are actually going to use it."
By more power, I guess I mean be able to push a bigger gear. Would now be a good time to start doing that so that I can carry it over to next season?

I don't want to use the power tap now because I am tired from training and would just like to ride my bike for a few months without having to keep within a certain zone.

Who wrote the advice written above? is it by a coach or someone that has knowledge in the field? Thanks.
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Old 09-15-08, 04:39 PM   #4
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You are not so much power training as you are force training. Read this article on quadrant analysis.

Quadrant II abilities (high-force, low-cadence) are what you are hoping to improve. One of the best ways to do that is with "stomps." Come to near stop in a big gear, push really hard until you get on top of the gear then slow down and do it again. Plain low cadence riding won't help nearly as much.

http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/quad.asp
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Old 09-15-08, 05:05 PM   #5
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Great responses. I have spent the last two years doing almost exclusively LSD and I have next to nil power on the road, despite being very strong in the gym. I can squat 365 for reps but stomping even a 50x12 is pretty hard. This thread made me think about the things I used to do but don't any longer - hill repeats on the big ring, sprints, long out of saddle jams. The terrain where I live is either pancake flat or 10-12% for a mile or more; very little in between.
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Old 09-16-08, 08:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by irish pat View Post
By more power, I guess I mean be able to push a bigger gear. Would now be a good time to start doing that so that I can carry it over to next season?

I don't want to use the power tap now because I am tired from training and would just like to ride my bike for a few months without having to keep within a certain zone.

Who wrote the advice written above? is it by a coach or someone that has knowledge in the field? Thanks.
Why do you want to push a bigger gear? Do you have times when you cannot shift? Fixed gear/track? Hill/mtn when you don't have the correct gearing? If you are looking for more sustainable power, search for Sweet Spot Training (SST) for the winter.

Keep the PT running and download the data. You may find it invaluable in your future training. If you don't want to see it, put some tape over the display.

It is a summary of a thread of coach and ExPhys responses. All I did was summarize.

TF
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Old 09-16-08, 08:52 PM   #7
irish pat
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Originally Posted by TurboTurtle View Post
Why do you want to push a bigger gear? Do you have times when you cannot shift? Fixed gear/track? Hill/mtn when you don't have the correct gearing? If you are looking for more sustainable power, search for Sweet Spot Training (SST) for the winter.

Keep the PT running and download the data. You may find it invaluable in your future training. If you don't want to see it, put some tape over the display.

It is a summary of a thread of coach and ExPhys responses. All I did was summarize.

TF
I would like to push bigger gears going up a hill. As Eddie Merkx said- an interviewer asked him is it better to spin an easy gear or mash a heavy gear, his response " it's better to spin a heavy gear"
That's what I want to do, but I need to train late in the season to build up my knees for it, I checked out sweet spot training and that seems to be aimed at mid season racing.

http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspot.html
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Old 09-17-08, 07:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by irish pat View Post
I would like to push bigger gears going up a hill. As Eddie Merkx said- an interviewer asked him is it better to spin an easy gear or mash a heavy gear, his response " it's better to spin a heavy gear"
That's what I want to do, but I need to train late in the season to build up my knees for it, I checked out sweet spot training and that seems to be aimed at mid season racing.

http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspot.html
Your Eddy quote says to NOT push a big gear. It says to have more sustainable power (i.e. 1 hour power or FTP). That's what SST is all about. In your link, Overton is saying that SST is ALSO good for mid-season, not just pre and early season. - TF
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