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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 06-25-12, 08:28 AM   #1
jerry4
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developing more peddle power

I just completed a 20K TT in which I came in second in my age group. I think I could go faster if I could push higher gears. Are there specific off-the-bike exercises to help me shove bigger gears. Low cadence grinding up hills does not seem yield the desired results. Thanks for any advice.
p.s. I have abut 6000 miles of base mostly on the local roads 18 to 20 mph. I compete in Standard Bike and Age Group (my age 71). thanks , Jerry
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Old 06-25-12, 12:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jerry4 View Post
I just completed a 20K TT in which I came in second in my age group. I think I could go faster if I could push higher gears. Are there specific off-the-bike exercises to help me shove bigger gears. Low cadence grinding up hills does not seem yield the desired results. Thanks for any advice.
p.s. I have abut 6000 miles of base mostly on the local roads 18 to 20 mph. I compete in Standard Bike and Age Group (my age 71). thanks , Jerry
Why do you think that? To go faster you need to put out more power. As you age your muscle mass naturally declines so expecting to push bigger gears with more force is probably not feasible. Fabian Cancellara uses a cadence of around 110RPM.

The best way to improve your power for a TT is to do intervals. 2x20 with 5 min rest is the standard for improving threshold power but there are other variations that work well. Personally I've had good success with 6x5x1 @ 106-108%FTP (6 - 5 min intervals with 1 min rest). The first couple should feel relatively easy and the last two should be hard and difficult to complete.
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Old 06-25-12, 12:37 PM   #3
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Your doing TT at 71?! Thats fantastic! Keep it up!
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Old 06-25-12, 10:04 PM   #4
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OTOH, while it is true, as Greg says, that "As you age your muscle mass naturally declines," it may not be true that this has to happen to the extent that is seen in the general population. I have an over 70 very fast buddy who spent a couple of weeks riding at up to 18,500'. He returned and immediately took 45 minutes off his age group record for a local mountain climb. Although this has nothing to do with muscle mass, it offers some hope. It used to be thought that the body's ability to produce nitric oxide also declined with age. However, it turned out that what was observed was that older people simply backed off enough to reduce production. Athletes who maintained activity levels also maintained nitric oxide levels as they aged.

I think it is harder to put on muscle mass as we age, possibly because of the decline in testosterone levels. However, I think it is possible to stimulate older muscles productively by strength training, perhaps particularly older muscles since we do tend to become less active as we age. Worth a try. Of course Greg is right about intervals - they are by far the most productive line of attack. However, if you are already doing them to the extent allowed by recovery, there's not much to gain there.

Friel has a good strength training program in his Cyclist's Training Bible, which I have used with good results. It's a long term program, best started about October to produce results the following spring. Greg is also correct about the high cadences used by today's pros. However I have seen some very, very strong older TTers who perform best at cadences in the 60's. Also, the female winner of this year's solo RAM ran a 57-11 top gear and some men run 60-11. I have another over-50 friend who rides a 90" fixie in the mountains. My impression is that it depends on the athlete, their goals, and how they train.

If you want to get started right now, try lifting in a circuit with one set of 30 of, in order:
leg sled
seated rows
back machine
barbell squats
push-ups
lat pull-downs
one-legged calf raises
roman chair

which is the start of Friel's program in my implementation. Work up to enough weight that the last rep is difficult. One circuit to start, then possibly two or three, conditioning and will permitting. Remember that the one imperative is not to get injured, so smooth lifts with good form and lots of reps for a while. Friel's book is worth the money, IMO.

Also IMO strength training is slower to produce results than intervals by an order of magnitude. Normally the progression is strength training first, then intervals.
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Old 06-26-12, 10:31 PM   #5
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I think it is harder to put on muscle mass as we age, possibly because of the decline in testosterone levels.
What do you think of testosterone supplementation?
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