23 days, 176 riders, 3,351 kilometers, 42,000 water bottles, 792 tyres….the Tour de France. It’s hard not to be inspired right? This sporting event is a phenomenal test of endurance and mental capacity, often being deemed the toughest sporting event on the planet!
As you sit there in front of your TV screen watching the riders literally fly down the French Alps at speeds of over 60mph, it gives you the feeling of wanting to jump back on your bike and start pedaling. You get out on the road and start cycling like Mark Cavendish in the final 400m on the Champs Élysées, forgetting that little activity on the bike over the past few months will have significantly reduced your Vo2max and you’ve gained a few pounds. You suddenly find yourself in serious oxygen debt, accumulating high levels of lactic acid and a long way from home! Dragging the last few miles home feeling like you have legs of lead is not fun… let alone the effects of DOMS that will most likely occur in the coming days, making a simple flight of stairs feel like Ben Nevis! Here at Faultless Fitness we want to get you back out on the bike riding like you used to. The old saying goes, “train hard, race easy”, but I like to think of it as train properly, race easy. We aim to develop a tailored training plan for you that will increase your Vo2max (fitness levels) within weeks.
We like to utilise two types of training that can be hard to properly implement on your own, due to intensity, this increases the likelihood of injury and/or burnout if not planned properly. The first type of training we utilise is strength training, which is often overlooked by cyclists. The neuromuscular adaptations gained from strength training such as increased motor recruitment and increased frequency of muscle firing will increase your performance on the bike. One study 1 took 19 female cyclists who were split into two groups: normal endurance training and combined strength and endurance training. The combined training group showed significant improvements in 40min time trial performance, this did not occur in the endurance only group. The increase in time trial performance was attributed to increases in mean power output, cycling economy and lactic threshold.
The second type of training we utilise is high intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of training uses periods of intense anaerobic exercise interspersed with less intense exercise, or rest periods. We do this using our watt bikes – neat pieces of kit that replicate actual cycling and give an accurate measure of power output. This enables individuals to reach high intensities of exercise in a closely monitored and controlled environment. With high intensity bouts of exercise, it is important that they are designed specifically for the individual to ensure suitability for their current fitness levels and the goals they wish to achieve. Triathletes who participated in 2 HIIT sessions a week for three weeks increased their Vo2 max, lactate threshold and their overall cycling performance 2.
If you would like to incorporate strength and high intensity interval training into you schedule or have any questions regarding this type of training, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.
Stuart is an Exercise Physiologist at Faultless Fitness. Having studied sport and exercise science at degree level in the UK and postgraduate level in the USA he has been exposed to a wide range of experiences and is hoping to use this knowledge to help individuals improve their quality of life. He also has a keen interest in helping athletes improve sporting performance!
References [ + ]
|1.||↩||Vikmoen, O., Ellefsen, S., Troen, O., Hollan I., Hanestadhaugen, M., Raastad, T., & Ronnestad, B. (2016). Strength training improves cycling perfomance, fractional utilization of Vo2max and cycling economy in female cyclists. Scandinavian Journal of Sports Medicine, 26(4), pp 384 -396.|
|2.||↩||Etxebarria, N., Anson, J., Pyne, D & Ferguson, R. (2013). High-intensity cycle interval training and running performance in triathletes. European Journal of Sports Science, 14 (6), pp 521-529.|