Power is the ability to apply maximal force to the pedals of your bike for a short amount of time. It is important to build up your cycling power as it helps to improve vital parts of your performance, such as hill ascents and road sprints. The 5 pieces of guidance included in this article will help to ensure that your power output increases every time you ride!
Remaining at one constant pace on the bike is good for building up endurance and aerobic fitness, but if you want to improve the power with which you push down on the pedals, then it’s important that you take part in interval training. This technique involves cycling at your maximum heart rate for a period of time (say 4 minutes), followed by a smaller period of normal speed peddling. A good way to tell if you have reached 95%-100% of your max heart rate is whether you can speak or not while riding…If you can, then you should be pushing harder! This intense activity should be repeated for around five times in order to reap rewards; scientific studies have shown that this sort of training doesn’t always hugely improve aerobic fitness, however, if it’s an improvement in power you are looking for, then this fits the bill.
Ride In A Higher Gear
Riding in higher gears will help you to improve your power over a period of time. To help try and integrate an increase in gear strengths, change gradually for short periods of time during your typical ride as this will get you used to a harder push down on the pedal. Increasing the amount of time you spend in higher gears will mean that you become more adapted and without knowing it, will be producing a higher power output than before.
Cycling uphill is a good way to increase muscular endurance; this is achieved as it is natural for a rider to increase the intensity on which he/she pushes down on the pedals, in order to help counter the steepness of a hill. An effective way to increase muscular endurance while cycling is to integrate small bursts of intense workout into your ride. This means performing at your maximum ability for a short 30 seconds every half kilometre or so. As you feel improvements in your hill climbing, increase the length of time for which you “max” cycle and also the amount of times that you ascend a hill; when you reach the top, come back down using the descent as a rest before you go again!
Supplements and Energy Drinks
While many people choose water as their drink of choice on the bike, it’s worth pointing out that while its hydrating, it doesn’t provide us with huge energy levels. Energy drinks can be a good way to increase the energy levels with which you can perform at, as they provide you with much needed electrolytes and carbohydrates. Try not to go for generic brands that you see on the television, as there are many other products out there that are packed with carbs and higher quality ingredients designed specifically for longer workouts and rides. The extra energy you are provided with increases the level you perform at, meaning you gain more from every workout you do, helping to further increase your power. For the serious cyclist there is also the supplement that is creatine, designed specifically to promote higher levels of strength in workouts which help with the growth of muscle; However, only take this if you take part in regular, intense workouts and make sure you consult with a trainer to form a plan of usage before you begin to take it.
This may sound like a cliché thing to say, but giving yourself goals to meet can be a great way for you to improve any aspect of your performance in cycling…not just your power output. By aiming to achieve different goals you will improve your power as you go along; Increasing the distance you ride in a high gear, during an ascent could be a goal to set for yourself.
Written by Rory Owen from TG Store