What turns a workout into a power workout is simply the overall objective of that ride. While we can call these ‘power’ workouts, they will also improve your cardiovascular performance. The physical systems that produce energy in your body are all connected, and it is hard to affect one without impacting the other. We can target our workouts for specific applications of power, and this chapter will provide examples of this.
As a way of establishing a sort of profile or fingerprint of your metabolic efficiency and rate of decoupling, you can establish what power you are able to generate at the top of each zone. The reason we look to the top of each zone is that in at least two of the five zones, this represents the point right before you ‘cross over’ into an area of more costly power generation. In other words, you are likely to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ if you can keep the effort just short of the threshold crossovers.
Part 2 of Gene’s amazing Chapter 17, truly a pinnacle of tips for teaching with power. In this segment, you will learn whether “competitions” in classes are truly legitimate if power is so different from bike to bike, and what to do when bikes differ. Because this is so common with power bikes, you NEED this information!
Knowing the importance of having purpose for our training, and that no one wants to spend time doing something and have nothing to show for it, we must test ourselves and then validate our training programs and techniques. This chapter will discuss the assessments you need to incorporate in your power training program, and how to interpret the results.
Even if we don’t understand slow twitch from fast twitch to nose twitch, the muscle fiber mixes we are born will inevitably guide us towards riding or racing that takes advantage of our strengths, and minimizes the drawbacks of our weaknesses. We are encouraged by what we do best and thus we continue to build on it. Add a little training that continues to improve on our strengths, and some desire to achieve objectives with those strengths, and now we will begin to see specific rider types emerge in a way that can actually be quantified to help with both prescribing training as well as understanding just how variable power is from one individual to another.
In general, higher cadence = higher power. Nevertheless, you can’t just spin at 120 RPM everywhere you go, nor would you want to as it can put significant demands on your aerobic conditioning. Instead, it becomes an efficiency issue to pedal at an RPM that taxes your aerobic capacity the least, while generating the most power; the optimal cadence/gear ratio that gives you the most power for the least effort.
Chapter 7 of the Power Training e-book discusses the differences between exercise and training. Gene discusses the concept of ‘Practical Power’, or power for ‘the rest of us’ – the everyday cyclist, the recreational and avid cyclist who may want to suffer less rather than go faster. It is this kind of training that has more applications indoors.
I had a strange dream about teaching Spinning. It was an instructor’s nightmare, kind of like Groundhog Day—I kept coming back to the same room, same people, same situation, but different things kept going wrong. It was exasperating! However, something very good came from this dream, and I woke at 5 am to write down the lesson I learned: the yin and yang of the pedal stroke.