Monday, October 29, 2007

1700 watts

If you search around on the web or read magazines you might come across a mention of pro cyclists being able to top out at 1700 watts or more during sprints. If any of you have a powermeter, you know this is a big, big number. Most of the athletes we test will hit a max in the 700-900 watt range. We can also look at data and project what type of wattage you will need to be competitive at a particular level of racing.

So, how do you get to those magic high numbers? Assuming you have some decent genes and a few fast-twitch fibers in the legs, a combination of strength work in the gym and sprint training on the bike will yield some quick gains. Here are a few basic guidelines for becoming a faster sprinter:

  • Two sprint workouts per week max! More than this and you cannot recover and become faster. If you think you can do more than two, you are not pushing hard enough.
  • These workouts need to be MAXIMUM EFFORTS! Sprinting at 8 or 9 on a 10 scale is the quickest way to get beaten to the line. True sprints should leave you needing 5 minutes or more of easy spinning to get ready for another effort.
  • Gym work should be explosive and non-isolating. Heavier weights in the 6-20 rep range with every set taken to complete failure (use a partner for safety). Major movements (squat, leg press) are best with isolating movements (leg extension, leg curl, inner & outer thigh) only done to address muscle imbalance, if at all. You don't pedal the bike with hamstrings only, etc.
  • Sprint in a variety of gears and terrain. Work on increasing your ability to push a big gear and spin that gear quickly. Uphill and downhill sprinting are very different and you should be ready for any type of terrain. That's why you have all of those gears - use them.

In the next post I'll talk a bit more about how to measure and track your sprinting training progress.

Good riding - Coach Kevin

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