Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hour of Power and Strength

In the book Racing and Training with a Powermeter, Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen reference a workout called the “Hour of Power”. If you have not read the book, this is essentially a steady ride for one hour where you gradually ratchet up the effort/wattage steadily through the hour so you are spending most of the time around your FTP (Functional Threshold Power), finishing above this number. This is a tough workout but great for stimulating a strong response to the training and getting you ready for hard efforts during races and fast group rides.

To help build this hour speed/wattage, I have an indoor workout that mixes in strength training and bike/trainer riding to maximize your power and build more speed on the high end (anaerobic) while also increasing your FTP wattage. If you are not currently doing strength training in the gym, build into this workout over a few weeks by starting with light weights and lower reps. If you minimize your rest breaks, this will take about 60 min and get you home in time for dinner with the family. As with all strenuous activity, listen to your body and stop if you feel dizzy, nausea, etc.

10 min progressive warmup on the bike (make sure you bring the HR/effort at the end of the 10 min to your FTP level.
3x30 sec work at 8-9 effort on 10 scale, 125-150% of FTP watts, 30 sec recovery. 2 min easy spin transition before Leg Press.
Leg Press superset with squat jumps – Leg press 20 reps with enough weight that 20 is failure. This means you can do 19 or 20 but not 21. This should not be easy to do, if it is, add some weight. Immediately do a set of 10 squats exploding to a jump at the finish. Use a medicine ball or similar weigh to increase the difficulty.
2 min easy spin on the bike followed by another set of 3x30 as above. 2 min easy spin before repeating Leg Press/squat jump superset.
You guessed it, repeat the 3x30 on the bike with 2 min easy spin to get ready for the next set. Keep it up, you are past the halfway mark!
Lunges with dumbbells or on a smith machine. 10 reps on each leg with a weight that takes you to failure. (for added difficulty, bring the opposite knee up at the finish of each lunge) Superset these with stiff-legged deadlifts. Keeping your knee soft and your back flat, lift a bar or dumbbell by hinging at your hip joint. 20 reps to failure, start a bit light and focus on the hamstrings.
2 min easy spin followed by 3x1 min at your FTP with 1 min recoveries (8 on a 10 scale) with 2 min easy before repeating the lunge/deadlift superset.
One more time with the 3x1 min at FTP (this should be really tough to do now, if not, add more weight and bump the wattages a bit) followed by a 5 min cooldown with some stretching and core work to fill up the 60 min.

Do this 2X/week and I guarantee you’ll be riding faster. After just four weeks of this, I was able to increase my FTP by over 10% and drop 45 seconds off my previous Computrainer 10K test time!

Good Riding – Coach Kevin

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