Sunday, January 25, 2009


Long time - no blog posts. I could talk about all of the things that happened since the Spring but I want to get right into TESTING. Not the MCAT's or SAT's but performance testing of yourself.

I'm sure you have heard the definition of insanity - repeating the same actions but expecting different results... This still seems to be the most common mistake I see people making everyday with their physical endeavors. Our bodies simply adapt too quickly to the level of stress we apply, causing our fitness to plateau. You've heard it all before right? What ever can you do??

You MUST have an idea of what your body can do. On the first day of wrestling practice in H.S., the coach lined everybody up to see how many pushups and pull-ups you could manage, noting the results for everyone. We also ran a 1/2 mile for time. Looking back I realize he wasn't so concerned with what type of number you put up that day, he wanted to see improvement over time. A month later at a retest, the 25 pushup guys from day one were in the 40-50 range, or they were running stairs. The slow runners had to run more (which they did at an even slower pace, guaranteeing they would not get faster - more in the next post). Simple concept that most of us do not do enough.

Let's focus on cyclists - If you have a power meter, you can test all sorts of performances very easily. From max power on down, the Mean Maximal numbers for specific times are great ways to measure your fitness and improvement against others. If you don't have a power meter, time over a set course/distance (e.g. Time Trial) works best. You add the factors of wind, weather, etc. but it will be a good comparison of your fitness improvement.

At Two Wheels, we require an initial test with clients on the computrainer before we can create a training plan. Depending upon your goals, the numbers you want to focus on will vary. Racers should know max power, 20 sec, 1 min, 20 min and FTP. If you fancy yourself a sprinter, the big max # will help but the 20sec power will win you the race or sprint for the town sign. Breakaway riders will have a big 1min to make the move and strong 20min and FTP to make it stick. TT'ers will be focused on the 20min and FTP (think 40-60min power) to get up to speed and stay there.

Most important - if you are training x number of hours each week and you retest yourself only to find that you have not budged your numbers (remember the insanity reference) YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE! The P90X program calls this muscle confusion. Unfortunately in cycling, the muscles have to work the same way. Becoming a good kickboxer will make you feel better but probably not help you ride faster. The easiest way to shock your body is to get out of your comfort zone. In the gym this is easy - just pick up a heavier weight or do some extra reps. On the bike there are numerous ways to achieve this effect. I'll go over some in detail later this week.

Good Riding - Coach Kevin