Use this simple, but difficult, strength set to gain super power on the bike—no weights needed!

Use this simple, but difficult, strength set to gain super power on the bike—no weights needed!

This week’s workout comes from Milly Wade-West, a coach with QT2 Systems. Wade-West has been in the sport for eight years, is a USAT Level 1 coach, and is NASM-CPT-certified. She is also an eight-time Ironman finisher and qualified for Kona in 2017 at Ironman Maryland.

“Biking and swimming are strength-dependent sports, so developing the musculature necessary to produce power begins with building muscle in the gym,” says Wade-West. “The next step is to use this muscle development in sport using paddles, ankle bands, hills, and low-cadence workouts.” This week’s ostensibly simple workout will develop sport-specific strength by overloading cycling muscles and building power that not only helps the bike leg but also teaches your body to run well off tired legs.

Wade-West’s super low-cadence bike set is best done after a solid base-building phase, assuming the athlete has already done some strength work—either in the gym or on the bike. Don’t let this workout be your first bike-strength workout of the season, as the length and intensity of the hard intervals can be tough on both large muscle groups and connective tissue. It’s important that anyone with a history of knee issues modifies this set to decrease the effort and increase the cadence range.

Give a day or two of light leg training/rest before and after this workout. Particularly avoid doing any difficult runs in the days that follow to avoid muscle overuse and possible injury. Remember, with basically full rest on the recovery interval, don’t be afraid to push yourself on the hard part of this set!

20 minutes at base heart rate (Zone 2) or a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 4/10

Main Set:
2 x
(10 minutes best effort (Zone 4, or RPE of 8/10) at low cadence between 50-60 RPM
10 minutes recovery as: (3 min easy spin at 80-90 RPM; 1 min high-cadence spin at 105 RPM+; 3 min easy spin 80-90 RPM; 1 min spin at 105 RPM+; 2 min easy spin 80-90 RPM))

Use the recovery from the second part of the main set as cool-down, then stretch

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