Tough Big Gear Bike Workout

This session is a sure fire way to develop unbelievable strength on the bike that will also transfer to the flats

Photo: Competitive Image

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The next time you do hill repeats, consider this workout from pro Lesley Paterson. Paterson uses this big gear session to challenge her age-group athletes. “This session is a sure fire way to develop unbelievable strength on the bike that will also transfer to the flats,” Paterson says. “Depending on racing emphasis, you can manipulate duration of interval, steepness of hill and cadence to best suit what you need.”

If possible, bring your trainer to the bottom of a long climb. You’ll get the best results from this session with a thorough warm-up like the one below.


10 min easy spin building from 65% to 75% of max. Hold 100 rpm.
10 min “fast pedal” in a super easy gear holding 120–140 rpm. “This is not about intensity, our purpose here is doing a neuromuscular drill,” Paterson says.
4×1 min single leg drill in EASY gear holding 80–90 rpm. Smooth out dead spots around your pedal stroke.
4×1 min single leg drill in HARD gear holding 40–60rpms. Force through the pedals
2×5 min big gear work. Hold 45–60 rpm while getting intensity up to 80-85% of max (be careful if you have any old knee injury issues, Paterson advises). First one seated, second one standing. Stabilize with core so upper body does not move.

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Main Set

4×10 min climb as two seated, two standing working at 45–55 rpm and 80–90% effort on variety of gradients. Cool down with an easy spin.

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