EPC Tips - Head for the Hills Strength Building Session

May. 23, 2014

Head for the hills with this strength building session on the bike.

If you're gearing up for a hilly race this year, developing strength on the bike is key to your success. Even if your A-race is as flat as Florida, building strength on the bike will serve you well in being able to generate power over long periods of time. To build bike-specific strength there is no better way than with big gear, low cadence climbing intervals. To perform these intervals you head for the hills, the longest you can find in your area. Shift into a larger gear than you would normally ride (the steepness of the hill will determine the exact gear), and ride at a cadence much lower than you normally would (ie. 50-60 rpm). The idea here is to require large amounts of force (not to be confused with 'power') to turn the pedals. Climb for the set duration, then drop down to your easiest gear for a minute or two (or turn around and ride back down the hill) to recover a bit before repeating.

If you don't have hills in your area of over 3 minutes, then do these on the trainer. This can be achieved by elevating the front wheel and getting into a large gear and high amounts of resistance on the trainer to simulate climbing up a steep road. If the race you are targeting has climbs over 10 minutes, then plan to head to the trainer for these sessions if you don't have long hills in your area, so you can build up the duration of the intervals to 10+ minutes. Over many weeks you can safely build up to 3x20 minutes of strength climbing. The following session was written to accommodate the trainer, but you can easily adapt to the road or trail within a longer ride outside.

WARM-UP: 10:00 easy gear spin
- additional aerobic riding as desired (if outside)
- 5:00 progressive build towards threshold power

MAIN SET: 4x[5:00 big gear, low cadence climbing, 1-2 min easy gear recovery between (alternate seated & standing intervals)]

10:00 easy gear spin

4x[5:00 big gear, low cadence climbing, 1-2 min easy gear recovery between (alternate seated & standing intervals)]

WARM-DOWN: extra aerobic riding as desired (if outside)

10:00 easy gear spin

(75+ minutes total workout time)

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. You can find this workout, and others like it for the swim, bike and run, by joining his Group Coaching programs for 2014.

EPC Tips