You might well ask, as a triathlete, why should I be doing a workout that primarily focuses on strength and power? The simple answer is, the flattest Ironman bike courses aside, all bike legs will require a degree of top-end grunt. Being able to stay down on your aerobars as you squeeze on the power to get over a roller, accelerating hard out of a dead turn or recovering from that botched gear change on a climb – they all require a bit of punch.
Also, by training your explosive top-end, you’ll teach your nerves to fire more efficiently, your muscles to contract quicker and you’ll increase your overall maximal capacity. The benefits of having a bigger and more efficient engine will trickle down to your lower-intensity riding and you’ll be more capable of holding a higher power output for longer.
As an additional bonus, this training session is fantastic for getting your glutes firing and strong, so it has crossover benefits for running, too.
3 Tops Tips
Okay, triathletes aren’t renowned for their fast-twitch abilities, but really try to make the acceleration explosive and snappy, don’t just wallow away. You’ll reap the rewards on race day.
It’s not just a stomp down on the pedals, you need to invite your glutes and hamstrings to the party! Do this by focussing on the scrape- through at the bottom of your pedal stroke.
This is a maximal effort against a big gear, so you need to be pushing against a stable platform. Brace through your whole body, including your arms
5-10mins building up to RPE 5-6
3 x [5secs low-gear sprint; 55secs recovery spinning]. Stay seated and focus on maximal cadence
2-3mins easy spin
On a flat road, shift into your biggest gear and allow yourself to come to a near stop. Just before you stop, staying seated, accelerate as hard as you can (RPE 10) until you hit a cadence of 85rpm. If you don’t hit 85rpm within 20secs, drop down one gear for the next effort (do this until you find the right gear for you)
3mins easy recovery spinning
5-10mins easy spinning
Adapt for beginners
Try cutting down the number of reps to 10 and, if you’re struggling to accelerate, roll in a bit faster.
Adapt for Ironman
You can incorporate these efforts into a longer ride, just ensure you do them near the beginning as you need to be fresh to get the most out of them.