After learning how to work systematically on our endurance at the start of the season, we are ready to invest more time into other important training elements. At this point, we are going to focus on developing our physical condition and strength, as these are the main motors of our physical performance.
The most effective way to improve our physical performance is to keep the intensity around the Anaerobic Threshold when training, something we learnt from the lactate test. The Anaerobic Threshold is to be found at between 85% and 90% of our maximum heart rate. We need to work on four types of strength abilities to systematically develop our strength:
We can work on our strength abilities throughout the year. Our winter preparation should include training containing strength-focused intervals at least once a week. However, we need to be aware that working on strength is very demanding and that our body requires longer recovery periods.
Climbs are the ideal way to develop our strength. We can ride on undulating terrain and ride the climbs with more intensity and higher gears. The best approach is to include some regular intervals. The body should stay still and we should focus on working our legs and on the optimal pedalling technique. The cadence during the intervals varies from 55 to 90 rpm. Get some rest through completely relaxed riding between the intervals.
During the intervals, our strength and aerobic capacity are being developed. This is essential for improving our overall performance. After the intervals we will feel tired, and so they should always stay the only and main focus of the training, while the remainder of the training should finish with riding only in the basic endurance zone.
When strength training is performed correctly, it bears fruit within a few weeks. However, it is very demanding on our body and requires more rest and recovery time. For this reason, it should be done under the supervision of an experienced cycling trainer who will ensure our body gets the right training load and does not get overworked.
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