IM­PROVE WITH HILL TRAIN­ING

CY­CLING PER­FOR­MANCE

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY JASPER BLAKE

As op­posed to swimming and run­ning, when you’re on a bike you can still move for­ward, even when you’re not putting out any en­ergy. That’s what makes cy­cling one of the most ef­fi­cient hu­man-pow­ered ac­tiv­i­ties. But that can lead to chal­lenges when cre­at­ing train­ing stress. Climb­ing is one of the eas­i­est ways to over­come this chal­lenge and force stress upon an ath­lete. If you want to im­prove your cy­cling per­for­mance, reg­u­lar hill work­outs should be a sta­ple in your pro­gram.

Re­sis­tance

Cy­cling is a sport that is af­fected dra­mat­i­cally by re­sis­tance. When you’re rid­ing on flat ter­rain, have a tail wind, or are draft­ing in a group, re­sis­tance is low and very lit­tle mus­cu­lar force is re­quired to keep the bike mov­ing. As soon as you go up­hill, though, grav­ity adds re­sis­tance, which makes it eas­ier to ap­ply con­sis­tent mus­cu­lar force. One of the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of train­ing is to ap­ply stress to the body. When you re­cover from that stress, your body adapts and you at­tain a higher level of fit­ness. If you are us­ing wattage as the mea­sure for this stress, then the abil­ity to gen­er­ate con­sis­tent wattage for spe­cific pe­ri­ods of time is cru­cial if you want to im­prove. Hills pro­vide more con­sis­tent re­sis­tance and al­low you to home in on a spe­cific wattage with greater ease than on flat­ter ter­rain where re­sis­tance is lower.

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