Watt Is Power? Or rather what is power?
With a title like that, we could be here for days. Perhaps a better title would have been: What Is Power As It Relates To Cycling or even more to the point would be: Training on Indoor Cycling or Spinning® Bikes With Power. But as you see, that would have been quite a long and clunky title. So I spared you. Naturally, we will be confining our discussion to how the dynamics and science of Power has been applied to the sport of cycling. More specifically how it relates to the world of Indoor Cycling or Spinning® and the equipment used for this in most fitness facilities; stationary bikes. While most of our work was done on the Keiser M3 indoor bike, we are currently in the process of acquiring other power bikes for continued independent research.
Power is the product of strength and speed or put in terms of indoor cycling, the resistance applied to the fly wheel, and the RPM or cadence of pedaling. That seems pretty easy to understand right. The equation that comes to mind is:
Power = Resistance X Cadence
Oh if it were only this simple. Well, for the purposes of Indoor Cycling or Spinning®, this is all we need to know, and thuse, we have made it that simple. However, if you ride outside, you need to know that there are quite a few factors that also impact power as it relates to cycling. While we enjoy the perfection of a controlled environment for training, riding outside is anything but a perfect and consistent. Consequently, there are lots of factors that can affect oneâ€™s power. A bunch of very smart people from Penn State put together a nifty Power Calculator for those of you who are even bigger data geeks than myself. You can find it at: http://www.me.psu.edu/lamancusa/ProdDiss/Bicycle/bikecalc1.htm
Here is a sneak peak at all the factors that go into calculating power when we move outside:
As you can see form the screen shot above, at least 65 thousand other people have a similar curiosity about power. You can also find a kazillion references to power as it relates to cycling on the internet, but our discussions will be squarely focused on how power is measured and used for Indoor Cycling or Spinning®.
This does not mean that the power generated indoors is not the same as the power generated outdoors. Essentially they are the same. It simply means there are different methods used to measure that power due to differences in equipment, environment and cost. Yes, there will be differences in the Watts you generate indoors, and what your power meter measures outdoors. Even cyclists who use the exact same bike, with the exact same power meters indoors and out will experience differences. Shocking as it may seem, the most expensive equipment available will still produce variations due to the enormous influence environment has on the rider and the equipment.
Nevertheless, this does not take away the value of training with power. Power meters still represents one of the best tools for improving your general fitness and/or performance on a bike that has hit the Indoor Cycling or Spinning® market in a very long time. The differences between indoors and out will not negate these positive effects. At the end of the day, itâ€™s the results we are looking for, and training with power will surely deliver!
Read more of Gino's Training with Power Articles – Here