So we’ve talked about why Indoor only riders will benefit from Power Training, and in the last post we reminded the avid outdoor cyclist just why Power is a must for their continued growth and improvement riding outside… but how to get started. That’s the question I’ve heard from a number of folks that have just gotten new Keiser M3 Power bikes (even though our Power Training system from Cycling Fusion works for all indoor bikes - it is what we use at Global Ride Training Center). The inevitable first question is like one from a new blogger sitting in front of a blank computer screen. Where do I start!?!
Introduce Power With Games
While most indoor cyclists still don’t wear heart monitors when they ride, most know what it is and why it is used. However, when it comes to training with Power, that’s a different matter altogether. Unfortunately, this is also why many clubs do not consider bikes with Power. Their ignorance leads them to feel it is too complicated or worse - intimidating. In this case ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just plain ignorance. The goal here is to show that riding with Power is fun, interesting, and easy to do. This will help to beat back a consensus of complexity, which right now, threatens to slow the growth of Power bikes in our industry. Consequently, it’s best to just let students begin to play with Power before they really begin to train with it.
We do this by offering structured and methodical Power Games that make training with Power more fun. These are just a sample of Power Training games one can play. With feedback like Watts, Heart Rate and Cadence, (typical tools that come with any bike already equipped with Power) one is only limited by their own imagination. Here are some games that might help “break the ice” when it comes to training with Power.
Ten Songs To 10 Gears
Let your students warm up, encouraging them to increase their gears slightly as they “warm up with purpose”, but to keep it light and easy during the warmup. Once they have warmed up for at least 5 or 6 minutes, ask them to check their gear number, and the Watts they are genearting. This will represent their “baseline” or the bottom gear or Wattage for them today. This concept of establishing a Power “baseline” will apply to all of the games we discuss here, except for our last game; the 5 X 5.
Each of the next 9 songs then you should direct them to increase it 1 gear. The first 3 or 4 should be easily handled in the saddle. The final 3 or 4 may need to be out of the saddle, and some students might not be able to negotiate a gear much more than 7 or 8 above their warmup, depending on how high they start, and the type of Power indicator your bike uses.
Outside of the first couple and last couple, you should have plenty of leeway for what position to be in for all the other Power levels. Continue to work on form, and draw their attention to how each gear affects the Power, and how it probably also affects their cadence and certainly heart rate. This is a good exploratory exercise to help students see just how far they can go. Some may never go beyond a few gears without this slow and methodical increasing of Power. Others might find that they haven’t really stressed themselves, or at least not to the max. This is good too, as it helps to show your students a wide range of Power levels and helps them to understand what kind of Power range they have.
Twenty Percent Per Minute
In this game, the student will increase their Watts by 10% of their body weight in Watts every minute within a given song. This is in keeping with the Watts/Lb principal, since a mere adding of so many Watts per minute would be harder for some than for others. In this way, some will add as little as 12 Watts while others may need to add more than 20.
Upon reaching the following song, the instructor can either start over with the next music track, or they can build on where they left off from the last song. The starting point can also be a function of the riders baseline. For example, the instructor could say let’s start this 3 gears from your baseline, or perhaps 25% from your baseline. In this way, you can have a relative idea where their effort level should be when you get started.
Next, you just direct them after each minute, to raise their Watts by 20, until that song is over. If you are not going to start from this point and continue up on the next song, you can tell them to recover a bit when you get to the end. As before, choose your position on the bike according to any of your other class objectives.
This game has many variations also. You can take this up 10 times over 3 or 4 songs, and then take it down by 20 watts until you are back to your baseline. This is like climbing a big hill, and then slowly coming down the other side.
Where’s My Sweet Spot
In this game, we are looking for the most efficient cadence to produce the highest wattage, at a given heart rate (within 5 beats). For example, if we want to ride in mid zone 3 for heart rate, what is the maximum amount of Watts we can generate at that heart rate? Perform some of these attempts in the saddle only, and some out of the saddle. Take 1 to 3 songs for each heart rate or heart zone so that the student can try to “dial in” their sweet spot of efficiency.
This is also an ideal game to record the students results, since over time they would want to see their Power inrease as they get stronger and more efficient.
Twenty Percent Per Song
This game is similar to 10% per minute, only it represents the approach to the entire class, not just one song or a few songs at a time. In this class, students get to test the limits of their sustainability, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time.
To aid in warmup and to reflect the nature of Power zones requiring shorter intervals as the Watts/Lb increase, these songs also should be in decreasing time value. For example, the first 20% gain could be an 8 minute song to help extend the warmup at a more purposeful level. By the time the class gets over 100% in gain (5 songs later), the length should be no more than 4 minutes. Each successive song then should be at least 30 seconds to 1 minute shorter. This not only supports the principals of Power training, but it also will give encouragement to those struggling with the previous increase or two, to try yet again, since the time interval is lessened.
Five by Five
This game is a combination of both Heart Rate training and Power training. It is designed to explore Power and observe what Heart Rates are experienced during the different Power levels, get some nice steady state Heart Rate work in between Power efforts, and exercising the brain between songs to establish your next level. Yes, this workout will require a little brain Power.
Starting once again with 10 well selected songs, you will alternate between seated steady states for heart rate, and standing positions for Power goals. The entire music set should have 12 songs so you book-end the workout with a warmup and cool down, leaving the 10 in the middle for real “working”.
Each Heart Rate song requires the student increase their HR by 10 BPM. Each Power increase will be 10% of the student’s body weight. The math is the brain part of the workout :-). Consequently, during the warmup I ask the students to think about how hard they want to work today - to pick their top HR number, and their top Power number, and work backwards. For Heart Rate, they will establish their starting Heart Rate 50 beats below their goal, and for Power they will subtract 50% of their body weight in Watts from their goal, and that will be their starting Power. If they don’t know a good Power number to start from, I recommend they set 1 Watt per pound as their top goal.
This game can then be flip flopped the next time you play - do your heart rate work standing and the Power songs in the saddle. Going through it two times like that will really help students become aware of where their Power boundaries are, and under what stress (heart rates) they experience different levels and different positions.
I would love to know if you use these and how they are received by your students.
Originally posted 2018-12-04 06:00:02.