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Gain speed fast with cycling sprint training

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1 Sep 2020

Sprint training isn’t just for sprinters – it'll improve other areas of your cycling too.

Beating your mates is only one benefit of sprint training – it’ll help you improve in other areas as well.

One of the fastest and most spectacular elements of any race, sprinting isn’t without its risks. At the same time, any high-intensity effort is a great way to develop both peak power and the ability to recover quickly between attacks.

Yet with both traffic or other riders often making on-road practice tricky, an indoor trainer is often the safest place to hone your craft. As Wattbike’s training consultant, Dr David Nichols, explains…

Fast forward

‘Short, all-out efforts interspersed with short recovery periods give some of the best bangs for your buck,’ says Nichols.

‘Research has demonstrated improvements not only in sprint power, but also gains in aerobic capacity. It’s a two-for-one and especially useful for the time-crunched amateur.

‘Sprint power is trainable in anyone. Big legs are an advantage, yes, but a lot of the benefits come from training the neuromuscular system, enhancing the signalling processes between the brain and the muscles. These benefits can be seen even after just a couple of sessions.’

How to do the session

Sprints are typically performed at the end of a longer effort (such as a lead-out or chaingang) and this session mimics that scenario where you are sprinting from a fatigued state.

Aim to hit the highest outputs possible during sprints (typically riders will stand at first, then sit to power through to the end).

Indoor training provides a stable and safe environment to perform this kind of work without the dangers of passing traffic or other road issues, especially considering each effort is designed to take you to your limit!

Below is a sprint turbo training session. After a good warm-up, ride 5 minutes @ 80% FTP, 5min @100% FTP, 5 minutes @120% FTP, then finish with a 20 second max sprint. Spin easy for 2 minutes between blocks. Complete three blocks and cool down. To determine your FTP, go to cyclist.co.uk/ftptest.

• For information on how the Wattbike Atom can help you achieve your training goals, visit wattbike.com/gb.

To do this workout and many more, download the Wattbike Hub app, available free in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Next, watch our three-minute videos about hill trainingHIIT and the FTP test.