Elite PT Alfie Wren is on hand with two gruelling Wattbike sessions that will guarantee you yellow jersey-worthy endurance
The great summer of sport continues. From England’s footballing heroics, through Wimbledon’s Centre Court, we now arrive at the start line of the Tour de France. The world’s premier cycling event is the ultimate feat of endurance and, if you’re a two-wheeled enthusiast, the perfect inspiration to push your performance to new heights on home shores. However, the shackles of your corner office mean that the opportunities to squeeze into your lycra and pedal off into the countryside are few and far between. Which means you need to use your lunchtime gym session wisely.
“With the restricted amount of training time available I’ve designed two indoor workouts that will prepare you for the different requirements of a Grand Tour, as well as giving you the biggest performance boost in the minimum time,” says Third Space Elite PT, Alfie Wren.
The Time Trial
The shortest of the stages during the Tour, this is a solo effort designed to squeeze as much power and aerodynamics out of the rider as possible. To replicate it in the gym, climb on to a Wattbike – it will give you the most data during the workout, which can be saved directly onto your phone. Warm up for 5-10 minutes and include five 10-20 second efforts to help elevate your heart rate and prime your body for the workout ahead. This one’s a grind.
The 25km TT. Aim to finish within 30-50 minutes. For those who have completed an FTP test (ask your PT if you would like one), you are trying to hold 90-105% of your FTP. If you haven’t completed this test then go off of perceived exertion, which should feel like a 9/10 effort. Yes, that’s bloody high – but hard work pays off. Pushing your body this hard is what forces your body to adapt to the training and thereby improves your endurance.
Try to ‘negative split’ the workout, which means that the second half of the ride is faster than the first half. This will allow you to build into the ride and leave you with enough energy to push to the finish line. Start off too hard and you will fall away over the course of the workout. You want to cross the finish line sat up in the saddle punching the air in victory, remember.
The Hill Climb
This is an excellent route to building cycling strength and endurance that doesn’t require hours of saddle time. “Trying to mimic a hill climb on a static bike is quite difficult (for obvious reasons) but here is one of the best ones I give to my clients,” says Wren. The main focus of this workout is changing cadence whilst keeping the power output as even as possible.
At the end of each 3-minute block you’ll be doing a 10 second effort out of the saddle to simulate trying to stop a breakaway, or create one yourself, before going straight into the next block of 3 minutes at a different cadence. Ready? Deep breath now.
Warm up –
5 minutes easy
3 x 30 secs fast – 30 seconds easy
2 minutes spin
Main set –
9 x 3 minutes @ 80-90% ftp or 8-9/10 RPE
10 second hard effort at 2:50 of each block
Your RPM targets for each 3-minute block are as follows:
Start at 105rpm then 95,85,75,65,75,85,95,105
Cool down –
5 – 10 minutes easy spin
You can ungrit your teeth now and, once your face has turned a less intense shade of purple, you can wobble your way to the showers in the knowledge you’re one ride closer to peak performance. No P.E.Ds necessary.