Saturday, 8 May 2010

The top 4 systems for the best Cycling Training

There are 4 main systems that your road bike training should encompass.

-Aerobic conditioning
-Slow twitch muscle endurance
-Lactic Acid buffering
-Fast twitch muscle power

Aerobic conditioning happens between 70-80% of your max heart rate. Your body adapts to training in this zone by Increasing the lung volume, and making your muscles more efficient at using oxygen. This is achieved by a process called capillarisation, which means that the number of capillaries going to a muscle increases, which means the muscle can use more oxygen, and work at a higher rate without going anaerobic.

Slow twitch muscle endurance is trained between 65-80% of your max heart rate. This is where the bulk of your road bike training should be. In this zone your body becomes more efficient at recruiting(using) slow twitch fibres. Your body will also start developing more slow twitch fibres, which means your legs will slowly becoming more muscular. More slow twitch fibres means your leg muscles can spread the load put on them, and work for longer periods.

Lactic Acid buffering is trained from 80-90% of your max heart rate. About 1/5th of your total road bike training should be done in this zone. The best way to train your lactic acid system is to do 2 twenty minute intervals in this zone, however this kind of training is extremely hard(and boring if done on a turbo). Your body will adapt by producing less Lactic Acid, become more efficient at getting rid of it, and actually learn to use it as a source of energy.

Fast twitch muscle power is trained between 90-100% of your max heart rate. The minority of your road bike training should be in this heart rate zone. The best way to train your fast twitch muscle fibres is interval training. The intervals should be extremely short (less than one minute) but with plenty of recovery in between(3-5 minutes, or as long as you need). Your body will adapt to this training by becoming more efficient at recruiting the fast twitch fibres, as well as develop more fast twitch fibres. These are the fibres which give your legs the muscular look (check out sprinters like Chris Hoy, they have tree trunk legs).

There is more information on road bike training on my lens and hub page below.

My lens on road biketrainingMy hub on roadbike training
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