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cycling workouts

USA Cycling Coaches Summit- Lessons Learned

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USA Cycling Coaches Summit- Lessons Learned

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

Last weekend, ALP Coach Jen Sharp and I went to Colorado Springs for the bi-annual Coaches Summit. Going to this summit is not only required to meet our coaching continuing education criteria but it’s a great chance to listen, learn, re-affirm our knowledge, and ask questions, from experts and professionals in not only the coaching world but the also the cycling and athletic science worlds.

Friday started with a keynote speaker who got us thinking about some of the best coaches and leaders that we, personally, have ever had. We wrote down the top 3 attributes that our favorite/best coach had (listens, challenges me, teaches me) and the 3 attributes that our least favorite coach had (not listening, setting goals that were not mine, close minded). Doing this drill really taught me that to be a good coach one must have good emotional and social skills. A coach can create the best training plan in the world, but if they can’t be emotionally there for the athlete, then the coach/athlete relationship will fall apart.

We started thinking about our athletes and the ones who are internally or externally motivated. Does the athlete do workouts/train/race because they want to, or because they think they should? Knowing how our athletes are motivated can help us be better coaches.

The rest of the weekend was filled with presentations about—

  • Strength training for cyclists— it’s important (duh). What exercises to focus on and how to make strength training truly functional for our athletes (we’re pretty close!). Posture on the bike really matters.

  • Training for Time Trial riders- long MTI’s (muscle tension intervals) are great.

  • Training for sprinters- long MTI’s are not great. Bring on the leg speed.

  • The benefits of High Intensity Training- how often (no more than 10% of training time) one should aim to do hard intervals and what does a hard interval actually mean (good and hard!).

  • Mental Training- such an important aspect of bike racing and one that is often forgotten and/or neglected by both the coach and the athlete. Belly breathing, body scan, mindfulness, visualization, and perceptual awareness are all “mental” tools that athlete should be practicing.

  • 3 common mistakes people/coaches think- 1. everything can been seen with the naked eye. Wrong. Taking and analyzing video is a great tool to use. 2. longer cranks are better. Wrong. Shorter cranks are better. Wrong. Crank length varies person to person and their personal hip mobility. 3. One should work on pedaling circles. Wrong. Hearing this made me the most happy. I have always thought “pulling” up on the pedals and engaging then hamstrings was bad. Yes, it’s required for a short full gas effort (standing start and sprinting) but trying to pull up during a 4hr road ride will lead to fatigue, cramping, and shutting off the power muscles of our quads and glutes.

  • Altitude- You can expect a 3% decrease in performance for each 1000ft over 5000ft. This means if you are riding around Denver at 200 watts, you’ll be riding around Leadville (10,000ft) at 170 watts for the same amount of effort.

  • Menopause- increase protein intake and stay on top of strength training and plyos to keep muscle mass.

  • On bike skills and drills- obstacle courses are fun and great for skill building. New Drills for bumping and being comfortable riding very close to others. Mountain bike cornering and a new way to think about where your hips go (toward the outside of the turn).

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It was a good 3 days of learning. There were 2 presenters at a time. This means Jen learned a few things I didn’t and visa versa. The good thing is, we went on a bike ride (during lunch) together and shared our new knowledge (team).

Here’s to better, smarter, and more fulfilling coaching and athlete success.

AP

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Black Friday- a T.R.U.M.P Workout

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Black Friday- a T.R.U.M.P Workout

Looking to burn off some of your holiday eating and get fit at the same time? This workout is for you. A throwback to a blog post we did last year- The TRUMP workout. 

No matter how you voted, how happy or unhappy you are about it, Donald Trump is our new President. 

Here at ALP Cycles Coaching, we decided to use this opportunity to create a new workout. Just like President Elect Trump, this workout will take you by surprise, kick some ass, then leave you feeling mentally and physically drained. 

We present to you our T.R.U.M.P workout. 

T- Tempo

R- Race Winning Interval

U- Under/Overs

M- Muscle Tenson Interval

P- Push-ups

Warm-up for 20-30min and include 4x1min 100+rpm intervals to wake up your legs. 

Main Set-

8 minutes at Tempo (zone 3) 95+rpm 

2 minutes rest

3:40 minute RWI at VO2 (zone 5)- Start with a 10 second sprint and keep drilling it for 20 more seconds. Then, settle in at VO2 (zone 5) for 3 minutes. Finish with an out of the saddle 10 second sprint like you are sprinting for the finish line of your 'A' race. 

3 minutes rest

6 minutes of Under/Overs. For 6 minutes, alternate 1 min at Tempo, 1 minute at VO2.

2 minutes of rest

5 minutes of MTI at Sweet Spot (Zones 3/4)- aim for 60-70rpm. Keep your upper body calm, relaxed, and core tight.

1 minute rest and then get off your bike and 

30 seconds of Push-Ups. 

Get back on your bike, rest and recover. Still feeling peppy? Then do a second set. 

Cool down for 15-20min, foam roll, stretch, and drink recovery drink (we like Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS recovery drink). 

Happy training!

 

 

 

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Posture on the Bike

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Posture on the Bike

By USAC Level 2 and TrainingPeaks Level 1 certified ALP Cycles Coach Alison Powers

Not a lot of attention is spent on how we sit on our bikes. Yes, most of us take the time to get a proper bike fit, which is good. However, a proper bike fit is one thing, what you do with your body in that fit is another thing. How do you sit on your bike and do you make use of strong core muscles to provide a solid base from which to make power and ride pain free?

During a session of Pilates a few months back, it came to my attention that if I rode my bike using the same muscles in my core as I do in Pilates, I would ride stronger, longer and more pain free. We all spend time working on our core strength, but if we don’t use that core strength when riding, then it doesn’t really matter. Without utilizing our core muscles, our spines will collapse, pain will ensue, followed by poor and/or un-enjoyable cycling performance.

This got me thinking. When I ride my bike with a strong core, not only do my watts go up and I clear technical terrain more easily, it feels almost like I am doing a plank or getting ready to do a push-up. I have a long and open spine. My low belly is working and my shoulders are down and back. I’m gently pulling back with my arms opening my shoulders (helping me breath) while also helping to stabilize. This plugs everything in together- into my core. I am pain free and I am strong.

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Want to get better and faster on your bike, but not ready to commit to full on coaching? Check out our training plans . These plans range from off season training and strength training to final preparation for the race season. Be ready for 2017 to be your best yet. 

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Take a minute to think about it- if your position and how you sit on the bike is a position that you would not do a push-up in, then your posture on the bike is wrong. If you bounce or have excessive upper body movement when you pedal, then your core is not working. If you are sinking into any parts of your back or shoulders when riding, then your core is not working. Get your low belly working. The stronger your low belly gets, it will make your back more stable and you’ll have added power to the pedals.

Proper plank/push-up position

Proper plank/push-up position

Strong core with length in the spine

Strong core with length in the spine

Rounded spin

Rounded spin

Rounded spine on the bike

Rounded spine on the bike

shoulder and low back sinking

shoulder and low back sinking

shoulder sinking while riding

shoulder sinking while riding

Pay attention to how you sit on the bike- especially when you ride hard. Do you have a long, open spin or are you sinking into any parts of your spine? Are you sitting on your sits bones? Is your low belly working? Your shoulders should be down, back, and open.

Pull gently with your arms to plug it all together. You should feel like you are doing a plank in perfect form.

Spend time this off season to dial in your core strength and your posture on the bike. Come Spring with long hours on the bike, the last thing you want to endure is back pain and old, bad, habits.

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T.R.U.M.P Workout

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T.R.U.M.P Workout

No matter how you voted, how happy or unhappy you are about it, Donald Trump is going to be our new President. 

Here at ALP Cycles Coaching, we decided to use this opportunity to create a new workout. Just like President Elect Trump, this workout will take you by surprise, kick some ass, then leave you feeling mentally and physically drained. 

We present to you our T.R.U.M.P workout. 

T- Tempo

R- Race Winning Interval

U- Under/Overs

M- Muscle Tenson Interval

P- Push-ups

Warm-up for 20-30min and include 4x1min 100+rpm intervals to wake up your legs. 

Main Set-

8 minutes at Tempo (zone 3) 95+rpm 

2 minutes rest

3:40 minute RWI at VO2 (zone 5)- Start with a 10 second sprint and keep drilling it for 20 more seconds. Then, settle in at VO2 (zone 5) for 3 minutes. Finish with an out of the saddle 10 second sprint like you are sprinting for the finish line of your 'A' race. 

3 minutes rest

6 minutes of Under/Overs. For 6 minutes, alternate 1 min at Tempo, 1 minute at VO2.

2 minutes of rest

5 minutes of MTI at Sweet Spot (Zones 3/4)- aim for 60-70rpm. Keep your upper body calm, relaxed, and core tight.

1 minute rest and then get off your bike and 

30 seconds of Push-Ups. 

Get back on your bike, rest and recover for 8 minutes before doing a second set. Still feeling peppy after doing a second set? Then do a third. 

Cool down for 15-20min, foam roll, stretch, and drink recovery drink (we like Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS recovery drink). 

 

 

 

 

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