Anaerobic Cycling Training Sessions to Improve Your Time Trial Times

Man cyclist racing past
We have found that a lot of cyclists have difficulties going anaerobic. Some of them can do it on an uphill gradient, others into a strong head wind, but on flat ground in decent conditions a lot of people just can’t seem to do it. Then they get into a race setting and there’s people going faster than them and they realize that it is possible to go anaerobic it just takes a hard sustained effort. In this post we’re going to discuss the importance and benefit of anaerobic cycling training sessions, as well as some ways to help you go anaerobic.

First off, anaerobic just means going into oxygen debt. When you go anaerobic you begin to produce lactic acid and your breathing greatly accelerates. This is easy to achieve in running, all you have to do is sprint for a few hundred meters and you’ll undoubtedly go anaerobic. In cycling it’s a little tougher, it’s based on the same principal but for some reason people have difficulties exerting themselves to this point on two wheels. But if you want to reach your maximum potential you’re going to have to learn how to do it.

Anaerobic Cycling Training Sessions

The first method, which most people prefer, is to push a larger gear than normal. This will take some practice because a lot of cyclists have trouble generating enough power to turn the pedals at an adequate cadence while still maintaining proper form. Once you get it though it’s almost identical to riding uphill or into a strong headwind. Remember though, you don’t want to use too big of a gear, you still want to be in the 60-70 RPM range. Another point to keep in mind is to be conscious of the balls of your feet, and try to envision yourself pushing through the pedal and into the ground, this will ensure you’re using the proper muscle.

The other common method is pushing a small gear at a high cadence. This is sort of like what you see in the spin classes. This method is okay if done properly. What you have to keep in mind is that some of the top cyclists were known for holding high cadences of 110-120 RPMs, whereas in a spin session you’ll see people getting up to 150 RPMs. You don’t want to go that high, if you’re going much over 120 RPMs you’re in too small of a gear. For most people a high cadence on the road will be in the 100-110 range. The key here is going lactic, you want to get to a point where you’re out of breath and feeling a burning sensation in your legs.

Whichever workout you choose, one of the most important points to keep in mind here is that it takes a lot of effort. In cycling I find people tend to think of it more as a low intensity exercise and rarely exert themselves to a point where they’re significantly out of breath. For these kinds of workouts your goal should be to get your heart rate up, get out of breath, and go lactic. You can do it, you just have to want it. I can assure you that if you do this sort of workout session twice a week, within a matter of weeks you’ll significantly improve your TT times, due to an increased lactic threshold.

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BRLSports Team