Question: You told this to a reader who wants more power: “Fixing this problem starts with a winter weight program. Then in the spring, you convert the new strength into cycling-specific power with short, hard intervals on hills. Begin these by using a big gear at a low cadence, then progress to smaller gears and a cadence over 100 rpm.” Why does this work? — Jon P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The idea, fostered by Chris Carmichael (among other coaches), is that fast riding is the end of a continuum that begins with low-rep strength and proceeds through specific steps to fast and powerful pedaling.
This approach calls for creating strength in the weight room first. The next step is to convert the weight room strength to cycling strength with low-cadence intervals — almost like squats on the bike.
At this point, you’ll still lack high-cadence pedaling power. That’s built with fast-cadence intervals.
So, it’s a progression from 10-rep strength in the weight room to hundreds of “reps” of fast pedaling against a relatively light resistance during intervals.