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The Triathlete Blueprint Newsletter #60-Boost your cycling power: 5 Proven Strategies you need to know!

Read time: 2min.

By Coach Yan Busset

Feeling stuck in your cycling performance can be incredibly frustrating. Whether you're looking to break through a plateau or simply want to improve your overall power, understanding how to effectively increase your wattage on the bike is essential. Imagine riding up hills with ease, maintaining high speeds, and feeling stronger than ever before. These five strategies will help you transform your cycling power, making every ride more efficient and enjoyable.

1-Strength Training on the Bike:

Low cadence, high resistance turbo trainer intervals can significantly boost your wattage output. This doesn’t require extreme high torque; performing sweet spot efforts at 50-60 RPM can give substantial strength gains. If you live in a hilly area, incorporate using higher gears/ on the saddle hill reps to achieve similar benefits.

2-Strength Training off the Bike:

Incorporate strength training with low repetitions and high loads. Keep it simple with free weights/ barbell sets and basics exercices such as squat, deadlift, lunges…  Aim for sets of 5 reps and start with one set aim to ramp up each week until achieving 5x5reps. Using free weights and not machines gives an additional benefit of working on your core/stability. Begin with a weight that is about 60-70% of your estimated 1RM (One Repetition Maximum) for a conservative start. After successfully completing all sets and reps for a particular exercise, aim to increase the weight by 2.5-5 kg  in the next session. As a safety measure, try not to increase the weight by more than 10% in any given session. 70-80% of your maximum load. For the rest between reps use a full 3-minute rests, it may feel long but that is the only way you will push hard enough while keeping a good form. This approach maximizes muscle fibers recruitment and triggers hormonal responses beneficial for overall health and cycling power.

3-Maintain Core Stability:

Keeping your body and core steady while cycling is crucial. Avoid unnecessary movements, such as wiggling from side to side on the saddle, to ensure better energy transfer through core engagement. If you have hard time staying steady on your bike, it could be that your  position on the bike is not optimal and you might need a good bike fit. 

4-Include Time Trial Efforts:

Introducing time trial efforts into your training routine helps push your limits, gets you out of your comfort zone, and teaches you to learn to deal with the suck and pain of intense efforts. Although these shouldn't be done too frequently, they are a great way in becoming a stronger cyclist.

5-Polarize Your Training:

While intense intervals are beneficial, it's important not to overdo them. Polarizing your training by making sure a vast majority of your training load is done at Zone 2 (Z2) aerobic efforts allows for increased training volume without burnout. Training at this level enhances fat-burning adaptation, increases intramuscular mitochondrial density, and develops capillary networks, all of which contribute to improved race performance.

Warp up:

Increasing your cycling power involves a combination of on-bike and off-bike strategies, core stability, time trial efforts, and polarized training. Implement these tips to transform your cycling performance, making your rides more powerful and enjoyable. Share your progress and experiences with us in the comments, and let’s inspire each other to ride stronger.


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