While our last post spoke about the basics of setting up a program, and we still have more to get into on the topic of Strength Training programming, I wanted to talk a little bit about how to use technology to help improve performance on-bike, via our targeted strength training programs for cyclists. Specifically today we’ll be talking about Road Cyclists and Time Trial Specialists….OK, Triathletes, you’ll be included here as well!
I tend to be an early adapter of technology when it comes to training, so when the LEOMO Type-R for on-bike, open-road biomechanics was released, I was all over it. Like white on rice. Or perhaps you prefer meatballs on spaghetti?
Not only was the LEOMO Type-R a fantastic way to help riders get more out of their bike fittings with me, but it was exactly the tool I’d been waiting for in order to help athletes see the NEW positions they were able to produce power in, or the positions they could now MAINTAIN for longer periods of time, after having followed a properly built strength training program.
Ok, so I was more excited about the strength training aspect than the bike-fitting aspect, but I am only human….
I went to great lengths to not only be the first Coach/rider/human being outside of the continental United States to have a unit (I bought 2: One for me to mess around with, and 1 for my athletes to use), but I also immediately went through the training to become certified in its use. Proudly, I am one of the first coaches to be Certified to coach with the LEOMO Type-R.
It took 6 weeks, which felt like forever, but once the Type-R finally arrived, I fell in love at once. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell my Wife!)
Here was a simple, easy to use piece of technology that allowed the rider INSTANT feedback on their positioning and power output. Not only could the athlete and I now have a conversation about how they were positioned on the bike to produce power, but I could also show the athlete just how the strength training we were doing for their cycling was ACTUALLY improving their performance.
From the “Dead spot score” to WHERE in their pedal stroke the dead spot was, and how that correlated to musculoskeletal incongruities (Look Mom! I used a GRE word in my everyday writing!), the LEOMO Type-R allows for a common language, and even graphical representation, for the athlete to easily SEE the challenge/ changes, which allows the coach to teach the athlete how to use ALL their talents “for best results”.
Oh dear Lord, did I really just use a “Jersey Shore” meme? Sorry Mom….
Having a pictorial and graphical way to SHOW an athlete may not seem like that big of a deal, but when you’re building Strength Training programs to improve cycling performance, and I mean REALLY improve cycling performance, it can be very difficult for the rider to “get it”, as we are working on a few different areas that can be tough to comprehend how they aid in performance:
”Why are we working on my breathing? I already know how to breathe, otherwise I’d be dead by now”
”What’s Thoracic Extension, and why does it matter if I’m on the bike trying to go faster?”
“The only time I need to reach overhead is when I blow a flat and need my team car to change the wheel…. why are we spending time on this?!?”
“The only thing that matters is my power output. Doesn’t matter how it’s made, it just needs to be there.”
“I Love Coffee, coffee makes me faster”
What Does that have to do with riding?
In order for us to produce the highest amount of power output for the longest period of time, there are a number of factors that must be set up for us to “win” at the game. Notice that “Motor Control”, “Movement Qualities” and “Skill & Technique” are 3 of the 5 factors when it comes to Power Output.
This is where the LEOMO Type-R comes in to play.
When we’re out on the road, pedaling our bike, we are RARELY in the same positions that we ride in when having a bike fit performed.
But when we have a bike fit performed, and the LEOMO Type-R is used in conjunction with the bike fit, we can now have the rider head out for 7-10 rides with the Type-R, ride as they normally ride, and “See what we see”.
This allows both the rider to understand the OPTIMAL positions they should strive for on the bike….which often times the rider may find difficult to maintain due to poor muscular strength, endurance, lack of stability for long periods of time, or poor breathing patterns.
It also allows the coach to better understand what changes or adaptations the rides is making due to fatigue, challenging terrain, or changes in conditions.
”Adaptations due to fatigue or terrain” and "Poor breathing patterns” are some of the biggest areas that strength training can have a huge positive impact on a riders abilities.
With the LEOMO Type-R the rider can now not only SEE the numbers on the screen as well as the post-ride Dead spot breakdown, but they can begin to make the mind-muscle connection necessary to improve performance, instead of just “Wondering” if they’re actually getting stronger as we build that critical mass of strength so they can actually feel the difference on the bike.
Using the right muscles to move the bike forward matched with solid breathing patterns can allow an athlete to delay the posture changes on the bike. This means the rider can now keep from unnecessarily turning on the “fight or flight” hormonal response at a time that is not beneficial to them, and allow them to keep up their critical power numbers.
Of course there are many other factors that need to be addressed in order for the athlete to progress their fitness and riding abilities… Proper strength training for cycling and triathlon is NOT an end-all be-all cure to poor performance, but is sure is a big missing piece for many riders (especially recreational riders/non-racers).
If you’d like to learn more about the 4 Pillars of Athletic Progression, grab a coffee and enjoy this feature presentation from the HVT Youtube Channel, below.
Otherwise, What are your challenges to riding better?
Have you used a LEOMO Type-R in your training and riding?
What have you found that surprised you?