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Analysing the Impact of High-Intensity Work on cyclist power profile

Mathieu Van Der Poel racing Milan San Remo

In the world of elite cycling, performance optimisation is paramount. A recent research paper titled "The Influence of High-Intensity Work on the Record Power Profile of Under-23, Pro Team, and World Tour Cyclists" delves into this crucial aspect [1]. This review aims to dissect the findings of this study and understand its implications for cyclists across different performance levels.


Understanding the Study

The study focuses on comparing the durability of elite cyclists from various performance tiers, especially following high-intensity work. By analysing the record power profiles, the researchers aimed to discern any disparities among Under-23 riders, Pro Team cyclists, and those competing in the World Tour [4].


Key Findings

  1. Performance Variations: The study highlighted differences in durability post high-intensity work among cyclists of different performance levels.

  2. Impact on Recovery: Understanding how different cyclists recover from intense efforts can aid in tailored training programs.

  3. Training Optimisation: Insights from the study can inform coaches and trainers in optimising training plans for their athletes.

  4. Youth Development: For Under-23 cyclists, this research underscores the importance of structured training to enhance durability and performance.


Coach lactate testing pro cyclist

Implications for Cyclists and Coaches


The findings of this research have significant implications for both cyclists and their coaches:


  1. Tailored Training Programs: Coaches can design training regimens tailored to the specific needs of cyclists based on their performance level and recovery capabilities.

  2. Recovery Strategies: Understanding the impact of high-intensity work on cyclists' record power profiles can help coaches implement effective recovery strategies, ultimately improving performance.

  3. Performance Benchmarking: Cyclists can use record power profiles as benchmarks to track their progress and adjust their training accordingly.

  4. Youth Development Programs: Cycling federations and development teams can utilise this research to structure effective youth development programs aimed at nurturing talent and optimising performance at a young age.



DESIGNING Training Sessions to ASSES DURABILITY POST HIGH-INTENSITY WORK

  1. Intervals: Implement high-intensity intervals, such as 5x5-minute efforts are capped at 101% threshold heart rate, power should be the same across all intervals - don't go out too hard and your RPE will climb from7 or 8 through to 10 by the 5th rep, with short 1 minute recovery periods in between.

  2. Hill Repeats: Assign hill repeats at maximal effort, followed by a brief recovery descent and repeated climbs.

  3. Sprint Intervals: Incorporate short, explosive sprints lasting 10-15 seconds, interspersed with longer recovery periods.

  4. Time Trials: Conduct time trials of varying distances, pushing the limits of sustained power output.

  5. Race Simulation: Simulate race scenarios with intense efforts, including attacks and accelerations, mimicking the demands of competitive events.


cyclist power profile Benefits for Clients and Coaches


For Clients:

  1. Assessment of Performance: Clients can gauge their ability to sustain high-intensity efforts and assess their durability post-workout.

  2. Training Adaptation: Exposure to high-intensity sessions improves physiological adaptations, enhancing performance in races and events.

  3. Race Readiness: By simulating race conditions, clients can refine their race strategies and pacing, improving their competitive edge.


For Coaches:

  1. Performance Evaluation: Coaches can use these sessions to assess clients' fitness levels and identify areas for improvement.

  2. Tailored Training Plans: Based on the clients' response to high-intensity work, coaches can tailor training plans to address specific weaknesses and optimise performance.

  3. Race Strategy Development: Analysing clients' performance in these sessions helps coaches refine race strategies, including pacing, tactics, and recovery strategies.

  4. Injury Prevention: Monitoring clients' response to high-intensity work allows coaches to mitigate the risk of overtraining and injury by adjusting training loads and recovery protocols accordingly.


Creating a Training Session to Analyse a Rider's Power Profile Post 2000kJ Effort


  1. Warm-Up (15 minutes):

  • Make sure you are properly warmed up. A minimum of 15 minutes is recommended, with one surge (of up to 8 seconds) reaching higher power output but without reaching exhaustion. Allow for a minimum of 8’ time between the end of this effort and the first block.

  1. Main Session (Progressive Efforts to Expend 2000kJ):

  • Start with a 5-minute steady-state effort at 70-80% of FTP (Functional Threshold Power).

  • Transition into 3 sets of 10-minute intervals at 90% of FTP, with 5 minutes of recovery between sets.

  • Progress to 5 sets of 5-minute intervals at 100% of FTP, separated by 3 minutes of active recovery.

  • Finish with 3 all-out sprints lasting 20 seconds each, with 2 minutes of easy spinning in between.

  1. Cool Down (10 minutes):

  • Gradually decrease intensity over 10 minutes, returning to an easy spinning pace.

  • Conclude with 5 minutes of static stretching to aid in muscle recovery and prevent stiffness.


Training Objectives and Benefits


  • Comparative Analysis: By tracking the rider's record power profile before and after expending 2000kJ, coaches can assess changes in performance and fatigue levels.

  • Endurance Development: The progressive effort session targets different energy systems, enhancing aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

  • Strength and Power Improvement: High-intensity intervals challenge muscular strength and power, contributing to overall performance gains.

  • Metabolic Fitness: Exercising to expend 2000kJ provides insight into the rider's metabolic efficiency and capacity to sustain efforts over extended durations.


Final thoughts on Training


Training sessions designed to test durability post high-intensity work serve as valuable tools for both clients and coaches in the cycling community. By incorporating these sessions into training programs, cyclists can assess their performance capabilities, improve their race strategies, and optimise their overall performance. Coaches, on the other hand, can utilise these sessions to evaluate clients' fitness levels, tailor training plans, and develop effective race strategies, ultimately enhancing their clients' competitive edge and minimising the risk of injury.


Conclusion

"The Influence of High-Intensity Work on the Record Power Profile of Under-23, Pro Team, and World Tour Cyclists" sheds light on the nuanced relationship between high-intensity training and cyclists' performance across different tiers [4]. By understanding how cyclists of varying levels respond to intense efforts, coaches and athletes can fine-tune training programs to maximise performance while minimising the risk of overtraining and injury. This research serves as a valuable resource for the cycling community, providing insights that can shape the future of training methodologies and performance optimisation strategies.


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