You know those small, sharp climbs? Those climbs that suddenly get too steep to spin your way to the top? Developing power is essential for making these climbs faster and easier.
Developing power can also increase your average speed on normal rides too. You will be capable of climbing faster, sprinting faster, and riding faster.
But what's the best way to develop strength and force?
Power is the ability to exert force in a fast motion (Power = Force x Cadence).
If your body can’t produce much force, then it wont be able to produce a lot of power. Building up your leg strength with some high weight exercise (reps of 5 or less) can really build up your body's ability to produce force.
This doesn’t mean you will add weight to your body, you can still produce power while being light. Big muscles aren’t necessarily strong.
Here are my top 3 strength exercises to develop a strong platform (your body).
- Back squat
- Box squat (similar to a back squat but you sit on a box, before returning back up)
Adding these exercises into your training and upping the weight you can lift, will make you stronger.
You already lift heavy? What else can you do to develop power in your body?
Plyometrics are a common form of developing power in the body without using weights, which involves movements like jumping and hopping.
Plyometrics are also a great way to develop stability in the legs from the hip, knee, and ankle. If your balance is off, adding these into your plan can be a great idea.
Plyometric work develops power effectively as you are shifting your own bodyweight, so it can be remarkably similar to riding the bike as you are using your body to power yourself (and the bike) forwards.
The movements are also fast and explosive. Making them highly effective for movements on the bike like jumping, bursting into a sprint to overtake someone, or standing up and powering up a small hill.
Plyometrics are fantastic ways to build power, and here are my top three ways to do this:
- Box jump: you can increase the box height to make this more difficult
- Single leg bounds: Hop from on leg to the other and hold the landing, then repeat on the other leg
- Horizontal jump: A big leap from standing as far forwards as you can, track improvements using markers
The other great thing about plyometrics is they can be done anywhere where you have space, decking, grass, the gym. All great places to do plyometric work.
And with them being bodyweight, you don’t need any equipment. Let’s advance this a little further though with some equipment.
Olympic weightlifting is arguably the most effective way to produce force. It involves one immensely powerful, very explosive movement, and incorporates the whole body into one exercise. You can easily spend a full session on these and feel like a beast after!
Olympic weightlifting is an incredible way to develop power, however you need to make sure this is done correctly as it can also be dangerous to your physical health.
I would recommend engaging with a qualified Olympic Weightlifting or Strength and Conditioning Coach to guide you through these movements at least once a week - just to make sure you are getting the most out of them.
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