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Big Gear Spinning

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I started ridding in July and my cardio is pretty good. I have found that my overall leg strength is lacking. I have been doing some fast group rides and I figured out that most guys are turning atleast 2 smaller rear gears then me. I have to roll at a very high cadence (110 rpm) while they are spinning at 90 or so. I figured about a month and a half ago that i would start working on building up my leg strength so I started ridding a 25 mile loop in my 50/12 gear. i push it no matter the wind or incline. Some times Im only spinning at 40 RPM and I can really feel the burning in my upper legs. But I read somthing a few days ago that said that doing training like this is a no-no. I would think that resistance training like that would work wonders for your legs but now I dont know. Can anyone tell me if I am doing the right thing or should I try somthing else to build the strength. Thanks.

 

As a side note I live in an area that has not a hill for 50 miles it is pancake flat and windy all the time, so hill training is out for me.

post #2 of 10

There is nothing wrong with riding at a higher cadence if that feels natural for you.

 

Turning a large gear all the time will not produce the results you are hoping for. You may be able to produce a larger force at low cadences, but that will not translate to producing power at a higher cadence. Too much overgearing may be deterimental, since you will be very inefficient at a low cadence.

 

I believe the mantra is "Train how you play". If you feel the need to ride in the 90's, train in or around the 90's. There are plenty of experts on this site that can explain it better - I am sure they will chime in.

post #3 of 10

+1 for Maydog's post

 

I had the same issue when I started and still spin a much lower cadence than many in my group. In fact I spend a lot of time on my 11 cog on flat roads, but if I could spin faster I would. I have been working on this for a few years now and my cadence has improved and as noted by Maydog this is putting less strain on my knees.

 

The way I have approached the improvement was to use what was necessary to keep up in the group, but when training solo I used a higher cadence in my warm ups, recovery rides and other times when not training intervals. My TT cadence is now up to 80 rpm and used to be 60 a few years ago. Climbing hills is still a struggle when I would like to get up closer to 100. I am not there yet so I will keep working on spinning.

 

I agree with Maydog to work on spinning faster. It takes time and lots of practice for those of us that like spinning big gears slowly.

post #4 of 10

Training and training. I grind big gears as part of my program, but only for a few weeks after developing a solid base. Hill sprints on a big gear works really well for me developing strength during training and for maintenance afterwards. Doing too much and natural cadence will go down.

 

The key is to learn to spin an easy gear first and gradually working up towards spinning a big gear with the same efficiency and a higher cadence.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack21643 View Post

I started ridding in July and my cardio is pretty good. I have found that my overall leg strength is lacking. I have been doing some fast group rides and I figured out that most guys are turning atleast 2 smaller rear gears then me. I have to roll at a very high cadence (110 rpm) while they are spinning at 90 or so. I figured about a month and a half ago that i would start working on building up my leg strength so I started ridding a 25 mile loop in my 50/12 gear. i push it no matter the wind or incline. Some times Im only spinning at 40 RPM and I can really feel the burning in my upper legs. But I read somthing a few days ago that said that doing training like this is a no-no. I would think that resistance training like that would work wonders for your legs but now I dont know. Can anyone tell me if I am doing the right thing or should I try somthing else to build the strength. Thanks.

As a side note I live in an area that has not a hill for 50 miles it is pancake flat and windy all the time, so hill training is out for me.

There are no shortcuts here, you will get your leg strength (and all other muscles involved, like lower back, dorsi, arms, others), for cycling, through years of riding. You can do a little gym to complement, like doing squats and similar exercices. It looks like you already have cadence readings on your cycling computer, anything between 85 to 110 in a group ride is ok until you find what suits you better. Riding against a too strong head wind is hard, i personally don't like it, but it will force you to apply and to improve your strength much like hill climbing.
Edited by vspa - 10/17/12 at 3:44pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack21643 View Post

I started ridding in July and my cardio is pretty good. I have found that my overall leg strength is lacking. I have been doing some fast group rides and I figured out that most guys are turning atleast 2 smaller rear gears then me. I have to roll at a very high cadence (110 rpm) while they are spinning at 90 or so. I figured about a month and a half ago that i would start working on building up my leg strength so I started ridding a 25 mile loop in my 50/12 gear. i push it no matter the wind or incline. Some times Im only spinning at 40 RPM and I can really feel the burning in my upper legs. But I read somthing a few days ago that said that doing training like this is a no-no. I would think that resistance training like that would work wonders for your legs but now I dont know. Can anyone tell me if I am doing the right thing or should I try somthing else to build the strength. Thanks.

 

As a side note I live in an area that has not a hill for 50 miles it is pancake flat and windy all the time, so hill training is out for me.

 

There guys like acoggan here who claim that 10 year old kids have enough muscle mass to put out 500w of power. If you weight over 130 pounds, you have enough muscle mass to put out 1000w. No need to work on leg strength.

 

While you say you have good cardio, you most likely don't.

 

Forget cadence. Go out and keep your heart rate up. That builds cardio.

 

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50 miles to the nearest hills: Ride to the hills. Take a short break to get some food down. Ride 50 miles on the hills. Take a short bereak to get some food down. Ride home.

 

It seems like you are saying your long rides are 25 miles. A lot of guys here ride 50-100+ miles when they go out. That may be part of your problem.

post #7 of 10
If I rode 50 miles, then did 50 miles of hills at any useful type of training level, I would likely have to call my wife to come pick me up. I race at a fairly high level, so I am sure my fitness is beyond the OPs, so what you are prescribing to him is not realistic. Why not just go out and ride at a hard steady pace for 25 miles, just below threshold, maybe do a day or two of VO2 intervals for 25 miles?

For the last peak of my season I have managed to build a pretty high level of fitness by mostly doing rides of 50 miles or less. The more I train this way the more I realize you can get the same or better adaptation through SST and intervals as you would with an LSD ride, the only thing missing is the endurance it takes to sit on the saddle for that period of time, nothing is missing cardio wise. I can build that endurance with a long ride on the weekend, if I didn't have races of 100+ miles I may not even do that.
post #8 of 10

The OP never mentioned that he has a hard time keeping up, just that he is riding at a higher cadence.

 

I ride with some very capable CAT 3 riders, their STRAVA data indicates that they average 100rpm cadence for most rides. I ride with other very fast individuals who pedal at very low cadences. Myself, I vary between 80 and 110 depending on my level of effort and condition of my legs. TT'ing my cadence is around 100.

 

110 doesn't seem to be a problem, unless the OP is struggling at that cadence.

post #9 of 10

If the only problem really is the high cadence I suggest a very simple solution of getting rid of the cadence sensor.
 

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoetz View Post

If I rode 50 miles, then did 50 miles of hills at any useful type of training level, I would likely have to call my wife to come pick me up. I race at a fairly high level, so I am sure my fitness is beyond the OPs, so what you are prescribing to him is not realistic. Why not just go out and ride at a hard steady pace for 25 miles, just below threshold, maybe do a day or two of VO2 intervals for 25 miles?
For the last peak of my season I have managed to build a pretty high level of fitness by mostly doing rides of 50 miles or less. The more I train this way the more I realize you can get the same or better adaptation through SST and intervals as you would with an LSD ride, the only thing missing is the endurance it takes to sit on the saddle for that period of time, nothing is missing cardio wise. I can build that endurance with a long ride on the weekend, if I didn't have races of 100+ miles I may not even do that.

 

The poster indicated he wanted to ride hills, but they were 50 miles away. We know he has a bike. We know people on this board can ride bikes 150 miles in a day. It seemed a reasonable suggestion.

 

25 miles seems a bit short for a training ride. The guys who show at for the "fast" rides around here consider 50 miles "fast" rides easy. Training hard for 25 miles is not the most productive way to keep up with them on a group ride.

 

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I never suggested LSD. SST is 80-90% FTP. So LSD must be below 80%. I average 80-90% for all my rides - 3 to 6 hours a day. But during those SST rides I make time for modest intervals.

 

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I don't know how good you are at racing. I will take your word for it. I used to ride around a few local racers. They were always up for more riding. Harder riding. The "fast" group rides tended to be 100 miles to 200K. Most of the guys were happy to sit in and let others do the work. The good racers tended to want to do more of the work.

 

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I ran across a racer a few days back - shaved legs, nice Cervelo. I was out for an easy 3 hour ride - on my 'becane with PowerTap. He seemed to bit more ambitious. I was climbing the short hills at a bit over 400w and taking it easy on the downsides. He would fall back on the climbs and pass me on the downsides. This went on for 4 miles. Then he got an early start at a traffic light. I paid a lot of attention ot his riding style as I was catching up. He seemed to be going slower than before. As he hit the hill I could tell he was done. He stood up to pedal. I just rolled past him on the climb - 400w, sitting, light breathing. Looked back a mile later. He seemed to be gone - must have turned around and headed for home. He provided a nice diversion on the ride.

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