Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING blog. Here you will find weekly updates designed to educate you on strength and conditioning for cycling. Over the coming weeks I will be covering all aspects of conditioning your body for cycling and how it can benefit you in terms of comfort, speed, and improving your riding. So, without further delay. Let’s get right into this week’s entry!

Week 4: How to develop out of the saddle endurance and power.

When I first started road cycling, coming from mountain biking. Getting out the saddle and putting the power down was one of my weakest areas of my riding. I had the power, but I did NOT have the endurance to keep out the saddle for more than a few seconds. I was very much a spin to win rider.

While today, I still want to work on my out of the saddle endurance. It has massively increased due to my work in the gym and on the road bike. 

So, if you are like me and struggle when it comes to getting out of the saddle for a decent amount of time this one is for you!

Three top tips for your out the saddle endurance:

1: Swap high weight for high volume:

This may seem counter productive if you have been following the advice in my last two articles. But swapping heavy weights for lots of reps will do two things:

First, it will vary it up and make your training more beneficial if you have been lifting heavy for a while.

Second, it will increase your resistance to that burning pain in your muscles.

Now before we get into detail, I want to destroy one myth. Bodybuilders use high volume workouts as it tears more muscle fibres and elicits more growth, meaning bigger muscles, more mass and slower riding yes?

NO!!!!

Losing and gaining weight is all about what you eat, well the amount you eat. If you are eating to gain weight. You will gain weight. If you are cycling long distances regularly the chances are your body will be burning so many calories you would struggle to eat more than your burn.

The amount of cadence on a long ride is also counterproductive to muscular hypertrophy (growth) and more suited towards causing atrophy (shrinkage). Ever had someone say to you “considering you cycle a lot your legs aren’t that big”? Well that’s the exact reason why. A lot of damage to one area and a lot of calories burned. Without getting too into the science.

So how do we add more volume into our training?

This is really simple as you don’t need to change the exercises too much, any kind of squatting movement or pressing movement can be changed so you add more reps into it than weight.

  • Back squat.
  • Leg press.
  • Front squat.
  • Lunges.

Another great way to add volume into your training is to get on a static bike, spin bike or turbo trainer and get some hills sprint intervals done where you are forced to be out of the saddle.

Get the gears extremely high so you must use your full body to move your pedals and this will also develop serious leg strength to develop your out the saddle endurance. This Is even better if you can check your watts, time and HR while doing this!

2: Develop a strong core:

Sometimes it isn’t your legs that give in, but its your upper body. Your core gets tired, weakens and then collapses meaning you need to sit down as your lower back hurts, you start to lean forwards or become very jerky with your movement on the bike.  Remember it’s all about maintaining a fluid position on the bike and being relaxed. Check out previous blog entries by me for ways to develop your core.

3: Do it more:

FINALLY!!! I get to say to you, just do it more while you’re on the bike. Find little hills you can get out the saddle on to power up them, ones where you feel it but don’t over do it and have to sit down. Remember you want to get all the way to the top before you sit back down. This will make you more confident getting out the saddle and, as long as you are practicing the right technique better at the movements involved.

Also. Don’t be afraid to film yourself on the turbo trainer to see how your movement is, and how it changes when fatigue comes into play. It’s a great way to identify what you need to work on with your riding position.

And there you go, the ways I got better at being out of the saddle, and the ways you can develop your fitness out of the saddle too. It’s a key element of cycling and one that can make your speed so much better. You don’t have to go through the gears as much if you know you have a few extra watts in your out the saddle power. This means when your faced with small hills a quick out the saddle sprint can get you up them faster and keep your speed for when it flattens out in a few seconds.

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