Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Magic Pill Workout

Just like there isn't a single "Magic Pill" that will take inches off your waist-line (that I know of) there isn't a single "Magic Indoor Trainer Workout" that will make you stronger/faster on the bike. Much too often, I see these "Magic" workouts prescribed in cycling magazines as part of a Winter Training Plan. The authors claim that if you do this particular workout you will become stronger on the bike. Well, I hate to say it, I could just about do ANY workout consistently on the bike and get some results? But what kind of results? Instead of "Magic Workouts" these authors should be labeling them "Mickey Mouse Workouts"- for fun. But, I guess "Mickey Mouse Workouts" don't sell magazines. More disturbing is that I see these same workouts being performed as part of an indoor spinning class...where you're jumping every other second...pedal hard...pedal soft...up/ These workouts are more mentally taxing for me than physical. (Trust me, I've done one recently at a local gym so I know). I've even heard some indoor cycling workouts include pushups off the bike. What the hell is that all about? The ONLY thing I can think of is that the sole purpose of the workout is to break-up the monotony and to build-up some kind of fitness...AND to make it fun. I don't know about you..but the primary goal of my workouts on the trainer is NOT's about doing HARD work now, targeting specific energy systems, that will make me stronger/faster later- NOW THAT'S FUN! And, unless you know of a "Magic Workout" that's NOT hard..that will make me faster/stronger in the Spring...please send it to me.

Don't get me wrong..I'm all about mixing it up during training workouts to keep it interesting (and fun)...but the sole purpose of a training workout should be to work on a particular weakness you have and make it a strength. (Remember, you train your weaknesses and race your strengths) Or, similarly, determine what particular physiological adaptation you're trying to achieve or energy system you're trying to improve upon. For example, if you're trying to improve your Lactate Threshold then you should be doing longer intervals (10-20 minutes) at Threshold power/heart rate. If you're trying to improve your VO2max, then you should be doing shorter more intense intervals (3-5 minutes) at VO2max power/heart rates. (BTW, two of my favorite workouts are 2x20s@ L4 and 5x4s@ L5.) If you want to improve your endurance, then you should be riding longer (2-3 hrs) at Tempo pace (L3). For improving anaerobic capacity (L6/L7) you may want to try tabata intervals. For improving cycling efficiency/economy/neuromuscular skills you may want to do some Isolated Leg Training, Spin-ups, form sprints, etc.

So, forget about the "Magic Workouts" that claim they are easy and you only have to workout for 15 minutes a day. They don't exist. Isn't that why they call them "Magic"...because you hardly have to do any work and you "magically" get results? Just like the "Magic Diet Pill" all you want and pop a pill and you'll shed pounds instead of gaining them. To be honest with you, I'm glad such pills don't exist...because when I'm cycling and someone drops me on the ride...I want to know it's because he/she worked harder than me in the off-season, NOT that he/she found some "Magic Pill" or "Magic Workout" that you sit on your a$$ and get slimmer/stronger/faster. I guess that's because I'm a firm believer that ONLY hard work should be rewarded (whether it's on the bike or at work) in life...not cheaters. And, "Magic" stuff- is cheating or being deceptive in my book.

Power ON! Coach Rob

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