The way in which you grip your sprint bars is important as it can mean the difference between winning and losing (particularly when races are won and lost by thousandths of seconds).
Incorrect grip position can also leave you in a stalled position in race attacks where you lose fractions of seconds whilst regaining a strong hold before accelerating with race bunches, or handicapping your ability all together in maximising peak forces.
There is a correct way in which you should be gripping your bars and this will make a big difference to your performance, say for instance in time trial events where you need to get out of the gate fast leaving no time for readjusting hand positions before taking off.
The below image highlights the correct grip for a sprint bar setup.
You will notice the following:
Understanding gear ratios is something that is usually taught very early in the piece for a new track cyclist. Gearing plays a significant role in race and training performance and it’s every track cyclist’s goal to try and pick the optimum gear to match their physiology and pedalling ability across different types of races.
Too big a gear and you’ll struggle to get on top of it, too small a gear and you’ll find yourself spinning out or struggling to find more at the pointy end of races.
For endurance events, finding a gear that allows you to keep up with the race and accelerate in sprints (in a points race for instance) is important, and for short events - such as the sprint or flying 200m - selecting a gear that allows you to produce the maximum amount of average watts over the full 200m is essential. Utilising a number of gears from a gear chart that pertains to your bike set up (e.g. wheel circumference) and your strengths is the first step...
Two things which we know are true according to science are these.
Point one means that just because somebody demonstrates a high VO2max in a running test does not mean that they can match that VO2max score in a rowing test. Point 2 – not a direct scientific quotation, can you tell? – describes that by working muscles in a way which are different to those a track cyclist normally performs can help track cycling performance. So we have a conflict straight away.
It remains true that a rower who performs a VO2max test and achieves a really high score is likely to achieve a higher than average score in a running test, for example. This is describing the generality of metabolic capacity meaning there will be a lot of overall, generalised, improvements in fitness from doing one activity which can be transferred to another.
Katrin Garfoot won...
Visiting the gym (or setting up a gym at home) and completing a range of strength and conditioning exercises season round, should have a place in your training program as it really improves cycling performance, science has proven it.
Strength and conditioning can mean a number of exercises which will vary depending on the individual goals, strengths and weaknesses of every cyclist. One area of strength and conditioning we refer to is plyometrics.
Plyometrics are primarily jumping exercises which are focused on enabling your muscles to exert maximum force fast. Whilst pure strength exercises will help you push bigger gears, pushing bigger gears fast requires power and speed elements and that’s where plyometrics enter the equation.
In addition to enhancing balance and coordination, plyometrics enable your larger muscle groups to work with synchronicity which are benefits that you don’t usually get from standard lifting regimes.
As athletes, professional or amateur, we spend so much time working on our physiological fitness capabilities and so little on skill development which can make a substantial difference to outcomes on race day.
Regardless of whether you’re a sprint or endurance athlete, in this blog we’re going to offer you 3 skill exercises to enhance your bike handling skills which will enable you to navigate yourself to winning positions in race scenarios.
3 Core Skills to Improve your Bunch & Sprint Racing Are:
Understanding where your centre of gravity is whilst navigating the banks of a velodrome is essential to staying upright, let alone, improving your tactical skills in race scenarios. The below image highlights how your centre of gravity shifts with varying speeds on the track.
As you ride fast, your centre of gravity shifts away...
Focusing on quality over quantity is not a new concept but it is a rather good one, particularly when we hone in on training and racing agendas encompassed within the parameters of your life and work agendas.
Here’s a quick maths addition to start you thinking:
Total hours in the day: 24
Hours Sleep: 8-10
Time to shower, prepare for day: 1
Transportation to work and home: 1-2
Work Hours: 8
Meal times: 3
Time to sit/relax/catch up with family/kids sport etc.: 1-2
Leftover hours to train within 24 hours window: 0-2 hours, possibly more if you choose to condense on the above life tasks…
What we essentially want to imply here is that the time you have leftover to train during the week (i.e. 0-2 hours per day), should be spent very wisely and this is where the concept of quality over quantity comes in.
If you don’t have a lot of time you really need to focus on the specific areas of training that will give you the...
When heading out for a long track session (plus 2 hours) or perhaps a long ride on the road, carrying some liquid energy to top up energy stores for the plus hour mark is a no-brainer, and for many, that top-up energy source comes in the form of sports drinks (aka: Powerade, Gatorade, Staminade etc.).
Whilst sports drinks have a long standing history and are backed by evidence that supports their effectiveness in rehydrating and topping up energy stores, sports drinks should come with a few words of warning, something like…
Sports drinks and gels are acidic, and they stick to your teeth due to their high sugar contents. While there are plenty of normal foods that non-athletes consume that have the same effect (soft drinks, confectionary etc.), it’s the frequency of exposure during exercise that can cause your dentist a headache (and eat into...
Building a strong core (and maintaining it) is absolutely essential if you're trying to progress and develop as a cyclist.
A strong core will also help you to remain injury free, and retain good control and stability when you’re on the bike.
A lot of people within the cycling fraternity that we know and work with don’t have a huge amount of time to train in the gym on top of their cycling training regime so a lot of the time we usually prescribe at home core exercises to complete.
This ensures that they maintain a strong functional level of strength to primarily avoid acquiring injuries of the back, hips and knees, but also to maintain good control and stability when they’re on the track cycling.
The 2 Core Exercises We Recommend for Cyclists are:
Both of these exercises can be done at home, and they will only take a few minutes of your time.
We’d recommend you complete each of these...
A little while ago we walked a young talented rider to the start line of a big event and this particular athlete (exceptional and by far the quickest and most tactful rider to contest the event) was in the best form of his life.
Quite young and new to the sport, the rider hadn’t yet experienced what it was like to be ‘challenged’ off the track in the warm-up area by other riders.
Whilst warming up, ‘exceptional-talent’, (let’s call him Jim) was approached by his competitor who mumbled a few words in his ear and tried to strike up a conversation.
Jim’s competitor then proceeded to remain in the warm up area, and encroach upon Jim’s space in the lead up to his event before he was due to race this rider…
Little did Jim know, the tactics of the impending match-sprint had already started, and when it came time to line up for the actual event, the race didn’t start on even terms...
Jim’s opponent had...
In the previous blog (The Long Way Round) our Performance Analyst Michael, wrote about the extra distances ridden when riders move up from the black line, the datum line.
Michael’s blog last week initiated some interesting debates about the benefits of both staying in the sprinters lane, and what happens when you move up (or out) to go around another rider… As you move up the track, there is further to ride and it also means that you are out of the slipstream of another rider.
If you’re new to track cycling and unfamiliar with the ins and outs of ‘The Sprint’, it’s important to know that in the final lap/s of the sprint, once it’s deemed that a rider has initiated the ‘final sprint’ (meaning no more cat and mouse tactics), the rider in front cannot leave the sprinters lane once entered. Therefore, in order to win, the rider from the back, must go up and and around the rider to get in front.
We know that the rider on...