Are you looking for explosive power, or perhaps longer endurance on climbs? Then cycling pyramids is the way to go as you will work in a variety of training zones. (See The Beginners Guide to Power, where we explain Coggans zones.) You can add a pyramid to a longer ride, or do a specific pyramid ride on the turbo trainer. They are proven, and are used by Pros and amateurs alike, as they are highly effective physiologically – if you choose not to do any other form of cycle training, these are the way to go!
Below is a basic pyramid workout. Here’s how it will improve your explosive power. Essentially the ‘pointy end’ of the pyramid is the explosive power end. The interval of 30 seconds to a minute at full throttle, followed by the same in rest, will give you the ability, in a race, to complete the last sprint even when you have very little left in the tank. For mountain bikers too, the ability to get through a particularly tricky rocky section in an event, without it completely sapping your energy is hugely beneficial. These small bursts of power, working in zone 4-5, promote the adaption of the fast-twitch muscles for short-term muscular endurance.
The slightly lower intervals, of 3-5 minutes will develop longer-term muscular endurance, which is particularly useful for long climbs, windy sections on the road and time trials, where the power is zone 3.
This is designed to add to a longer ride: Do one per ride, until you start to feel fitter and then add another.
- Warm-up for 10 minutes in zone 1-2
- 1 minute at zone 3
- 1 minute rest, just spinning the legs in zone 1-2
- 2 minutes at zone 3
- 2 minutes rest
- 3 minutes at zone 3
- Continue your ride
Turbo trainer pyramid
The important thing here is to pace the effort so there’s no drop-off. So, when you need these different intensities in a race, you’ll have them at your fingertips;)
Look for HRZ/PZ 4 on the sprints, and HRZ/PZ 1 for the rest periods.
- 20 minutes warm-up
- 1 minute at threshold power, zone 4-5
- 1 minute rest
- 2 minutes at threshold power, zone 4-5
- 2 minutes rest
- 3 minutes at threshold power, zone 4-5
- 3 minutes rest
- 4 minutes at threshold power, zone 4-5
- 4 minutes rest
- 5 minutes at threshold power, zone 4-5
- 5 minutes rest
- Now for the really hard bit! Work backward through the same set.
- Take a 10 minute, well-deserved rest!
With both, if you are wanting this new power for a time trial, work in a race position.
Improve your explosive power