Lead cycle coach Santi Brage gives you a sneaky peak at Brighton tri club’s turbo training plans.

In the early days I remember asking cyclists to perform a drill in high cadence and facing a row of bewildered faces. It dawned on me that many people had little idea of the basics of cycling techniques. cycle

So last October we devised a 20- week programme for the turbo sessions, starting with the basics of pedalling in continuous, smooth circles. To improve we do lots of one-legged drills and spinning above and below the ideal cadence of 90rpm.

After four weeks of covering these basics, we move on to four-week stages focused on aerobic endurance, power, hills and finally intervals, where the peak RPE (rate of perceived exertion) moves gradually from 12 to 18 throughout the blocks.

In the coming months we’ll be starting these up again, working through a similar sequence of technique and then on to higher intensity sessions. There will inevitably be heated debates about who chooses the pump it up music.

Four Week Beginner Session

Warm up: 5 minutes gentle spinning, gradually increasing cadence and resistance

Build set: Ride with moderate resistance using the small chainring – a cadence pyramid going from 80rpms up to 110rpms and back down each minute for 10 minutes

Main set: Single leg drills as:

  • 1 min right leg (RL), 1 min both, 1 min RL. Repeat for left leg
  • 5 minutes holding 90-100rpm whilst increasing the gear each minute to a moderate level
  • Repeat 3 times

Cool down: Decreasing cadence on an easy gear every minute

  • Stretch to finish

Measure your effort 

Throughout the programme we use three key elements to gauge the intensity of the sessions and therefore use to improve performance over the 20 weeks:

  • RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) which uses the Borg scale or heart rate zones
  • Cadence is the rate at which your legs complete a full stroke
  • Resistance which can be set using the turbo or your own gearing

Santi’s Top Cycling Tips

1. Sit light, right and still. Invest in a bike fit to be comfortable and efficient so all your energy goes into the back wheel.

2. Be smooth. Practise a continuous, circling pedal action, imagining you’re scraping the bottom of the front of your foot against the floor as your leg pulls up.

3. Mix it up. You need to put in the miles to progress but it doesn’t need to be a grind. Try mountain biking for strength and balance, and sportives for distance challenges.