A cyclist rides his bike in the Alps with amazing mountains in the background

How big gear intervals can increase your ability to generate power on the bike

Including big gear or low cadence biking in your program can improve your cycling dramatically. Big gear or low cadence biking serves several purposes. The first is that it promotes muscle recruitment. The second is that it forces you to emphasize the push phase of your pedal stroke which is where you will generate the most amount of power. And the third is that it forces you to generate more of your power through torque rather than angular velocity. Both are important in the overall power equation but big gear workouts help you emphasize and focus on that part of the equation specifically.

The Workout- Big Gear/Low Cadence- 90 minutes (70 minutes on your smart trainer)

Warm up
30 minutes easy to the base of a suitable climb or 20 minutes easy on your smart trainer

Main Set
8*(3 minutes seated climbing at 65-70rpm, 2min easy)
The intensity for the 3 minute sections should be at a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 85-90% or 110% of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
(alternately this can be done on your smart trainer)

Cool down
20 minutes easy outside or 10 minutes easy on your smart trainer

Technical Cues: Remain seated throughout so you are generating power muscularly rather than by throwing your body weight around. Relax your hands, shoulders and neck muscles and focus on your lower body. By default you will be forced to derive most of your power in the push phase of the pedal stroke as well as some power as you pull your foot across the bottom of the pedal stroke and back up to the top.

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