You can blame your commitment issues on your parents, but it’s not their fault you lost that sprint. Sure, riders genetically blessed with more fast-twitch fibres have the edge in sprints, but you can get faster with training. Here are 6 workouts to help you do that.
To improve the force and speed of your pedal strokes, expert cycling coach Eddie Monnier recommends the following workouts. Do them no more than twice a week (one drill Tuesday, another on Thursday), and only when you feel fresh. Do the gym workouts in the off-season, because they build strength and mimic your pedal stroke.
In The Gym
Stand with a barbell across your shoulders; it should weigh enough so that the last few reps are hard. Place your feet shoulder width apart; don’t lock your knees. Keeping your back straight and your eyes forward, sit back until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Don’t jut your knees past your toes. Hold for 1-2 seconds, and then use your legs (not your back) to press back to the starting position. Repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps per set.
Sit in a vertical leg-press machine with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle (never more). Place one foot on the platform and the other on the floor or base of the machine. Hold the side handlebars and press your lower back to the pad. Push the platform away so your leg is extended (don’t lock your knee) and disengage the safety lockout. Slowly lower the platform toward you until your leg is bent 90 degrees. Repeat 10 times for a set, and then switch legs. Do 2 to 3 sets per leg.
Hold dumbbells at your sides. Take one big step back with your left leg. Keep your left foot in place and slowly lower your left knee toward the floor. Your right knee should be at a 90-degree angle. Push off with your left foot and return to your starting position. Alternate legs for a full 10-rep set to each side. Do 2 to 3 sets per leg.