Thursday, April 28, 2011

Livestrong - Summary of training for Track Cycling


Track cycling is a fast-paced, sprint-type event, with several different races all performed on a velodrome, an indoor or outdoor track in the shape of an oval with large banked turns on opposing sides. Training for track cycling is different from training for other cycling events in that you are training for more anaerobic muscular endurance. Your program should be specific and your training year planned out. In addition, your program should emphasize resistance training.

Training Periods

Periodization is a system of training that breaks up the year into "mesocycles," or different types of training; the entire training year is separated by preparation, competition and transition times. Each mesocycle contains more specific time periods for improving each aspect of training. The idea is to build upon each aspect of fitness until you are in peak condition to perform during the competition period.

Preparation Period
The preparation period includes two weeks to prep, four weeks for a base period and four weeks for a build period. The prep period is the start of your training year, when you focus on increasing aerobic endurance with cross and resistance training. Speed skills is worked on minimally through spinning drills on an indoor trainer. The base period is used to build up a fitness base. Endurance training is cut back on, replaced by force and speed drills. Resistance training is increased and cross training is decreased. The build period begins to focus on muscular endurance and anaerobic endurance. Resistance training turns to maintenance, while more time is spent on the bike doing speed, force and power drills.

Competition Period
The competition period is split into peak and race weeks. During the peak period, training volume is reduced, but intensity is increased. Training like you are racing is ideal during this time. The race period emphasizes muscular endurance and strength. Races provide most of the fitness you need. During off weeks, work on emphasizing strength, power and speed.

Transition Period
The transition period comes after your racing season has ended. This is a time to rest and recover from the hard year of training. There is generally little to no schedule during transition periods. It is a time to ride for pure enjoyment and allow your body to rest. If you are the kind of track athlete who likes to participate in other cycling races, such as cyclocross, which begins just as the track season is ending, your transition period may be short. Just be sure to keep well rested between racing seasons.

Strength Training
For a track athlete, time in the gym can mean the difference between a first or second place finish. The track athlete must have power and the ability to endure power output over a sustained period of time. The power for track cycling comes from the legs and glutes. Resistance training involving the leg press, leg extension, leg flexion, squats, deadlifts and lunges are beneficial to your training program. Resistance training is emphasized during the base period. This is where are working hard on the bike and hard in the weight room. You begin to taper off during the build period, only working to maintain the muscular strength you have gained.

Plyometrics are a type of training best fit into the build period. Plyometrics work on training the stretch-shortening cycle of muscles. This kind of training is beneficial to improving muscle force and power. Plyometric exercises are quick movements that take the muscle through its eccentric, amortization and concentric phases with speed and force. Plyometric exercises for a track cyclist include the squat jump, split squat jump and the single-leg vertical jump. Plyometrics can be combined with resistance training through a complex-training program. The schedule of a complex-training program involves high-intensity resistance training followed by plyometric exercises. If you are doing a complex-training program, allow a minimum of 48 hours of rest between complex training sessions.


* "The Cyclist's Training Bible"; Joe Friel; 2003

* "Periodization Training for Sports"; Tudor O. Bompa, PhD. and Michael C. Carrera; 2005

* "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" National Strength and Conditioning Association; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earl, eds.; 2000

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