Big Gear work on the bike

Jasper Blake

published on 2019.02.18

Wattage is the purest form of measuring effort on the bike. Simply put, you get to higher wattages through a combination of torque (how hard you push on the pedals) and angular velocity (how fast you spin the crank arms around). It’s important to work and create training stress at both ends of this spectrum.

One of the simplest ways to increase your ability to generate torque is to include big gear or lower cadence work. Slowing your pedal stroke down and pushing harder will improve your ability to generate torque. These sets are best done in shorter, harder intervals with lots of rest so that they create a training stress while limiting the risk of too much stress on the muscles and joints. Focus on 90-120 second efforts just above your second ventilatory threshold or at about 110-115% of your functional threshold power (FTP) and pedal in the 65-70 revolutions per minute (rpm) range.

The rest interval should be equal or slightly greater than the work interval so you can keep hitting the goal wattage during the work interval. Twelve to fifteen minutes of total work is sufficient for a training response.

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