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How To Improve Your Cycling Leg Speed Using A Turbo Trainer

Updated on October 29, 2013
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer who ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

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Rear wheel mounted to Jet Black turbo trainer.Fluid resistance unit of Jet Black turbo trainer.
Rear wheel mounted to Jet Black turbo trainer.
Rear wheel mounted to Jet Black turbo trainer. | Source
Fluid resistance unit of Jet Black turbo trainer.
Fluid resistance unit of Jet Black turbo trainer. | Source

Never confuse speed with speed-endurance

Speed workouts help with leg mobility and your ability to turn the cranks swiftly and with fluidity. A cyclist with a smooth pedal action wastes much less energy and has heightened control on the pedals leading to a higher velocity.

Speed work should be a big part of any cycling program. Particularly base training through use of a turbo trainer or rollers and can progress to 'on road' sprint efforts that all develop handling skills for accelerations and high velocity sprints.

This article will address how you can improve your cycling cadence for better bicycling performance and pedal speed from your indoor cycling workouts.

Happy cycling

Workout suggestions to develop leg speed for cycling

1. Spin up to maximum

Best done on a turbo trainer set to light resistance or in a low gearing if you have a fluid type trainer.

· Gradually increase your leg speed over a period to maximum and hold your maximum for a short period without bouncing in the saddle as you cycle.

· Allow a few minutes recovery after each work interval

· Repeat at least five times to ensure training effect.

· Can be extended to up to two minute work intervals to add a more controlled element.

· It is ideal to use a cycle computer with cadence function to monitor progress.

2. Single leg cycling efforts

Again these are best done on a turbo trainer set to light resistance or in a low gearing if you have a fluid type trainer.

· Concentrate on cycling with one leg while the other is still clipped into your pedals.

· Work at slightly above your regular leg speed.

· Concentrate separately on four areas of the pedal stroke based on a clock

11-2 kicking over the weak spot at the top of your pedal stroke

2-5 pushing down through the pedals

5-8 Scraping mud from the base of your shoe

8-11 the pull back up

· When confident you can unclip one foot and rest it against the turbo trainer frame or a stool while working with the clipped in foot.

· Ideally work on these phases individually for 15+ seconds at a time swapping legs between each time zone. Ensure cadence is kept high and stead throughout each work interval.

3. Controlled Sprints

· 15 second controlled sprints to develop cycling technique

· Best performed in a moderate gear- you can adjust your gearing if you feel it is too easy of hard

· Stand for ten seconds building up leg speed

· Sit in for the remaining five seconds and maintain leg speed

These can again be done on a turbo trainer although you can also do them out on the road and even integrate them into group rides to give you some competition practice at race cadences

These exercises can be done by all cyclists. From youth riders up to veterans as technique is important for everyone to maintain and develop as it forms a key building block of base endurance cycle training

Happy riding

Liam Hallam- CyclingFitness on Hubpages

Turbo Trainers- Great choices at Amazon

Do you have the right music choice?

Music can be a great motivator. Make sure you make the right choice personally when you are spinning. Often listening to the radio might not be the most inspiring option so it's best to experiment what music choice gives you motivation to spin quickly. This track inspires me to pedal quickly due to it's quick feelgood beat. It might help you too! Happy spinning

Get Those Legs Spinning!


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    • dobo700 profile image

      dobo700 4 years ago from Australia

      Excellent article, I will give this a go. Thanks