Triathlon Cycling Spin Training

Even if you can’t quote the gear ratios on your bike, you may be somewhat familiar with your bike’s multiple gears. These gears enable you to change resistance to cater to your current ability level, and the varying terrain.

You are probably aware that although some gears are easy to pedal, there are also others that will wear you down.



Learn the Gears

Learning to make use of gearing to accommodate workout goals and handle varying terrain appropriately is a skill that you gradually attain by experimentation and training.

You will gradually learn which gear you feel most comfortable in. Until your legs (specifically your knees) adjust to the cycling motion, and you’re positive that your cycling ability has reached a competitive level, hammering the big gears will do you more harm than good.

You’ll cause undue, and potentially damaging, stress on your knees. You may end up getting burned out, and overtrain.

What is Spinning?

Spinning improves efficiency by pedaling at high RPM (revolutions per minute). Spinning is a safe way of preventing knee injury, learning proper pedaling method and adjusting to the unique motion of cycling.

Most professionals contend that pedaling at 85 to 95 RPM is an efficient spinning range. How do you know your RPM? The most effective way is to buy a computer with a cadence feature, which displays your RPM at the push of a button.

It will be extremely hard to determine if you’re actually spinning without a computer with cadence, especially if you’re a newbie.

How to Spin

Generally, the resistance you are spinning with must feel relatively simple, but not so soft and rapid that your pedaling motion becomes choppy, erratic, or uncontrollable. Pedaling must feel smooth, and your target should be on doing the whole 360-degree pedal stroke efficiently, with no “dead spots” or bursts of power.

Each pedal stroke should feel controlled and tight all the way around. It is more challenging to spin throughout an entire exercise if you practice on hilly terrain. Use your entire range of gears, and do not be afraid to make use of your easiest gear (largest cog and your smallest chain ring) to maintain high RPM on uphills.

Spinning should make up the first few hundred miles of cycling. In fact, for shorter or middle-distance triathlons, spinning might be your entire training program.

Indoor Spinning

Please note: In recent years, mainstream health and fitness enthusiasts have embraced “spinning” classes that, to some degree, imitate the training discussed here. This type of indoor training on a stationary bike however adds other factors and isn’t the exact spinning as described here.

Group indoor “spinning” classes are enjoyable and can enhance your training down the road, but do not neglect a base of easy and high-revolution road riding before you begin pushing bigger gears or increasing resistance, whether indoors or out.

Good luck!


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