I am a Sufferlandrian. This is my National Flag. I devote 60-90 minutes most days to intense, mind-numbing, leg-burning, self-induced suffering on my bike attached a trainer in my basement. Alone.
I am also an indoor cycling instructor and twice a week, I put several other individuals through much the same torture, in person, on Keiser M3’s at LAFitness.
Sometimes, as I recover from the beating by the Minions and reflect on the profile of the workout, I’m inspired. The Sufferest has a pyramid workout called “There Is No Try”.
From their website: A wise man once said, ‘There is No Try. There is only Do. Or do not.’ And, so, as you approach your turbo trainer for this video, you should only come if you are fully committed to doing what needs to be done in order to get faster. And getting faster is what this video is all about. Here, you come face to face with Sufferlandrian intervals. You see, Sufferlandrians get faster when other cyclists get tired. And our intervals do the same. It works like this: Every interval is broken into four parts. Each part is faster than the previous. You usually finish with a sprint. @thesufferfest
I took that idea and expanded on it – accelerations in rpm while keeping the gear/resistance the same, on a climb. When we mortals climb a hill outdoors, we would decrease the gear and increase our pedal speed to compensate for the steeper grade. That’s exactly what we’ll be simulating in this workout. The limiter here is aerobic capacity. Pedaling faster against increasing grade makes you breathe faster. You get better at controlling your breath by actually controlling your breath. What a concept!
The following is a pyramid profile where the time of each interval increases, reaches a peak and then decreases. Within each interval set, our rpm will also increase; however, our resistance will remain the same, simulating an increase in gradient. Now since I teach with watts, this is our focus. Small increments in rpm do increase watts but the goal is to not go over FTP (functional threshold power). Reach it, yes. At a maximum of 5 rpm for each increase, that ends up being 15 watts.
Interval 1 starts off with a moderate climb with a pedal speed that matches (maybe 75 rpm). Increase 3-5 rpm (and/or 5 watts) and hold for 15 seconds, then again for 15 seconds, and again for 15 seconds. We get one minute of recovery.
Interval 2 is the same, except we hold the rpm increase for 30 seconds, with 1-minute recovery. Intervals 3 and 4 follow the same pattern except going to 45 seconds and one minute, respective. Our recovery is still one minute.
Interval 5 is the halfway mark. We hold the rpm increases for TWO minutes before recovery for two minutes.
Intervals 6-9 are in reverse, going from one minute back down to 15-second increments with one minute in recovery.
Some of you might think, ‘Heck, I don’t climb like that. I just grind it out with a hard gear until I get to the top.’
Bully for you, Superman.
But why? Try taking a little off the top and pedal faster. See what happens.
By the way, if you click here: Ask the Expert you’ll find an excellent post on the subject of high resistance/low rpm written by such an expert, Jennifer Sage, of the Indoor Cycling Association.