By Andries Lodder for Modern Athlete Magazine Oct 2011
Session: Russian Steps Spinning Class
Spinning classes are one of the best ways to maintain anaerobic fitness levels. Anaerobic training improves muscle speed, strength and power.
Benefits of spinning:
- Spinning offers enormous control over variables that you can’t control outside, such as wind, temperature and road surfaces
- Spinning bikes has a fixed wheel unlike normal bikes where you can free-wheel, therefore no cheating
- Spinning offers you potentially very high leg speed (cadence in excess of 200rpm) which is just about impossible on normal bikes
Take advantage of this by using spinning to develop great leg speed, therefore improving your fast twitch muscle fibers. These are fibers that contract more quickly and with greater amount of force, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensities, lasting from mere seconds to about 2 minutes.
Therefore next time you start a race with a frenetic pace, you’ll be able to stay with the pro’s and not get dropped.
A cool and fun workout is ‘Russian Steps’, which involves increasing intensities/duration of working intervals, and decreasing duration of recovery periods.
Warm-up: 5 min, with light resistance and comfortable cadence, peaking at 70% MHR, 30 sec acceleration and then recovery till back to 70%.
- 10 sec flat out sprint, 50 sec recovery
- 20 sec flat out sprint, 40 sec recovery
- 30 sec flat out sprint, 30 sec recovery
- 40 sec flat out sprint, 20 sec recovery
- 50 sec flat out sprint, 10 sec recovery
- 1 min flat out sprint
- 5 min recovery
- Repeat 3 times
Cool Down: 5min recovery followed by static stretches
Tip: All sprints done with light resistance and very high cadence (hence, if no resistance, your muscles don’t have any resistance to contract against and therefore increasing your chances of getting injured)