Sprint training is important

Sprint training benefits all cyclists. Whether you are a new or seasoned cyclist, whether you race or just ride with a group, sprint training helps you improve power and makes you faster. In addition, here are a few situations where sprint sessions can benefit you:

  • Quick acceleration during races to get rivals off your wheel/open a gap
  • Bridging a gap on any ride/race
  • Keeping up with a group
  • Accelerating after corners
  • Running away from danger (such as an animal)!

Types of sprint workouts

“Mashers” (or power sprints)

This type of sprint workout is meant to develop explosive power at low speed. It’s useful for standing starts, attacking, or on a climb. In addition, most sprints begin with sudden, intense muscle effort. To practice, you must start your sprint at an almost stand still and from a big gear. Build up power and speed, accelerating as fast as you can for 20 seconds. This can be performed in or out of the saddle.

High speed sprints

On the road, most sprints will start when you are already moving at good speed. Training for high speed sprints is useful for improving acceleration on the bike. Start from moving at your usual speed. Use a gear that can get you to speed up quickly until you are nearly spun out at the end of 20 seconds. Start the sprint in the drops and out of the saddle and stay in the same gear during the effort. Doing this workout in a slight downhill is even better to help you learn to control your bike.

Repeated efforts

There are also workouts where you do repeated sprints with little recovery time in between them. The purpose of these is to learn how to accelerate more than once, either within the same sprint or when racing in criteriums.

Pay attention to form

While you can sprint in or out of the saddle, getting out of the saddle will provide for maximum power and therefore speed. During sprints, pay attention to the following:

  • Place hands in the drops
  • Bend your elbows
  • Keep your weight centered over the cranks and avoid leaning too far forward
  • Use a gear where you can quickly get up to high cadence (100+ rpms)

Perform sprint workouts regularly and watch the benefits over time!

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Theia is a licensed professional USA Cycling Level 3 coach with Vision Quest, and coaches athletes from all over the country. A life-long lover of all forms of exercise and dance, she became a certified ballet instructor shortly before entering law school, and discovered her passion for cycling when she got her first road bike from her husband Drew on their wedding anniversary. Theia is also an active member of the cycling community in Zwift, and leads a ladies’ race series for Team ODZ and weekly workouts for Zwift Academy. In addition to coaching, Theia can be found enjoying daily rides and participating in races, long endurance events, and cycling camps.