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Training Sessions to Build Form For Summer – Part 2

July 10, 2014

Training Sessions to Build Form For Summer – Part 2

We continue on our theme of essential training sessions to maintain your fitness over the summer period and how this is best done when limited to time and wanting to continue the progress after a hard spring building fitness.

Coaches James Spragg and Stephen Gallagher give another 3 sessions on what to focus on and explain why you need to focus on this particular area of performance.

In this article we are looking at sessions to aid Weight Loss, SweetSpot work & training to improve your cadence. All the zones and intensities are done in accordance with Coggan’s training zones, check out the table of Coggan’s zones here.

Weight Loss

Stephen says: “The old ethos for people looking to ‘burn fat and get lean’ was to spend endless hours pedalling at a low intensity to develop your body’s ability to utilise fat as a fuel and save your glycogen stores. This is still a method to help your body adapt to becoming more efficient and lose weight but for those people who do not have endless hours to train midweek and at weekends, we need to find alternative methods and sessions to meet our requirements and weight loss goals.

“Your number one goal needs to be burn as many calories as possible in your time available, i.e. one hour’s riding, and High Intensity (HI) training does that. HI training even in short bursts, efforts of one to three minutes, will dramatically increase your calorie cost and lead to a bigger overall expenditure along with the added benefit of increasing your speed and power.

“HI training maintains a higher metabolism for as long as ten hours post-training so you continue to get the benefits during the day and this all adds to the overall calorie expenditure.”

The Training Session – High-Intensity Calorie Burner

  • Ten minutes warm-up (zone two)
  • 2×7 minute tempo efforts (zone three) with five minutes steady riding (zone two) between each effort
  • Five minutes steady riding (zone two)
  • 3×2 minute hard efforts (zone five) with three minutes recovery (zone one) between each effort
  • Five minutes recovery (zone one)
  • 4×30 second maximum efforts (zone six) with one minute recovery (zone one) between each effort
  • Five minutes cool down (zone one)
  • NB the key to any weight loss and efficiency is good day-to-day nutrition


James says: ”This session is perfect when training for events with long climbs such as the Etape de Tour. The sweetspot efforts will simulate the intensity of climbing a long ascent in the Alps. The goal here is to increase your muscular endurance while also working to push up your lactate or threshold.

The bursts introduce an anaerobic effort into the exercise and replicate the power you will need to produce to get up steeper sections of the climb, out of a hairpin for example. For this reason its best to do the bursts out of the saddle. Pretending you are climbing Alp d’Huez while doing these intervals is optional!”

The Training Session – Sweetspot With Bursts

  • Twenty minutes warm-up – a slow progression from zone one, through zone two, with the last five minutes in zone three
  • Five minutes easy (zone one/two)
  • 2×20 minute sweetspot efforts (upper zone three/lower zone four). During these efforts every two minutes you need to incorporate a ten second out of the saddle burst. This isn’t a sprint! A burst means clicking down two or three gears and pushing on out of the saddle (for those training with a power meter 120-150% FTP). Once the burst is finished settle straight back down into sweetspot effort
  • Fifteen minutes recovery (zone two) between efforts
  • Ten minutes cool down (zone one)


Stephen says: ”If you are to look at any file that details cadence from a road race/chaingang/sportive etc, you will see many variances in your cadence along with the power/torque produced with each change of rhythm. These small but important changes in your cadence can not only leave you fatigued quicker than normal because of a lack of muscular ability to change and adapt to numerous rhythms, but it can also lead to never being able to reach your full potential because you have not worked on this ability.

“Switching from one dominant muscle fibre type to another, Fast Twitch (FT) to Slow Twitch (ST) or vice versa, is something that needs to be worked on with specific cadence drills that can assist in your ability to adapt. Every rider’s genetics are different and the objective is not to boost one fibre type but to help switching from one to another, for example, when you are on sitting at 25mph on a flat road in a bunch of riders at 90rpm and then hit a ten per cent hill which takes you two minutes to climb at 60rpm – this has different torque requirements along with aerobic abilities.

“Lower cadences (-70rpm) generally use a larger amount of FT fibres and require greater glycogen requirements, while high cadences (90rpm ) use more ST fibres and tend to utilise fat better as an energy source along with recruiting more muscle groups.”

The Training Session – Adapting To Cadence Changes

  • Ten minutes warm-up (zone two), 90rpm
  • 4×30 second alternate left/right single leg pedalling (zone three), 90rpm, with 30 seconds recovery (zone one) between each
  • Five minutes steady riding (zone two), 80-90rpm
  • 3×8 minute cadence drills (zone three). These should be done as one minute at 60/70rpm and one minute at 100/110rpm, repeating four times for a total of eight minutes
  • Six minutes recovery (zone two) between efforts
  • Five minutes cool zone (zone one)

To really make the most out of your ability and time to train why not use our expert coaches to build your fitness and make each turn of the pedal count towards your goal. Focused and objective training based around your lifestyle with expert coaches will see you reach a new level of fitness never before achieved.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Check out the coaching packages and drop them an email at if you would like to talk to one of their coaching staff and learn more about their services.

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Dig Deep Coaching provides unrivalled complete coaching solutions from specific coaching packages to an array of sports professional services. includes sports massage, sports nutrition, performance testing, powermeter rental, professional RETUL bike fit and more! 

Visit for more information.

Pactimo is proud to partner with Dig Deep Coaching in Belfast to bring premium cycling apparel to the UK and Ireland.

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