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/ Wattbike training question

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Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Sep 2018

This is probably a really dumb question but I am a bit stumped. 

My gym has a few Wattbike Pros so i decided to download the app and try them out for some training. The app has various training plans and work outs, which you can follow once your phone is connected to the bike via bluetooth. So far, so good.

I chose an "endurance" plan called building blocks and hit play. The app then gives me a target power,heart rate and cadence. So I start and hit the correct cadence, but my power is too low. To increase the power I need to increase cadence so that will now be off. The only thing I can think of is to adjust the fan cover and the magnetic resistance to bring the cadence and power into alignment. But then a minute later the "building blocks" plan changes to a different power and cadence. So I hit the same problem as before, cadence and power are not aligned without adjusting the settings on the bike.

I find adjusting the fan brake and magnet adjustment a total pain whilst riding and very crude. I suspect I am doing this all wrong and have not understood how to follow the training plan correctly. unfortunately the staff in the gym were no help.

Anyone?

JLS on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

>"I find adjusting the fan brake and magnet adjustment a total pain whilst riding and very crude"

Not having used a Watt bike for anything more than a quick warm-up, I may not be qualified to answer but...

I find with most training, whether for cycling or climbing, there are initial sacrificial sessions that are compromised while to you get to grips with and dial in the routine. I'd expect that once you suss-out what settings are required for each effort, it will seem less onerous to flick between them.

Nevis-the-cat - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Firstly, is it a Pro or a Trainer model? Most of the gyms will use trainer as it's aimed at novice or leisure riders, not experienced cyclists. The default resistance is much lower, so to get into your power zones, you'll have to spin like crazy. 

Assuming it's a Pro (which I have), then it's all about the fan. I rarely use the magnet - it's supposed to mimic hill climbs, but I tend to use it on a free training session, rather than structured Wattbike or Trainerroad package. 

It does a take a while to dial in our power to cadence. I can now set my fan to my required power, at my required cadence without thinking - you do tune into it. 

I'd give it some more time - just to find the cadence/ power sweet spots. and check if it's a Pro or not. 

 

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Nevis-the-cat:

Thx, will check which model it is. So do you just set the fan to your sweet spot, then just start spinning? What confused me in this plan I was following was when it told me to increase power (from , say, 180 to 220) BUT it tells me to maintain cadence at 90. The only way to do this whilst cycling is to lean over and muck about with the fan brake which is really analogue, not near the handle bars, guess work and a faff.

It doesn't seem right to me, I can't imagine people who have shelled out £2.5k for one would be happy with that arrangement.

neuromancer - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

In short, you get used to adjusting the fan for difficulty. We had a lot at work before home power trainers became so popular and I bought a Direto.

A pro is just a trainer where the resistance starts at Magnetic 4.

Having used the app quite a bit, the situations where it asks you to maintain cadence exactly but increase power are actually remarkably few. Most of the time you get an appropriate level of difficulty for, say, the warmup, and you'll find as the cadence increases the power does to almost the right level, only requiring a movement up or down of 1 or 2  on the fan.

But also; this is old technology. Power training has moved on a long way since Wattbikes were popular (like 3-4 years ago). An automatically adjusting bluetooth controlled trainer is only £4-500 and most keen cyclists have one in their home.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to neuromancer:

I'm trying to avoid the cost of having one at home ;-) I did think about buying an Atom and sticking it in an outbuilding at home but in reality, it makes far more sense to sit on an exercise bike whilst I am "at work" 

It has occurred to me that the cadence and heart rate are not actually metrics to try and maintain, but rather just information whilst you try and keep to the power program. 

I will try a few other programs 

neuromancer - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Correct. Don't worry about cadence targets to hit a specific wattage right now. Development of cadence is important but only if you really want to push your cycling specifically.

Maintaining the power is the key factor. If you have to grind out 75-80rpm grind it out. If you can pop along like a hummingbird at 110 then more power to you.

JLS on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

>"It has occurred to me that the cadence and heart rate are not actually metrics to try and maintain"

I'd have thought cadence was important. I'd guess sometime you'll be directed by the program to be effectively "weight training" at low cadence and increasing suppleness with high cadence but most of the time you'd want to be dialled into an effcient cadence.

ClimberEd - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JLS:

> >"It has occurred to me that the cadence and heart rate are not actually metrics to try and maintain"

> I'd have thought cadence was important. I'd guess sometime you'll be directed by the program to be effectively "weight training" at low cadence and increasing suppleness with high cadence but most of the time you'd want to be dialled into an effcient cadence.

This. And what neuromancer said is bollocks, perhaps apart from the first session or two just to get dialled in. 

In a good training programme different cadences will be used to purposefully produce different training effect.

neuromancer - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Fascinating stuff kid.

Starter for ten:

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/why-amateurs-shouldnt-try-to-pedal-like-chris-froome-191779

Re-read my post. He isn't training to race, he isn't even training in a particularly structured format. If you honestly thing cadence is as significant a defining factor on TE as NP or the structured work you are doing then I suggest you go and read some proper training literature.

It's highly unlikely that the OP will, after sitting on a wattbike for 20 minutes have a full bike fit set up perfectly. Moreover if you can't actually push a specific cadence efficiently, you'll be rocking your hips, pulling the wrong muscles, not engaging your core, bouncing e.t.c. All of these have huge potential to cause significant long-term injury in the knees and lower back. What if his cleats are poorly set up and he follows some strange SUPER LOW CADENCE GRIND programme like the Sufferfest et al are wont to push through and he develops LCLI?

He should push whatever feels comfortable for the wattage for now, and start thinking about specifically developing cadence down the road.

ClimberEd - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to neuromancer:

I don't need to re-read your post, and I completely disagree with what you have said. 

I have read vast amounts of training literature and cadence is a defining factor within structured training. 

neuromancer - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

>I don't need to re-read your post

>he isn't even training in a particularly structured format

>cadence is a defining factor within structured training

Perhaps maybe normal literature to improve comprehension would help instead then?

 

Yanis Nayu - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

I think it’s a nuanced question but that he’s more right than wrong.  

Cadence is sometimes mentioned in training sessions but rarely, and even more rarely as the defining aspect.* That is nearly always power. Power can be generated by force on thepedals or cadence (as a function of both).  My opinion is that if the plan requires x power at y cadence, and you can’t generate that power at that cadence, change the cadence and not the power. If the cadence is too high for you to achieve comfortably you risk injury (for me tendon(?) soreness on the side of my knees); too low and it can feel like the cartilage is squirting out the side of your knees. 

You gain the fitness by generating power for certain lengths of time. I don’t think the cadence that you do it at needs to be altered beyond self-selected unless you’re training to road race, where are a high cadence is useful, or ride steep hills, where a low cadence may be all you can manage. 

*Often used in warm ups. 

Post edited at 19:00
JimR - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

My tuppence worth is that cadence is related to cardio ie given the same power the higher the cadence the more cardio and less muscle stress. So depends what you are trying to do if tyou want to build muscle you grind at a low cadence for a short period, if you want cardio yo spin at a higher cadence. If you mix it you do both. You are also engaging different muscle fibres.

Good article here:

https://beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=433

 

ClimberEd - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JimR:

Bingo.

Toerag - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JimR:

This is the bike version of classic weight training for climbers - low reps at max weight (mashing) for power, high reps at minimal weight for stamina (spinning), both of those giving the best results with minimal weight gain. Bodybuilders use medium weights with medium reps to build bulk.


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