When it comes to cycle performance training, even Cyclefit’s Julian Wall admits it’s taken him 54 years to finally concede that he doesn’t know everything,
‘Well maybe it only took eighteen but you can get stubborn about certain things. I have been riding a bike competitively for thirty years and using a gym for longer but always scoffed at the idea of a ‘personal trainer’. What would I need with that? I know how to squat and curl and warm-up and try not to be intimidated by the big blokes on the bench press.’
This year, however, marks a turning point for Julian as he takes a very different approach to his own cycle performance training in preparation for L’Etape du Tour or as he calls it, ‘an annual pilgrimage for MAMILS (middle aged men in lycra) to ride a stage of the Tour de France.’
L’Etape du Tour, is always very long with lots of mountain climbs. According to Julian, for most competitors it’s too far, too high and too long. Last year, he entered the event in poor condition (ie. no dedicated cycle performance training) and suffered in the heat on the final climb of the Izoard. Counting down the metres as he climbed at 10 kph, he was exhausted, dehydrated and in pain.
But never again! 2018 will be different.
Julian has been working with fellow cycling nut, PerformancePro director, Anthony Purcell since mid-February. Quite simply, the main objective of Julian’s cycle performance training is to add weight training and conditioning to increase strength and resilience and help him perform better.
Julian’s 1-2-1 cycle performance training programme cycle at the PerformancePro includes:
The initial focus is to improve his general condition and prepare him for heavier loads. Anthony explains how PerformancePro is tailoring the fitness approach,
‘Our first step with Julian was to assess his overall movement competency. This means how his body moves when asked to do certain movement tasks and whether the strategies he employs are putting him at greater risk of injury than we would like.
‘The assessment focuses on larger range global movements such as squatting, lunging, pushing and pulling. From this, we get a picture of Julian’s overall strength levels and his athleticism in general. This helps us design a training programme to improve any deficits.
‘This initial assessment highlighted some key areas for Julian to make changes eg. restricted hamstring flexibility and relative upper body weakness, lack of dynamic stability and trunk strength. This gives us plenty to work on but by far it’s not the worst start point we’ve seen!’
So Julian’s programme thus far has centred on improving trunk strength and posture, increasing lower limb control and strength. Supported by Anthony, he’s spending time learning the safe ranges of motion and exercise technique in order to progress through to a true strength phase.
Julian has committed fully to the process and is making great progress. For him, the penny has dropped as he acknowledges that it’s the ‘personal’ part of the personal cycle training, that’s already making the difference,
‘Tony gently encourages and teaches me the correct technique through the exercises. His commitment and attention to detail make the session so much more productive. After just a few sessions, I’m already feeling better on the bike. I’m riding the short climbs on my commute in the saddle now, my stronger core means I can push against the increased resistance without having to stand up. I’m not thrashing about in my interval sessions with a much better pedal technique. Off the bike, I stand straighter and my posture is better.’
Julian finds the changes that have happened so quickly to his ‘old’ body quite remarkable. These days, he’s actually looking forward to getting on the bench press with the big blokes!
Look out for further updates over the course of Julian’s training as we open up the PerformancePro strength and conditioning approach and share insights from both Julian and Anthony.
Are you inspired by the above and want to take your own cycling performance up a gear? Here are two ways to get started and make the most of both Cyclefit and PerformancePro between now and Mon 30 July 2018:
Sign up for PerformancePro Cycling Training and enjoy complementary Functional Training Power (FTP) Test and Power Profile as part of your programme. Simply mention Perfect Fit when you book your initial consultation.
Book with Cyclefit and enjoy 10% discount on any of Cyclefit’s bike fitting and workshop services. Contact Julian directly for further information – Julian@cyclefit.co.uk