For the uninitiated, over-under cycling workouts involve repeated short periods above threshold power interspersed with short periods below threshold power. They can be one of the toughest indoor cycling sessions – often more so than simply riding at threshold! But why is that? Cycling coach James Spragg explains what’s going on in the body that makes them so hard.
Sports scientist and coach James Spragg is one of the experts who will be answering your questions in Cycling Weekly’s ASK A CYCLING COACH series which comes out every Wednesday. Working both in research and applied settings, he currently runs Intercept Performance Consultancy . What happens when we ride above threshold?
Have you ever wondered why, from a physiological point of view – there is a threshold power? Why can’t we just produce more power?! Well, there are a few reasons; physiological processes that occur when riding above threshold power and not below it.
Whenever we exercise there are changes that happen in the working muscles. Certain substances are broken down and as a result, new substances appear. These substances are known as metabolites – they include hydrogen ions (H+), inorganic phosphate (Pi), and potassium ions (K+) and a few others. These metabolites, above certain concentrations, affect how efficiently the muscle cells function. Therefore, our bodies are quite good at processing them; but they can only be processed at a fixed rate. If we exercise hard then we produce them at a faster rate than they can be processed, and the […]