It’s that time of year where most avid cyclists are booking their training camps to scenic European countries, yet with a tough terrain. It’s a novelty to do; feel like a pro, train like a pro – be a pro for a short period of time! But what about if you’re not in the position to get away? How do you plan to keep up with your fellow cyclists when they come back tanned, fit and ready to ride hard?
At The Altitude Centre, we are passionate about improving the performance of cyclists. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, we run our ‘Ride Club‘ sessions, which entail 45 mins worth of specific cycling blocks and intervals all based around your functional threshold power (FTP). Sessions may include hills, sprints or flat efforts – which all relate to your performance back on the road. After introducing these classes late last year, we have seen a great improvement in those who regularly attend these sessions, assessed via our power profiling testing.
Interestingly, a recent study assessed whether this type of training (hypoxia) would yield similar benefits to altitude training (those in the mountains), and in comparison to a control group (sea level training), following a 4 week block. Throughout the training period, training intensity and load was matched between each group, whilst VO2MAX, time trial and red blood cell count was measured before and after. Naturally and as expected, red blood cell count was higher following the altitude training compared to hypoxic and sea level training. Most importantly, VO2MAX and time trial performance had similar improvements in both the altitude and hypoxia group whereas the sea level group maintained.
So what does this mean? As good as it is to go away for a week or so and cycle the picturesque routes in Spain, France and so on, you are still able to achieve the same benefits from training in our chamber in London. Starting with Ride Club, you will be able to progress your performance over 4-6 weeks. When your peers arrive back from their camps, you’ll certainly surprise them when they’re unable to drop you on the climbs!
Czuba et al. (2018). Biology of Sport, 35, 1.