10 useful tips to optimize your training on Skillbike

Why should a cyclist should choose Skillbike ? For many reasons, all suitable to improve outdoor performance. Let's see some of the benefits that Skillbike offers to those who train indoors on an exercise bike, even for those who go to the gym but do not necessarily train to improve their performance on the road.

The essential characteristics of Skillbike

First of all for the gearbox. Skillbike is the only stationary bike that has a real one. Changing the gears, you can respond to changes in resistance and keep the power and cadence correct to ensure maximum efficiency of pedalling. The console then displays the selected gear and gear ratio at all times. In addition, Skillbike allows you to experience the feeling of cycling outdoors thanks to the Skillbike riding design that reproduces the biomechanics of sports bikes. This is because the frame is highly adjustable, which means that you can adjust Skillbike so you can bring it closer to the feeling of a racing bike, the one we use on the road when we run or train.
Thanks to the pedal printing technology, it offers a continuous visual feedback on the roundness and symmetry of the pedal stroke for each different ratio, thus increasing the efficiency of the same. Finally, the data offered by Skillbike is very important - the only bike that collects an incredible amount of data on both pedalling and performance.
You can connect it to Garmin or Strava, to track my fitness and effort based on your training or for challenges.  Combine all this with slopes ranging from 15 percent uphill to minus 3 percent downhill and what you have is a performance bike ideal for indoor training (and fun).

Optimize your training with Skillbike: 10 useful tips

But what advice can a professional cyclist give to those who want to maximise their results in training with Skillbike? We asked Technogym Master Trainer and Professional Cyclist Jen George for 10 useful and expert training tips so you can maximise your training with Skillbike.

1. Perfect Your Set-Up

Safety and comfort are the foundations of a great Skillbike workout. The frame has the look of a real outdoor bike and is ergonomically and biomechanically correct. This allows a close fit to their outdoor position but also - with the micro adjustments - a safe set-up for all users. You’ll get the most out of your workout with the optimal set-up for safety, comfort and efficiency. Safety first, but comfort is a close second - it is this that makes or breaks the relationship with a piece of equipment. Especially when your bum is involved!

2. Know Your Numbers – FTP

Skillbike provides an array of biofeedback that can be used to benchmark and progress. You can even assess pedal-strokes, smooth pedalling, higher cadence, better pedalling whilst descending, effective monitoring of heart rate variability and improving power output. In cycling, we use Functional Threshold Power - FTP, and the Technogym FTP test is easily accessed. I advise you do a 15 to 25minute warm-up prior to starting.
Understanding FTP
Functional Threshold Power - FTP is the average power you can hold on a bike for 60 minutes before “blowing up”. For practicality, we use a 20 minute test and use 95% of this extrapolated to 60minutes. All power mode training on Skillbike uses FTP, and Skillbike form classes follow FTP training zones. Personalised programmes should be based upon FTP too, as it dictates the body’s training zones. Repeating the FTP every 6-8 weeks keeps training effective.

3. Plan Your Workout

Your workouts should be planned from power, through speed, to stamina, and then a day off and repeat. It’s fine to do multiple days at each point - what matters is the order. There’s no need to suffer every day. If you are expecting to achieve a certain level, make sure you commit. But if after a good warm-up and two attempts, your session goal seems to be unachievable then turn that day into a rest day.

4. Power Training

Power training on Skillbike follows the same rules as training with weights: short sharp efforts with long recoveries. Skillbike power classes also include a period for improving force production or strength as a method of building absolute power over time.

5. Speed Training

Skillbike speed applies to leg speed rather than bike speed. The velocity at which the bike travels depends on leg speed, force production, terrain, and body weight. It’s important to have the ability to adapt leg speed on the bike to deal with terrain, and it’s even more important to be able to push a high power with that high cadence. In the speed series of programmes you will see a few angles being adopted, with the key ingredient being leg speed - not bike speed.

6. Stamina Training

When we talk about endurance, we refer to a rider’s base. This is a key factor when training on the bike. Most of this type of training happens in the winter months when we are not required to be fast, and it gives us the chance to improve on our potential. The bigger the base, the taller the pyramid -  with ultimate power production perched on the top.

7. Gears

The most important factor for a road rider - after fully inflated tyres - is smooth gear changes and correct gear ratios. Skillbike has the ergonomically correct position for the gear levers, and the ratios are semi compact with a 13/28 cassette. The gear you use dictates the leg speed, and as I’ve already said leg speed is very important in power production.
Slow legs require a more force per revolution to produce the same power as faster leg speeds (which require less force production for the same power output). Therefore slower leg speed creates more strain on muscles.

8. Use Apps to Support your Workout

“If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen…..”Every Skillbike workout will automatically be added to Strava as long as you’re logged into mywellness. You also have the added benefit of being able to ride outdoor routes you have planned. Simply log in, and your pre-planned routes will appear. Skillbike can adapt to give you an authentic outdoor feel in an indoors environment, with incline up to 15% and decline to -3%.

9. Cross-Train Off The Bike

Doing some strength or body weight training can decrease injury risk, reduce risk of osteoporosis, improve posture, and really improve performance on the bike. I highly recommend skipping two bike sessions in favour of the freeweights or functional zones. Remember, cycling is uni-directional but our bodies move in multi-directional planes. If you never train those planes, you’ll leave yourself open to weaknesses in these areas. Training them makes us 100% strong and ready for anything.

Bonus Tip: Music!

Music can make cycling sessions more productive and more fun. A higher tempo can really help keep your leg speed at the 90-95rpm sweet spot. Lower tempo will naturally slow your cadence to help you with strength workouts.

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