Superior to monitoring heart rate which is only a measure of how hard the human body is working internally, power output for a cyclist is the amount of work generated into forward motion. Power equals work multiplied by time. Work for a cyclist is the force applied to the crank arm times the cadence. Multiply this by time and we get power. What this means is that power is a definitive value of a cyclist’s performance. Unlike heart rate, there are no variables with power.
Training to specific power outputs usually requires the use of a crank system such as those made by InfoCrank, Power2Max, or a rear wheel based device like a PowerTap hub. Using the Revbox Erg as a training tool, a rider who does not have a crank based system can use the supplied laminated handlebar charts. These align fan speed with power, with the fan speed being picked up by a wireless cycle computer. While not as accurate as a crank based system, this method is an adequate way for a rider without that equipment, to gauge their power while training on the Revbox Erg.
From in depth personal fitness tests, with protocol explained in the supplied Revbox Erg manual, a rider is able to create an athletic profile of their current physiological capacity. This information can be used by the rider to train to certain power outputs, maximising time and efficiency. Just with an additional cadence computer, even a rider without power measuring cranks is able to train very specifically for their goals using the Revbox Erg.
The amount of force that can be applied by the cyclist to the crank arms to create torque is strength. Rotational speed (pedal cadence) multiplied by torque equals power. While power is most often referred to for training purposes, power is essentially the end value of the strength applied times cadence relationship.
To ride faster a cyclist can maintain a certain pedal speed and push a harder gear or pedal the same gear, just faster. Both result in more power but each puts very different demands on the human body. Strength and cadence need to be carefully understood and considered if a cyclist is to achieve maximum benefit from their training and maximum performance while racing. The Revbox Erg has been designed for effective training of both high values of strength and cadence. The chain drive mechanism will tolerate huge amounts of acceleration force for non-slip power transfer. The large diameter air-braked fan is impossible to spin out as the air resistance keeps rising with speed.
Strength training is often performed at low pedal speeds, focusing on taxing the muscular system. The Revbox Erg allows a rider to train at an extremely low cadence range but at very high resistance. In the highest gear of 53/11, just 45RPM requires 500watts, while 60RPM requires 800watts, providing a range difficult enough for even the strongest athletes. The specially tuned low inertia, low friction design of the Revbox Erg means that a rider is able to maintain good pedaling technique which isolates and develops specifically targeted muscle groups.
The counterpart of strength to produce power, developing a high cadence, or pedal speed, is essential for a rider to reduce the onset of fatigue, and also improve acceleration. High cadences, while requiring more oxygen, increase the body's recruitment of slow twitch muscle fibers. These are more efficient at producing energy and have greater fatigue resistance than the higher force producing fast twitch muscle fibers.
The Revbox Erg has a tuned resistance that encourages recruitment of the lower leg muscles through the crankarm “dead-center”. Improving the coordination of these muscles in tandem with the main force producing muscles of the upper legs, is a crucial aspect in a rider elevating their sustainable cadence. The first requirement for achieving a high cadence is coordination. As this neuromuscular functioning is raised to a level relevant to the riders goals, cardiovascular and strength training can also be ramped up accordingly.
To improve a riders functional cadence, training on a low inertia high resistance stationary trainer provides the most controlled and effective environment. The large fan of the Revbox Erg maintains resistance throughout the whole circumference of the pedal stroke. A high inertia trainer unit will accelerate from the point of peak power and maintain momentum through the “dead-center” of the pedal stroke. Much like cycling with a tail wind, this limits specific muscle adaptations as the trainer unit is doing much of the work for the rider during a significant portion of the pedal stroke.
In a sport that requires such rapid and repetitive movements from major muscle groups, coordination, neuromuscular-efficiency, often limits performance more than a lack of strength or cardiovascular fitness.
Neuromuscular efficiency is described as the ability of the brain to muscle pathway to allow prime movers, synergists, stabilisers and neutralisers to work together in synergy as an integrated unit.
Neuromuscular efficiency is crucial to all cyclists at all levels as improving the efficiency of the power delivery to the pedals ultimately results in better oxygen utilization and less muscle fatigue.
The Revbox Erg air-braked fan with precisely tuned low inertia and low friction chain drive connection provides an ideal controlled environment for a rider to concentrate on their technique and intensity.
With coordination being the most important prerequisite for achieving a high cadence, it is easy to see how a rider can use this to increase power output, enhance endurance by decreasing muscle fatigue, and improve acceleration and sprinting. The Revbox Erg air fan provides a brilliant audial recognition of where in the pedal rotation power is being applied by the rider. The diameter of the fan, its weight and rotational speed, have been designed to allow a rider to become aware of inconsistencies in their pedal stroke. By using this feature, a rider can improve their muscle coordination and ultimately produce more power, with less fatigue, for longer durations.
Almost a science in its own right, preparing the human body for peak performance in the minutes prior to an event, is now understood to have even more influence than once thought. For the athlete considering every detail over months or even years of training, a correct and planned warm-up schedule needs to come from an in-depth analysis of the power outputs, cadence range, and momentum rates, applicable to the competition.
Standard trainer designs and especially the “rollers” styles are often not able to provide enough resistance for a rider to replicate certain heart rates or power outputs at cadences appropriate for the event. Rollers in particular are not able to generate anywhere near the required resistance levels, so even though the heart rate of an individual may be raised to the target zone, resistance for the muscles is not.
The Revbox Erg with its capacity to provide unlimited resistance in a tuned low inertia format, means any bike rider from amateur road cyclist to world champion track sprinter, can prepare both cardiovascular and muscular systems as best as possible. Events where the conditions will mean the rider carries a low level of momentum such as hill climbs, or flat road head wind, and of course mountain biking, need to have special consideration given to the warm up. High inertia trainers are not able to replicate these loads. The Revbox Erg is a perfect warming up tool for any athlete serious about maximum performance.
To get the most out of your training we recommend our Revbox Power App along with our required sensor set or a crank based power meter to monitor your training.
Although events are often held in environments that may be affected by weather, training however is most often best done in controlled situations to make the time spent exercising as effective as possible. Many cyclists will have experienced finishing a training ride realising that a large proportion of time has not been spent within the required intensity zones. If an athlete can make small improvements in every training session, then the accumulated benefit over weeks, months or years, can add up to significant performance gains.
Attempting to perform high intensity, specific training sessions outdoors, does not come close to the consistency of a stationary indoor environment on a Revbox Erg. The duration of training inhibited due to road surface variations, corners, and traffic, as well as hill gradient variations, wind, rain, and mechanical issues such as flat tires, all add up to a considerable loss that could potentially have been fitness gains if a rider focused important training sessions on a Revbox Erg.
Please go to http://revbox.co.nz/manual/ to download one of our specific Revbox training plans.