Leg Speed Intervals

Look at that gap!
Crit won with a compact chainset and high legspeed

When & Why?
As it say's above legspeed wins races.  If we all have the same gearing, and the same physical attributes, and the same relative power range, then the person who gets on top of their gear before the next rider, and spins their legs the fastest, will win the race.  It's simple, it's logical, it's physics.

This session can be carried out as part of your Pre-Competition training or as preparation for a key event.  Even a time trial!

On a turbo.  It can be done on the road but you'll need a consistent, straight, clear road with no distractions, junctions or headwinds.

Obviously to complete this drill, you will need a turbo or bike computer with a cadence counter!

Pick a nice comfortable gear that will give you mild resistance all the way to your max leg speed.  Back off the spring on the turbo, this isn't meant to be a hill session, then stick it on the big ring with a 16 or 15 gear at the back.

From a mid-tempo cadence, 70-80 rpm, s-l-o-w-l-y, adding about 1 rpm per second, build up to a cadence where you begin to bounce in the saddle.  Hopefully this has taken around 20 to 30 seconds.  This is now your reference cadence.

Back off down the gears and take a two minute spin to loosen the legs and "reset your seating position".

After two minutes, get back in the interval gear and ramp up quickly to 5 rpm below your "bounce point"; and hold for 30 seconds.  Back off for two minutes and repeat a maximum of ten times.

When you can do ten no problem, retest and start from a new reference point or stretch the effort to 60 seconds.  When you can rev at 150 rpm without bouncing for 60 seconds, you're ready to try something else!!!

This isn't a hard session (no big gears) but it will sting the legs.  Having said that, it can be done as part of a Recovery Ride for well trained athletes.  It can also be incorporated as a Wednesday session, if you're strong and are doing other intervals on a Tuesday and Thursday.  Or make it part of the drill on your endurance rides at the weekends. 

For maximising your road sessions, always do this when going downhill or with a tail wind.  Knock it down a gear and spin until you bounce.  It's free training.

The Warm Up Warning
All interval sessions require a thorough and proper warm up...

Once thoroughly warmed up and at "race pace" readiness, undertake the following session.

Session Description

Take Reference Test  
2 minutes recovery  
30 to 60 Second Interval  
2 minutes recovery  
For a total of 10 repetitions max  
Cool Down    

Session Timings

Warm Up 10  
Interval Effort 7  
Interval Recovery 20  
Cool Down 5  
Total Session Time 42 mins max

Session Schematic


  Duration in seconds shown up the side; up to 10 max