How to build up stamina | Health on the saddle – Selle Italia
How to build up stamina

How to build up stamina


Special training can help to make strides in your performance levels, but it has to be done methodically, staying clear of any half-baked schemes. One approach within everyone’s reach which is highly effective for boosting performance levels is the Slow Frequency Repetitions method.


It is one thing to fit in as many rides as possible during the week in order to stay fit, but quite another to draw up a functional training scheme designed to boost our performance levels. Of course, it is by no means compulsory to do this. The initial approach is quite absolutely fine, but if you do decide to train yourself, it has to be done seriously without muddling through with your own personal method.

There is no point in downloading professional training charts on internet, like many people do. This will only lead to deep depression because you will soon realise that certain standards are infeasible for mere mortals…

Everyone must come to terms with their own physical characteristics. This is the only way forward. By taking these into account, we can start training methodically and constantly to achieve optimal strength and aerobic capacity, enabling our body to attain its own individual performance rate. Discard any illusions of reaching outstanding results in record time; even if you think you are fairly fit to start with, you will still take several weeks to obtain peak performance.


Aerobic endurance, alactic capacity, anaerobic threshold, VO2max… the theories and scientific parameters on the various training methods abound and it would be impossible to list them all. What should not be overlooked is that it all depends on the final goal: going on a bike tour, taking part in a Granfondo… or racing in the Giro d’Italia. Everything takes on a different slant.

But, generally speaking, it can be said that for most “ordinary” cycling enthusiasts a good target to pursue is that of boosting muscle efficiency and power when cycling for extended periods of time with little oxygen because this will stop lactic acid from building up.


The Slow Frequency Repetitions approach

One of the best known and extensively used methods is the Slow Frequency Repetitions approach. Invented by Prof. Conconi in the ’80s, it enables cyclists to significantly improve their performance levels.

In a nutshell, this technique involves repeatedly tackling gentle slopes (about 6%) for 2 minutes whilst keeping up a rpm rate of about 50 pedal strokes per minute with a big gear (53/19).

Don’t “pull on” the handlebar, use a high grip and try to pedal as smoothly as you can.

Pay attention to this piece of advice because a poor saddle position could negatively affect the pedalling strokes with such a big gear and cause undue pressure on the knee.


The schedule

To begin with, a series of 4-5 ascents punctuated by 3-minute descents to recoup energy. Then gradually both the length and the number of the repeated ascents must be increased until you reach a set of 8, lasting about 3 minutes each.

Once each session is over, we recommend pedalling along a flat road at speed (90 rpm) to loosen up your muscles.

This kind of training programme calls for a heart-rate monitor to check that the heart beat always falls within the “medium intensity” range and that it never exceeds 85% of the maximum frequency, to be calculated by subtracting one’s own age from the standard number 220.

This training programme should preferably be started at the beginning of the season and can last between 6 to 8 weeks.







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