Interval training is one of the best ways to build speed and muscular endurance in the saddle.

Interval training is one of the best ways to build speed and muscular endurance in the saddle.

Long road rides have given you solid muscular endurance, but your chicken legs lack the strength to muscle up those singletrack steeps. Try these two exercises used by Collin Izzard, head trainer for Carmichael Training Solutions in Asheville, N.C.


POWER INTERVALS

• On a forest road or long stretch of level singletrack, crank your bike into the big gear and muscle up to speed until you can sustain that gear for a short period of time.

•Keep pedaling in the heavy gear for 15 seconds, then drop it into an easy gear and rest for six minutes.

• Repeat six times.

“You don’t want to pedal power intervals too often,” Izzard says. “A couple of times a week should work.”


PLYOMETRICS

• Izzard uses plyometrics as a training supplement to help build explosive power in his athletes. One of his favorites is the box jump.

• Start with a bench about 24 inches off the ground.

• Drop into a half squat, then jump with both feet onto the bench, landing on your toes and sinking into the squat again.

• Wait one second, then drop down to the ground landing softly on both feet.

• Do three sets of 10.

• As soon as that’s too easy, find a higher bench, box, or boulder to jump onto.