My spinning instructor begins every workout the same way. She begins by saying ” Hello everyone. My name is Sophie. Today we are going to work on techniques and drills that you can take out onto the road”. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear that the first time.
Sophie works on the basics – seated flats, seated climbs, standing flats, standing climbs, sprints and jumps. Wait a minute. I don’t jump when I am out on the road. What is a jump?
A jump is when you lift yourself out of the saddle using your legs muscles not your arms. When done correctly, it is a smooth transition from the seated to the standing position and back again. Because you do not hold one position longer than a few seconds or pedal strokes, it resembles a jump.
The purpose of doing jumps is twofold. The first is to make the transition up and back smooth. And, the second, is to build leg strength. It is analogous to doing squats because you are using the quads to lift yourself out of the saddle, power for a fews strokes and then settle back onto the saddle.
But Sophie “I don’t do this on my bike”. Oh, but yes I do. I do this every time I get out of the saddle to stretch my legs, every time I want to accelerate and, every time I tackle a steep clamp. I do this all the time. I just never thought of it as a “jump” and, I never thought of it as a way to develop leg strength.
Guess what. I do “jumps” on my bike all the time now. Yesterday, I had a 10 km stretch of road with no traffic, no stop signs and no traffic lights. I kept repeating “jumps” the entire 10 km to maintain a 25-30 km pace into a light wind on my heavy commuter bike.
Sophie is right. Everything she does in the class I can take out onto the road.