When we quantify our work, we can track our progress both over time and in real-time. In the weight room, we know we're improving when we can lift more weight. Runners know they're progressing when they can run farther, faster. In cycling, we use power as a gold standard, even over mileage and heart rate. While heart rate training is highly beneficial, it can be influenced by many variables such as the body's physiological responses to inadequate sleep, temperature, water intake, caffeine, and overtraining. Power on the other hand, is a mechanical response -- the only way to increase it is to do the work!
Here at CADENCE, our Stages SC3 bikes are widely regarded for their precision when it comes to measuring power output. To better measure power, you need to be on a bike with an accurate power meter -- and we have 30 of them in our studio! Setting goals and measuring progress can be a huge motivator, and training with power makes that possible. The first line on the console of your studio bike gives you your power reading (measured in watts). You can affect how much power you're cranking out by turning up the resistance (work), pedaling faster (while still staying in a safe RPM range), or both.
Using a bike with an accurate power meter is kind of like having a personal trainer motivate you through your workout -- it can tell you when to back off or can give you the knowledge on how you've progressed over time. It gives you data to track and measure your goals -- for example, if you are a rider averaging 120 watts per hour, and a month later you're averaging 140, you know you're getting stronger! Combined with great music and the energy that working out as a group brings, using power in an indoor cycling class creates a fun, effective workout!
Over the summer, we'll be offering opportunities for you to complete a 'FTP' test (Functional Threshold Power), which will give you an idea of your maximum power output. You can repeat this test over time to determine how you're getting stronger, as well as determine your personal training zones (more on this later).
For now, check out the short video below which goes over the Stages SC3 console!