Training with Torque rather than Watts - has anyone else done this?

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Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

I used torque to train for Cent Col Challenge. I spent a year, up to 10 hours per day, riding around in gear that was two cogs too big. I was trying to simulate climbing. I never looked at power. The results were not surprising. I totally lost my top end due to very few max efforts, but I was bullet proof. I could ride a pretty hard tempo all day and then get up the next day do it again, and do it day after day. My legs never got tired. And I could really climb for the first time in my life. Now with illiac artery endofibrosis those days seem in the distant past.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

Cycomanic
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by Cycomanic

What others have said here before, but Torque is essentially the same measurement as force (just for a rotational movement). We as cyclist do a sport which is almost 100% (unless you are a track sprinter) aerobic so it really is how much energy you can produce for a certain distance/time. The measure of that is power. Training for a specific torque is meaningless unless you are also prescribing a cadence, which is essentially power again.

To put it in other words, you gave the example of riding 290 W up a climb vs 300 W in the flat with the climb feeling harder for you. That comparison only works because you rode at similar Watts. I can tell you if you ride up the same steep hill once in a 53x11 so that you can barely turn your pedals (<50 rpm) and once in say 42x15 full gas, the second ride will be much harder, much more taxing for your cardiovascular system and much better training.

So your torque training examples (with implied power/cadence) you are essentially doing low or high cadence drills at a given power. Those drills can be very useful, but the power at which you ride those drills is really what is determining the cardiovascular effort, the torque is how much of a strength component is to the workout.

by Weenie


petromyzon
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by petromyzon

Think of two workouts at the same high-ish torque.

A. 8x 1 minute at 100-110 RPM
B. 2x 20 minute at 60-70 RPM

The former workout will likely increase your anaerobic (Zone 6 in Coggan terms) power, whilst the latter will likely decrease it and boost your Zone 4 power instead. Completely different.

Of course you need both factors to accurately describe any workout and manipulating torque is a useful training tool. But the rate at which you can do work is much more often the limiting factor for performance because our bikes have gears.

Marin
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by Marin

This thread has some really funky understanding of physics

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

And let's cut to the chase... 2x20 at low RPM is utterly pointless for training purposes unless you're Jordan Itaya.

DanW
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by DanW

Maybe not on the road, but off road longer, steeper climbs with loose/ muddy/ rocky surfaces can't always be tackled at *optimal* cadences... a bit off topic maybe but torque (or maybe think of being able to produce the required climbing power at a range of cadences) is very relevant off road

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

DanW wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:48 pm
Maybe not on the road, but off road longer, steeper climbs with loose/ muddy/ rocky surfaces can't always be tackled at *optimal* cadences... a bit off topic maybe but torque (or maybe think of being able to produce the required climbing power at a range of cadences) is very relevant off road

Not the point. You don’t train torque, especially not for 20min intervals. The point of 2x20s or 3x20s is to train up your threshold power and you are best off doing it at your self-selected optimal cadence. If you want to train your anaerobic/neuro systems, then do the appropriate intervals for that and it will translate into climbing loose stuff.

DanW
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by DanW

If you have to get up 20 minute climbs that will have you grinding away, struggling for traction (nice Welsh Winter springs to mind) then it might make sense to practise that :) Spinning a nice 2x20 at 90rpm in Z4 and doing some nice shorter intervals at higher power only gets you so far.

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

Doing repeated 3min max efforts at 90rpm will give you all the “torque training” you need for slogging it up 20min climbs at 60-70rpm. In addition it will heavily boost your Z4/Z5 output at the same time. Two blocks of 4x3s with 2min recovery and 10min rest between sets is going to be way, way better use of your time. I see no point in wasting a 20min effort at sub-optimal aerobic output. In other words, why limit your effort to 85% at 70rpm for 20min when it could be 95% at 90rpm?

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