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Coaches Blog

LOW BRO: A Good Substitution for Traditional Strength

Right now, for most of us, it is our off-season. This is typically when we shift our focus to base training and strength building. Often as athletes and coaches, we struggle to find ways to fit traditional strength training into the plan when trying to train for three disciplines already.


The answer to this is fairly easy: incorporate strength training into the workouts. Being a physical therapist, I like to call this functional strengthening. In reality, all strength training should be functional--that is, fill a weak spot in a current movement or mimic the movements of the activity for which you're training.


One of the best strength training workouts for cycling is LOW BRO work. LOW BRO is low cadence, high resistance training. LOW BRO stands for lowest gear possible and big ring only (if you have 2 chainrings).


With LOW BRO work, you want to pick the biggest gear that you can sustain a cadence of 70 rpm. effort on. These efforts should be around RPE 7 (hard). Typically, power should be in the Threshold or Low VO2 range. If you're performing these efforts outside, doing them on flat terrain is best.


I like to start athletes with shorter LOW BRO efforts and progress up as they tolerate it. I also like to incorporate LOW BRO work into a workout that may include other intensity focus or into technique /drill workouts. Some very standard LOW BRO workouts are below. These are very standard, "non-spiced up" ones :-P


LOW BRO SETS

10 X 1min LOW BRO, 90sec Rest Interval (RI)

8 X 2min LOW BRO, 2min RI

7 X 3min LOW BRO, 3min RI

6 X 4min LOW BRO, 4min RI

5 X 5min LOW BRO , 4min RI


Remember, this is still strength training, and the effort level is hard, so this must be considered when planning recovery and the overall intensity of the session. If your athlete's cadence is higher than 70 rpm by more than 5rpm, then they should go to a bigger gear, even if this results in a small drop in power.


If you aren't already having your athletes do LOW BRO work (or you aren't incorporating it into your own training plan), hopefully, this gives you a great tool to use for strength training that is very easy to incorporate into your routine.

 

Coach Aaron Scheidies is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and licensed Physical Therapist. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Exercise Physiology, Aaron has coached World Champion Paratriathletes as well as Ironman World Championship qualifiers. Aaron is an 11 time World Paratriatlhon Champion and has set the World’s fastest time for anyone with a disability at both the Olympic (1:57:24) and Ironman 70.3 distances. (4:09:54).

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