Advice for a friend coming back from injury

Hi there,

I have a cycling buddy who has never trained on a turbo trainer, and he recently broke his collarbone.

For background, he is a bike courier and did an ultra-cycling race this summer. He is super fit but never used anything other than feel for traning.

Some of the people of our cycling club decided to group together and lend him a smart trainer, and some of the other gadgets (HRM, etc), and get him on a program to recover a bit of his fitness before he can actually ride a bike outside.

My take is this: start exercising on the turbo when the doctors give the OK, first week or so will be familiarizing himself with the equipment, pootle around in Zwift , etc. Build up time on the saddle up to 1:30 hours or so, it takes some getting used to.

After this stage is over, with no setbacks, then comes (if doctors say it’s fine) a week of “traditional base”, and later an SST base block.

Before coming back to the road, if the healing process has proceeded as it should, one last week of VOMax , and then back to the road.

Would SST interfere too much with the bone recovery? How long would you say he would have to wait to start that level of intensity?

Hard to say w/o knowing how bad the break was…but many top cyclists are back on the turbo the first week after breaking their collarbone.

Again, it depends on the break and each case is different. I would get input form the docs, but most importantly, let pain be his guide.

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I would probably just use Train Now or Zwift workouts (I don’t know what they have these days). Unless he really wants a target. But if he has always ridden by feel, a plan might feel too restrictive vs just picking what sounds good.

That is usually always my first recommendation. Never push through pain!

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Hello there,

Fast forward 2 months, my friend has been doing unstructured zwift rides for a few weeks and then I put him through hist first ever FTP test. To add insult to injury, I put him through a 20 minute test. We both tested roughly the same watts, around 300, but he weighs about 70. He said that FTP testing sucks, but was happy to learn that he’s at over 3’7 w/kg, still recovering from injury , and on the trainer. He reported no shoulder pain so all is good in that regard.

I noticed that our power zones are the roughly same, and his power average in free Zwift rides is similar to what I average in SST rides. I think he’s riding a little too hard for unstructured rides, we’ll start with SST in mid January.

The break was so bad, the bone was shattered and the doctors could not put everything together, they had to throw away some splinters.

They put everything together with a big titanium plate and screws, and I think they had to put there some extra bone from … I don’t know where they got the bone from. So it will be a long recovery.