Sprint power training

Hi guys. I’m looking to increase my top end sprint power. What sort of training drills are most beneficial for this? And how often would I have to incorporate the drills into my training to see any benefit?

My experience is that doing sprints works the best for getting better at sprints.
Things that aid your power is low gear slow speed sprints for power and high cadence drills in and out of the saddle so spinning up to 150+ RPM.

I really need to work on my RPM, brute strength I got in spades with a power lifting background.

If you need to make rpm to get even the slightest gain in speed work on strength.

Hope it helps.


Podcast 185 had an interesting discussion by Pete Morris on learning sprinting technique that I found fascinating:

(@Nate_Pearson, how about doing a video of Pete’s Sprinting Clinic?)

In terms of workouts, I have done some of the sprint-intensity workouts (Birling, Detling, and Charing are all based on 30-second all-out sprints, consisting of 4, 5 or 6 efforts respectively).


This just in…

Check em out, its pretty interesting listen.

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I found this fascinating too.

Struck me that there was a whole lot more to a good sprint than just power. Body position and ‘the circle of power’ were key takeaways for me.

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I’ve seen improvements from doing this workout: 20 second all out sprint effort with 1:40 recovery. Do 4 sets of 4 with 8 to 10 minute recovery between sets. I start these from a decent speed (20mph+) in a gear that will let you max out without having to shift. 8-10 minutes sounds like a lot of rest between sets but if you are doing these right, you’ll need it. I do this on a 1 mile stretch of road where I can just keep going back and forth unmolested.

There is another variation where you start slow in a big gear at a low rpm and spin up.

You really have to do these outside to get the full benefit as the skill work of standing up and mastering the right bike motion while (hopefully) staying aero is a big part of the work.


Here are a couple of my favorite sprint drills that I should have mentioned. Couple of things to keep in mind (most of which have been mentioned).

  • Sprinting works much better outside
  • These are EXTREMELY taxing. Your whole body should be tired after a sprint workout.
  • Doing these drills in the proper position will pay much bigger dividends than a higher power sloppier sprint.
  • Give yourself as much rest as you need in between. 3-5 minutes is pretty standard.

Here are the 4 drills that I like to do. Mileage may vary, and everyone is different. I usually do each of them 5 times with plenty of rest in between.

  • Spin-ups - Start in a low gear (53-21/23) at around 10mph. Stand up, get into position and try to spin up to 120+ RPMs as quickly as possible. This should feel like you want to snap your crank arm off and only take a few seconds.

  • "Stomps" - Start in a high gear (52-12/13) at around 10 mph. Stand up, get into position and then try and get up to 90-100 RPMs as quickly as possible. Really focus on pulling your handlebars into your pedal stroke and perfect the timing of the rocking back and forth during your sprint. These should take 10-15 seconds.

  • Form into Real Sprints - Start in a reasonable gear at around 10mph. Stand up, get into position and then try to do your exact sprint at about 60% of your maximal power. Focus on holding everything taut and getting all of your power into your pedals. After 10-20 seconds ( I can last longer as the season progresses and the sprint training continues) turn it into a real 100% sprint effort like flipping a switch. Hold on to the high power real sprint as long as you can, but as soon as the form deteriorates at all it’s time to sit up and end the sprint.

  • Real Sprint - I think these work the best as a heads up sprint with another rider or finding a 20- 30 second hill that you can you ride into and then unleash a real sprint. You want to push all the way to the end of the sprint and sprint a few seconds longer than you feel like you can. This is just to push you right at the end when you are already fatigued from the rest of the workout.


@Jonathan We should use Pete’s write up and cut out the video footage for its own blog/forum post.


Thanks guys. Looks like there’s plenty to get my teeth into. I’m just getting into the second half of a build phase. Would you recommend maybe dedicating one session a week within the plans or setting aside a few weeks to really focus in on it?

If you do up a short video, maybe show an untrained sprinter, some commentary/instruction from Pete, and then show the improved sprinting form (and results). Short and sweet, but could be hugely informative.


Sprinting is both a skill and there’s a neuromuscular component to it. I’d add sprints at the end of workouts one to two times per week. It might impact signaling (ampk vs m-tor) but I think you’ll be okay.

The key is to constantly do them and the neuromuscular power comes quickly but also leaves quickly.

Chad probably has better advice than this though.


I like this idea very much.
I found this video awhile ago from GCN:

and I find it to be super helpful. I’m still trying to become a better sprinter, but I’ve found when I keep these in mind (particularly the one about bringing the bike to the body), that really seems to help my performance.
(GCN did another one with Marcel Kittel, but that one focuses more on sprint training drills, rather than form.)
This is also kind of a fun one to watch:

@Pete, @chad: Do you guys have some suggestions on how to work this into a training plan—say the later parts of short-power build or crit specialty?

Recently I’ve liked to tag these onto the end of my endurance/aerobic rides. I find they don’t prevent me from doing my harder workouts the next day.

You can extend your workouts and then try these out.


So I recently listened to the sprint power podcast episode on scientific triathlon and they recommended doing sprint training as a taper. So basically going to replace week 7-8 of the specialty phase with 30 second maximal efforts followed by 5 minutes rest 3 times a week for two weeks. The progression of number of reps will be 4,5,6,7,4,race day.

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Last year was the first time i did a planned series of sprint workouts and I was surprised at how much I got out of a pretty small about of work. 5 workouts over 5 weeks made a noticeable difference. and I was noticeably better after just 3. I did these as stand alone workouts and really got after it. 45 minutes, door to door, 50 if i had to stop and puke :wink:

Another thing I found is that you really need to do these outside especially if you have not already fully mastered sprint technique. You can get 8-9 10ths there on a trainer but that last bit that actually makes the most difference really requires learning how to put out the power on a moving bike, ideally while out of the saddle; staying in control once you get up near 35 mph :wink: and, if you can, doing all that while staying aero too. You aren’t going to master all that on a trainer.


Would you be willing to share your protocol for those workouts?

I got them from here https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/the-four-phases-of-sprint-training

The 20 sec on/1:40 recovery sets are my favorite (3-4 sets of 4 with 10 minutes rest between sets).
I can easily fit the sets within a 1km stretch of road going back and forth so its pretty easy to find a suitable place to do these.


Would you incorporate these in a longer ride? or just go out to only do these drills?