Power station vs. Nine Hammers? Does low cadence training for minutes at a time work?

I have read conflicting studies (OK, the abstracts) on whether low cadence training is beneficial.  It seems to be agreed as beneficial for max effort, 10-30s type of intervals - similar to squats - really challenging all fast-twitch fibers.  This makes sense.  I'm really not sure I understand the benefits of low cadence for 3 minutes at a time.  Plus, Power Station was a bit easy last time I trained with it.  The plan calls for it tonight but I'll probably switch for Nine Hammers.  Anyone have experience or thoughts on the matter?




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  • Official comment

    Hey Jack,


    Great question here!  While I won't claim to be a coach or the authority on this subject I have gone and asked the opinion of one of our coaches and he cautions comparing academic studies to real world training conditions. 

    Strength Endurance training (low cadence work) like you find in Power Station is prescribed by most, if not all, coaches.  Replacing Power Station with Nine Hammers is not a good idea, as Power Station is placed in the plans more often than not at a point of acute fatigue where top end power is diminished to the point that true VO2 work would be very difficult to complete.

    Also, keep the workout description in mind...  

    "On the surface this seems like a rather tame session: a series of intervals that are all under five minutes long and which are almost all under threshold. But there is more here than the power file shows. The lack of “intensity” in these short sessions is made up for by the very low cadence targets each effort requires. This creates minimal cardiovascular stress but places a tremendous load on your muscular system. The goal is to keep your upper body absolutely rock solid during these efforts. If you find that you bob back and forth for each pedal stroke then your core is not up to the task your legs are giving it (better get onto our yoga videos and strengthen that core).

    This session can be a great test to see how your lower back will hold up over a longer ride outside. A core that will fail you after 3 hours of road riding can often be identified fairly quickly during this session. If your back is burning just as badly as your legs it's a signal to do some additional core strengthening. With so much stress on your muscles this is a great session for improving your overall endurance and your ability to produce lots of high torque, giving your NM a nice boost along the way."

    Sometimes Coaches (or training plans designed by those coaches) are more mindful of calculated Suffering and... dare I say it... recovery... *Gulp*... than we Sufferlandrians are.  

    I hope that this helps a bit.  Happy Suffering!!

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