Brenton Jones is a speed machine, with points jerseys and sprint victories to his name. The twenty-five year old from Victoria, Australia is fast out the blocks and sprinting is his currency.
“Sprinting is about timing, tactics, nerves and power.”
Going full gas to the line is pretty fun, even if you are just riding with mates. “Creating watts and turning the pedals over quickly is important. But doing it in the right gear and at the right time brings it all together. Sprinting is about timing, tactics, nerves and power,” says Brenton.
But don’t think of sprint training as useful only at the finish line. It’s also critical for bridging gaps, initiating breakaways and attacking on short climbs. With that in mind, Brenton explains five ways to supercharge your sprint.
Figure out your gearing
“Don’t shift into the 53-11T right away. Firstly because everyone in the bunch will hear you change gear and secondly because your cadence will be too slow as you try to turn over such a big gear. The aim is to turn your pedals quickly to create acceleration. It’s ok to shift gear by one or two mid sprint, so you keep accelerating.”
Play at racing
“Practise makes perfect. Break up the ride with your mates and sprint for signs or to the brow of short rises. It’ll help you get your gearing right and teach you to hold your line when sprinting with others.”
Work on your core
“A strong back and stomach will keep you stable when you are out the saddle. That way you don’t waste energy trying to balance and resist twisting and dipping as you go full gas. Try a 10 minute core circuit once a week to build your strength, include unweighted squats (10-15 reps), sits ups (20 reps) and 15-30 second plank.”
“The element of surprise is a great way to get one or two bike lengths advantage on your competitors. The more explosive you can be, the bigger the jump. Get your brain and body used to the change of pace and build your leg muscles to produce greater force.”
On the bike: on your turbo trainer, warm up for fifteen minutes. Shift to a harder gear and slow your pedal stroke down to around 20 RPM and then bang!
Go for 10-15 seconds. Have a rest for a minute or keep pedalling through as if you’ve attacked. Do that 3-5 times.
Your cadence will be slow at first, try to increase your cadence as quickly as possible and get on top of the gear. Keep your body still and try not to bounce or lose your form. Your aiming to hit a high peak speed or watts and keep it high for the duration of the sprint, don’t fade.
Off the bike: try tuck jumps and box jumps. Perform five tuck jumps, kick your legs off the ground, use your arms, bring your knees up and get try and get nice and high.
For a box jump; find a wall, set of steps or a bench roughly knee high. Jump cleanly onto the surface maintaining your balance landing two footed. Don’t step into the jump.
“Technique is key, and practise really does hone your skills. You are more aerodynamic when you sprint on the drops but if you don’t often ride in that position, it won’t feel natural or coordinated. Have a little dig on your training rides, get on the drops, get low and go.”