Up the stairs to 12’000′. Altitude training.


It’s a couple of weeks ago now but I’ve only just had the chance to write it up.

Ali had decided that she wanted Speedplay pedals, I think the main resaon is that they look cute but she assured me that it’s because they’re the most adjustable pedal system available and they look cute. She also wanted another opinion on her bike set up, so off we went for a weekend in the Lakes and a visit to The Body Rehab in Staveley.

The clinic is run by Graham. They have all sorts of equipment for training and rehab of athletes. Graham asked if I fancied a go on a Wattbike and his altitude trainer, whilst he and Ali admired her pedals…I mean set them up 😉


The two things, whilst complimentry are best explained separatly. (or if you prefer here’s The Body Rehab site with all the science! http://www.thebodyrehab.co.uk/altitide-training/performance/ ).

The Wattbike is a stationary trainer which is capable of giving you power readings and analysing any weak points in your pedal stroke. It has variable resistance. There’s a computer screen in front of you which shows you what your legs are doing and at what point there is weakness. A perfect cyclist will make a circle shape on the screen, showing a very even and efficiant stroke. A weak cyclist and it will show a ground nut shape or the sides will be different shapes. A sausage shape is on the way….I did sausages! This data can be collected over the session and over laid so you can analyse it. It showed that my left leg is far weaker….imagine how many hills I could eat if I used both legs!


Whilst trying to control my legs Graham explained the Altitude trainer. The idea is that if you train at altitude then the body becomes more used to running on less oxygen and therefore more efficient at using oxygen when back down at lower altitude. I did have visions of being in a funny tent pedalling away but no I got a gimp mask! Oh the glamour! There is resaoning behind this, if it was a tent then it would take ages to adjust the altitude as it’s a big space. However if you wear a mask then you can just pick for each session. The mask wasn’t too bad really. You have a read out of your heart rate and the blood saturation levels in front of you too. Graham explained what levels I needed to work within to be safe. He’d made it so I was at 12’000′ and I’d only walked upstairs!


You get quite a giddy rush when you get off the altitude, I can see why it’s addictive. It’s a great experience to have. I’m terrible at making myself get on turbo’s, attention span of a fish! There are so many things to watch on screen, like power, efficiency, heart, blood saturation etc that it keeps you really occupied. Now I just need to convince Ali that we need one for her clinic!


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