This Cyclist Did 30 Days of Squats to See If It Would Improve His Performance on the Bike

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After a period of physical inactivity while recovering from Covid, British racing cyclist James Lowsley-Williams, a.k.a. Hank, decides he needed to kickstart his training routine with a physical challenge, and commits to doing squats every day for a month. In a new video on the Global Cycling Network channel, he measures whether the experiment has any impact on his cycling performance by tracking his heart rate variability (HRV) as well as his power on the bike in 10 and 20-second sprints.

Each day, Hank must do 100 goblet squats using a 10-kg dumbbell (equating to 22 pounds). He immediately finds the full range of motion required in this move quite challenging. “That’s really far,” he says after his fifth rep. “I’m regretting this already.”

Hank has to power through some real soreness in his muscles over the first few days, but stays on-track with his 100 reps each day. “My legs aren’t hurting quite as bad as they were in the first four days,” he says a week into the challenge, “but they’re still sore and stiff.”

Two weeks in, that soreness has slightly abated but he notes that his legs still feel stiff and heavy when he’s out on his bike due to the continuous strain he’s putting on them during his strength training sessions. “I haven’t had one day yet where I haven’t been sore in the legs,” he says.

30 days and 3,000 squats later, Hank conducts another test and finds there has been a considerable improvement to his power on the bike: 1,323 watts output compared to 1,019 watts on Day 1. However, his functional threshold power (FTP) has decreased as he wasn’t doing much actual cycling during the 30 days.

“I think it just shows that if you focus primarily on strength training, then you are going to improve that max power,” he says. “But that endurance is going to drop off if you don’t spend time on the bike.”

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