Power Meter Training – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Cycling Training and Fitness Glossary

I. What is a Power Meter?

A power meter is a device used by cyclists to measure the power output of their pedaling. It provides real-time data on how much power the cyclist is generating, measured in watts. This data is crucial for cyclists looking to improve their performance and track their progress over time.

II. How Does a Power Meter Work?

Power meters typically use strain gauges to measure the torque applied to the pedals as well as the angular velocity of the pedals. By multiplying these two values, the power meter can calculate the power output in watts. This data is then transmitted wirelessly to a cycling computer or smartphone for the cyclist to view in real-time.

III. Why Use a Power Meter for Cycling Training?

Power meters provide a more accurate and objective measure of a cyclist’s effort compared to other metrics like heart rate or speed. This allows cyclists to train more effectively by targeting specific power zones and tracking their progress over time. Power meters also allow cyclists to measure their efficiency and make adjustments to their technique to improve their performance.

IV. How to Use a Power Meter for Training

To use a power meter for training, cyclists first need to establish their power zones based on their functional threshold power (FTP), which is the maximum power output they can sustain for one hour. These power zones are then used to structure training rides and workouts to target specific physiological adaptations. Cyclists can also use their power data to analyze their performance in races or time trials and make strategic decisions during the event.

V. Types of Power Meters

There are several types of power meters available on the market, each with its own set of pros and cons. Some common types of power meters include:
– Crank-based power meters: These power meters are attached to the crank arms and measure the force applied to the pedals.
– Pedal-based power meters: These power meters are attached to the pedals and measure the force applied to the pedals.
– Hub-based power meters: These power meters are built into the rear wheel hub and measure the torque applied to the rear wheel.
– Spider-based power meters: These power meters are attached to the crank spider and measure the force applied to the crank arms.

Each type of power meter has its own set of features and considerations, such as compatibility with different bike setups and ease of installation.

VI. Common Misconceptions about Power Meter Training

There are several common misconceptions about power meter training that can hinder cyclists from fully utilizing this valuable tool. Some of these misconceptions include:
– Power meters are only for elite athletes: While power meters are commonly used by professional cyclists, they can also benefit cyclists of all levels by providing objective data on their performance.
– Power meters are too expensive: While power meters can be a significant investment, there are more affordable options available on the market that still provide accurate power data.
– Power meters are complicated to use: While there is a learning curve to using a power meter effectively, many cycling coaches and resources are available to help cyclists understand and interpret their power data.

By dispelling these misconceptions and understanding the benefits of power meter training, cyclists can take their training and performance to the next level.