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Promotional Feature: Wattbike: Powering Olympians to podiums

Used by athletes of all disciplines at the Team GB Preparation Camp in Rio, the Wattbike has demonstrated its capacity to help elite sportspeople and Olympians reach their full potential

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 10
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Track cyclist Joanna Rowsell-Shand with her gold medal from Rio
Track cyclist Joanna Rowsell-Shand with her gold medal from Rio

Wattbike has a long standing history within elite sport, and a proven record of helping world class performers reach their performance peak.

Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Wattbike were approached by Paul Ford, the Pre-Games Manager at the British Olympic Association (BOA), who was tasked to manage the training facilities in Brazil. Ford explains: “Wattbikes are already the bikes of choice at many National Governing Bodies, across English Institute of Sport sites, in high performance centres and for individual athletes and coaches so it made sense that they were the bike of choice for the BOA when we were creating the training environments abroad.

“The bikes have a strong hold on the market, they're used by athletes in their day-to-day training and Team GB are familiar with using them.”

In March this year, 28 Wattbikes were shipped to Rio for distribution across training facilities at the Team GB Preparation Camp in Belo Horizonte; Minas Tênis Clube and UFMG. They were also available in the Olympic Village in Barra da Tijuca and at the Team GB Performance Centre.

Ford adds: “The bikes were available to all using these facilities, being used for anything from cardio and power training through to warm-up, recovery or rehabilitation purposes.

"The bikes help prevent the athletes from overloading during their training, whilst maintaining consistency to replicate their UK-based training.”

Team GB’s Chef de Mission, Mark England adds: “We’re delighted to be working with Wattbike and are grateful for the provision of their bikes in the Olympic environment.

"It aids the team’s preparation and recovery and ensures that we’re delivering another bespoke asset to our athletes pre, during and post their competition.”

AIMING FOR MEDALS
Joanna Rowsell–Shand, British Track Cyclist and Double Olympic Champion, comments: “The funny story is, when we arrived in Rio we wanted to take the road bikes out for a spin but my bike wasn’t set up ready to go. So I headed down to the training centre and luckily there were a load of Wattbikes, so I jumped on one to get my legs moving. So, my very first ride in Rio was actually on a Wattbike.”

“I do specific sessions on the Wattbike that I can’t do on the track or road. It feels like riding a real bike and is the most efficient and effective way for any cyclist to improve their fitness. It’s the best way to train, sessions on them really pay off.”

Fellow cyclist, Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead), British Road Cyclist and World Road Race Champion, adds: “I chose to become an ambassador for Wattbike because I really believe that it can offer me a different and effective tool for training. In the run up to Rio, I wanted to do specific climbing efforts and have confidence in my analysis and data.”

A bronze medal for Katy Marchant in the Women’s Sprint ensured that every Team GB cyclist that competed left Rio with at least one medal. At London 2012, Marchant was not even a cyclist, she was training as a heptathlete as part of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s training group under coach Toni Minichiello. But after he spotted her results on the Wattbike, Minichiello contacted British Cycling and Marchant was added to their programme.

Minichiello has been training Jessica using the Wattbike since before London 2012, and it became a key piece of equipment through, during and after her pregnancy in 2015.

“The Wattbike responds like a real bike, you get the resistance instantaneously so it’s much better for the training we do related to track and field.” Minichiello explains. “It’s also the numeracy of it and ability to quantify information. To run 10 repetitions of 200m on the track is quite debilitating, but we can do 15-20 on the bike and get the same physiological effect while getting more volume of work done.”

Minichiello adds: “Jessica tends to use the Wattbike every day, we use it as part of our warm-up protocols but we’ll also do two to three sessions a week that are Wattbike-specific. Through pregnancy and post-pregnancy, it was critically important. In the second trimester, it was key to use the bike to train with less impact and by the third trimester, the vast majority of sessions were done on the Wattbike.”

TRAINING ON LAND
Great Britain won their first medal of Rio 2016 as Adam Peaty took Gold in the men’s 100m Breaststroke with a world record. The Wattbike has been providing a core part of Peaty’s training programme and Melanie Marshall, elite British Swimming Coach, comments:

“I started using the Wattbike with Adam two years ago. It was extremely important to build up the leg muscles and that’s where the Wattbike came into play as it’s great for working the big muscles hard, against a force rather than against the water in the pool.”

It’s central to the land training element, and we always position a bike poolside so Adam is able to work his legs before getting into the water, maintaining consistent power over time. With other bikes the athlete can beat the machinery, but you can’t out-spin the Wattbike.”

The British Sailing Team had six Wattbikes in Rio for the two years leading up to the Games. Stephen Park OBE, British Sailing Team Olympic Manager, explains: “The Wattbike is the most frequently used piece of equipment in our gym and are priority items that we ship to major international championships. Strength and conditioning is a key aspect of Olympic sailing, but each sailing discipline requires specific training, which the Wattbike is adaptable to with a high degree of accuracy.”

“Every sailor on the programme uses the Wattbike as a core part of training, and most are connected to the Wattbike Hub app to enable them to track their progress accurately and log sessions.”

Discover Your Gold
#DiscoverYourGold is a talent recruitment campaign run by the UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) Performance Pathways Team. It launched in July to identify the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic Champions.

Encompassing five strands, the campaign is utilising Wattbikes for testing within the #DiscoverYourPower and #DiscoverYourFight categories. The bikes will be used as a performance measure to analyse peak power, average sustained power and aerobic capacity of 15-24 year olds.

Within these two strands, over 1,400 athletes will be tested using tests including the Wattbike 6-second peak power test.

Lizzie Wraith, Performance Pathway Scientist at the English Institute of Sport, adds: “We’ve used Wattbikes in previous talent ID testing so they provide the perfect benchmark to compare talent. The bikes are suitable for testing across our age range and with so many athletes to test, we needed bikes that were robust, reliable and accurate.

"The Wattbikes are the perfect tool to test raw physical potential.”

TEL: +44 (0)115 945 5450
EMAIL: [email protected]
WEB: www.wattbike.com

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