At first, adding sprints into a recovery ride seems like a terrible idea – isn’t it making your ride too hard?
Well, if you do the correct sprints then you can actually be helping your body to recover quicker. Aim for five or six high cadence sprints, of five or six seconds. in an easy gear of (39x17t or similar), with five minutes recovery between sprints.
Why? Studies have shown that completing high cadence sprints can actually encourage your body to release human growth hormones, which your body sends out to signal to your muscles that they should rebuild and repair themselves. Therefore, if you stimulate your body to release the right hormones then this will help you feel better the next day when you get back to the hard stuff.
By including high cadence sprints in a recovery ride then you are not only producing the hormones that are going to help you recover, but you are also working on muscle activation. This is one of the key elements of sprint power and refers to how well and how well your neuromuscular system can activate or ‘fire’ your muscle fibres.
The more muscle fibres you can get to ‘fire’ at once, the more powerful the contraction. Therefore, despite not putting any real power through the pedals, you can be working on you race-winning sprint at the same time as aiding recovery.