Over the next couple of months you will probably start focusing on your training for next year , box sprints are an invaluable asset to your training .
Below is Pedal2Medals Mike Day description on how to achieve the most from your box sprint session , you don’t need a fancy stand like the one in the pictures , you could make a wooden box or I just used to use some bricks….its that easy.
Take the Hint: Do Those Box Sprints
By Mike Day
I turned pro at 17 and, looking back, I wasn’t ready. I told myself, if I won the ABA Grands in 17x, I would turn pro the next year– which I did, at the Winter Nationals in Phoenix.
From the time I was 13 or so, I could never hold my own down the first straight, and you can imagine how much that deficiency was amplified in the pro class.
Every now and again I would surprise myself on the first straight, but I was really good at coming from behind and passing–so much so that I could still manage podiums based on those skills. I just worked on what I was good at like rhythm sections and track speed and did not put in much time in getting a better first straight.
It’s easy to work on the things we’re good at, right? After all, that’s a lot more fun than putting in time on the things we’re not-so-good at. I had a really good gate start, but my third pedal through my 10th were awful.
If you have this problem, or just want to get the most out of those all-important pedal strokes, I have two words for you… Box. Sprints.
Anatomy of a Box Sprint
•Find a box that is the exact height of your pedals in the gate. If you can’t find one, do what I did and build one out of wood.
•Put the platform under your back pedal, on flat ground. Mark off the distance that you want to sprint with the box being your start and a cone signaling the end of the sprint. I usually do the distance from the gate to the first jump which is around 12 cranks.
•Balance on the box like you do in your start position and pedal off of it to the cone. Don’t worry so much about the first pedal but more about your second pedal through the cone. Be sure to stand tall, with your chest up, like you are in a race at the track. Remember its not about the start so don’t worry so much about your gate form and focus on the exercise.
•The key is to focus on accelerating the entire way through the sprint. With the box sprint on flat ground you will be grinding and it will be hard. Remember to keep good form and make every pedal stroke count (incidentally, this is the “no fun, but necessary” part of the training, in case you hadn’t noticed).
Now that you know the set up and form, try the workout below. Be sure to do your sprints in a safe place, not on the street with cars, kids and dogs wandering into your “runway.” I do them behind my house on the bike path.
Start off with the goal of 10 good sprints! Separate them into two sets of five sprints. Space them out two to three mins between sprints, then take a 10-minute break between sets. Do these two or three times per week and watch your acceleration improve over the next couple months!
Working on your weaknesses isn’t fun, but the reward of seeing improvement will be worth the effort! When you start to see results from that work, it will fuel the fire to do more.
The box sprint isn’t a “magic bullet” that will replace the other work you have to do, but it will definitely help your first straight, as it helped mine.
Your willingness to do the “unpleasant” work will be the difference between barely making the main, and standing on the podium–whatever your age or proficiency. Don’t give up…dig deep and double down.
Mike Day, co-founder, Pedals 2 Medals