Aldo Sassi who is regarded by many as one of the greatest cycling coaches who coached some of the biggest names in the sport including Ivan Basso, Cadel Evens, Charly Wegelius, Cam Wurf, Dario Cioni and Riccardo Riccò.
Aldo’s thoughts are muscle strength is almost as important as aerobic fitness for a cyclist. Early on in his carrier, he was an advocate for gym strength work but as his coaching career progressed, he changed his philosophy on strength training for cyclists. Apart from back and abdominal work, all other strength training for the legs were done on the bike.
Aldo would call these sessions “SFR” for an Italian term that translates to “strength endurance climbs.”
Ado would give his athletes SFR twice a week in the offseason and once a week between races. These sessions would involve low cadence work on hills of 6-8% and placed with high tension. This builds specific strength because the strength limiter in endurance cycling isn’t just neuro-muscular. More important is the extent of blood perfusion into the muscles.
A typical SFR session would look something like; Warm up well, using a 6-8% hill, 8x 5min hard efforts @ 35-40 rpm with 2-3min freewheeling/easy spin down the hill for recovery.