Jürgen Zack shares his favorite workouts with fellow athletes, such as this bike session, a combination of low cadence/high resistance and high cadence/low resistance work.
One of the original German über-bikers, former pro Jürgen Zack was known for his gear-grinding “Zack Attack,” leaving rivals decimated in his dust on triathlon courses around the globe. His cycling strength was so dominating that it earned him eight iron-distance titles and his world bike-course record (4:14:16 set at Ironman Europe, now Challenge Roth, in 1999) stood for more than a decade (countryman Sebastian Kienle rode nine seconds faster on the Roth course in 2010). These days, Zack lives year-round in Phuket, Thailand where he serves as senior coach of the Triathlon Academy at Thanyapura, the island’s world-class sports training center, while battling in the age-group ranks.
After a warm-up spin…
- Climb a hill for 6–15 minutes seated, with no upper-body movement, at a low cadence (50–55 rpm) in the big chain ring.
- The heart rate should be relatively low to avoid lactic acid buildup.
- Finish the climb with one minute at a high cadence (110–125 RPM) in the small chain ring on top of the hill.
- Repeat this effort three or four times during one session.
“The improvement of bike-specific strength through big-gear stuff is common knowledge, but the combination with fast spinning right after is a new dimension,” says Zack. “I call it ‘muscle confusion.’ It does improve intra- and inter-muscular coordination and makes you a faster cyclist. I guarantee!”