Nico Valsesia: “My weekly training plan with the FORZA PURA bike cranks.”25 January 2021
The use of special bike cranks for a workout that involves all the lower muscular districts is not yet a widespread practice among amateur athletes. But the FORZA PURA independent bike cranks are elevating the concept of pedaling to a higher level: it is not only fun but also a new technique aimed at improving efficiency and performance in the medium-long term. In fact, these new cranks, designed by MagneticDays in collaboration with the endurance champion Nico Valsesia, replace the classic crank system with a new one, which is “independent” from the bottom bracket. This offers the athletes a totally innovative way of perceiving not only the pedal stroke but also their own position on the bike.
With FORZA PURA bike cranks all muscle groups involved in the 4 phases of pedaling are trained selectively, in particular those which – in most cases – are almost never used. And speaking of Nico Valsesia, we reached him by phone to ask him three questions and to better understand both his personal use of the FORZA PURA independent bike cranks within a weekly training plan, and what benefits he is obtaining in cycling and running.
As a user of FORZA PURA bike cranks, what is your perception of load during a training session so far? And what benefits have you noticed in cycling and running?
Let me begin by saying that I use FORZA PURA bike cranks both indoor, on the JARVIS smart trainer, and outdoor. I would like to specify one thing: the initial issue is the load, and this is an aspect that should not be underestimated. The cranks are equipped with a Fast & Easy locking / unlocking system that allows you to switch easily, immediately and safely from the classic mode to the “independent” mode. It is clear that you need to gradually get used to a different work load which is, in some aspects, harder and more tiresome.
By completely unlocking the FORZA PURA bike cranks from the bottom bracket, specific workouts can be done on one leg or on both. This aims at improving pedaling efficiency and reducing the thrust-traction alternation that determines the oscillation of the power expressed on the pedal. Simply put, FORZA PURA forces the athlete to stay straight on the saddle without unbalancing, using mainly the core region with a better distribution of forces.
As for the perception in terms of load, it is important to understand that during the first month of use you might get frustrated, but it is completely normal for those who have never used a product like this. As far as the perceived benefits in cycling and running I would say we are at 50/50, if not even something more in running, but the effects can be seen after about a month and a half of use, the time necessary to dispose of the loads. Obviously, the disposal time can also vary, as it depends on how each individual responds “physically” to a way of pedaling that really involves the whole the muscle groups involved.
What is your typical training day with FORZA PURA bike cranks?
As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to have a gradual approach before planning a typical training day with FORZA PURA. This is to gradually stimulate muscles such as the hip flexor and femoral muscles which are normally little or not stimulated at all. When the loads are disposed of, after a month and a half or so, it is possible to start planning workouts within a weekly plan. FORZA PURA could be in fact considered as a “real gym” enclosed in a pair of bike cranks. It allows you to develop quality training not only in terms of pedaling but also in the abdominal and lumbar region, and this does not normally happen on a bike.
As far as the heart goes, the use of FORZA PURA bike cranks implies an increase of 10/15 beats. This is the reason why you have to proceed step by step and give your body time to recognize what is happening at the muscular level. In my experience, you should never stop using FORZA PURA, not even in the racing season. During the autumn-winter time, for example, or from the off season to the beginning of preparation, I would recommend 3 easy outings a week for the first month and a half, divided as follows:
- first 20 days: constrained mode for the first 15 minutes as a warm-up and then 15-20 minutes maximum in free mode;
- next 15 days: constrained mode for the first 10 minutes as a warm-up and then 25-30 minutes maximum in free mode;
- following 10 days: constrained mode for the first 5 minutes as a warm-up and then up to 40-45 minutes at most in free mode according to your needs and feedback.
When the racing season begins to approach, I would recommend two maintenance outings per week lasting 45 minutes, all in free mode. For example, if you have two races within 3 weeks, you could:
- first two weeks: free mode for 45 minutes
- last week (pre-race): relaxed
Once the FORZA PURA bike cranks become part of the athlete’s life, or rather when that “muscular feeling” has been established, I recommend to perform 3 2-hour rides per month, always alternating the two modes of use. In fact, it is good to get used to the different sensations that are perceived when the cranks are locked to the bottom bracket (constrained mode) and when unlocked (free mode), just to understand how and how much the muscles involved in pedaling work. These outings, different in objective and intensity than those described above, could be organized as follows:
- warm-up phase in constrained mode for the first 15 minutes;
- work phase (exit) in free mode for 1 hour and 30 minutes;
- cool down (and return home) in constrained mode.
When and to whom do you recommend FORZA PURA bike cranks?
The best thing that you can do with them is to USE them: FORZA PURA bike cranks must be used. As I always say, you have to have the desire face a challenge. If there is no desire to work hard, there is no sense in using them. In the first month and a half it will be normal to be fatigued, but after disposing of the loads everything will become easier and more fun. It is a bit like tackling a climb by bike or running. The effort you feel is nothing compared to the joy of reaching the top. And speaking of fatigue, pedaling uphill with FORZA PURA in free mode is easier than on a flat land, because the strokes are less and the core supports the pedaling better, but at the same time it is even possible to feel all the muscles involved.
To whom do I recommend FORZA PURA? There are several “beneficiaries” of this simple but also totally innovative product. The first are those who want to struggle and improve. Then there are those whose legs have different strengths, due to a stop or recovery after an injury for example, or due to dysmetria. By using FORZA PURA, you can make the most of all the muscle groups involved in the pedaling phases.
And then there are the amateurs. In my opinion FORZA PURA is more suitable for two types of athletes: the triathlete and the runner. In triathlon, with FORZA PURA you work indirectly on reducing the impact in running, precisely because the triathlete gets used to the change in conditions between cycling and running. Without forgetting the aspect of balancing the position on the saddle and pedaling, which consequently allows less energy consumption. Therefore, even the pure runner can and must consider “alternative” training with FORZA PURA bike cranks.