Wattbike, Football, and Improving Performance: The Perfect Hattrick

3 min read

Wattbike and football seem to be the perfect match. From supporting international teams to rehabbing Premier League players, the Wattbike can do it all. Wattbikes can today be found in more than 50 pro football clubs in the UK including every single Premier League team, and in many top clubs globally such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Wattbike is also a member of the Football Medical and Performance Association, where we provide advice and articles discussing the growth of Wattbike in football, off-feet conditioning, and injury rehabilitation and prevention. 

But where did this perfect relationship start, and how has it developed? It’s time to find out about Wattbike, football, and improving performance.

Wattbikes have become an essential piece of kit at Sheffield United, where the team use specific programmes for every player based on their fitness test results. This allows for measurable, repeatable training for the players, which provides lots of data to the coaches. The bikes are also favoured for off-feet conditioning sessions. Lee McMahon, Head of Sport Science at Sheffield United, comments:

“In football, we experience a high level of exercise stress in matches and training drills. At times, the external stress can impact the continuity of the periodised training we assign to players. Off feet conditioning with the Wattbike gives us the opportunity to use continuous training, particularly in non-specific drills, whilst reducing the external impact stress on joints and muscles. We believe in collecting as much information about each player as possible. These parameters allow us to adopt an evidence based approach to each player in which we can make measured decisions on how to condition each player for any given outcome.”

 

One of the first football teams to add the Wattbike into their training arsenal was Leicester City Football Club in 2012. Since then, the team has been using the bikes for power development and conditioning, and all their hard work finally paid off in 2016 when they made history by winning the Premier League. Kevin Paxton, head strength and conditioning coach at Leicester, states:

“At LCFC Academy we have used Wattbike for several aspects of non-traditional training stimuli. Firstly we have conducted two internal research interventions where we found that the use of heavy loaded and repeated short duration efforts have a positive effect on both explosive power training and acceleration speed development. Secondly, we found that by applying principles of maximal aerobic speed testing we could develop the endurance capacity of injured players in an off-feet scenario during their return to the training phase of rehabilitation. These thought processes may seem simple, but they are undoubtedly effective due to the quality of the Wattbikes and the supporting Hub app.”

For power development, the players perform intermittent supramaximal bursts with extended recovery periods on the bikes. This kind of training allows lower limb power to develop, whilst safely overloading the players with the air resistance and magnetic settings. Players also perform off-feet conditioning sessions on the bikes which focus on longer intervals targeting specific energy system development. The Wattbikes are also used for injury rehab and injury prevention and have played a key role for conditioning international players who have returned late to the team during the pre-season. 

Both Leicester City and Sheffield United test their players on the Wattbikes to monitor performance. Players are put through the 6 second peak power test to get an individual benchmark for maximum power, maximum leg speed, and sustained power. Players are also put through the Submax ramp test to receive their estimated FTP and VO2 max score, as well as the UCI Power Profile Test. This test consists of two 6 second peak power tests, a 30 second sprint test, and a 4 minute aerobic test, and the results show individual benchmarks which are used to structure training sessions.

Wattbike is becoming the go-to indoor trainer for football teams around the world, because it can do it all. From testing, training, rehabbing, and injury prevention, to an overall improvement of the different energy systems. Resulting in the most important things football teams are after; improving performance, scoring more goals, and winning championships. Feeling inspired? Check out our free tests and training plans in the Wattbike Hub app to train like the elite.


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