After a period of physical inactivity while recovering from Covid, British cyclist James Lowsley-Williams, aka Hank, decides he needed to start his training routine with a physical challenge and commits to doing squats every day for a month. In a new video on Global Cycling Network channel, he measures whether the experience has an impact on his cycling performance by tracking his heart rate variability (HRV) as well as his power on the bike in 10 and 20 second sprints.

Every day, Hank must do 100 goblet squats using a 10 kg (equivalent to 22 pound) barbell. He immediately finds the full range of motion required in this movement quite difficult. “It’s really far,” he said after his fifth rehearsal. “I already regret it.”

Hank has to overcome real muscle soreness in the first few days, but stays on track with his 100 reps each day. “My legs don’t hurt as badly as they did in the first four days,” he said a week after starting the challenge, “but they’re still sore and stiff.”

Two weeks later, this pain has eased slightly, but he notes that his legs are still stiff and heavy when he is on his bike due to the continuous strain he puts on them during his weight training sessions. “I haven’t had a day yet where my legs haven’t hurt,” he says.

30 days and 3,000 squats later, Hank performs another test and sees a huge improvement in his power on the bike: 1,323 watts output versus 1,019 watts on day 1. However, his Functional Threshold Power (FTP) has decreased as he did not cycle much during the 30 days.

“I think it just goes to show that if you focus primarily on strength training, you’re going to improve that peak power,” he says. “But that endurance will go down if you don’t spend time on the bike.”

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