Kscheid asked me the following question: “I am interested in knowing a bit more about monitors. I have a heart monitor, which I like using, but I know that there are other monitors out there, say for cadence and/or power output. I am not a racer, so I am not sure I would really need the power meter. However, I do want to improve my sprinting ability. Would a monitor that shows cadence be enough to help with gauging and measuring improvement?”
If I was asked to do some serious improvements on sprint skills, I would never recommend an upgrade from a heart rate monitor to a heart rate monitor with cadence.
Knowing your cadence as a sprinter might be useful, e.g. in post-race analysis of gear choice and cadence in the final sprint and other crucial moments. Before you start to analyse your performance in previous races, I think it is much more beneficial to work on your sprint power through training. That means different sorts of power sprints, high speed sprints and tactical sprints. That will make for sure make you a better sprinter.
Power meter can track progress in sprint performance
A power meter is the only tool worth considering if you want to track your progress. Spending time on analysis of maximum cadence is inaccurate and waste of time as a measurement of sprinting power. If you are not the lucky owner of a Power Tap or SRM Crank, the only way to track gains in sprinting skills will be on the result list. In most situations this is a cheap and really nice indicator of progress. On the opposite, what is a gain in maximum sprint watts worth if you can’t convert that to better results?
Sprinters can benefit in several ways from power meters
When the above is said, there are a lot of other good reasons why sprinters should use a power meter. If you are a road sprinter, you will need a large aerobic engine which can be trained more precise with a power meter. High sprinting power simply isn’t enough on the roads, you will need well trained aerobic system, like it or not.
Track sprinters who has 200m as their primary discipline don’t need the same amount of aerobic endurance training, but they will need to do anaerobic endurance intervals where a power meter is the logical way to pace intensity (heart rate monitors are worthless for these kind of intervals).
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