How to practice short sprints?

I feel I may doing poorly in my 5s NM full frontal segments due to body mechanics of sprinting - something I have heard requires a lot of practice to become good at (I’m certainly not practicing it often, nor do I have a lot of experience, and I have to say I’m not educated about “good form” for sprinting and what my body should be doing and feeling). I have heard that your whole body is really part of it, and it’s clear I have more to learn - that require both some written/verbal instruction and lots of practice.

How can one practice these sprints in the software (outside of 4DP testing) and get meaningful results/feedback? Going to the catalog, the best options seems to be the NoVid session “Sprints: 10 x 10s”.

Some newbie questions: Will this session report on my 5s power in the same way that 4DP does? Or do I need to do some manual calculating with the data? If I don’t want to spend 1:10 on 10 sprints, but just want to run through 3 or 4, can I end my session early and still get meaningful 5-sec NM results reported?

Any or all feedback on improving my short (and medium) sprint technique and on how to use The Sufferfest to practice this (indoors, admittedly) would be appreciated. I also recognize that outdoor practice is equally important for making this happen IRL, and may feel quite a bit different.

Hey there.
One thing worth considering - you don’t need a workout as such with planned intervals.
If we step away from the concept of following erg and set workouts, to simply Practice sprints …

Just go ahead and start any old workout … even just Open 30 or something. Switch to Level mode.
And then try finding out what level you need to be in, at what gear, to need a big effort to get going that gets you full gas spinning at your max watts in 10s (or whatever timeframe you want)

This is something you only use the app for measuring the numbers for. Don’t look for a particular workout. Make sense?


Selecting the right gear can be a bit of an art, but makes a big difference. Did you spin out, or have trouble getting the cadence up? Did you start with a high cadence so your legs were getting cooked before you started the effort.Did you use your core, arms, shoulders? These may be some of the questions you can ask yourself to help you unravel the challenge

Violator. Yes, bit more than 4 but it’s good for you :grinning:


The froth from my mouth and blood from my eyes tend to distract me from what’s actually happening on the screen (I’m only half-joking… between the software’s selection of the best 5-sec window and with my concentration on so many other things, I may not even have my eyes open when doing this. Ummm, not a good habit to bring outdoors, I must admit).

But I get your point - just suss out a best guess based on what I’m seing.

Violator is coming up in 5 days on my AC/NM Building block plan. I am not so sure it’s going to be “good” for me.

Out of my own experience I will say that you can make huge gains in your NM just by honing your body mechanics.

Just before the sprint starts I move my body back in the saddle, choose the right gear, and as soon as it’s go-time I kinda throw myself to the front of the bike and onto my handlebars.
The energy from the movement needs to go into the pedals. Keep your core tight.
With this burst of power I try to hold on for dear life. Especially for such small sprints as in Full Frontal the time will fly by no problem.

Another reason for sub-par power output could be your trainer. Do you have one where the resistance ramps up automatically as your power and cadence increases?
Do you feel it supports your effort or holds you back?

1 Like

No need to look at anything when doing Violator. Bang - sprint as hard as you can. Screech - stop, if you’re still going. Personally I think it’s best done with all the numbers turned off anyway. For sure play about with standing/seated and different resistance/cadence. I’ve done a whole set seated with arms in the air before, just because why not. Haven’t tried that standing though, although there’s an idea :thinking:


SUF Idol - best NM monkeying around ride ever.

As another person said, you’ve got to get your body prepared.

The core is important, and it’s your deep core. You are about to do the cycling equivalent of a one rep max. It’s 10 seconds, so your breathing Is going to change to more biomechanical as you are going to brace your entire core and specifically your going to use a modified Valsalva maneuver and lock down your glottis to build internal pressure to brace For the explosion - all of this within a second before it goes full gas. When it does go off, you’re going to release all that pressure in a massive explosion of timed power release and try to tear your bike apart - literally try to rip your bike apart and out of the trainer (do be sure everything is tight before you attempt this). However you don’t want to lose all that pressure from your core so you get a quick breath and pressure back up and release as your HR is going to soar and you’ve got to get O2 rolling it. So you have to quickly - split second stuff here - modify this as you continue to ramp up power and build RPMs. You’re not really breathing like normal for the first 3-6 seconds.

My most powerful body position that I’ve found is kind of like a modified BMX start with my body up off the seat and forward, bent over, but not aero, On the hoods, like in the in position of a steep climb where you’re balancing power to the wheel over keeping weight forward so the front doesn’t drift - but a helluva lot more aggressive.

Everything above my hips is locked and latched. All my stiffness and tightness is throughout my entire upper body so my legs have something to drive off of. My hips rotate down on the power stroke to enhance the movement while simultaneously helping the opposite side up.

When done correctly, it’s a controlled violence that rewards you with some quadruple digit numbers.


Thanks very much for the detailed narrative - it’s really helpful. I do have a trainer vs. road question: when I see a road sprint, the bike is rocking back and forth quite a bit - obviously we must do something differently on a trainer. Do you have any habit or thought about that difference or the compensation needed?

1 Like

Yeah, on a trainer you’re obviously not going to be able to slam it side to side like you sometimes see IRL, but outdoors a lot of that comes down to your own physiological mechanics and figuring out what works best for you in the real world. I know in playing around with various positions and styles that I waste energy when I try to sprint with large exaggerated movements with all that side to side. Yes, I obviously get more side to side movement outside than indoors, but it’s not what I would consider extreme. You’ve got to play with it and find out what works for you. Everyone’s bodies are different, so while the basics of tight core and internal bracing are there, there are tons of variables and nuances that you’ve just got to experiment through to get that sweet spot. Then you’ve got to practice that sweet spot enough so it becomes automatic. Everything I described last night has to be able to fire off in under a half a second. Precision takes practice.

All that said, I’ve actually found that as I’ve gotten stronger at perfecting my indoor sprint technique I’ve actually gotten faster at outdoor sprints - not the other way around. On indoor sprints, I take what would be a side movement of the bike under me outdoors and basically counter brace it off of the opposing side of my body from my trunk, back, chest, arms, forearms - for every force there must be an equal opposing force applied so you stay somewhat symmetrical.

Hope this helps further. Keep practicing and you’ll be posting numbers bigger than you ever have before.


I love it. In my head this statement was voiced by Neil Degrasse Tyson. :slightly_smiling_face:
Maybe because I have no idea how Mr. Newton himself sounded.

Solid advice from @SirAlexanderLee.

1 Like

To add to @Pierre - body mechanics are really important and the yoga and strength videos will help hone the muscle stabilisation that NM work requires - attention to the fast work in slow motion pays dividends.

1 Like

@SirAlexanderLee I tried the forward leaning sprinting style you are describing, doing Full Frontal today. It is somewhat different from my hips-over-pedals style I’ve gotten used to, where I’m hoping to get some help from gravity. Of course, with my 63 kg. there isn’t much help coming from that direction.

Now, I may have been leaning more over the handlebars than intended - and certainly more than i have any intentions of doing outside - but it was effective. I got a good number on the sprint, just short of quadruple digits :+1: Not my PB, but I have no idea how I manage that back then.

Likewise doing the last 1 minute effort, I nailed it. I manage to stand for the first 30 seconds, which is unheard of. But also, beside nailing it, I actually feel I executed it to perfection. It felt better somehow.

So this was positive. Unfortunately, this being FF, I failed everything else :-1:. But there will be other FF’s :wink:.


Today was my first time being subjected to Violator…I made it to the end but mannnn…that felt harder than my 4DP test.

1 Like