In this second episode of the Wattbike x Leeds United mini-series, we talk to Rob Price, Head of Medicine and Performance, Tom Robinson, Head of Sports Science and Reuben Crespo, Rehab and Fitness Coach about how the Wattbike is utilised to aid rehabilitation programmes, active recovery and train in specific heart rate zones.
“When our players are injured, and it’s not safe for them to be putting impact through lower limbs, we will use the Wattbike as a tool for off-feet conditioning, taking the impact off the player but still making them work.” Reuben Crespo, Rehab and Fitness Conditioning Coach adds. “A typical session could last 20-30 minutes where we try to raise the heart rate quickly, and maintain that level of effort.”
“With injured players, the Wattbike has become a really important off-feet conditioning tool for us.” Reuben Crespo, Rehab and Fitness Conditioning Coach
Rob Price, Head of Sport and Performance adds: “Even with the fit players, the Wattbike gives them a load compromise. So, if someone is loaded very highly on-pitch and we still want them to have a high aerobic training stimulus, we can offload some of the impact that they might be getting on the field by using the Wattbike.”
“Even with the fit players, the Wattbike gives them a load compromise. If they are loaded highly on the pitch, but we still want them to have a high aerobic training stimulus, we can offload some of the impact from the field by supplementing with Wattbike work which is really useful.” Rob Price, Head of Sport and Performance
When discussing what happens during the off-season, Price explains, “In the off-season is that most of the players go away for four weeks, so some of them have their own Wattbikes and they ask for workouts they can do on those but the off-season training tends to be more focussed on the preparation to be back on the field.”
“What we do find with the Wattbikes versus some of the spin bikes we have is how much more efficient the Wattbike is at ensuring the players achieve higher heart rates and how we can manipulate the level of work to achieve what we want to in terms of those heart rate levels. It’s really difficult on the other bikes to get that heart rate change, and adjust it. The Wattbike makes it easier for us to dictate and adjust heart rate levels and effort of work appropriately.”
The coaching team also utilises the Wattbikes through the team’s recovery sessions, Robinson explains, “The beauty of the Wattbike is that we get the heart rate data showing on the monitor, and we often use the Wattbikes to do what we call Zone 2 recovery. So, using the Wattbike to adjust the players effort to ensure they are working in a specific heart rate zone, individual to them which forms an integral part of our recovery. After a match, normally we’re in the gym the next day and certainly the players who have played the match will go on the Wattbikes and perform a recovery session. It’s a staple of our recovery, that active recovery element on the Wattbike.”
“After a match, the players who have played will go on the Wattbikes and perform an active recovery session on the Wattbike. It’s an absolute staple of our recovery element.” Tom Robinson, Head of Medicine and Performance, Leeds United FC
Crespo continues: “The Wattbike is a great tool, it’s a much better option for us then say swimming, as it's easier to reach the heart rates we’re after. It’s also a training method that is consistent over time, even after a few sessions on the Wattbike, the players improve and it’s much easier for them to work at the same intensity, metabolically.”
“It’s worth adding too, that after players finish training on the Wattbike they really enjoy it.” Price adds. “There’s a hate of going on it, there’s a fear of when the Wattbikes on the programme in the early stages of injury.”
“They know it’s going to be hard and they know they’re going to get worked to an extent that they perhaps don’t want to go into but when they come off it, they get those endorphins. Reuben has some of the quickest return-to-play dates for our injuries and that is because we push them as early as we possibly can.”
“Reuben has some of the quickest return-to-play dates for our injured players because we push them as early as we possibly can.” Rob Price, Head of Sport and Performance
“Wattbike allows us to create very high-power outputs, so we can actually activate with high force, whilst reducing the impact load on the joint.” Robinson continues. “So we can mimic a repeated sprint session with an injured player safely on the Wattbike and get a high level of muscle and motor neurone activation and high force whilst sparing the impact load.”
“With the Wattbike, we can train someone in an air cast boot, we can train someone who is a knee brace, we can train someone post-ankle surgery. We can adjust the parameters so that they’re able to work from one of the first days. The Wattbike feels sturdy, so when the players go on it, even in early stages of rehab, there’s a feeling of safely being on it because of the build quality of it, the sturdiness of it allows you to get going earlier.”
Read Leeds United - Episode 3 which gives insight about how the Wattbike is utilised to test and benchmark the players through the year.