British Sailing strengthen partnership with Wattbike 

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Paul Mullan, Head of Sports Science and Medicine, talks about the team's land based training

A lot of preparation goes into creating a team with such potential on the world scene. Sailors depend on a variety of training methods to get themselves to peak performance for competition. They often undertake complimentary land training which includes strength and conditioning sessions. Each discipline varies, and requires a tailored training programme, with many including the Wattbike.

Paul Mullan, Head of Sports Science and Medicine at British Sailing, explains: “The Wattbike is such an adaptable training tool, we’re able to adapt training to suit each athlete. We also utilise the bikes to monitor, test and analyse the sailor’s performance and progress”

Mullan continues: “We continually test athletes on the Wattbike before and after implementing a training programme, to determine its effectiveness and an athlete’s progress.

“For the athletes, the ‘real ride feel’ is a determining factor when choosing equipment. The fan resistance on the Wattbike means that it hits the cardiovascular system, allowing athletes to sustain effort longer", explained Mullan.

Speaking of how the Wattbike helped her rehabilitation after undergoing a hernia operation, Olympic Gold medallist Saskia Clark, commented: “The Wattbike played a massive part in getting me back to fitness. After surgery, I had to be very controlled in how much load I could put through my core. I was restricted to what I could do in the gym or on the water but with the Wattbike we were able to build a make-shift frame so I could sit upright on the bike. Using the bike for hypoxia training enabled me to keep the load low but get the full training benefit.”

Speaking of Rio and looking to Tokyo 2020, Mullan added: “Since Wattbike became an official supplier in 2013, we have had the privilege of being able to travel all over the world with the bikes. It was a huge benefit having the bikes in Rio as it allowed us to maintain consistency in the sailors training plans. After achieving the success that we did, our plan is to take the bikes to Tokyo to enhance the quality of the sailors training overseas.”

Clark explained her aerobic training in the last cycle: “Generally, I would do a mix of high intensity, moderate intervals and long duration training on the bike. When we had the bikes out in Rio with us, I would do a 10-minute incremental warm up and then an activation circuit for my back and knees.”

Mullan concluded: “2016 was a fantastic year for us and this year we need to maintain the effort and progress that we’ve made. For us, it’s about consistency and enjoying the training. We will be making the most of being able to travel with the bikes to add to the level of consistency of training for our sailors. I’m very excited for what this year will hold for British Sailing".