Men's sprint ()Men's sprint () © Copyright

Burn 2000 calories an hour

Madison cyclists burn stacks of fat – and so can you with these tips from Olympic gold medalist Philip Hindes

No brakes?

No problem. Track bikes have no brakes and the gears are fixed – sounds complicated? Not really, says Philip Hindes, who together with Bradley Wiggins won gold in the team sprint at London 2012 and now rides for Team Wiggins. The first thing is to stay relaxed: “It can be quite difficult as a beginner to slow down quickly so give yourself a few laps and enough time to slow down.” Because track bikes have fixed gearing you can’t stop pedalling. “That might result in you going over the handlebars. Just ‘backpedal’ to brake,” says Hindes. Think of it as resisting the pedals with your leg muscles. 

Boss the bank

It can be intimidating at first to ride the banked ‘Wall Of Death’-style corners, so what’s the trick? First make sure you’re up to speed. “If you’re going fast enough you’re not going to slip down the banking – 35kph is plenty.” Then take a deep breath and gradually come up the bank. “You just have to have the guts to go for it,” reckons Hindes. 

Men's sprint  ()


Ride for fitness

You came here to get fit, right? A track sprinter like Hindes will do very short, intense efforts of between six seconds to one minute. But what about the ultimate in calorie burning? “Do 3-4min efforts at 75-80% of your max with a 90-100rpm cadence and try to hold it. Do 3-5 of these with 10 minutes recovery in between each and you’ll burn a hell of a lot of calories.” 

Cycle for strength boost

Track sprinters often have thighs like tree trunks because they are effectively weight training on a bike. “You can increase your leg strength by practising standing starts and rolling starts,” says Hindes. Once you get into track you can ride a higher fixed gear ratio so you work harder and create more power.

Philip Hindes wins Rio 2016 ()


How to pace a sprint

Hard efforts sound good but what happens if they make my legs feel like they have been tasered? “Sprinting on the track is all about torque, power and speed,” says Hindes. “Do big geared efforts, flat out for 30 seconds to really push you hard but improve your stamina in a long sprint – do four of these with 20 minutes’ recovery in between.” If you also hit the gym a couple of times a week, load up the squat and deadlift bar to increase your peak power. “On another day of the week do small gear efforts – flat out 10-second sprints so you really hit your max cadence and add pedalling speed to power.” 

Train ‘track’ on the road

If you’re sold on track cycling but can’t get to a velodrome often then you can train for it on the road too. “Do a downhill sprint as you are able to get up to the same speeds and cadences you can hit on the track,” reveals Hindes. “I used to sit on a big gear going uphill, or on a stationary bike to do one-minute efforts at 70-80rpm, grinding away – try repeating that eight times and you will feel it.”

Photos: Reuters/Getty


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