Science to Sport

This course was developed by the experts at Science to Sport. Dr Jeroen Swart, John Wakefield, Dr Mike Posthumus and Ben Capostagno together have decades of scientific and applied cycling experience. 
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Up your coaching game

Learn about the determinants of endurance cycling performance and how to structure a training programme to improve performance
Photo credit: UAE Team Emirates


Who are looking for evidence-based training methods to improve their performance

Cycling Coaches

Who want to understand exercise physiology, training principles and methods behind programme design

Medical Professionals

Personal trainers, biokineticists and physiotherapists who would like to upskill themselves to add more value to their clients who cycle

Sports Scientists

Who would like to learn more about applied exercise physiology and programme design
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Course Description

Course Description

This course is for the recreational to elite endurance cyclist, cycling coach, health professional or student who wants to learn about performance cycling physiology and biomechanics. We begin by teaching you the key technical terms and an overview of the determinants of endurance cycling performance, such as VO2max, cycling economy, threshold intensity and muscle power. 

In addition, we discuss what effects these physiological variables have in order to provide insight into how training can be structured to best improve endurance performance. We review laboratory testing techniques applicable to cycling and also how to monitor changes in cycling performance. We discuss both laboratory and field testing and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each method.

In module 3 we discuss the various periodisation models and highlight the most effective way to periodise your cycling training to optimize performance. We show the details of how to create an annual plan, incorporating all the phases of a periodisation cycle. We present the evidence for why cyclists should include strength training as part of their overall conditioning,including detailed explanations of the type of strength training that should be incorporated and which exercises to perform. 

In addition we give examples of strength training programmes for novice cyclists and for those who are more experienced. In module 5 we present the rationale for including high-intensity interval training as part of a well-structured training programme. We discuss the variables coaches and cyclists need to consider when designing high-intensity training sessions, as well as the physiological responses to this type of training. We cover the basic principles of cycling biomechanics and some key steps in optimising bike fit.

In module 7 we investigate how best to monitor the training load of cyclists and we discuss why recoding both internal and external load metrics are important and how to use these metrics to ensure that training load remains optimal. We also show you how to set up a monitoring sheet to record the most valuable data required to optimally manage performance. 

We show you how to put together a comprehensive training programme specific to cycling.We begin with a review of the most important information required when first meeting a client or athlete. We then assess how to stratify their ability and provide a training program. Lastly, we provide a number of 16 week beginner, intermediate and advanced training programs as examples and templates for you to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will you be assessed?

Each module will have four multiple choice questions. Students will have unlimited attempts to answer these questions. A certificate of completion will be issued once all of the assessments have been completed

2. Are there any requirements to enrol in the course? 

No previous experience and knowledge is required. However, if the learner is familiar with endurance sports- particularly cycling- they will benefit more from the course.

3. Will I receive any continued professional development points? 

You will receive 9 HPCSA CPD points and 6 REPSSA CPR points upon completion of the short course. 

Dr Jeroen Swart

Sports Physician and Sports Scientists 

Dr Swart is a sports physician and exercise scientist based at the Sports Science Institute in Newlands, Cape Town. In addition to an undergraduate medical degree, he has a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine and a PhD in exercise science. He currently divides his time between research, clinical sports medicine and high performance cycling. He has numerous publications in international scientific journals and his field of expertise include the application of training techniques specific to cycling, cycling biomechanics and the control of exercise by the brain. As a recognised expert in the field of performance cycling, Dr Swart was recruited to perform independent testing on multiple Tour de France winning cyclist Chris Froome. This data was later published in a leading scientific journal. As an athlete, Dr Swart won six South African National cross-country mountain bike titles at both elite and age group level and has won 1 national marathon championships at age group level..

Dr Mike Posthumus

Sports Scientist

Dr Mike Posthumus is a research scientist with a PhD in Exercise Science. Mike divides his time between managing the high performance centre at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, a researcher at the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine within the University of Cape Town, and professional cycling coach. Mike has always been a highly competitive athlete. He has played provincial rugby and has always had a passion for the science of training and conditioning. Since Mike stopped playing rugby, he has taken his love of training and conditioning across to his new passion, cycling. Mike is an extremely competitive mountainbiker in his own right. His exceptional knowledge of training periodisation and knowledge of training principles has made him an excellent addition to the Science to Sport team.

John Wakefiled

Sports Scientists 

John Wakefield has helped guide numerous cyclists to National and International success. John’s personal experience, high level of enthusiasm and his attention to detail has lead to him being one of South Africa’s most popular coaches. John has a sound understanding of training prescription, strength and conditioning and athlete development, and continues to dedicate time to increasing his knowledge of sports performance. John is still competing as one of South Africa’s top age group competitors in both road and mountain with important race wins to his name, John knows and understands the training prescription, dedication and support needed for an athlete throughout a season to achieve their personal goals. John has a long history with South African motocross (MX) and has helped develop and guide many of South Africa’s top MX riders to National and International success through coaching and management of athletes.

Ben Capostagno

Sports Scientist

Benoit Capostagno completed his BSc degree (cum laude) specialising in the Sport Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch in 2006. He continued his studies at the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine completing his honours with a first class pass in 2007. He is continuing his postgraduate work with his PhD at this same unit and is investigating training adaptation and fatigue in cyclists. He has been coaching endurance athletes since 2009.He has been a consultant with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa’s High Performance Centre’s Cycling Division since 2009.



I did this course to assist with my own personal running journey. I found module one a little confusing but it was much clearer once I had completed the other modules. The interview at the end was very informative and helpful. What I did like was that it also related to an average runner and not always the elite runner. I would most definitely recommend the course to someone interested in improving their own performance without calling on a coach.
Fantastic course and gain valuable knowledge to not only help myself but also clients I am currently working with. Affirms the basics! Really great to go through this well-structured course. I do hope that there will be more on endurance training - perhaps for advanced levels of coaching. Thank you very much
I am a recreational-5-times-Comrades-finisher looking to improve my time on marathons and earn a Bill Rowan medal one day. This training course is definitely going to help me to achieve that goal. Thank you very much for this helpful online course!
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