9 Indoor Cycling Training Tips And Workouts

It was well known that indoor cycling had a stereotype of being extremely tedious and dull.

Those of us who had a turbo trainer or rollers before the introduction of smart trainers, smart bikes, and virtual cycling, likely remember our indoor training experiences being miserable, as it felt like time had come to a standstill.

The use of these tools has completely changed the way some of us train indoors. The dullness of not having anything to do is practically gone, so long as you take the correct actions; a larger number of riders than ever are taking pleasure in the perks of riding indoors.

Taking this into account, here we present some of our best suggestions for maximizing your indoor exercise.

1. Get a smart trainer

A key aspect of indoor fitness routines nowadays is the use of smart trainers, making them no longer dull and unenjoyable.

A smart trainer provides a far more engaging indoor exercise experience by allowing users to alter levels of difficulty and replicate actual courses.

Smart trainer workouts are ideal for targeting specific fitness adaptations.

Do you wish to improve at climbing but do not have mountains in the vicinity? A knowledgeable instructor can copy inclines and imitate much of the sensation of going up long, abrupt hills.

Despite not being able to replicate the actual feeling of cycling in the mountains, a simulator combined with applications such as Zwift, RGT Cycling, or Rouvy offer an impressive almost-real experience. A well-informed instructor does not have to cost an exorbitant amount.

It is possible to purchase expensive smart trainers such as the Tacx Neo 2T and Wahoo Kickr if desired, however, there are budget-friendly alternatives, including the Tacx Flow Smart, that provide an inexpensive way to begin indoor cycling without making a lot of sacrifices.

2. Be prepared before you start your session

Indoor cycling is remarkably helpful in saving time.

Without any roadblocks like other cars or intersections, it is much simpler to get the most out of each minute of a cycling workout when exercising indoors.

Being prepared before you ride your bike is essential. Having everything you need to hand will keep you from any distractions and keep you focused on the task at hand.

Having everything you need ready and within reach will help you avoid interruptions to your training session.

If you’re doing structured interval training on TrainerRoad, Wahoo System, or Zwift Workout, you should ensure that you have enough water for a lengthy interval at your Functional Threshold Power.

Similarly, if you’ve signed up for an online cycle outing or Zwift race, having to pull over to fill up your bottle, or needing to dismount the bike because you overlooked switching on your fan, would probably result in being left behind by the group you’re riding with and any chances of a successful finish.

Here’s our list of essential turbo trainer accessories;

  • Fan for cooling
  • At least one full water bottle. Take two if you’re not sure how long your session will last
  • Towel or set of sweatbands
  • Fully charged wireless headphones
  • Trainer mat
  • Table for your phone or a smart device
  • Some food or an emergency gel/energy bar

3. Have a goal

If you have acquired everything you need and taken a huge step into the realm of digital indoor biking, it is time to plan some type of aim or blueprint for each workout.

You can certainly have a great time investigating virtual paths, however, our experience has shown that joining a training program, taking part in group activities or competing in races is even more rewarding.

Having that extra competitive edge can open up the courage you already have deep down, and having an organized plan that you must follow can give you the boost you need to get going. Interacting with others and being part of a group can greatly improve your experience.

On Zwift, you have the option of participating in any of the numerous races, occasions, or group outings that go on every day, or you can organize your own Zwift MeetUp and welcome whoever you would like to join.

If you’re not using the same indoor cycling app as your companion, you can opt for an outside messaging platform, such as Discord or Facebook Messenger, to join virtually and cycle side-by-side on your own preferred indoor cycling program.

4. Take a fitness test

Creating a personal benchmark is essential if you aim to better your physical condition. Many indoor cycling applications rely on utilizing Functional Threshold Power (FTP) to modify the intensity of interval workouts, though there may be some exceptions.

It is essential to optimize your training by having an approximately correct FTP level. Two common procedures for taking an FTP test on Zwift exist. The typical FTP tests consist of a warm-up regimen that is then followed by a strenuous 20-minute maximum effort.

If you decide to make use of the TrainerRoad platform, you have the possibility of taking an FTP test with two 8-minute power outputs, complete with a short break between the efforts.

Ramp tests offered both in Zwift and TrainerRoad, involve gradually increasing power until you reach your maximum capacity.

You only require to do one trial, however, following each test is finished, each application will work out its assessment for you mechanically and give you an FTP value. If you’re a fan of being challenged, there’s an informal way to try out your FTP; a simulated uphill race against the well-known Alpe du Zwift.

Climbing up the 12.22km course has always taken me around 49:29 – my personal record. Taking more time on the climb tends to make my FTP set up a more accurate measure, and when I’m attempting to increase my time I’m more motivated.

Do not think of it as the simplest choice, but only attempt it on a day when you have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Wahoo Systm substitutes FTP with its own 4DP (Four Dimensional Power) approach. The 4DP assessment evaluates your physical fitness across four different aspects, including endurance, sprinting capability, and everything in between.

The System’s Full Frontal fitness test is more extensive and complex than other typical FTP tests provided in many indoor cycling programs.

Wahoo states that gaining added details about your aptitudes allows Systm to design workouts that are adjusted to your individual strengths and shortcomings with heightened precision.

The system also has its equivalent of a ramp test, known as the Half Monty, which can be used to track your level of fitness without needing to do the Full Frontal test each time.

Indoor Cycling Workouts

5. Aerobic Endurance (AE)

You don’t have to do your recovery or aerobic threshold rides by yourself; having someone virtually with you through an app can make it more enjoyable. Many riders neglect to use indoor trainers for recovery rides because it appears unnecessary to ride at a slow pace on an indoor bike.

Regardless of where you ride, recovery rides are essential and for experienced bikers, it is more beneficial for their training than not riding at all.

Meeting up with a group or an associate through a participatory virtual spinning program can give one the inspiration required to get on a bicycle. Having friends around could also make your journey more enjoyable.

Coaches commonly observe people riding too hard during a recovery ride and peer pressure within a group can be an effective method to enforce taking it slow.

Aerobic threshold rides tend to be the longest rides of the week. These rides are done at a slow speed, or the portion of the ride that lasts an hour should be done at an aerobic threshold, with either a speed or strength exercise thrown in.

Going on extended rides in Zone 2 outside can be fun on one’s own, but can often be even more enjoyable when done with technology! Applications that feature video and virtual courses, or apps that allow interactive group rides, can turn an isolated ordeal into a realistic and connected experience.

It can be challenging to locate extended aerobic threshold rides at indoor cycling establishments, yet this is so as “moderate and constant” does not appear to be attractive to many customers.

6. Speed Skills (SS)

You can sneak in drills such as cadence and pedal stroke into virtual group rides or even real-live indoor cycling classes. Switching your concentration and maybe switching to a different gear or lowering the intensity may be beneficial.

Whether you’re cycling alone or with a group inside, you have to decrease the tension on the trainer to complete these exercises, particularly spin-ups and 9-to-3 drills.

Pedalling in ergometer mode on an online track is complicated as the trainer varies the resistance according to the weight of the rider and the gradient of the virtual course.

You can do the exercises either when the resistance diminishes in a virtual mode or change your advanced trainer to a level setting and diminish the resistance physically.

If you own an old-style trainer, you can easily lower the intensity by changing to an easier gear. This will cause your cadence to increase, but the amount of power produced by the device will be relatively low.

A better way to improve your pedal stroke than spin-ups and 9-to-3s is to spin your legs at zone 4 with increased speed, as this can enable you to pedal more quickly at a greater output.

Indoors is usually the better option for performing isolated-leg drills. If you are cycling on a stationary trainer, you can either unclip and prop up your foot on a support or platform of the trainer, or remain clipped in and permit the inactive leg to rotate.

The purpose of the independent exercise is to become aware of and decrease any areas of the pedal stroke which are low-energy. You will become aware of the lack of force generated in your movements between 11 AM and 1 PM as well as shortly after 5 PM when the other leg is not playing its part.

Try to kick your foot down at the top of the rotation, and draw it up as you pedal with one foot at the bottom of the turn.

7. Muscular Force (MF)

Short exertions (6-8 revolutions of each leg) of the hill and flat force intervals demand substantial torque to pick up speed against substantial resistance. It is preferable to do indoor training on your own or as part of a group activity where everyone does the same workout.

It is more challenging to complete during a collaborative group bicycle ride. If you are using a trainer with a “level” feature, raise the level to make the power output begin at an elevated amount.

If not, you will probably accelerate too fast before experiencing enough strong opposition. Those using trainers that have either a rear-wheel or direct drive with either fluid or wind resistance should begin in high gear.

If you are using a specialized indoor cycle, such as a Peloton, with a magnetic resistance unit, you’ll need to crank up the resistance so that getting the freewheel in motion requires a significant amount of effort.

You do not need to begin from a halted place, but you desire the cranks to be turning very gradually to initiate the intervals.

8. Muscular Endurance (ME)

Frequent intensities employed in pre-arranged structured workout sessions of indoor cycling applications are tempo, cruise, and sweet spot intervals.

It’s effortless to integrate these levels of intensity even in virtual cycling classes on interactive apps, even if it’s just a free ride, not a structured exercise.

The duration of activities for muscles to acquire endurance may vary from 6 to 20 minutes at a specific power. Thus, erg mode or a manual power setting at a necessary output is recommended for these exercises.

If you want to add hours of hard effort to your workout, erg mode is an ideal option.

If you are trying to shift from riding indoors to participating in outdoor training sessions and competitions, it is essential to allocate some time to complete intervals with a consistent difficulty level or use a digital course to develop the emphasis and determination you need to get the correct amount of effort and sustain it.

9. Anaerobic Endurance (AnE)

Indoor cycling setups are great for performing VO2 max intervals, pyramid intervals, and group rides. The VO2 max and pyramid intervals include brief bursts of activity lasting from half a minute to three minutes and require a total duration of between three and fifteen minutes.

The intensity of the efforts should feel like it is at a level of 5 in the power zone or an RPE of 9 out of 10. Erg mode on a smart trainer should not be used for these intervals, as the aim is to generate and keep up the highest power you can sustain throughout each interval.

It might be better to use the level mode of a smart trainer for these activities, as opposed to depending on the power curve of either a fluid or wind resistance unit.

Using indoor cycles equipped with magnetic resistance units, the main challenge comes in having to manually adjust the resistance up for the interval and back down for recovery.

When the length of time between each effort and its respective rest period are very brief (like thirty seconds of effort followed by thirty seconds of rest), that can be tough to keep up with as your body grows more and more tired.

To be successful in competing outdoors, you need to be able to manage the bicycle while investing considerable exertion. However, while training, indoors is the safest spot to give full effort to the intervals.

Other reasonable locations for anaerobic endurance work may include virtual group rides, electronic races, and real-life cycling lessons.

The advantage of participating in virtual cycling sessions and physical exercise classes lies in the app settings; with them, you are unable to get left behind, allowing you to really push yourself without any worries.

Athletes in actuality usually keep a bit of power in store so that they will possess the energy to stay ahead of the others after putting in a full effort for a short sprint or hard cycling sprint leading the group.

Cyclists that partake in e-races perceive them to be harder than any physical races they have taken part in. This is likely because there is no fear of falling or being outpaced, therefore meaning that riders can push themselves for greater power and for longer than if there were such hazards present.


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