3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Indoor Trainer Workouts

If you're deficient in any of these areas or need to test new gear, the indoor trainer is the perfect time to experiment. It's easier to make small adjustments to get your bike and gear dialed in correctly when you're not out on the road, so take advantage of it.

In general, January should include one or two moderately intense trainer sessions. The rest of the workouts for the week should center around building aerobic fitness.

The base building phase is when things can get boring fast. Incorporate some of the cycling skills from the above list or others that you'd like to work on. Specific goals will help you to keep things interesting during this phase of training and break up the monotony.

More: 2 Indoor Workouts to Improve Climbing

Define a Plan

After you decide what you want to work on, you'll need to figure out what workouts will help you to improve upon your deficiencies.

Let's say this winter you'd like to improve your form, develop a higher pedaling cadence and build your aerobic fitness. Here's a sample workout that you might use to work on these specific skills on your indoor trainer.

  • In a 53 x 17 gearing, pedal at 90 rpm (revolutions per minute) for four sets of 5 minutes. If this gearing isn't hard enough, use a larger gear as long as you can hold your heart rate at 15 to 20 beats below your threshold while maintaining 90 rpm. In the final minute of each set, increase your cadence gradually until you reach 115 to 120 rpm. Concentrate on spinning in smooth circles. Rest for 1 minute between reps.
  • For the second portion of the workout, use the same gearing as before but try to spin at a slightly higher cadence between 90 and 100 rpm. Complete 10 sets of 2 minutes, pedaling easy for only 15 seconds in between reps. You may need to use a smaller gear to keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone, so adjust as needed. Focus on spinning smooth circles and avoid mashing the pedals on the down stroke. Try to keep your feet light on the pedals and see how still you can hold your upper body. This will improve your form and cadence when you get out on the road.

More: 3 Drills to Improve Cycling Efficiency and Pedal Cadence

Be Consistent

To improve your weaknesses, you'll need to be consistent with your indoor workouts. Get into the habit of working on your specific weakness 2 to 3 times per week. Complete 1 to 2 higher intensity workouts to round out your fitness. Most indoor cycling videos have plenty of interval workouts, and these are good way to keep yourself motivated. Watching someone else suffer along with you makes things a little easier, even if it is on TV.

By the end of winter, you should have improved your base fitness and fixed some of your weaknesses. Remember that the key to improving is consistency and finding a way to mix things up in order to keep your training interesting.

More: Top 10 Cycling Movies of All Time

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