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8 Cycling Tips for Your Indoor Trainer
Instead of hanging up your bike and waiting for sunnier days ahead, the indoor trainer is a good way to improve your cycling and stay in shape—and it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Use these tips to make indoor cycling more enjoyable.
Get a Fan
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Even if you plan to ride your trainer in a garage where the temperatures are near freezing, it's still possible to overheat on an indoor trainer. A good fan will promote air circulation and keep you from getting too hot, especially during interval workouts.
Listen to Music or Watch TV
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One of the biggest obstacles to cycling indoors is boredom. Instead of staring at a wall, listen to motivating music or watch a cycling video. You'll be surprised how fast it makes the time go by.
Limit Your Ride
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It's possible to ride your indoor trainer for hours at a time, but cycling too long indoors often leads to burn out. Limit your workouts to 90 minutes or less to keep things fresh and maintain your motivation. If you need to ride longer 90 minutes, split your session up into morning and evening workouts.
Raise Your Front Wheel
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It's hard to simulate the real thing, but it can be done. If you want to work on your climbing this winter, get a couple of riser blocks (books work too) and stack them under your front wheel. This will simulate the angle you get climbing on the road. It'll also help your lower back adapt to leaning forward when you push hard on the pedals during long climbs.
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Intervals are a good way to make the time fly by.
Try this: After a 10-minute warm-up, spin for 2 minutes at a cadence above 90 rpm (revolutions per minute) while maintaining a heart rate around 180. Follow this with a 2-minute recovery spin and repeat. When you hit 50 minutes, spin easy for the last 10 minutes. The hour will be over before you know it.
Mix In Core Work
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It's tough to lean forward and hold the bars in a stationary position for an hour or more. To break things up, mix in core work for every 10 minutes of spinning. Keep an exercise ball close by and incorporate strengthening exercises for your areas of weakness. Ball crunches, reverse crunches, ball-pushups, ball bridges and hamstring curls are a few exercises that are great for cyclists.
Work on Your Pedal Stroke
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Use the time you spend indoors to work on deficiencies. Pedaling technique is a skill that almost all cyclists can improve. Do single-leg pedaling drills to practice pedaling in smooth circles instead of mashing on the downward segment of the pedal stroke.
Improve Your 40K Time Trial
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It's hard to complete sustained intervals on the road. Cars, traffic lights and pedestrians are just a few of the obstacles that can get in the way of an all-out effort. Use the trainer to work on threshold intervals that will improve your 40K time trial. Two sets of 20 minutes (at your goal pace) with a 5-minute break in between sets will do the trick.
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