How to Spice Up Your Indoor Workouts

Indoor Twist – Breakaway Simulation: This workout is similar to the Over Under, but with a slightly different purpose. Rather than accelerating smoothly and maintaining a high power output from beginning to end as you would do on the road, try the following three-minute interval.

Start with a fast, out-of-the-saddle acceleration at 97 percent effort level. Not quite an all-out sprint, but close. Continue for 30 seconds and then shift into an easier gear. Settle in and maintain a high power output for two full minutes. With 30 seconds left in the interval, accelerate again, this time at 100 percent effort level. Maintain this all the way to the end of the three-minute interval.

These intervals apply to a very practical race or training ride scenario. They simulate the attack or the break away. The first 30-second effort replicates an initial attack in which you attempt to separate yourself from the pack or follow a breakaway move. The next two minutes simulate the high pace you will have to maintain during your break in order to stave off the galloping pack.

The final 30-second effort simulates the sprint for the finish, the prime or the intermediate sprint line on the road. It is one thing to be able to sprint while rested, but a much more practical skill is to have the ability to sprint while under severe strain.

Traditional Workout: The One-minute Max Effort

These all-out one-minute intervals are traditionally done on the road using a smooth and steady power output. The purpose is to improve anaerobic capacity.

Indoor Twist – Make-it or Break-it Interval: There comes a moment in every race or challenging training ride where you have to decide how bad you really want it. Are you willing to give everything, physically and mentally, to achieve your goal or would you rather not take the risk of putting it all on the line with the chance of later getting dropped?

These intervals will increase the "all" that you have to give. Start with a high level of resistance so that with an all-out effort, your cadence is at 60 rpm. For the first 30 seconds, pedal as hard as you can, pushing at 100 percent effort level at 60 rpm. At the 30-second mark, quickly and drastically drop the resistance (the equivalent of shifting from your 11 to your 15 or 17) and continue at a 100 percent effort level for the final 30 seconds.

It may take a while to get the hang of these. You will know you are doing them correctly when you find that even with the last 30 seconds done at a much lower resistance level, you will still not be able to get your cadence much above 70 because of the massive effort you put out in the first half.

These intervals are for any of us who have ever made it to the top of a climb with the group, but let a gap open up as they began to descend the other side. Among other things, these intervals will train you to get to the top of the climb or roller with the group and continue with the pace as they crest the hill and start to go down the other side.

Traditional Workout: High Spin or No Load Revving

Traditionally done on a flat road with very little resistance at a cadence of 120 to 130 rpm for 10 to 60 minutes with the goal of increasing leg speed and pedaling efficiency.

Indoor Twist – Spin Ups: The old-fashioned high-spin interval is actually a great workout to do on a trainer or rollers, but if you are looking to mix things up a bit, give these a try.

Over the course of 30 seconds, with very little resistance, build up to the absolute highest cadence you can achieve while keeping your form relatively smooth. Hold that cadence for as long as you can (one to three minutes) while maintaining decent form. Rest for three minutes and repeat. Continue until you can no longer reach your maximum pedaling speed.

The reason I prefer to assign steady-state high spin over these more explosive intervals is because of concern over potential injury. In order to prevent injuries, make sure to accelerate smoothly over the first 30 seconds. Don't over extend yourself in order to reach a higher maximum cadence. If you find your hips are rocking or you feel that you are out of control, lower your revs just a bit until your cadence is smoother and your upper body is relaxed and still.

So, there you have it. Your workout is cut out for you over the next few weeks. Remember, with the exception of the spin ups, these are all extremely high-intensity intervals, so make sure to give yourself plenty of recovery. Throw on the Tour DVD, plug in the MP3 player and get to work!

Note: All of the above workouts can be done with PowerCranks for an even more effective and time efficient workout

Josh Horowitz is a USCF certified coach and an active Category 1 racer. For more information about his coaching services and any coaching questions you may have, check out his website, To find out more about the Liquid Cycling club, go to

PezCycling News: We tap into what's cool in elite level pro cycling and make the news fun again—every day. Check out our off-beat rider interviews, top level tech reviews, weekly training & fitness articles, cool stories on top rides, race news and reports the way we like 'em, the lovely Daily Distractions and cool stories you can't find anywhere else. Get Pez'd today.

Related Articles:

      • Miracle Intervals on the Indoor Trainer

      • Indoor Trainer Workouts

      • Beat the Indoor Training Doldrums with These Killer Workouts

  • 2
  • of
  • 2

Discuss This Article