Indoor cycling workouts are a great way to improve your fitness, whether you’re a new cyclist looking to get fitter and faster, a seasoned cyclist training for an event or race, or a full-time pro.
It allows you to concentrate on your riding without needing to keep an eye on traffic and the road ahead and it means that hills and harder efforts come when you want them to rather than when your route dictates. You’re also not dependent on the weather or time of day to fit in a ride.
This means that indoor cycling workouts are great for consistency and training quality. It’s a lot easier to track your progress over time, as many variables are removed, which can also increase your motivation.
You’ll need a turbo trainer or a smart exercise bike. Choose one of the best smart trainers and you can hook up to an app to make your session more interactive; read our post to help you choose the best indoor cycling apps to keep you motivated and also fulfil your workout goals.
But even if you are attracted by the immersive experience of an app, there are some indoor cycling workouts that will help you to target specific aspects of your cycling power curve. Here are our five top picks.
Tabata is defined as “a form of high-intensity physical training in which very short periods of extremely demanding activity are alternated with shorter periods of rest.”
A favourite of pro riders, 40/20s are a key high-intensity workout for VO2 max development and race preparation. Each set of Tabata intervals lasts just a few minutes, but you’ll feel the burn after the first two reps.
We recommend performing this session as an indoor cycling workout using either ERG mode or resistance mode on your trainer. Use a work interval of 40 seconds at 120-130% FTP, and a rest period of 20 seconds at 10-40% FTP to maximize the quality of the workout and finish strong on all four sets. Tabata intervals are great for race preparation because they simulate the extremely punchy efforts that you can find in cyclo-cross, criteriums, and hilly road races.
- Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes
- (Four sets) 5 x 40 seconds at 120-130% FTP, followed by 20 seconds recovery at <50% FTP
- Five minutes of recovery in between each five-minute work interval
- Cool-down/ride easy for at least 10 minutes after the last set
Progression: Increase the number of efforts per set to six, or increase the number of sets.
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