Indoor Bike Training by Luke Jones

 

 

A smart bike trainer is probably the best investment I made for improving my bike speed. I used other trainers (fluid & resistance style) before finally committing to a trainer with ERG mode (ERG comes from the Greek word “Ergasía” which means “work”). It doesn’t really matter what trainer you are using though, indoor bike training is a highly effective training tool.

 

Efficient and safe training

 

There’s no need to travel anywhere to find a section of road where you don’t have to start/stop on your bike. This makes training on an indoor trainer very time efficient, as you can just hop on your bike and start with quality training. Unless you have one of the latest trainers which can simulate inertia of going downhill, there’s no freewheeling on an indoor trainer. Again, this makes training more efficient as a two-hour ride on a trainer is equivalent to 2.5 hours of riding outdoors accounting for the typical start/stop which occurs with traffic. There’s also no need to worry about being hit by a car, which is an added bonus. Plus, it’s very hard to fall off your bike on a stationary training, making it quite safe.

 

Specific training

 

Most people train to get fitter, stronger or faster. The main reason to use indoor training is that you can make your training very specific and repeatable. Via completing power tests on your indoor trainer, this gives you a power profile which is unique to you and your setup. Don’t worry about comparing numbers with others as there can be a number of variables between different setups. You can use your power profile to identify your own weaknesses and then using an indoor bike training to target those specific weak points.

 

For example, when I first started training on a bike there was a huge difference between my max heart rate on a bike verse running. This was due to having the aerobic ability from running, but lacking the leg strength to stress my heart rate on the bike. My power for shorter durations 1-2min was reasonable for my experience, but I used to really struggle on longer 8-10min intervals. Longer low cadence strength work on the bike has been very effective for my bike development, addressing my specific limits.

 

Track progression

 

Training consistently over time is the key to progression. To help track the progression you want to do similar training scenarios so comparisons can be made. An indoor trainer assists with this, as resistance is constant you can control, thus providing a very good indication of progress as time passes. The more expensive trainers will have greater accuracy, but even a cheaper unit will still provide a great platform for tracking progression.

 

Training sessions

 

Completing intervals on an indoor bike trainer is simple. Here are 3 different types of training sessions to get started on:

 

-V02Max session – Key for raising the upper threshold/limits of your power

10min warm up

3min @ 110% FTP

2min easy

4min @ 110% FTP

2min easy

5min @ 110% FTP

2min easy

4min @ 110% FTP

2min easy

3min @ 110% FTP

10min cool down 

 

-Strength session – Help to maintain power and reduce fatigue during a race 

10min warm up

6 x 6min* @ 70 cadence and ~90% FTP

3mins easy between each 6min effort.

10min cool down 

 

*If doing shorter events you can benefit more from shorter duration and higher intensity, likewise for longer endurance events like Ironman distance consider efforts of 8-15mins @ 80% 

 

 

-Sweet spot session – Great for increasing FTP, and value for time.

10 min warm up

4 x 5min alternating between 95%/85% FTP

5mins easy

4 x 5min alternating between 95%/85% FTP

10min cool down

 

Remember to be prepared with indoor sessions, this means having water (plus food if going long) on hand and well-fitting clothing to avoid discomfort. A good set of bibs goes a long way to making the training that much more enjoyable!