Indoor Cycling Guide: 5 Workouts To Get You Fit & Fast In No Time

May 11, 2020

Indoor Cycling Guide: 5 Workouts To Get You Fit & Fast In No Time

With more and more people staying at home and looking for new ways to optimize their time for fitness and athletic gains, there’s been a tremendous boom in indoor cycling. Recent efforts by trainer brands have not only made the humble indoor bike trainer smoother, more durable, and easier to set up, trainer brands are utilizing the latest technologies to make the indoor riding experience more fun than ever. If you’re looking to start riding indoors, then check out our list of essential items you’ll need. And if you’re looking to go further and set up an ultimate “pain cave” in your home, be sure to check out these three fantastic setups from one of the top triathlon teams in the world, Team Every Man Jack.

But once you get your bike, trainer, and accessories all dialed in, there’s still the matter of actually riding. Sure, you can have a fun experience and get a great workout by simply pedaling for any length of time. But to truly get the most out of your time, energy, and new trainer, you should incorporate some structured workouts. Note that everyone’s goals and fitness levels are different, and always remember that it’s vital to build an overall plan with a reputable coaching service in order to fully realize the benefits of training. But to get you started, here’s a list of some great workouts that anyone can tailor to their overall plan, or simply do to spice up your riding efforts.

CLASSIC TEMPO LADDER

This is a tried-and-true workout that can be beneficial for most anyone to incorporate into their overall training plan. This can help you increase your lactate threshold, and it involves increasing the intensity of each effort while decreasing the amount of time spent at said effort.

  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes
  • 5 minutes at about 50% FTP
  • 4 minutes at about 90% FTP, followed by one minute at an easy spin
  • 3 minutes at about 100% FTP, followed by two minutes at an easy spin
  • 2 minutes at about 110% FTP, followed by three minutes at an easy spin
  • 1 minute at about 120% FTP, followed by 4 minutes at an easy spin
  • Fully cool down before finishing your ride

RUSSIAN PYRAMID

This workout is a favorite of recently retired professional triathlete, Kaisa Sali: “Every now and then it is super fun to hit the indoor trainer hard, and my absolute favorite workout is the ‘Russian pyramid.’ Here’s how you do it—just make sure you’re properly warmed up, and note that ‘all out’ means giving your maximum effort. It’ll get the legs and the lungs really burning.”

  • Warm Up
  • 15 seconds “all out,” followed by 45 seconds spinning easy
  • 30 seconds “all out,” followed by 45 seconds spinning easy
  • 45 seconds “all out,” followed by 15 seconds spinning easy
  • 60 seconds “all out,” followed by 60 seconds spinning easy
  • 45 seconds “all out,” followed by 15 seconds spinning easy
  • 30 seconds “all out,” followed by 45 seconds spinning easy
  • 15 seconds “all out,” followed by 45 seconds spinning easy
  • Engage in a recovery spin for at least five minutes, then do this set again, around 2 or 3 times in total

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OUT-OF-THE-SADDLE QUAD BURNERS

This workout is a favorite of Kona Triathlon World Champion and respected coach, Michellie Jones: “One of my favorite workouts is out-of-the-saddle intervals, which can be great strength workouts and quad burners, for sure. For example, try a few rounds of 10-minute efforts, with one minute standing out of the saddle at a low cadence, followed by one minute seated at a high cadence, then repeated.”

SWEET SPOT INTERVALS

This workout is a favorite of Eric Abbott, one of the athletes on Team Every Man Jack: “I love the indoor trainer for the control and specificity it gives me in a workout. I am a big fan of ‘sweet spot’ intervals for their endurance benefits, and I also love the trainer for over-VO2 work. This type of workout is hard for me to do outside since the roads around me don’t lend themselves to those kinds of extended high-power efforts.”

After warming up, you’ll be doing four rounds of lengthy efforts at just below your FTP (functional threshold power). Specifically, start your first effort at 83-97% FTP, and hold the effort for 12 minutes. Engage in an easy spin for three minutes. Repeat for another three rounds. After this, you’ll start a different, unique set of efforts: Pedal for one minute at FTP, then pedal easy for four minutes. Repeat this three times. Then give yourself a full cool down.

EXTREME POWER: 2-MINUTE EFFORTS @ 120% FTP

This workout comes courtesy of Team Every Man Jack’s Colin Cook: “My favorite ride is probably 5 x 2 min at 120% FTP with 3-minute recoveries. They're short and sweet intervals, but always have me crying for Momma when I'm finishing each set. They're also a great workout to help improve your functional threshold power.”

After you’ve made sure that you’re properly warmed up, begin your first effort pedaling to 120% of your FTP. Keep the effort steady for two minutes. Ease off, and engage in a recovery spin for three minutes. Repeat the effort another five times, or as dictated by your training plan. Remember, always listen to your body—push yourself to the point of improvement, but not to overexertion.

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