- Cris Arenas
Your Indoor Cycling Training Game Plan
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
Cycling is a fantastic sport and can give you so many benefits such as better health, better fitness, better adventures, and an opportunity to be social with other like minded people. Though it is very challenging to be outside in winter, many of us turn to cycling indoors. Cycling indoors will give you an amazing workout and can hugely improve your cycling in a very short space of time. Having an indoor cycling training plan can be the difference between starting summer fit or unfit.
What are the different types of indoor trainer setups?
Indoor trainers come in many different shapes and sizes. You’re going to want the get the right type for you to maximize your training. It can be a minefield trying to understand all the different setups and how they will benefit you. Depending on your cycling and what you want to achieve out of your indoor cycling training plan, you can use different setups.
What is a Turbo Trainer?
A turbo trainer is a device that you can attach to your outdoor bike and then use the bike stationary. They come in many different forms such as basic wheel on trainers. This is where the whole bike slots in. Then you also get direct drive trainers where you must remove the rear wheel and then attach the bike. You will also hear the term smart trainer, this is where the trainer has the ability to connect to interactive training programs such as Zwift.
Road Bike on any Trainer
One of the typical routes many cyclists go when getting a turbo trainer on a beginner indoor cycling training plan is they get online, start looking at a few trainers, and order what suits them. They get their road bike out and mount the bike, and you're ready to go. It’s a straightforward route to go down and will give you a fundamental setup for winter.
Spinning Bikes at the Gym
Many of us in winter end up going to the gym. Training at home can be challenging for many people, and the gym is an excellent environment for improving your cycling. Typically most gyms will have a spinning bike somewhere in it, and this being most like a road bike, tends to be the choice of many for their winter training.
Smart Trainer with a secondary bike
Another route you can go down, which I think is one of the best routes, is to use a smart trainer and a second bike. Typically, it's common for a cyclist to have two bikes, one race bike and a training bike for winter weather. They put their training bike on the smart trainer and use that when the weather is terrible. Then on a good day when the sun is shining, take their racing bike out. This is an excellent training setup.
Trainer with Racebike
If you only own one bike and don’t have a training bike, using your race bike on a turbo trainer is also another option. It has some considerable benefits in the fact you get used to the race bike position and are ready for when you go out on the roads. It also saves you money and space.
Stand Alone Training Bike
There’s some amazing technology coming out on the market currently, and one thing that is big at the minute is companies releasing their own training bikes. We have Tacx, Wahoo, and life Fitness with incredible indoor cycling technology. These bikes have astonishing technology and super accurate power meters and are just next level compared to what we have had the past few years. These are very expensive and might not suit all beginner indoor cycling training plan users.
What will an indoor setup cost?
It depends on how realistic your indoor riding wants to mirror outdoor cycling. Basic trainers are great for indoor fitness, but you want to race make riding indoors a social event then shelling out a few thousand and more is the entry price for these riding experiences. The good news is you can pick up used indoor cycling equipment online saving you lots of money.
What is the right indoor cycling trainer for your space?
When it comes down to indoor cycling training plan, we have to consider the space that we have in our homes or training places. Having the right trainer doesn't just come down to the bikes you have. It comes down to your space and what you can fit into it.
Trainers for a Small space
When it comes to finding the correct training setup for a small space, you need something that will use the least space and give you everything you need. The best setup I would recommend would be a turbo trainer, either regular or smart.
They are straightforward to store and put away. They take up next to no space and also can be moved around very easily. They can go on to any surface you need, and for someone with a small bedroom to train in are ideal.
The other option you have is to go and train at the gym if you lack space. Sometimes having a trainer at home just doesn’t work for some people, and they choose to join a gym and train there. It also means you have nothing to store, but you will more than likely require a membership and won't be able to use your own bike.
Trainers for a Medium space
When we speak about medium spaces we are looking at a room such as a medium sized living room, it’s not small but it is used for other things such as watching TV or relaxing. This gives you options but it isn't a huge amount of room. When it comes to trainers for a medium space, you have a few options. I would highly recommend a smart or regular trainer using your main bike. They won't take up too much of the space while being used, and also you can store them away very quickly.
You do have the option of using a second bike, but you might find it will eventually feel in the way. It’s lovely to have a turbo trainer in your room but having to look at it all the time while resting could become annoying.
Trainers for a Large space
Having a large space like a whole room or a basement is ideal. This means you can fully embrace having a training area. Here you can think about getting a proper indoor training bike or having your secondary bike set up on a turbo trainer.
You also have the space to add other things like a giant fan for your training and maybe a TV to keep you entertained. I feel having a separate room helps you mentally to focus more on your workout without distractions.
What are the Pros and Cons of indoor cycling?
Having a indoor cycling training plan has some fantastic benefits, but there are some drawbacks to it, which it is important to know about. Looking at the pros and the cons is essential before you choose to buy a home training setup.
● Maintain and Improve Fitness
● You can do proper structured training
● Health Benefits
○ Weight loss
○ Reduction in the chance of Cardiovascular Disease
○ Improved Focus
○ Decreased Stress
● Much Quicker than going out for a ride
● Weather Doesn’t matter
● Can train alone
● Cheaper than riding outdoor
● Less wear on components
● Much safer indoors than outside
● Decreased Flexibility
● Can lead to poor posture without doing corrective work
● Increased Appetite
● Doing extreme amounts can affect the immune system
● You need the space
● Turbo trainers can be very noisy
● You are stuck inside
● It can be boring
Tips for riding indoors
Riding indoors is very different from riding outdoors. To start with, it can be very challenging. Riding a bike inside does require a few considerations that you might not have thought about when you first decided to get yourself a turbo trainer. Here’s our list of tips to ensure you're getting it right.
Test your Fitness
Understand that smart trainers and many indoor setups come with tools to help you track your fitness. It is essential to test yourself regularly to make sure that you are improving and, if not, time to change your training. If you are on a beginner indoor cycling training plan then you will see improvements very quickly.
You can have the most structured training program ever, and you could have the best training setup, but if you are not using it regularly enough, you won't make improvements. The best cyclists, in my opinion, are consistent ones.
Training is door is for great for any type of cycling you do, but if you're an endurance cyclist or into backpacking indoor training helps maintain and improves your physical fitness all year round.
ERG mode is a tool you have on a smart trainer where the resistance will change for you automatically. It is a fantastic tool where you can pick a workout, and the trainer will automatically change for you, so you don’t need to worry about being in the correct power zones as the setup does this for you.
Make sure you have food, drinks, and everything you need ready. There’s nothing more annoying than having to get off the bike halfway through a session. Please make a list and follow it.
The fantastic thing about turbo trainers and programs like Zwift is that you can group ride. What is impressive about this is that you can ride with others at your own pace. It makes the training much less tedious, and you get to chat and ride with friends.
Sweet Spot training is an excellent tool for getting your fitness up fast. It’s on about 90% of your 20-minute limit. It is a great way to improve racing fitness, and it is a tough place to be, but at the end of the workout, you will feel great.
If you are looking for great value for time, workouts like intervals are an amazing way to go. It’s where you go at a high effort for short amounts of time, rest, and then go again. They are great for improving fitness, and the sessions are challenging but short.
Progress Intervals (Ramps)
Progress intervals are increased resistance where you slowly build up your effort pedaling. They are a lot of fun and very challenging.
Are you thinking about taking up road racing? If so, you are going to need to learn how to sprint. Doing sprint training is a lot of fun and great for increasing that maximum power effort.
Acceleration sessions can really help you cycle faster and are tremendous fun. Learning how to accelerate for hills is a great tool, and you will find many of these sessions on Zwift.
Some trainers model different riding conditions which is pretty cool. Challenge yourself riding in mud, rain, snow and even pavers found in the Paris-Roubaix race.
Having a indoor cycling training plan is a lot of fun and has huge benefits for anyone doing it. We no longer have to suffer through winter and get cold and wet. We can now suffer at home in the warmth. We can go into summer at full fitness and get straight on with our cycling season. Training indoors is an excellent investment for your cycling and your health.
Have a trainer collecting dust or looking to upgrade your trainer? Post it on the Pedal's app because you never know who's looking for a used indoor trainer. The Pedals mobile application is a platform where users can sell and buy used bikes, parts, clothing, & equipment locally. You can also sell your used electric scooter or other micromobility transport on Pedals.