Fantastic One Hour Turbo Trainer Indoor Cycling Workouts

These hour long workouts can help improve your road race performance
These hour long workouts can help improve your road race performance | Source

One hour Indoor Cycling Workouts to maximise performance

Winter nights are never encouraging for riding a bike. That's where workouts on your turbo trainer can come in to helping improve your cycling performance.

Whether you workout on a turbo trainer or set of cycling rollers- It's often difficult to remain fully focused on your training throughout the winter when really you should be using the training time as a spring for your next road racing, time trial or triathlon season.

When it comes to doing workouts at home on the indoor trainer we all have differing levels of concentration. Some cyclists find an hour as close to the limit in terms of time they can spend on their turbo trainer workouts and therefore detailed below are a selection of fantastic one hour long indoor cycling workouts to help improve your cycling performance.

One hour workout to improve cycling leg speed

Leg speed is a key attribute to any cyclist- particularly those who race. Maintaining a fluid high cadence pedal stroke will help to produce performance gains through improved cycling efficiency.

The ability to spin up to a high cadence will also be worked in this workout and is a particularly useful ability for cyclocross and road race cyclists who have the regular need to quickly sprint up to speed.

Speed work sessions are relatively low load so are ideal throughout the training year as do not place excessive needs on the cardiovascular system as heart rate is not really a determinant for speed workouts.

Through a combination of single leg spinning and spin-ups you can target both speed and technque over the course of an hour long workout.

One hour worth of speed and technique drills

Use Spin- up exercises to help you develop leg speed and cadence control while you pedal.

Spin ups start from a moderately low cadence (lets say start around 80 rpm) and you should allow your cadence to increase gradually over about 50 seconds up to the maximum you can handle without bouncing. Try to keep your lower legs relaxed as tension will cause you to bounce.

Combine spin-ups with single leg cadence drills. 20 seconds of single leg spinning is fine initially to help you develop a better pedal stroke and can either be taking the opposite leg along for a ride or having your opposite leg unclipped.

You can easily target both leg speed and pedalling technique in an hour long indoor cycling workout as shown below.

One hour workout for leg speed and technique

Time (mins)
Description
Heart rate
Typical Gear
Cadence
0-10
Warm Up
From resting HR slowily increase to 80% max
53x19 through to 53x16 (if on rollers)
100-110 rpm
10-30 mins
1 minutes spinning up from low cadence up to maximum over a minute period, 1 min easy spin recovery then repeat.
Irrelevant
53x17
80-140+ rpm then easy recovery around 80 rpm
30-50 mins
20 secs single leg spin, recover 40 secs with both legs clipped in. Repeat with opposite leg
Irrelevant
53x19
+/- 110 rpm
50-60 mins
Cool Down
Take down from 80% to near resting HR
53x16 working up cassette
around 100 rpm
Example of a one hour long indoor cycling workout for speed and technique improvement. Gearings stated are an approximation using bike rollers as an example. On a turbo trainer it is likely that a smaller gearing will be required. Single leg spin can

One hour towards better time trial or bike leg performance

The key element for many to achieving a better time trial performance is muscular endurance. The ability to keep turning a huge gear at a relatively high cadence has to be developed over time. Therefore you can target your muscular endurance on the turbo trainer with your indoor cycling workouts.

The aim of muscular endurance intervals when indoor cycling is to train the muscles to perform at high workloads. Therefore the workout below places high demands on the body without taking yourself into the anaerobic threshold area or above. Therefore you can perform the workout on a regular basis to emphasize development for when you're riding against the clock.

One hour indoor cycling workout for muscular endurance

Time (mins)
Description
Heart Rate
Typical Gear
Cadence
0-10
Warm Up
Progress up to 80% Max HR
39x21 progressing through cassette block
100-110
10-16
6 min muscular endurance interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x17
100-110
16-20
Easy recovery
Ease off slightly for recovery HR drop
39x17- for easy pedal recovery
100-110
20-27
7 min muscular endurance interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x17
100-110
27-30
Easy recovery
Ease off slightly for recovery HR drop
39x17- for easy pedal recovery
100-110
30-38
8 min muscular endurance interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x17
100-110
38-40
Easy recovery
Ease off slightly for recovery HR drop
39x17- for easy pedal recovery
100-110
40-49
9 min muscular endurance interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x17
100-110
49-60
Cool Down
Drop from 80% max hr down to easy/ rest HR
39x15 progressing up cassette
100-110
A great one hour turbo trainer workout for muscular endurance development. An ideal workout for time trial cyclists and triathletes to develop the ability to push big gears at relatively high cadences. Example gears are relative to the rider.

One hour of turbo training to help get you ready for racing

While there is no one single workout that can get you ready for road race or cyclo-cross racing events. You can train for those changes in pace which populates bunch racing and cross country events.

You can never tell exactly how long you're going to spend 'in the gutter' in a road race so it's a good idea to train accordingly in your turbo trainer workouts.

Road and cross country racing specific one hour turbo trainer intervals

The below workout includes a number of intervals specific to the demands of racing

Tabata style reaction intervals

5 seconds hard, followed by 5 seconds easy sounds straightforward- however when you try it for more than a few minutes at a time- It Hurts. These intervals will help you become adjusted to the changes of pace required in race situations.

30 second lung opening intervals

When the pace goes down in a race it rarely goes 'mental' for more than 30 seconds. Train your body to go for multiple 30 second intervals in different gearing's (therefore at different cadences) to be able to react accordingly and potentially do some damage yourself after someone goes hard for the first 30 seconds and everyone else wants a recovery period.

5 minute muscular endurance intervals

The key attribute to many racing cyclists is the ability to maintain the ability of pushing a high gear at a relatively high cadence. This is emphasised in this workout as well as the ability to push a high gear while already fatigued. This will help your racing towards the end of a race.

One hour on the turbo to prepare you for road racing or cyclocross

Time (mins)
Description
Heart Rate
Typical Gear
Cadence
0-10
Warm Up
Steadily bring HR up to 80% HR max
39x21 progresing through cassette
100-110 rpm
10-10:30 (30 secs)
30 sec interval for hard effort accustomisation
Up to 90% HR Max
53x15
100-110 rpm
10:30-11:00
30 secs recovery
Allow to lower slightly
39x15
100-110 rpm
11-11:30
30 sec interval for hard effort accustomisation
Up to 95% Max HR
53x13
100-110 rpm
11:30-12:00
30 secs recovery
allow HR to lower slightly
39x15
100-110 rpm
12-12:30
30 sec interval for hard effort accustomisation
Up to 95% Max HR
53x19
110-130 rpm
12:30-13:00
30 secs recovery
allow HR to lower
39x15
100-110 rpm
13-13:30
30 sec interval for hard effort accustomisation
Up to 95% Max HR
53x12
80-90 rpm
13:30-14:00
30 secs recovery
allow HR to lower
39x15
100-110 rpm
14-14:30
30 sec interval for hard effort accustomisation
Up to 95% HR
53x15
100-110 rpm
14:30-17:00
Recovery
Allow HR to drop towards rest
39x15
100-110 rpm
17-22:00
5 min tabata style interval- 5 sec hard 5 sec easy continuous for 5 mins
On work intervals pushing towards max HR
53x15
Max possible on work intervals
22-25:00
Recovery
Allow HR to drop towards resting
39x15
100-110 rpm
25-30:00
5 min tabata style interval- 5 sec hard 5 sec easy continuous for 5 mins
On work intervals pushing towards max HR
53x15
Max possible on work intervals
30-33:00
Recovery
Allow HR to drop towards resting
39x15
100-110 rpm
33-38:00
Muscular endurance interval
Aim for up to 85% Max HR
52x17
100-110 rpm
38-40:00
Recovery
Allow HR to drop
39x15
100-110 rpm
40-45:00
Muscular endurance interval
Aim for up to 85% Max HR
52x17
100-110 rpm
45-47:00
Recovery
Allow HR to drop
39x15
100-110 rpm
47-52:00
Muscular endurance interval
Aim for up to 85% Max HR
52x17
100-110 rpm
52-60:00
Cool Down
Lower HR towards resting
39x15 and progress up cassette
100-110 rpm
A typical road race and cyclocross acclimatisation workout on a turbo trainer lasting one hour. Gearinsg are approximate and will vary between riders.

Good luck with your indoor cycling workouts

Please let us know how you get on in the comments tab below

Many thanks

CyclingFitness

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Comments 2 comments

CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 4 years ago from Nottingham UK Author

Thanks Paul.

I've actually found dramatic improvements in myself and teammates have been experienced through cadence drills over 2-3 months through the winter and can be encorporated into easy day rides as well. I've borrowed experienced racers a set of rollers for a month and they have noted extremes in terms of their technique development which helps to show that any rider can improve their technique no matter what their proficiency as the sledgehammer pedal technique still exists.

I have experience using power and while it is slowly making it's way into UK cycling training it is still an expense which a lot of riders have yet to take on. I have a number of hubs planned for future development regarding training with power. I particularly like using wattbikes for training sessions however many regular cyclists don't have access to them presently.


Paul Rinkenberg profile image

Paul Rinkenberg 4 years ago from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Like the hub. As a coach and racer, I've found that cadence drills are only good for beginner cyclists and for the first week coming off the couch for experienced racers. I've also found that 1 hour on the trainer will limit the gain one could make by adding another 30 mins of interval work. Either way, sometime a 1 hour crunch session is needed in order to get any sort of ride in that day. Do you have any experience using power?

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