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Improve Your Turbo Trainer Indoor Cycling Workout By Changing The Environment

Updated on October 7, 2013
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer, he ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Turbo Training need not be boring

Turbo Training shouldn't be boring as this feelgood photograph shows
Turbo Training shouldn't be boring as this feelgood photograph shows | Source

Part 1. Improve your next indoor cycling workout by changing the training environment

Turbo trainers can be a great cycle training tool for the cold winter months. However many cyclists see them as boring. Almost a torture device. Below is my round up of ways that will improve your turbo trainer workout and hopefully keep you motivated to cycle during those cold dark winter months.

Happy reading and riding

I'm going to start off with ways you can change your environment. However if you'd rather get down to the adaptations you can make to your indoor cycling training sessions please click the below

101 ways how to improve your turbo trainer workout. Part 2. Training Sessions.

Improve your turbo trainer workout environment


Are you getting tired of the view in your spare room or garage? Why not change the View? Change what you're looking at by (1) Putting up some inspirational cycle training posters and photos on the indoor walls or (2) getting some of your racing/ sportive photos put onto canvas? Many people are inspired when seeing pictures of them in action and can see themselves in the place where the photo is taken. This can be great for visualising racing.

(3) Move to a different room. I spend most of the time in the garage where it's dark and de-motivating if you don't really want to do my cycle training. I find our conservatory is a great environment as it's much brighter and more inspiring atmosphere for occasional training sessions. Even on a cold snowy January day when the roads are unsafe outside you can look out onto the winter wonderland safe in the warmth indoors.

From This

Train like a Pro. Under a gazebo. Think you're Fabian Cancellara getting ready to speed round a time trial course
Train like a Pro. Under a gazebo. Think you're Fabian Cancellara getting ready to speed round a time trial course | Source

To This

Pro Riderwarming up under a gazebo
Pro Riderwarming up under a gazebo

4. Pretend to be Fabian Cancellara warming up for the Tour De France Prologue

(4) You could even pretend to be a Pro rider warming up for the Tour De France Prologue by taking your turbo trainer session outdoors on your decking or driveway. For the authentic 'pro' effect you need a gazebo (or large tent) to ride under. If you have a large garden you could have your own training room outdoors like the pro rider to the right>>

Audio and Visual improvements


(1) Go out and buy yourself some new music. (Or stay in if you use ITunes) Think about what you would like to listen to.

(2) Try some new music. Ask a friend to pick out something they think would help you. Sometimes they’ll surprise you and take you out of your comfort zone.

(3) Never work out to the radio. Some cyclists pay attention to the words the DJ is saying and lose their focus. Many riders are not motivated by the constant change in music style and struggle to remain focused.

(4) Spend time listening out for music which will inspire your training sessions. Study the music you hear and listen to it differently. Feel the rhythm and see yourself cycling to the music. Analyze the music you hear and think. Could I train to this? What kind out workout would it be suitable for? Climb, Sprint, Time Trial or even Cool Down?

(5) Use the beat of the music to dictate your leg pace. This is a technique often used by aerobics and spinning instructors to provide structure and motivation to sessions. Listen and feel for the beats. This takes some getting used to. Once you’ve mastered matching the beat you can experiment with taking your cadence above and below the beat.

Classical Cool Down

(10) Cool down music is important too

A good Cool down is just as important as your main session. Think about music choices to calm you and bring you back into reality once your session is over. Classical music helps me with this however it is not to everyone’s taste. Have a listen to the track to the right and see what you think? Does it make you feel relaxed?

Hopefully you're not asleep now!


You could use a television to create an audio-visual workout. (You might also need a built in DVD player for some of the below too)

(1) If you have a long aerobic base training session to do on the turbo trainer put on a lively movie to keep you occupied while exercising

(2) Use you turbo training workout to challenge your mind too. Borrow some language course DVD's from your local library and learn to speak like a Belgian Pro Cyclist while you're working out so you can visualise yourself chatting to a Belgian television presenter while lifting the Trophy for the Tour of Flanders aloft like your road racing idols

(3) The Soccer/ American Football Turbo Trainer workout. Stead ride with a 10 second sprint every touchdown or goal- That's a lot of sprinting in an hour and you have to be alert all the time. This is great mental preparation for road racing.

(4) Buy a Spinervals DVD. I find Spinervals DVD's really motivating and push my workouts to the next performance level. In a Spinervals DVD Coach Troy directs a focused, targeted workout that will help you to prepare for road racing, time trials, triathlon or even cyclo cross.

Chaingang video- Imagine yourself in the line. (The author of this hub is in blue)

Using a Laptop

(1) Use you laptop and make a Youtube music playlist. See and hear your favourite music. Youtube playlists are great ways to add sound and colour into your training session.

(2) There are lots of inspirational videos on the net. View the video on the right and imagine you are the rider in the chaingang. (The author of this is in blue so watch your handling!)

(3) Do you love to climb mountains? Find some climbing videos on the internet and watch them to help you visualise yourself climbing the big Cols of Europe. You could climb L'Alpe D'Huez at the head of the Tour De France in your spare room.

(4) On the flip side of climbing- do you love to descend, fast? Touching 100 kilometres an hour flying down an Alpine Descent. I find the below video extremely motivational and a fantastic insight into Mountain descents. Find some descending videos and watch in awe.

(5) This will inspire you. Sa Colobra. Watch this while you cycle and struggle not to lean into the bends!


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Temirah. We all need a little mo0re inspiration at times.

    • Temirah profile image

      Temirah 6 years ago

      DVDs and TV are a great idea for indoor practising. Anything that's inspirational is a must!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Susan. Cycling DVD's are a great addition to your workout. I have a DVD at home that allows me to ride some of the tour de france's great pyranean climbs.

      I'd recommend you try spinervals dvds if you haven't already.

    • Susan Miles profile image

      Susan Miles 6 years ago

      Great ideas in this hub! I like the idea of taking the trainer with bike outside or semi-outside in the winter for a different view. I like to ride indoors to a cycling DVD.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Cipollini. Are you the great Super Mario Cipollini?

      I have a gazebo at home going spare if you're in the uk!

    • profile image

      Cipollini 6 years ago

      Loving this information. I'm even tempted to buy my own gazebo and do it up in club colours and add loads of sponsors logos too