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Turbo Trainer Indoor Cycling Workouts For More Sprint Power

Updated on December 28, 2014
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Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Team Liquigas Aboard Elite Turbo Trainers


Gaining power on your turbo trainer

Every cyclist is looking to develop their skills further. Many concentrate on the endurance aspects of the sport however to be successful in race scenarios it is vital to ensure that the athlete addresses all the abilities required within a race situation dependant on their chosen event

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Power
  • Speed Endurance

This article addresses power training for cyclists while using an indoor cycling ergometer or turbo-trainer.

What is power in cycling terms?

Power is an athlete's ability to apply maximum force in the shortest time possible. Power is oftenb seen as the explosive aspect of a sport and in cycling it is no different. High levels of power in a road cyclist involves the basic abilities of strength and speed and is typically seen in such road race situations as steep road climbs and bunch sprints. It is also seen on the track in match sprints and keirin racing.

Many cyclists have a misunderstanding of training for power and perform multiple short sprints with a brief period of recover between. Sadly while improving their abilities this type of training is effectively speed endurance training.

The best way to work on is to perform short efforts at maximal exertion levels followed by extended recovery periods. These recovery periods are essential for power development to allow the working muscles to generate maximal contraction forces.

Many cyclists hate doing power workouts. These are often cyclists with low levels of power (often as a result of a training emphasis on endurance) however success in road and cyclo cross races is severely dependant on having good overall racing abilities.

Turbo trainer drills to increase your cycling power

These workouts will be loved by the sprinters and strong cyclists. Those who enjoy criterium racing with lots of tight corners to accelerate out of.

Power training is best integrated into the build periods of your training year after a substantial base period in which you have worked on speed and muscular strangth training. Power training builds on this to take your abilities to higher levels.

These drills are great for on a turbo trainer as initially it. allows you to work on sprinting form and then progress onto pure explosive efforts. Power workouts often use the core and upper body as stabilizing muscles so don't feel alarm if these ache in the days after your have performed power related training sessions on your bike either on an indoor cycling ergometer or turbo trainer.

Due to the need for a resistance to work against. And the extremely physical nature of these workouts I personally would not recommend them to anyone using cycling rollers instead of a turbo trainer.

Power Workout 1- Jumps on a Turbo Trainer

These can be performed on an indoor trainer set to moderate resistance or out on the roads if you wish. Ideally you should have a relatively large gear on the bike

A jump is simply 10-15 maximum revolutions of the cranks (for each leg) at as high a cadence as possible. You can integrate a set of 5 of these at the beginning or end of your other turbo training workouts or simply perform a jumps training session involving 3-5 sets of five jumps.

Ideally you should allow at least a minutes rest between each set and five minutes rest between sets to allow the muscles to recover.

You can also alternate sets of seated/ standing jumps if you wish to target different aspects of your cycling as well as increasing the resistance as your power improves.

Cyclocross racing has a need for cycling power development

Cyclocross requires a degree of cycling power development for sprinting out of corners and away from other riders
Cyclocross requires a degree of cycling power development for sprinting out of corners and away from other riders | Source

Power Workout 2- Hill Sprints for cycling power

When you climb your cadence is often lower than when you're riding on the flat. A trick here is to raise your front wheel higher than usual to simulate a climbing position

On your turbo trainer and in a relatively big gear (a couple of cogs bigger than 'jump' power training) and a moderate resistance

Your aim is to do 6-10 flat out sprints of fifteen to twenty seconds with a steady cadence. Initially build your cadence for the first ten seconds and then aim to maintain the cadence over the remaining ten seconds.

After each sprint allow 3-5 minutes easy spinning as recovery time.

Power is a vital component of cycle racing

Use your turbo trainer as part of you cycle training to develop more power
Use your turbo trainer as part of you cycle training to develop more power | Source

Good luck

These workouts should help you develop your power. Ideally you will need to take some time transferring the skills to the road. On a turbo trainer your bike is held in a set position. These exercises above will help you prepare for on the road or track power training.

On the road whether you're on a group ride or on your own a great game to paly is Road Sign Sprints. These involve simply short sprints for a designated road sign (where safe to do so). I find it's best to choose village/ town name signs as these are often on the outskirts of residential areas.

In a group you could designate points per sign 1st= 3 points, 2nd= 2 points and 3rd= 1 point and have an overall sprints winner at the end of a ride.

Or alternately have a designated single point which is an end of ride sprint. My club has this however our sprint point is at the end of a 500 metre long ramp that hits 15% near the top. As a result we have some extremely strong sprinters in my club who have no issues tackling the ramp in a 53x19 in the middle of winter!.


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    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      8 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Turbo Trainers are great while you're recovering from injury MazioCreate so you can improve and develop fitness in spite of existing injuries. I hope these workouts help you when you have some strong fitness in future CF

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks CyclingFitness for this article. I'm recovering from shoulder surgery & am only able to use the trainer. I'm not up to diing this training yet as I can't hold onto the bars, but will use it when shoulder is working.


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