Indoor Trainer Workouts for Cyclists

If there is any time of year when Midwestern cyclists loathe to be outdoors, it’s the months of February and March. Higher Gear invites you to join us in our boutique CompuTrainer Studio.

For those who prefer to do their indoor training solo, ran a great article by Selene Yeager called How to Ride Inside: Indoor Trainer Workouts for Cyclists back in December. They offered suggestions for indoor workouts from Carmichael Training Systems. Below is an excerpt from that article.


Riding indoors doesn’t have to be dull—and it can put you on the fast track to fitness.


Indoor Training Trainer CycleOps Higher Gear Highland Park


Chances are your typical indoor ride goes like this: Hop on trainer, pop in Season 4 of Mad Men, pedal as long as you can stand it. But spending hours on the trainer can be overkill.

Indoor workouts “are harder than riding outside because you’re fighting the resistance of the trainer,” says coach Andy Applegate of Carmichael Training Systems. That’s why he recommends short, hard efforts. “You’ll build your aerobic energy system—in less time,” he says.

Applegate suggests doing one of the workouts below twice a week; choose another for a third hard day. After three weeks, try one of the more challenging variations. Allow one day of rest, cross-training, or easy riding between sessions.


  • Spin easy for 10 to 15 minutes before each workout. Finish the session with a 10-minute cooldown.


Speed Intervals improve power and speed and help you recover from repeated hard efforts:

  • Do four one-minute fast-pedal intervals: Use an easy gear and as high a cadence as possible. Keep your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) low—5 out of 10. Recover for two minutes between efforts.
  • Pedal five minutes easy.
  • Do 10 to 12 intervals of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off. The “on” portions are 95 percent effort (RPE 9 to 9.5) at as high a cadence as possible. Stand or sit as needed. For the “off” parts, spin easy.
  • Make it harder: Add one on/off interval, up to 20 total.


Climbing Bursts help you respond to attacks on hills:

  • Simulate a hill by raising the bike’s front wheel.
  • Ride 10 minutes at a pace you can hold for an hour (90 to 100 percent of threshold power or heart rate; RPE 8). Once every two minutes, stand and attack for 12 to 15 pedal strokes—a near all-out effort.
  • Spin easy for 10 minutes.
  • Repeat (do three fast efforts total).
  • Make it harder: Try 2×15 minutes (10 minutes recovery), then 3×12 (six minutes recovery), then 2×20 (10 minutes recovery).


Ladder Intervals simulate the demands of racing:

  • Pedal for four minutes at RPE 8 (90 to 100 percent of threshold power), then three minutes at RPE 9 (100 to 110 percent of threshold), then one minute allout (115 percent of threshold).
  • Spin easy for five minutes.
  • Pedal one minute all-out, then three minutes at RPE 9, then four minutes at RPE 8.
  • Spin easy for 10 minutes.
  • Repeat the sequence.
  • Make it harder: Add 30 seconds to each rung of the ladder, then a minute.


Indoor Cycling Training Trainer Accessories Block Roller Tire CycleOps Continental


Need help creating your indoor training space? Higher Gear has all of your indoor training needs covered- including trainers, mats, riser blocks, trainer tires and nutrition. If you’re looking for more motivation this winter season, join us for challenging SufferFest, IronMan course or custom workouts in our boutique CompuTrainer Studio.



Need Help? Have Questions?

Highland Park | 847-433-2453
Wilmette | 847-256-2330

  • E-Mail
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon