While even uttering the words ‘turbo trainer’ is enough to send shivers down the spine of some cyclists, indoor training remains an efficient way to make the most of limited time on the bike.

That’s particularly the case in winter, when work and family commitments, short days and poor weather all combine to make it more difficult to get out on the road.

CAPTION

While even uttering the words ‘turbo trainer’ is enough to send shivers down the spine of some cyclists, indoor training remains an efficient way to make the most of limited time on the bike.

That’s particularly the case in winter, when work and family commitments, short days and poor weather all combine to make it more difficult to get out on the road.

CAPTION

Using the turbo trainer, on the other hand, means you can take shelter in your garage, shed or living room, while you can tailor your session to work on a specific area of your fitness without worrying about vehicles, traffic lights and road furniture.

- Buyer’s guide: turbo trainers -

And, unless you’re a professional rider with hours and hours available to ride each week, you can use the turbo for 30-90 minute, high intensity training sessions to get fit quick.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to the turbo trainer, and what your session entails will depend on your current level of fitness, training goals and, quite frankly, attention span, given that pain-induced boredom can quickly set in when on the turbo, regardless of how well structured the session is.

- High intensity training vs. base training -

With that in mind, here are five indoor turbo trainer sessions to work on different areas of your form and fitness: strength efforts, threshold, sweetspot, VO2 Max and cadence drills. In each of these sessions we’ll refer to training zones in order to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity if you train with a heart rate monitor or power meter. Find out how to calculate your training zones here.

Using the turbo trainer, on the other hand, means you can take shelter in your garage, shed or living room, while you can tailor your session to work on a specific area of your fitness without worrying about vehicles, traffic lights and road furniture.

- Buyer’s guide: turbo trainers -

And, unless you’re a professional rider with hours and hours available to ride each week, you can use the turbo for 30-90 minute, high intensity training sessions to get fit quick.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to the turbo trainer, and what your session entails will depend on your current level of fitness, training goals and, quite frankly, attention span, given that pain-induced boredom can quickly set in when on the turbo, regardless of how well structured the session is.

- High intensity training vs. base training -

With that in mind, here are five indoor turbo trainer sessions to work on different areas of your form and fitness: strength efforts, threshold, sweetspot, VO2 Max and cadence drills. In each of these sessions we’ll refer to training zones in order to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity if you train with a heart rate monitor or power meter. Find out how to calculate your training zones here.

Strength session

Why?

In this session you’ll work on leg strength by dropping your cadence, forcing you to push harder on the pedals to hit the required power or heart rate. This will encourage your leg muscles to adapt and grow stronger, and will pay dividends out on the road when climbing and you’re required to drop your cadence, as it will increase the amount of torque you are able to produce.

How?

Warm-up for 10mins zone two

10 mins zone three at 60 rpm

5 mins zone two at 90-100rpm

10 mins zone three at 55rpm

5 mins zone two at 90-100rpm

10 mins zone three at 50rpm

Cool down 10-15 mins zone two decreasing to zone one

A Thursday night group turbo session at London's Elite Cycling

Strength session

Why?

In this session you’ll work on leg strength by dropping your cadence, forcing you to push harder on the pedals to hit the required power or heart rate. This will encourage your leg muscles to adapt and grow stronger, and will pay dividends out on the road when climbing and you’re required to drop your cadence, as it will increase the amount of torque you are able to produce.

How?

Warm-up for 10mins zone two

10 mins zone three at 60 rpm

5 mins zone two at 90-100rpm

10 mins zone three at 55rpm

5 mins zone two at 90-100rpm

10 mins zone three at 50rpm

Cool down 10-15 mins zone two decreasing to zone one

A Thursday night group turbo session at London's Elite Cycling

Threshold session

Why?

This session looks to improve your lactate threshold – in basic terms, the amount of power you can produce while keeping your lactate levels under control and stopping lactic acid from flooding your muscles. Essentially, it’ll help you ride harder, for longer. However, threshold intervals are hard, so here they’re broken down into chunks to keep them manageable and helping you consistently hit the required intensity.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

10 mins zone one

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

10 mins zone one

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

Cool down 10-15 mins zone two decreasing to zone one

The turbo trainer is a valuable training tool for any rider looking to get the most bang for their buck

Threshold session

Why?

This session looks to improve your lactate threshold – in basic terms, the amount of power you can produce while keeping your lactate levels under control and stopping lactic acid from flooding your muscles. Essentially, it’ll help you ride harder, for longer. However, threshold intervals are hard, so here they’re broken down into chunks to keep them manageable and helping you consistently hit the required intensity.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

10 mins zone one

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

10 mins zone one

10 mins upper zone four – self-selected cadence

Cool down 10-15 mins zone two decreasing to zone one

The turbo trainer is a valuable training tool for any rider looking to get the most bang for their buck

Sweetspot session

Why?

These sweetspot intervals focus the intensity at the upper end of zone three and lower end of zone four, and work to increase your aerobic efficiency and endurance – ideal for riders targeting time trial, long distance events or Alpine climbs, and who want the most ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to an aerobic-focused training session.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

20 mins sweetspot, including a 5-10 second burst every four mins – not a sprint but an out of the saddle acceleration

10 mins zone one

20 mins sweetspot, including a 5-10s burst every four mins

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one

Sweetspot session

Why?

These sweetspot intervals focus the intensity at the upper end of zone three and lower end of zone four, and work to increase your aerobic efficiency and endurance – ideal for riders targeting time trial, long distance events or Alpine climbs, and who want the most ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to an aerobic-focused training session.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

20 mins sweetspot, including a 5-10 second burst every four mins – not a sprint but an out of the saddle acceleration

10 mins zone one

20 mins sweetspot, including a 5-10s burst every four mins

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one

VO2 Max session

Why?

Improving your VO2 Max will help you attack a short, sharp climb or breakaway in a race, when you’re working close to maximum intensity. There’s no getting around it, these intervals are hard, so it’s best to tackle them fresh, but they’ll make the difference when things get tough at the business end of a race or sportive.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

5×3 mins zone five

Seven mins recovery between efforts

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one

Experienced riders will change gear frequently to maintain a high cadence

VO2 Max session

Why?

Improving your VO2 Max will help you attack a short, sharp climb or breakaway in a race, when you’re working close to maximum intensity. There’s no getting around it, these intervals are hard, so it’s best to tackle them fresh, but they’ll make the difference when things get tough at the business end of a race or sportive.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

5×3 mins zone five

Seven mins recovery between efforts

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one

Experienced riders will change gear frequently to maintain a high cadence

Cadence session

Why?

While the strength session we’ve already covered works on how hard you can push on the pedals, this looks to improve how quickly – or smoothly and efficiently – you can turn them. After all, power equals torque multiplied by cadence, so if you not only improve your leg strength but also sustain a higher cadence then you’re on to a winner.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

12 mins as follows:

1 min at 90rpm, 1 min at 120rpm, 1 min at 90rpm, 1 min at 120rpm and so on until you have completed 12 mins

10 mins zone two - self-selected cadence

12 mins as follows:

1 min at 100rpm, 1 min at 120rpm, 1 min at 100rpm, 1 min at 120rpm and so on until you have complete 12 mins

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one

Cadence session

Why?

While the strength session we’ve already covered works on how hard you can push on the pedals, this looks to improve how quickly – or smoothly and efficiently – you can turn them. After all, power equals torque multiplied by cadence, so if you not only improve your leg strength but also sustain a higher cadence then you’re on to a winner.

How?

Warm-up for 10 mins zone two

12 mins as follows:

1 min at 90rpm, 1 min at 120rpm, 1 min at 90rpm, 1 min at 120rpm and so on until you have completed 12 mins

10 mins zone two - self-selected cadence

12 mins as follows:

1 min at 100rpm, 1 min at 120rpm, 1 min at 100rpm, 1 min at 120rpm and so on until you have complete 12 mins

Cool down 10-15mins zone two decreasing to zone one