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 cool down.
Speed intervals improve power and speed and help you recover from repeated hard efforts. Do four 1-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 2 minutes between efforts. Pedal 5 minutes easy. Do 10 to 12 intervals of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off. The ‘on’ portions are 95% 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.