With the winter weather starting to close in and the cold and wet days turning into early dark nights it’s important not to let your fitness suffer. If you enjoy cycling the best option is to start using an indoor bike trainer and using a range of bike trainer workouts to keep your fitness up and using your bike.
By purchasing an indoor bike trainer you give yourself the freedom to train when it suits you and not just when the weather is good, you can also train while watching TV or using your tablet. This piece of equipment allows you to use cycling trainer workouts that suit your own personal needs.
Before you start any workout make sure you complete a 10 minute warm up of easy spinning to get the muscles and body ready for the exercise you are about to do.
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Long Slow Continuous Training (LSCT)
The first and easiest type of bike trainer workout is long slow continuous training. This involves maintaining a steady pace for a prolonged period of time. For example completing a 30 minute cycle at the same speed or resistance setting and not stopping or slowing down.
The benefits of this type of cycling trainer workout is that it allows you to pick a pace that is comfortable for your ability and can complete for a long period. Also it burns a lot of calories and is particularly useful for beginners who want to watch TV or be distracted while burning fat. The disadvantages of this bike trainer workout are that if the pace is not challenging then the results can be limited, and also it can get boring to stay at the same speed.
An alternative to continuous training is a bicycle trainer workout using intervals of high intensity or speed to push the body to it limits, interspersing with periods of rest/recovery. For example complete one minute of high cadence (100rpm) at a low resistance followed by two minutes of slow spinning at a low resistance for recovery and the repeat the work and rest four to five times.
Another interval workout could be to complete ten 30s intervals using a high resistance or gear and trying to cycle as fast as you can. Ideally the gear should only allow you to spin at approximately 70-80rpm to make sure you are pushing your heart rate up. After each 30s bout of intense speed recover with a 90s easy spin.
The biggest benefit of this cycle trainer workout is the high intensity forces the body to torch through its fat stores to provide energy as quickly as possible, also the increased intensity pushes the heart rate up into the cardio workout zone to improve the stamina. The downside to these workouts are you need to have a good ability on the trainer to keep your balance when cycling at speed and potentially out of the seat.
The last type of bike trainer workout that is effective is to simulate a hill climb. To do this you gradually increase the resistance on the bike every two to three minutes as if the gradient of the hill is getting steeper. This is a great workout for more advanced cyclists as it will improve muscle tone in the legs by trying to remain in your seat at all times.
Try to set a target which will be your “peak” for example gear 15, once you reach this gear pedal hard and fast out of the seat for 30s and then switch back to a low resistance and spin for 10 minutes to boost recovery of the muscles. This is a great workout for burning fat as you are progressively increasing the intensity and making the body burn fat as a fuel. The downfall of this bicycle trainer workout is you need to have a good muscle tone prior to completing and is not really suited to beginners.
After any of these workouts make sure you complete a sufficient cool down to get the lactic acid out of your muscles and lower your heart rate slowly. Spinning at no resistance for five to ten minutes will be sufficient. If you have worked for longer than 30 minutes aim to complete a good ten minute cool down and some stretches afterwards.
You don’t have to pick just one type of workout, switch it about and use different workouts on different days because keeping to the same day in day out will only give you results for so long and then you will not improve any further.
Picture: Shutterstock.com / Kzenon