There’s a lot of inspiration for cycling at home on virtual training platforms mentioned in the previous article. But if you don’t really know which sessions are right for you or you want to set up your own home-training plan, then this article is for you.

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Cut your training time in half

Before we get to specific training sessions, it’s important to realize that riding on a turbo trainer at home is really different from cycling outdoors. Indoors, one hour of training equals one hour of pedalling. Outdoors, you usually spend 10-15 % of your time coasting at 0 watts because of traffic and downhills. You also have many unplanned rests because of stop signs, intersections, and other unexpected things. Training indoors is also a much bigger mental strain. While riding a new route outdoors can feel like an adventure, riding indoors often feels more like a chore. Thankfully, training indoors is not only more intense – it’s also more effective. So, you can cut your usual training time roughly by half and still get the same training stimulus. Let’s look at why.

Make your sessions hard but fun

At home, you don’t have the distractions of riding outdoors, there are no views, no mountain tops, no destinations, coffee breaks, and friends to talk to. That’s why you have to make sessions feel fun and engaging. Short but intense structured training works best for that. Here are two examples.

Climbing simulation

This workout should improve your ability to push hard on hills. The added fun element is that you can simulate a hill by raising the bike’s front wheel and adding resistance. We will assign the intensity using the Functional threshold power (FTP). If you’re unsure what your FTP is, then just imagine the hardest tempo that you could sustain for about 1 hour and that’s your 100 % FTP. This workout should take 48 minutes.

Warm-up: 10 minutes easy spin
Interval, repeat 4x: 2 min. at 90 % FTP, stand up and pedal at 115 % FTP for 15 seconds.
Break: 10 minutes easy spin
Interval, repeat 4x: 2 min. at 90 % FTP, stand up and pedal at 115 % FTP for 15 seconds.
Cooldown: 10 minutes easy spin

Race-like ladders

This workout simulates the demands of racing where you need to ramp up and down intensity gradually as needed. Try to keep three distinct intensities throughout the whole session. This workout should take 72 minutes.

Warm-up: 10 minutes easy spin
Ladder: 4 min. at 90 % FTP, 3 min. at 100 % FTP, 1 min. 115 % FTP, easy spin 5 minutes, 1 min. 115 % FTP, 3 min. at 100 % FTP, 4 min. at 90 % FTP
Break: 10 minutes easy spin
Ladder: 4 min. at 90 % FTP, 3 min. at 100 % FTP, 1 min. 115 % FTP, easy spin 5 minutes, 1 min. 115% FTP, 3 min. at 100 % FTP, 4 min. at 90 % FTP
Cooldown: 10 minutes easy spin

Two hard sessions a week

Training sessions like those above might seem short but they are very demanding on your legs and your nervous system. It’s important not to overdo them, especially in the beginning. Start with only two of these sessions a week and consider adding a third session after you adapt to this training style. Keep one or two days in between where you rest, do an easy spin for 20 minutes or do some cross training. We will take a closer look at cross training, specifically strength building in the next article.

Next up in Training at Home series

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