Bike Trainer Workouts

I’ve mentioned to you readers, and several of my friends about how I only do my bike workouts on my trainer. (Seriously, I only ride outside when I have a long ride, and that’s only if the ride is 4 hrs or longer!) Some people have commented that it must be terribly boring to bike on a trainer for two hours inside! Yes, I agree, it sounds boring, just like a treadmill. However, I have found a way to make it interesting, so just like I did with the treadmill workouts, I thought I’d share some of my favorite bike trainer workouts!

First of all, for those of you who aren’t bikers, a bike trainer is a little stand that you can hook your road (or triathlon) bike to that makes it essentially a “stationary bike”. A good trainer allows you to control the resistance remotely so that you can customize your workouts instead of just pedaling at the same resistance for an endless amount of time! This is the type of trainer I recommend you use. There are several brands: compu-trainer, cycle-ops trainer, and wahoo fitness trainer to name a few. I personally us the wahoo fitness trainer. It is awesome because I can control the resistance with my iphone! The resistance is very sensitive and smooth so it just feels like you’re going up a hill. image (1)

John uses a cycle-ops trainer. That one is nice because you can actually program in specific workouts to the device and it automatically changes the resistance per your workout specifications.

Ok so here’s my favorite workouts on my trainer. Keep in mind, I do a 15 minute warm up and a 15 minute cool down for each ride:

1) Intervals. I like to do these as a “recovery” workout. After warming up, I do a series of 5 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes easy. Basically I bring the resistance up to a moderately difficult amount for 5 minutes(race pace typically), then I bring the resistance down to a super easy amount-basically like you’re pedaling away on a perfectly flat road. I do these for as long as I want the workout to be while leaving time for a cool down. I like this workout because it is not very hard, but it’s also unlikely that I’ll get bored because the longest interval I have is only 5 minutes.

2) Tempo repeats. I did this workout last Friday. It was a big one! This can be modified of course, but this is what I did. After warming up, I did 5 minutes at the hardest power I could hold for a 30 minute test. This is why you do a 30 minute test-to figure out what that power is :) For me, it was 168 watts. After that 5 minutes is up, I immediately go into 1 of 2 20 minute tempos at 88% of whatever my power was that I held for 5 minutes. For me, this is 148 watts. In between the 20 minute tempo, I do a 15 minute recovery at a VERY easy resistance, then go into the second 20 minute tempo. (If you were to modify this workout, I would take out the second 20 minute tempo.) How here’s the fun part-after finishing the 2X20 minutes, I take a 2 minute recovery, then go into 10 X 1 minute “spin-ups”. Basically I pedal as fast as I can at my 88% power (so 148 watts), hold it for a minute, then take 2 minutes of recovery. After doing this 10 times, you’re free to cool down :) This will take exactly 2 hours if you do the whole thing. Here’s what it looks like in shorthand: 5min at 100%, 2X20min at 88% with 15min recovery, then 10X1min at 88% with 2min rec.

3) Endurance rides. I do these rides on Sundays mostly. After a warm-up, I set my resistance at my Ironman pace (this means whatever power I can hold for 6 hours, I do for this ride). The catch about this ride is that your heart rate should not go above your “zone 2”. Again, you can figure out this zone based on the 30 minute bike test. If your heart rate goes about the zone 2, you should stop because you are no longer training appropriately. This ride can last as long as you want it to, but mine is at about 2 hours right now. Last year I did a few 5 hour rides. :)

Do these workouts still sound slightly boring to you? Well, you may remember from my treadmill post that I suggested watching tv or a movie while doing the workout-the same goes for the trainer! I actually rarely do a trainer ride without the tv on. If you’ve been to my house, you know that my bike is set up right in front of my tv! I typically pick a comedy show that I can zone in and out of but still know what’s going on. If I were to pick a movie, or a drama, I would have to focus on the show/movie the whole time, and thus probably not get a good bike workout in. For me, the comedies work well enough to keep me distracted from the boredom, but not so distracted that I don’t work hard on the bike.

If you want more suggestions about bike trainers or workouts for your trainers, feel free to ask me questions! John (my husband) is great at finding deals on bike equipment, so if you’re looking for a trainer, he’s your guy! Happy riding!