Just like your heart rate monitor your indoor home trainer is a fundamental tool in improving your cycling fitness. During your building and peaking phases the humble home trainer becomes the most important piece of equipment to help you perform high intensity intervals and sprints. Sadly skipped by many cyclists these high intensity efforts are critical to your success as a cyclists and stop you from being spat out of the back of bunches when climbing hills, responding to vicious attacks and hammering into cross winds while riding in the gutter. Not only that, training on an indoor home trainer is the most important key to improving your time trial performance for road races and triathlon events. It’s is scientifically proven that a structured six week session on a home trainer can improve your average speed by up to several kilometres per hour, cutting minutes off your personal bests for these events. This article discusses why indoor training is so good for cyclists…

Some of the benefits of home training

Indoor home trainers are great at keeping you fit during the offseason. They help you keep the weight off and maintain or even increase fitness over the cooler months. You can make your greatest fitness and weight loss improvements during the winter. If you can use your indoor home trainer throughout the off-season you will notice a big fitness improvement while keeping your weight stable or even shedding a few kilograms. And if you are a summer rider it’s not rocket science to understand that by keeping yourself fit during winter you’ll be able to hit the summer season as a much stronger, slimmer and fitter cyclists than if you were slouching around over winter.

This improvement is accessible to anyone with a bike, a home trainer, a heart rate monitor and the desire to spend two to four hours on it a week.

You’ve just chosen what is probably the fastest way to improve your performance on the bike. No matter what level you race or ride at, or what shape you’re in right now, you’re about to get a lot faster and a lot more powerful than you may have thought possible.

While riding on the road is important and enjoyable, there are many reasons why you should consider taking a significant portion of your training indoors.

Perhaps the single greatest benefit to riding the indoor trainer is that you can control the exact conditions of your training. Training indoors gives you greater control, which means better, higher quality training in less time. You can also measure it giving you instant insight into the status of your fitness and ability to compare your weekly progress.

You can save time

You’ll save time as well. Your sessions can be shorter than they would be if you were training on the road. You have no distractions or interruptions like traffic lights. No coasting and drafting. For that reason, every minute spent on the trainer is quality training. It’s so time efficient that we double any kilometer ridden on an indoor home trainer. That means a one-hour session on a home trainer is equal to two hours on the road. In these times of being time poor, it’s nice to cut your training in half and still get the same if not better benefits with the time you invest. In our time-poor sport, it’s great to give something back to your cycling widowed partner and/or family and friends by spending that time saved, as quality time with them.

You can go much harder

The other single key to a home trainer is that you can go much harder on the trainer than you can do safely on the road. This is why the indoor trainer is so effective. You can perform interval training that is simply not achievable on the open road. It is possible to go so hard that you’ll feel noxious, lightheaded and may even experience tunnel vision. You’ll never get to train this hard in bunch rides for fear of being dropped after performing such an intense effort!

Training on an indoor trainer is safer not just because you’re at home, away from busy traffic but because during the winter months you don’t have to spend time in the dark and dealing with winter conditions such as ice and snow. So, you can concentrate more on your session. You won’t have to worry about injuries or sickness brought on by the cold either.

What sort of trainer session should you be doing?

(1) Sustained power – for sitting on the front of the bunch  – E3 and VO2MAX efforts between 5-10 minutes like our 081, 082 & 002 indoor training sessions.

(2) Short punchy power for hill climbing, bunch surges and bridging across to breaks – VO2MAX efforts using heart rate zones and ANC and VO2MAX efforts using power zones from 30 seconds to 2 minutes like our 001,  013,  023, 080 & 087 indoor training sessions.

Want more information about home training? Download your free copy of our Introduction to Home training eBook here and find out how to survive a cycle home trainer session, how to set up your home training studio, which home trainer to buy and how to warm-up and cool down correctly.