Effective Training Programs for Indoor Cycling

Kettler ErgoRacer 2011-thumb

For most riders the winter season is a boring time with indoor training like spinning, home trainer or stationary bicycling. I think it is boring too, and therefore I have invented a couple of training programs and an e-book, which have proved to be very effective and short in time.

Indoor Cycling Saves You Time

All of these programs can be done without a heart rate monitor. The programs have in common that they are time-saving and specific for either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism.

For most riders the winter season is a boring time with indoor training like spinning, home trainer or stationary bicycling. I think it is boring too, and therefore I have invented a strong 12-week winter training program, which have proved to be very effective and short in time.

Also, you can get tips to reduce your training time AND ride much faster in my popular e-book: Time Effective Cycling Training

In fact these intervals are based on a large amount of scientific research.

The short version is: To increase or maintain your VO2 max it is optimal to train at a level close to your VO2 max. The recommendations are that you spend as much time as possible at your VO2 max in intervals and with active recovery.

So now you can keep your training short in time and still reach your goals. All you need is a bottle of plain water. Have fun!

Indoor cycling training programs

Aerobic power 1 (50 minutes)
15 minutes – Warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (4min high intensity + 2min low intensity)
5 minutes cool down

This program is designed to increase your maximum oxygen consumption. It gives you 20 minutes at a very high oxygen consumption, but it is not designed to be ridden to complete exhaustion.

Your VO2 max will gain improvements even at a more comfortable pace. It is, however, still important to push yourself very hard during the intervals. In the resting periods you should maintain an intensity at about 60% of VO2 max.

Aerobic power 2 (49 minutes)
15 minutes – warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
3 minutes recovery
5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity)
5 minutes cool down

This program is also designed to increase your maximum oxygen consumption. You work with a slightly higher intensity during the intervals than in the previous ‘Aerobic Power 1′ program. You will also gain increments in your anaerobic capacity.

You can expect results after only a couple of training sessions. This program really rocks.

Anaerobic power 1 (50 minutes)
15 minutes – warm up (increasing intensity)
5 x (60sec. maximum intensity + 6 min. recovery)

This program is designed to increase your anaerobic capacity. During the intervals the body is exposed to enormous amounts of anaerobic metabolits. After only a few of these sessions your body will be better to work at an anaerobic enviroment. This skill is primarily used in competitions, where jumps and sprints demand anaerobic efforts. This art of training is very exhausting and therefore it should primarily be used for competition preparation.

76 comments… add one

  • AZ

    Training for long 150+ mile ride with climbs 2-3 miles long.. Total climbing is about 6500-7000ft. -this coming summer.
    Question- when using indoor trainer (with this ride in mind), should I focus on high-cadence spinning or high resistance mashing (simulating the uphills)?

  • I like these. Going to start using the anaerobic routine this week. Thanks for this post.

  • john tuck

    Hello jesper I would like purchase your e. book but i have no PayPal Account . Is it possible to pay the bill from my Bank? Thankyou J.Tuck

  • Craig

    Hi Jesper, hope you can help. In regards to the training programs above, when you talk about very high intensity, high intensity etc, can this be related to a percentage of max heart rate. as this is the best measure I have.

  • arnel alquinto

    hi jesper! how can i determine a high intensity,low intensity training using a heart rate monitor?at what percentage of maximum heart rate is a high intensity/low intensity workout?

    just the same inquiry as craig’s comment on march 10,2011

  • Edgar

    Dear Jesper
    I m Iran junior national team coach and i use your indoor plan training with some changes for my team last year in winter and its realy work becouse we couldnt train specialy in cold weather at road and track and this plan was usefull for me and my team.
    thank you
    Regards

  • themanof83

    Hi Jesper,

    Same question as ‘Craig’ and ‘arnel alquinto’ can we have some form of measure of heart rate with regards to the intensity levels?

    Cheers,
    Ash

  • ad van Hellemond

    hi jesper! How can i determine a 4min high intensity,a 40 sec. very high intensity workout workout in % of my VO2 max? My VO2 Max is about 330 Watt (5 min time-trail) and my critical power is about 275 watt.

  • faher

    I have a race in 10.02.2012 about 40 km. Av. slop 0.5% , max slop 6.3% , what can you help me for this race ? and how make program for training ?
    Thank you

  • Mass start or time trial? Make your training as specific as possible. If you haven’t started on high intensity training yet then you are a bit in a hurry…

  • bob milton

    looking for different workouts to keep my motivation up as i would like to do some century rides this coming spring and summer

  • faher

    Thank you Jesper ,
    I started the training but i wanna a program plan for the one mouth after the race , i m doing about 10 hr. in the week ,2days rest , 1 day outdoor about 3 hr. , and i training 1 day a week VO2 , 3 days int.power , about me i m from Jordan-Amman i have 42 years old , if you can give me your recommended i will be happy .

    Thank you so much

  • faher

    Dear Jesper
    I have a mistake in the previous message very sorry ( after the race —-before the race ) .
    Thank you

  • Glenn Miller

    I teach on the average of 5 spin classes a week at two different fitness centers. The classes include all abilities, fitness enthusiast trying to lose some weight, the novice cyclist, the serious cyclist, and those serious competitors in cycling and triathlons. One of the fitness centers has asked me to put together a winter cycle training program to be taught to serious cyclists in a spin format. Your E-Book on winter training programs – Can it and is it used for spin classes? Are there spin classes using your format. Can you give me names/locations so I can inquire.

  • Chris Summers

    This is directed to AZ who posted about a ride this summer. Sounds like the same ride I did in 2010 (and am planning to do again this year). If you haven’t ridden before, it is important to be able to sustain your registered pace over the distance. I ride in Atlanta ordinarily and found the two significant climbs on this ride to be manageable…the second was indeed a beast, but nothing compared to North Ga mountains.

  • Jean-Francois

    hi jesper! how can i determine a high intensity,low intensity training using a heart rate monitor?at what percentage of maximum heart rate is a high intensity/low intensity workout?

    Thanks !

  • Gianni

    Hi Jesper

    Re VO2 Max, in your ebook you suggest ever 120% of FTP or one’s 5min av power.

    I would have almost 30w of a difference between the 2 values, so would you suggest picking enlower of the 2 so that one completes the full set, rather than try the top end and risk not completing the set?

    Thanks
    Gianni

  • In the 12-week winter training program I recommend two different performance tests in the first week: 5 and 30-minute performance test to reflect your current fitness at VO2 max and threshold power.

  • saeed

    hi
    thank u so much I’m going to us it.
    I’ll send result for you
    bye

  • DAN TELEP

    I’m 78 years old and will be riding in RAAM this year in a 4 man team about a month from now. While I have the stamina for a ride of this magnitude I’m not fast. Also, I’m not a racer and never have been. My question is how do I get faster in such a short time?

    I just started doing interval training by pushing for about 10 minutes and normal cycling for about 4 minutes. I stay in the middle front ring and take turns on the 9 speed rear cog. I”m doing this for about an hour every other day. Recently I’ve been cycling about 2 to 3 hundred miles per week. What do you think?

  • Mark

    Hi Jesper,
    I just joined your mailing list and have been looking for a training program that fits my lifestyle. I am 47 years young and have been trying to maintain my fitness for the last few years after dropping 23 kilos 2 years ago. Two years ago, I set myself a target of competing and finishing a novice traithlon, did 3 in the end – the thing that got me through was a training regime setup for me by a work colleague. Last year I decided to run a 8 km cross country and set my training program based on one found on the web. {I have decided I really do not like running, but it is the only thing that really keeps the weight off}
    This year, my goal is a time trial race at the Australian Masters Games in October and I have been training for the last 4 weeks or so, fitting in with my soccer commitments. I train on the Indoor bike on Tues and Thurs mornings, doing around 30-35 mins, with some upper body weights on Wed and Fri mornings – I have slightly sore MCLs, both knees, at the moment, so no leg weights yet! On Saturday i go for a 6 km walk and on Sunday i have been doing a 9 – 14 (built up with 3 weeks of 9 km and 1 of 14km) kms ride to the pool, then doing 1600m swimmimg before jumping on the bike and riding home, 9 kms.
    I found this page and was wondering how to det the ‘INTENSITY’ on an a basic indoor bike. I did Aerobic 2 today as listed below, where {1} is the lowest tension on the bike and {2} was the next tension level up. Should I be using a higher tension, or is it wise to slowly increase over the following weeks?

    5 minutes – warm up (increasing intensity)(80-90 rpm){1} – (80-90 rpm){2} 5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity) (110-115 rpm – 70-80 rpm){2} 3 minutes recovery (80-90 rpm){1} 5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity) (110-115 rpm – 70-80 rpm){2} 3 minutes recovery (80-90 rpm){1} 5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity) (110-115 rpm – 70-80 rpm){2} 3 minutes recovery (80-90 rpm){1} 5 x (40 sec. very high intensity – 20 sec. low intensity) (110-115 rpm – 70-80 rpm){2} 5 minutes cool down (80-90 rpm){1}

  • Soren

    Hey Jesper, how great a progress is to be expected from eg January to August in a 5 min watts test ? (Should I be happy to go from 310 to 343 watts?) Test was done on a Tacx hometrainer. Training has only been on the road.

  • Jean-Francois says:
    February 16, 2012 at 4:12 am
    hi jesper! how can i determine a high intensity,low intensity training using a heart rate monitor?at what percentage of maximum heart rate is a high intensity/low intensity workout?

    Thanks !
    Craig says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:54 am
    Hi Jesper, hope you can help. In regards to the training programs above, when you talk about very high intensity, high intensity etc, can this be related to a percentage of max heart rate. as this is the best measure I have.

    arnel alquinto says:
    August 11, 2011 at 2:39 am
    hi jesper! how can i determine a high intensity,low intensity training using a heart rate monitor?at what percentage of maximum heart rate is a high intensity/low intensity workout?

    just the same inquiry as craig’s comment on march 10,2011

  • john

    I’ve read parts of your book. The training charts seem focused on young, competitive cyclists. I am 63 and have been riding for +30 yrs, racing +20, max hr 162. Five or so years ago I was taken down, resulting in a cracked pelvis. I’m now competing in hill climbs, 45 to 90 minutes. In season I ride 2 – 2.5 hrs, +/- 10hrs per week. How might I adjust the specific winter training?

  • Joseph Peiso

    Jesper, I do most of my training on an indoor cycle and rotate among the different aerobic protocols, adjusting resistance and cadence targets to provide variety and varying levels of intensity. These formed the foundation of my training for a century last year.

    Is there a preferred progression among the routines to get better results? Thank you.

    Joe

  • Jan

    Hi Jesper.
    Can you please advice an intensity in % of VOmax or FTP for “high intensity” in aerobic power 1, and for the “very high intensity” in aerobic power 2?

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