Ahh winter training… Enter the turbo trainer. A small (but mighty) contraption that allows you to ride your bike from the comfort of your living room / hallway / wherever you can squeeze it in! I absolutely LOVE my turbo trainer for many reasons, including but not limited to;
ONE – The fact that I can still train when it’s snowing, icy, sidewards raining outside. Now, I don’t mind a bit of cold or drizzle but sometimes riding outdoors just isn’t the safest option. It’s never worth riding in dangerous conditions.
TWO – I know exactly what I’m going to get from my turbo sessions. I plan for how long I’m going to ride, how hard and at what cadence, I can plan it right down to each interval. There’s no traffic lights (or traffic) getting in my way, no hills to freewheel down (come on, admit it, we all do it for a cheeky breather!), just uninterrupted pedalling.
They say that due to the lack of those uncontrollable variants, an hour on the turbo is worth two outside, I’m not sure how accurate that exact figure is but I’m certain that you do get more bang for your buck!
Being on the turbo will also help you really improve your pedaling efficiency which will then make you a more efficient cyclist overall, which is of course the aim – to be able to put out more power using less effort. This is due to A) being able to fully focus on your pedalling technique without worrying about traffic but B) the turbo really exaggerates the dead spots in the pedal stroke forcing you to really pedal through the whole cycle.
Disclaimer – There are some negatives to being on the turbo though, namely that you’re not honing your bike handling skills. There are no corners, no descents, no gusts of wind to keep you on your toes! So it’s not advisable to only train on the turbo, you definitely need good bike handling skills to keep you safe on the road. It can also be quite boring, no gorgeous scenery to take your mind off the constant effort, but I actually think that this builds great mental strength, which will come in handy when you are out on the roads. I also love to watch triathlons and bike racing whilst I’m on the turbo for added motivation. (If you wanted to catch up on Netflix, that would totally work too!)
So, for all those interested in bossing the turbo trainer, I have a brilliant session to leave you with. This is one that my coach set for me, and it’s one of the best sessions I think you can do to increase fitness. It’s also adaptable so that as you improve you can increase the intervals etc.
TURBO TRAINER 6 X 6 SESSION
- You start with a warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes spinning up through the gears as you warm up. Keep the cadence nice and high but remember it is just a warm up so you don’t want to be working too hard – that will come later! 😉
- Now, get yourself into a challenging gear and you push hard for 6 minutes. Now, hard will mean something different to all of you but think of those 6 minutes as being done at race pace, you’re not out for a leisurely Sunday ride, and you’re not sprinting, you’re somewhere in between. (This should make you sweat and you’ll be breathing pretty hard.)
- Now, switch back down into an easier gear and spin recovery for 1 minute. (You see where this is going, right?)
- Back into a harder gear and push for another 6 minute interval.
- Repeat the above until you have completed 6 x 6 minute intervals. You will hate me, but your body will love me! This sessions increases your fitness ten-fold!
- Don’t forget to finish with a proper cool down and stretch and refuel afterwards.
- Warm Up 5 / 10 mins
- 6 x 6 Mins hard + 1 Min easy
- Cool down 5 mins
This session is a killer but so, so effective! Let me know how you get on, if you try it?!
If you want more general tips on training and racing, LIV have a whole library of posts here.