Indoor cycling can be a great way to stay fit and train for cycling events, even when the weather or other circumstances make it difficult to ride outside. Here are our 5 top tips for indoor cycling training.
Get a good indoor setup
Find a good indoor cycling setup: A good indoor bike trainer or stationary bike is essential for a comfortable and effective indoor cycling workout. Look for a setup that is sturdy, smooth, and quiet.
A good indoor cycling setup consists of a few key elements:
A fan: Not a person to cheer you on… the other type. Sweating is your body’s way of regulating your temperature, and when you’re too hot, you sweat more. When you’re able to stay cooler with a fan, you will sweat less, which in turn reduces your risk of dehydration, reduces overheating and helps circulate air in your workout space.
A comfortable workspace: Setup in a comfortable space where you have enough room to move and can easily reach your water bottle and other essentials.
Adequate ventilation: Indoor cycling can be intense, and you’ll likely be working up a sweat. Make sure you have adequate ventilation to help keep you cool and reduce the risk of overheating.
A good way to keep yourself entertained: Indoor cycling can get monotonous, so it’s important to find ways to keep yourself entertained. Consider watching movies or TV shows, listening to music or podcasts, or joining a virtual cycling class to help pass the time.
It’s important to stay hydrated when indoor cycling, as the intensity of the workout can be just as high as outdoor cycling. Here are a few tips for staying hydrated during indoor turbo training:
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your ride. It’s especially important to hydrate well before and after your ride, as this can help you recover more quickly. Pay attention to your thirst level. If you’re feeling thirsty, it’s probably time to take a drink.
Bring a water bottle with you and take sips frequently during your ride. Aim to drink about 250ml every 20-30 minutes. It’s worth considering the use of an electrolyte drink during longer or more intense rides. Electrolyte drinks can help replace the minerals and salts that are lost through sweat.
Make it more interesting
Here are a few ways to make indoor cycling more fun and interesting:
Use an online virtual platform: Whether it’s Zwift, Rouvy, TrainerRoad or others. Zwift, for example, is a virtual cycling platform that allows users to ride and train with others from around the world in a variety of virtual environments. These platforms provide a social aspect, customizable workouts, and in-game rewards and achievements to keep you interested.
Mix up your workouts: Vary the type of rides you do (e.g., intervals, hill climbs, endurance rides) and the terrain you’re “riding” on. You can also try incorporating strength training exercises or yoga into your routine to add variety.
Watch movies or TV shows: Set up a TV or laptop in front of your bike and watch your favourite movies or TV shows while you ride. This can help pass the time and make your workouts more enjoyable.
Listen to music or podcasts: Create a playlist of your favourite songs or find a podcast that you enjoy and listen to it while you ride. Music and podcasts can help keep you entertained and motivated.
Set goals and track your progress: Set goals for yourself and use a bike computer or tracking app to monitor your progress. Seeing the improvements you’re making can be a great source of motivation.
Pay attention to your position
It’s important to pay attention to your posture while indoor cycling to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workouts and minimising the risk of injury. Make sure your bike is properly adjusted and that you’re sitting up straight with your core engaged and your back straight while you ride.
Making sure your position is right will help you feel more comfortable, reduce muscle fatigue while you ride and allow you to maintain or generate more power, more efficiently. To get your position right, it is worth considering getting a professional bike fit.
Get out of the saddle regularly. You won’t be free-wheeling on descents or jumping out the saddle on the climbs as much, meaning you can end up stuck in a very static position for extended periods of time. Try to simulate cycling outdoors by getting in and out of the saddle. This will also give your muscles a slight break.
Use Erg mode
ERG mode (short for “ergometer mode”) is a feature found on some indoor cycling trainers and smart trainers that allows the resistance of the trainer to be controlled electronically. When using ERG mode, the trainer adjusts the resistance automatically to match the power output that you’re targeting.
Using the feature can improve accuracy and consistency. ERG mode allows you to maintain a consistent power output throughout your ride, which can be helpful for interval training and other types of structured workouts.
It also makes following structured workouts with specified power targets easier. ERG mode means the trainer automatically adjusts the resistance to match the targets. It can help you develop a more efficient pedalling too, as you’ll be able to maintain a consistent power output even when your cadence or body position changes.
Bikmo offers comprehensive insurance cover even if you damage your bike on the indoor trainer!
Unfortunately the indoor trainer itself wouldn’t be covered by a Bikmo policy as it’s not considered a bike accessory. However, you will often find it is covered under your contents home insurance.