If you want to keep up with your cycling practice over the winter but cannot ride outdoors, try some of these indoor cycling interval workouts. You will see significant improvements in your speed, endurance, and lactate threshold when you head back outdoors in the spring.
Tempo Intervals from ACE Fit
This workout alternates between somewhat high-intensity intervals and moderate-intensity intervals in a 60 minute workout. ACE Fit recommends practicing this routine once a week.
Start by warming up with 10 minutes of spinning at 70 to 100 rpm at RPE 3 or 4. Complete three intervals of two minutes each at 80 to 100 rpm at RPE 5, with five minutes of recovery at 70 to 80 rpm at RPE 3 to 4 between each interval. Then, cycle two more intervals at the same intensity, but this time for three minutes and separated by a six-minute recovery. Cool down for 11 minutes at 70 to 100 rpm at RPE 3 to 4.
Steady State Intervals from Bicycling
This exercise has you working just below the lactate threshold.
After a brief warm-up, complete three intervals lasting six minutes of 90 to 95 rpm at 86 to 90 percent of your time-trial power. Spend six minutes recovering between each one. As you progress, you can increase the length of the intervals, although not the difficulty, first to eight minutes and then to 10 minutes.
An alternative way to use steady state intervals is to begin by cycling an interval at the same intensity as above for two minutes. Increase your effort to the maximum you can sustain for one minute before returning to the steady state for a further two minutes. Continue this pattern for nine minutes. You should complete three of these intervals with six minutes of easy spinning for recovery between each interval.
Wattage Hold from Triathlete
Unlike other interval workouts, the wattage hold does not have a set duration; instead, you cycle at a specific wattage until you can no longer continue.
After a warm-up of gentle spinning, begin cycling at a wattage that you think you can sustain for a maximum duration of five minutes. Stop at a minute marker when you cannot continue for another full minute. Repeat the workout in two to three weeks and see if you can add an extra minute of cycling to the same wattage.
Tabata Intervals from Triathlete
Tabata intervals are the most time-efficient workouts ever created and can be practiced through indoor cycling in the following exercise.
Begin with a five minute warm-up of easy spinning. Then, increase the tension or gear ratio and sprint for 20 seconds, resting for just 10 seconds before beginning the next interval. Aim to complete a total of eight intervals in this way. A cool down of easy spinning at the end of your workout is optional.
Power Intervals from Bicycling
Another short and very challenging indoor cycling workout at maximum effort, these power intervals are effective because they do not provide you with enough time to recover between sprints. The number of sets you should complete will depend on your experience level: beginners should aim for just two, intermediate cyclists can try for four, and advanced athletes can go for five. If you cannot maintain your power output throughout each set to within 12 percent, try cycling fewer sets.
Begin with a warm-up of gentle spinning. Cycle a set of four intervals of 60 seconds at all-out effort with 90-second recovery between each one. Separate each set of four intervals with a six-minute recovery of easy spinning.
Given the many benefits of interval training for endurance athletes, interval is a great way to amp up your current indoor cycling routine. Give one of these workouts a try and see what you think!