If you’re like me, you can’t always get out on the road every day. That’s just life. So, you either skip riding altogether and get schlubby, or you resort to the trainer. Ah yes, the boring old trainer – the mind-numbing monotony of spinning in the hamster wheel. I used to just not workout, simply because I hated that trainer. Then I discovered three workouts that made the whole process bearable. And, you definitely see the results. Here goes:
Endurance ride: This one varies, but it’s basically designed to see how long you can maintain varying tempos. Start with 5 minutes warmup – on my bike, I ride 2 1/2 minute in 1-3 and then move the gearing up to 1-5. After 5 minutes, the workout begins. I push the front to my big ring and ride 2-5, 2-7, 2-9, 2-7, 2-5. I do each gearing for 4 minutes. When I get to my 2-9, I spend 45 second out of the saddle, then 15 second down – just enough to get the heart rate going, then recover. Then you spin 5 minutes warmdown (I do 1-5, then 1-3). Done. 30 minutes and you will feel it.
Strength: For this workout, start with the same 5 minute warmup. Then clip out of one foot, and pedal in 2-5 for one minute, then clip back in and pedal steadily for one minute (you know, to even out the legs), then switch legs and pedal on one foot for another minute, then “even out” for another minute. I will typically keep raising the gears for each rep (2-6,2-7,2-8) making it harder each time. The focus is to keep and even pedal stroke and work on the up-stroke (think scraping mud off your shoes at the bottom of your pedal stroke). It will also help you keep a consistent and smooth pedal style.
Heart Rate: This workout is a beast. The purpose is to push your heart rate and recovery periods. start with the 5 minute warmup, then switch to 2-7 and do a 30 second sprint, followed immediately with 30 second out of the saddle. Do 30 seconds of a normal “resting” pace, and then start it all over. I usually switch down to 2-5 halfway through, which increases the cadence and gets the heart going faster. I usually shoot for a high heart rate, then use the 30 seconds to bring it back down. If you’re doing it right, you won’t need all those 30 seconds – you’ll find you are recovering quicker as the heart gets stronger.
Yes – this does not beat going out on the roads (or trails) and hammering it out. But I usually work 9-5 (sometimes later) and once I get home, I am taking care of the kids, making dinner, playing and putting kids to bed. Before I know it – it’s dark outside, and I am craving a little spinning workout. In 30 minutes you can do a workout that makes you feel like you build some strength, endurance and got the heart rate going. At least enough to stave you off until your next ride.