Three Good Indoor Bike Trainer Workouts

April 30, 2011

This is a guest post by Dr. Ron Fritzke.

Every tool has a particular job that it does with excellence.

A pipe wrench may be good for grabbing onto galvanized pipe, but it does a terrible job of turning bolts…unless you don’t mind scarring up the bolt heads forever.

A hammer drives in nails well (duh), but falls behind in the fly-swatting department.

Likewise, there are some workouts that are tailor-made for being done on a stationary bike or an indoor bike trainer.

They aren’t typically four hour steady-state rides, like the one that numbed both ends of my body two winters ago. While I wasn’t too surprised at the numbing effect of the bike saddle…the loss of 10 IQ points after the ride did catch me off-guard.

Short, Focused Rides On A Trainer

If you just want to skip the details, and are willing to spend a few bucks, you can head over to Amazon and buy one of the ‘pre-packaged’ workouts put out by Spinervals or a host of other companies that produce DVDs for you to ride along with. They sell for a bit over twenty five dollars each.

Here is a common review on Amazon:

This is my favorite of the Spinerval DVDs. An excellent work out and yet I’m not crying at the end. I have using it for roughly 5 to 6 years, mostly in the winter.

But here are three ‘not-so-sexy’ alternatives to those DVDs.

It Only Takes 30 Minutes

Here’s a quick workout that if done with a lot of effort, can raise your metabolism quite well…and keep it elevated for hours after the workout.

  • Ten minutes easy spinning
  • Alternating ten second very hard ‘sprint-like’ efforts with ten seconds of easy spinning. Do this for ten minutes. Don’t think about it before you start, but you’ll be doing 30 very hard sprints before you’re finished.
  • Ten minutes easy warm-down.

Hard And Monotonous For Masochists

For those who like routine, or perhaps just get a kick out of adding boredom to the pain of an intense workout, here’s one that I find myself doing.

  • 10 minutes warm-up.
  • Five sessions of three minutes hard followed by three minutes of easy spinning. The hard intervals are done at an effort that turns on the little voice in your head that screams “Stop this insanity, NOW!” at about the two and a half minute mark. For clarification…this part of the workout takes 27 minutes (it would be 30 minutes, but the last three minutes of easy spinning can be done in the warm-down).
  • 10 minutes warm-down.

Hard, With A Pinch Of Variety

There’s no getting around it, this workout’s hard…but because the number of minutes that you’re going hard varies, you can sometimes delude yourself into thinking that ‘this one will be fun’.

  • 10 minutes warm-up.
  • 2 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes easy. (Once again, the level of intensity should be such that you’re searching for the end about 30 seconds before it arrives. The same rule of thumb applies to each of the hard efforts.)
  • 3 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy.
  • 4 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy.
  • 5 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy.
  • 4 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy.
  • 3 minutes hard followed by 3 minutes easy.
  • 2 minutes hard.
  • 10 minutes warm-down.

A Short Wrap-up

Well, there you have three examples of the type of workouts that are designed for an indoor bike trainer like the Cycleops mag trainer. I won’t pretend that these aren’t hard, but then again, no one’s got a gun to your head…so if you back off a bit on the hard efforts you’ll be fine.

And who knows, making the workout a bit less painful may make it more likely that you’ll get back in the saddle and use your trainer again.

I wouldn’t know, since I’ve always lacked the common sense needed to do anything with moderation.

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