Focus points:

When using the indoor trainer instead of doing a long endurance ride:

1.    Strength

Slow cadence pedalling

Aim(s): to improve muscular strength through neuromuscular and local muscular adaptations.  Also this training provides an anaerobic lactic stimulus for training.


  • Begin with a cadence recommended by your coach, which suits your age and cycling background.
  • Focus on keeping a very rigid upper body through the recruitment of ‘core’ muscle group.  Activation and conditioning exercises for the core (off the bike) complement this type of training greatly.


  • More efficient muscle recruitment of the lower body.
  • Stronger legs!
  • Anaerobic training stimulus.

Examples of intervals:

Warm up: 20-30minutes

Interval 1: 20mins in easiest gear (used for intervals)

Recovery: 10mins

Interval 2: 15mins in next hardest gear

Recovery: 8mins

Interval 3: 12mins in hardest gear

Recovery: 6mins

2.    ‘Up-tempo’ intervals

Aim(s): to improve cardiovascular capacity at uncomfortable levels of effort.


  • Although the levels of intensity will vary, this type of training is non-specific so it will not be at intensities close to anaerobic threshold or above – therefore don’t push yourself too hard!


  • Aerobic training stimulus.
  • Through doing this type of training in intervals you are able to better overload the aerobic system.
  • Replicate and prepare your body for racing conditions that can be uncomfortably hard.

Examples of intervals:

Warm up: 15-30minutes

Pyramid structure: each interval is at the same intensity but vary in time – the first interval is the same length as the last but each next interval is longer until the longest, then the intervals become shorter.

E.g.: 5mins at 75%, 2mins recovery; 7:30mins at 75%, 2:30mins recovery; 10mins at 75%, 4mins recovery; 7:30mins at 75%, 2:30mins recovery; 5mins at 75%, 2mins recovery.

To be used at any time while indoor training

3.    One legged – pedalling

As simple as unclipping one leg and pedalling with the other.

Aim(s): to improve known unilateral (one sided) weakness.  Identify any unilateral strengths or weaknesses.


  • Do as intervals, starting with as short as 1min on.  Work: rest ratios should be at least 1:1 but alternate between sides with normal pedalling in between.
  • Intensity of exercise needs to be no more than mid T2 (70%) to avoid injury from the asymmetrical strain you’re placing on your body.


  • Identify any unilateral (one side) weakness.
  • Improve pedalling technique – smoothness and reduction of ‘dead-spot.’

4.    Pedalling technique

As above for one-legged pedalling – creating a smooth pedal stroke and reducing the ‘dead-spot.’

Aim: to make each pedal stroke more powerful for a given amount of effort.


  • There are two phases – up stroke (‘kick’) and down stroke (‘scrape’).
  • Begin with focussing on one stroke on one leg.
  • ‘Kick’ instructions: imagine kicking a soccer ball with your foot, from the top of the pedal stroke.
  • ‘Scrape’ instructions: at the dead centre bottom of the pedal stroke imagine scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe.
  • Do as intervals, starting with as short as 1min on.  Work: rest ratios should be at least 1:1 but alternate between sides with normal pedalling in between.
  • Once you become proficient focus on both strokes on one leg or one stroke on both legs, eventually focussing on both strokes both leg.

Benefits: improved pedalling technique.