Allow Elite Trainer Alfie Wren to take you to the front of the peloton.
There’s more to home workouts than dumbbells and press-ups. Now more than ever it’s possible to push the boundaries of your cardio training from your living room. Specifically, the number of people taking their two-wheeled pursuit of superior fitness is on the rise. If you want to join them, this is how.
But first, let’s be clear – there are more benefits to indoor cycling than not being beholden to the changeable British weather.
Cycling indoors is fantastic when you’re programming your weekly routine. It can fit more precisely into your schedule. Knowing exactly when and how long each session is allows you to dig deeper into more accurate stats when you’re tracking your progress.
Indoor cycling is arguably harder than cycling on the road. There’s no freewheeling downhill and no countryside to keep your mind captivated. A 60min turbo session can end up being the equivalent of 90mins outdoors with every pedal stroke working to make you fitter and faster. The mental grit you build whilst sweating through a stationary session is an added bonus.
When using platforms like Zwift, you’re able to cycle and compete against people from all over the world. Using the workout platform, entering daily races is easy and you can even ride with pro cyclists in organised events. Now that doesn’t happen on your usual Sunday club ride!
Ready? First you need a few upgrades
YOUR NEW KIT LIST
A good pair of shorts can drastically change your experience of riding a bike. If you’re uncomfortable and getting saddle sores you’re not going to want to ride the next day. Being able to build consistency by riding your bike multiple times a week is the key to building fitness and you don’t want a sore bum to get in the way. Invest in some padding.
Try these from Rapha (£85, rapha.cc)
Using cycling shoes allows you to stay engaged with the pedal throughout the entire revolution and produce more power. Your ability to pull the pedal upwards allows you to balance out the muscles used because you’re not totally reliant on pushing down, extending your leg and tiring out your quads. Cycling shoes spread the workload across your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves to increase your time to exhaustion and also reduce your risk of injury.
Try these from Specialized (£210, evanscycles.com)
The biggest downside of cycling indoors – especially in summer – is it can get very hot, which can impact your performance. As your core temperature increases your muscles’ endurance drops as they start struggling to contract. Plus, you’ll start to sweat more and dehydrate more easily. Having a good fan to help with air circulation and keep you cool is therefore a must when riding indoors.
Try this from Pro Breeze (£80, probreeze.com)
This is essential for using Zwift – you can’t use the app without one. You can use a basic turbo if you have a speed and cadence sensor for the app to calculate your power, but the best option is to get a smart trainer which has a built in power meter that connects directly to the app giving you accurate data for you to use as you chase down improved fitness.
Try this from Tacx (£549, halfords.com)
Zwift is a fantastic training platform which has all the data you can possibly need as a cyclist. Being able to track your heart rate, cadence and power is essential when you’re looking to improve your fitness. Having this data means you can structure workouts that are specific to you and focus on areas that need improving.
The gaming side of Zwift is also very good because you can cycle on courses all over the world with thousands of other people in real time, earning levels, kit and courses the more you ride.
You can join my weekly classes on Sundays at 10am, and Wednesdays at 6pm, where I will take you through key workouts to help improve all aspects of your cycling, from endurance to speed. The group is controlled by me so we all stick together no matter what level you are. I look forward to seeing you there!