We all know the situation: It’s rainy, wet and foggy outside – not very appealing to go on a cycling tour. But is skipping the workout really an option? No way! An easy, and most of all dry, alternative is the stationary bike. And what’s best about it: You can use it anytime. Come rain or shine. Even though many cyclists hate the workout on the stationary bike – you don’t actually move one meter, there is the sticky heat in the gym and the loud unwinding of the machine – it has many positive aspects that help during the pre-season preparation, such as:
- Less effort: Simply plug in the stationary bike at home
- Focus (and safety): Be able to focus entirely on your workout without distractions or the danger of traffic
- Endurance: The consistent cardio training increases your stamina
The professional cycling team “BMC Racing” uses stationary bikes to make the best out of their training sessions. Here’s what Marco Pinotti, coach of the BMC Racing Team has to say about the training on the stationary bike:
Using a stationary bike like the “Elite DRIVO” allows the athletes to plan their workouts more consistent and efficient. Furthermore, the quality of the training can be improved since often it is not possible to practice certain workouts outdoors due to traffic or the quality of the roads. Especially when the cyclist has a specially tailored training routine it is much easier to work out with a stationary bike as there are fewer distractions in comparison. We at the BMC Racing Team find it a great way to measure the improvements of our cyclists.
Powerbar will show you how to find just the right stationary bike for you – and it’s pretty easy.
Three types of stationary bikes and their differences:
- The free wheel: The classic, an all-time favourite of the pros. The use is not only limited to the basement. It can also be used to warm up before races. This stationary bike gives you a realistic bicycle feeling because the rear wheel is not fixed. Therefore this type of bike does not only challenge your coordination and technique skills, it is also possible to take it everywhere thanks to its light weight. A disadvantage of the freewheel is that it is not possible to ride the bike standing up. The “free” type also challenges your attention and requires more bravery of the cyclist. If you don’t watch out, you can easily fall. Strength and endurance training isn’t possible on this type of bike.
- The fixed wheel: The most commonly used type. The rear suspension of this stationary bike is fixed by a frame. When choosing tires for stationary bikes you should always choose plain tread tires. Tires with a tread can begin to jump and are also much louder unwinding. The loud noise of the unwinding may prove to be a little disadvantage for some.
- Wheel-off-Trainer: As the name already implies the rear wheel is taken off and substituted by a stationary wheel. This type doesn’t cause any abrasion of the tire, no matter if you want to train mountain intervals or sprint intervals. Additionally, the unwinding here isn’t loud at all.
A varying workout routine helps to complete the units more focused. Easier said than done? Don’t worry, here are some guidelines:
4 tips for your interval training at home
Modern interval training offers a great training effect while requiring little time. One differentiates between extensive and intensive interval training. In the case of extensive units, the breaks between the units are relatively short, which is why the intensity is set lower. In intensive interval training, however, the breaks are longer, but with a higher intensity.
1. Training with variety: Install short, ten-second sprints with low resistance at high cadence.
2. 12 x 30 seconds intervals, each with a 4.5-minute break: The strain on the body during these 30 seconds is very high. Depending on the performance level and the weight of the cyclist, it is about 650-900 watts. During the breaks, the heart frequency should stay at a lower-level range.
3. Frequency pyramid: change between standing up and sitting down.
- 30 seconds at high-frequency standing
- 1-minute low intensity sitting
- 1-minute high-intensity standing
- 1-minute low-intensity setting
- 2 minutes high-intensity standing
- 2 minutes low intensity sitting
- After sitting the last two minutes, do the pyramid backwards until you get back to the 30-second unit.
4. Strength sprints: Do four to ten times of ten seconds sprints, from the stand, with heavy gear or high resistance. In between two minutes of active break. You can also vary between the maximum frequency and maximum resistance during these sprints.
There is still something lacking when it comes to a session on the stationary bike? If possible, open a window in order to simulate the stream of fresh air. Many stationary bikes come with their own app in which you can check the settings and analyse your workouts. Just watch a YouTube tutorial or a live race during your workout – you will feel like you’re in the middle of the race. Guaranteed. Those videos do not only motivate you, they also show what you are training for: to be in shape for the season!