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Indoor Bike Trainer Workouts for Beginners (Comparison)

With the winter season fast approaching us, it will be quite difficult for you to go outdoors even for a quick spin. Moreover, due to COVID, a lot of users prefer staying at home and carrying out a simulation of their outdoor cycling sessions. This is exactly where indoor bike trainers come into play. An indoor bike trainer will be able to provide you with a totally interactive cycling experience or serve as a mode of maintaining your fitness goals. Furthermore, using an indoor bike trainer can help you achieve targeted and controlled indoor exercise sessions. You will be able to get rid of the unnecessary junk miles in the process. Moreover, you can divide your workouts more effectively into efficient hours for warming up, working out, and finally cooling down periods. Thus, you won’t have to worry about wasting precious time, coasting. Indoor bike trainer can be categorized into four main categories, these are:

(i) Wheel-on Trainers

(ii) Direct Drive Trainers

(iii) Bike Simulator

The major type of indoor bike trainers

One of the main reasons for using an indoor bike trainer is to have an efficient aerobic workout. If you plan to invest more in a trainer then evidently that will serve you with more features. Moreover, high-end trainers tend to offer fascinating technologies as well. Basic models of trainers, one that does not offer wireless connectivity are quite economical, On the other hand, high-end models are capable of providing you with a virtual cycling simulator.

I. Wheel-on Trainers

These trainers will offer you a space-saving design, it is quite affordable and it’ll fit right into the axle of your bicycle’s back wheel. As for creating resistance, roller-pressed is used against the tire on your bike.

Wheel-on Trainers
Figure: Wheel-on Trainers

II. Direct Drive Trainers

This will require you to remove your bike’s rear-end wheel and attach the trainer right into the drivetrain of your bike. If you want a model that offers seamless power-transfer and connectivity to various applications, then you’ll be required to pay a premium. Prices of these trainers are approximately twice that of wheel-on trainers. However, you’ll feel that it’s money well spent.

Direct Drive Trainers
Figure: Direct Drive Trainers

III. Bike Simulators

It offers you a premium and autonomous cycling experience. You’d be getting a real-life feel of riding a bike within a sturdy platform, offers comfort, and contains a stable platform. You will also have connectivity to wireless applications.

Bike Simulator
Figure: Bike Simulator

Comparison between different type of indoor bike trainers

Wheel-on Trainers

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Economical compared to direct-drive trainers.It doesn’t offer you similar stability to that of direct-drive systems.
You can mount any of your bikes on this.2) This may end up causing some wear and tear on your bike’s tire.
It’ll be possible for you to easily fold it up for easy storage.3) Economical models won’t give you the option of connecting to enticing applications.
Premium models will provide you with the option of connecting it to various applications.

Direct Drive Trainers

AdvantagesDisadvantages
It’ll serve you with a similar feeling to that of using a road bike compared to wheel-on trainers.More costly compared to wheel-on trainers.
Your cycling operations will be much quieter, offer enhanced resistance control and power-transfer will be more efficient to that of wheel-on trainers.2) Attachment to your bike for setting it up can be a bit complicated. You may have to buy a rear-end cassette, one that is compatible with the given model of trainer.
Majority of direct drive trainers are capable of providing you wireless connectivity for connecting to applications.3) Popping your bike in and out of the trainer can take time.

Bike Simulators

AdvantagesDisadvantages
These, by far will serve you with a very premium trainer. You’ll get a real world cycling experience. It serves you with noiseless performance. Also, you’d be able to connect to training applications.Just like the performance, price is also premium. Hence, you’d have to pay top dollar.
Thanks to its long-lasting build quality and adjustable design. Multiple users can use it at a time.2) As training is heavy duty, so you’d need an area dedicated to set up this bike.

Choosing the location for accommodating your Indoor bike trainer

A Possible Setup of Indoor Bike Trainer
Figure: A Possible Setup of Indoor Bike Trainer
Source: Bicycling.com

Once you’ve set up the trainer then you need to ensure that all the necessities you require are in position for the workouts sessions.

  1. Water Bottle: You need to keep yourself hydrated through the workout. It may seem surprising but you’ll be required to intake more water compared to outdoor road or mountain biking.
  2. Air Cooler: You must keep an air cooler or fan stand-by to keep yourself aerated during workout sessions.
  3. Floorcovering: As you workout, you’ll be needing a floor covering for containing your sweat. Also, this will ensure that your bike doesn’t skid.
  4. Hand towel: It’ll be a good idea to keep a towel over your bike’s centermost frame bar. This way the frame-bar will be protected.
  5. TV: You might as well keep a set up nearby so that you can catch up on your favorite shows during workout sessions.

You need to keep in mind that, carrying out any new workout routine will feel challenging for you if you’re just getting hooked into it. Performing some form of exercise can help you to ease into cardiovascular sessions. Whether you’re using a treadmill, running, using an elliptical, or simply walking outdoor, you will be reaping the benefits of cardio.

Benefits of using Indoor bike trainers

The following paragraph explains the benefits of cardiovascular sessions:

  • Safety: You will be able to use bike trainers indoors irrespective of the outside weather conditions.
  • Cross Training: These trainers can work on your muscles that running would not be able to work on. Running mainly focuses on your legs, hamstrings & back. Whereas; trainers focus on your front thighs and quads.
  • Less Impact: Unlike running outdoors on a treadmill, using trainers indoors isn’t too impactful for your joints. This is vital if you have issues with your hips, knees, or any other joints. As you remain seated, so; it’s beneficial for people having chronic back pain.
  • Supports Knees: While you cycle, your knee joints are kept lubricated and it also helps you to build strength in your quads. So, if you suffer from knee pain, cycling will help. Moreover, the surrounding muscles around your knees will be strengthened. This gives you more support.
  • Workout Variety: Indoor bike trainers also feature various programs and compatible applications. Using this, you will be able to create your personalized workout session.

Note: Provided that you suffer from any underlying medical conditions, currently recuperating from any injuries, or if you’re having certain medications. Something that may inadvertently end up affecting your heart rate. Hence, you should consult with your medical practitioner before proceeding with workouts.

Indoor Bike trainer Workouts for Beginners

You can follow the fitness routine below for having a beginner level workout session.

Time (minutes)Intensity/PaceRPE
5Make sure to warm up at a considerably comfortable pace. Also, keep the resistance low.4
3Next up, increase the resistance from Level 1 to Level 4 or up until the point where you start working harder than the pace at which you're warm-up. You should feel as though you're working. However, you should be able to carry out a conversation. This should be your baseline pace.5
2Proceed with increasing the resistance & your pace once again. Right until you begin working out slightly harder than the baseline.5 to 6
3Next you'll be required to decrease the resistance level or pace back to the baseline level.5
2Furthermore, increase your resistance level & pace once more. Right until the point when you're working out slightly harder than that of your baseline level.5 to 6
5Lastly, decrease the level of resistance or your pace back to a point where you feel comfortable and proceed with cooling down.4

Figure: Beginner Level Fitness routine using an Indoor Bike Trainer
Source: Verywellfit.com

According to a survey, people carry out indoor cycling workouts, as tabulated below, 2 days a week. You can consider going for a different set of workout routines, provided that you aren’t able to go outdoors. After a duration of three weeks, you can consider bringing variations among your workouts, making them more challenging. Also, you are advised to take one day off in-between sessions. Your workout sessions consist of 10 to 15 minutes of warm-up routine and 10 minutes of the cool-down period.

The below workouts can either be done on your indoor bike trainers or regular spin bikes. You need to make adjustments to resistance levels accordingly.

1. 

Speed intervals

Speed intervals will work on improving your speed & power. Also, this will help you to recuperate from continuous hard efforts. In the case of the faster-pedaling intervals, you are advised to use easier gears and higher levels of cadence. However, the rate of your perceived exertion (RPE) should be at a lower level.
At: 5/10.

Duration of Workout Session: 50 to 59 minutes.

Note: You can add one on or off interval( in 30 seconds at 95% effort; you need to combine 30 seconds intervals of easier spinning) to a total of 20 intervals.

2.

Climbling bursts

The aforementioned workout routine will aid you to simulate climbing a hill. Therefore, you’ll be required to raise the front of your bike’s wheel. Another process can be enhancing resistance levels. You’ll be required to stand up and attack in durations of 15 seconds intervals.

Duration of Workout Session: 83 to 88 minutes.

3.

Ladder intervals

The above workout routine replicates your demand for racing. Here level 8 is approximately 90% to 100% of the actual threshold power. Whereas, Level 9 is around 100% to 110% of the actual threshold power. Lastly, level 10 is around 115% of the threshold.

Duration of Workout Session: 75 to 90 minutes.

Conclusion

Workouts using indoor bike trainers can be quite effective if you follow the routine religiously. At such testing times, you can stay perfectly in shape in the comfort of your home by following a training regimen properly. It is advised that you choose your preferred exercise bike, depending on your budget and choice. We sincerely hope going through this article will aid you to make proper use of your indoor bike trainer.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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