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Indoor Cycling Workouts to Improve Your Climbing
by By Gale Bernhardt, For Active.com

It doesn't matter whether it's winter or just bad weather that puts you on an indoor trainer, at one time or another most cyclists will find themselves riding to nowhere.

If your training plan called for a hill workout and you want some solid suggestions for indoor workouts specifically designed to work on improving your ability to climb hills, I've got two workouts for you. The first one only takes 45 minutes. It's tough.

When you are setting the tension on your bike, be wary of excess load on your knees. The work should stress your muscles, not your knee joint. If you are using a spin bike at a gym, try to have the seat height set as close as possible to your personal bike.


Hill Workout No. 1
1. Warm-Up

5:00 (five minutes) - Spinning at Zone 1 intensity

5:00 - Alternating between legs, each leg carries 80-percent of the load for 30 seconds before switching legs. Make perfect circles and eliminate any dead spot at the top of the pedal stroke. The "resting" leg can remain clipped in or unclipped and resting on a chair. (Zone 1 to 2)

5:00 - Spinning at 90+ revolutions per minute (rpm), Zones 1 to 3



2. Main Set

3:00 - Seated climb with the bike tension set so your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is Zone 2 to 3 (Heart rate may or may not respond accordingly, depending on several factors. Use RPE for the main set.)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

2:30 - Seated climb (Zone 2 to 3), then increase tension and stand for 30 seconds (Zone 4 to 5b, keeping it on the low end of the range if you're just starting hill work.)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

2:00 - Seated climb (Zone 3), then increase tension and stand for 1:00 (Zone 4 to 5b)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

1:30 - Seated climb (Zone 3), then increase tension and stand for 1:30 (Zone 4 to 5b)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

1:00 - Seated climb (Zone 3), then increase tension and stand for 2:00 (Zone 4 to 5b)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

0:30 - Seated climb (Zone 3), then increase tension and stand for 2:30 (Zone 4 to 5b)

1:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

3:00 - Stand (Zone 4 to 5b)




3. Cool-Down

7:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

45 minutes total


Hill Workout No. 2
1. Warm-Up

5:00 - Pedaling easy with cadence above 90 rpm, Zone 1 to 2.

5:00 - Alternate 0:30 seated, 0:30 standing at Zone 2 to 3.

6:00 - Seated, alternate 80-percent of the workload between 1:00 right leg, 1:00 left leg at Zone 1 to 2 intensity.


2. Main Set

4 x 3:00 - Seated at 70 rpm, slowly ramp up to maximum effort by the last three-minute interval. Effort ranges from Zone 2 to 5. Take 1:00 of easy spinning between each effort.

2:00 - Spinning at Zone 1 to 2 intensity, 90+ rpm

4 x 3:00 - Begin with 2:00 seated, using a bigger gear or more tension than in the first set. After 2:00 seated, bump up the tension and stand for the last 1:00. Effort ranges from Zone 3 to 4. Take 1:00 of easy spinning between each effort.


3. Cool Down

7:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1

60 minutes total


While riding indoors isn't as fun as being outside, there is satisfaction in knowing you got a quality workout under your belt.

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