Given the challenges that cycling in bad weather can pose, moving indoors to a spin trainer can be a great way to boost your fitness while staying safe and warm. If done correctly, a spin workout can be among the best workouts you do all season.
Focus on Intensity1 of 5
The best way to keep a spin workout interesting is to crank up the intensity. A quality workout should last around 40 to 70 minute and, if done as an interval workout, can shred your leg muscles and quickly have you training near your anaerobic threshold.
One simple spinner workout you can implement involves a warm-up, followed by a routine of 90 or 120 seconds of hard spin and then 90 or 120 seconds of easy spin, repeated for as long as you need. The hard spin can either be from spinning at a very high, fast cadence, or more preferably by shifting down to a much harder gear. The easy spin should be done by shifting into an easier gear while continuing to pedal at a recovery tempo. This might sound simple, but it works. Experiment with other high-intensity workouts as well.
Try an Indoor Brick2 of 5
Brick workouts, the combination of bike and run sessions, can be useful even in the base season. If you plan on doing a spin bike workout, consider mixing in treadmill runs to create a complete conditioning workout. There are two simple ones we like, but try riffs on these to find whatever works for you.
First, try a set of 10 minute biking, followed by 10 minute running and repeat until you get the desired workout duration. This can make a great 60-minute workout.
Another good, simple indoor brick is to spin for 20 minutes and then jump on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Be sure each set during the bike and run has some type of interval-based intensity or tempo peak. In 40 minutes, you can get a great base-building workout.
Use a Virtual Coach3 of 5
A great way to bust the spinner rut is to get a video coach or DVD. Today's market has many great virtual coaches to choose from that can help structure your spin workout—often, all it takes is a quick video download. You can also try a DVD that features great interval workouts, structured endurance workouts or even scenic rides through popular routes with some lite coaching involved. If you have the budget, some bike systems even have direct streaming of virtual coaches to their built-in monitor.
Any of these options will help make your spin workout more productive, and it's a good idea to have a few workouts to choose from for whatever your time and energy allows.
Consider Spin Classes4 of 5
Local health clubs usually offer spin classes throughout the week, and these can be great ways to get an intense workout in your schedule with the motivation of a live instructor. For many cyclists, the fact that a group of riders—or friends—surrounds them in class helps increase their motivation.
If you are a member of a club already, find the spin class schedule and try a few that might work for you. Note that each instructor may have a different intensity level or style, so stick with one or two that are compatible with how you like to workout.
With the right kind of planning and intensity, your indoor spin cycling workouts might end up being the best workouts you do all season.