Winter training tips remain useful right now. It's not just that winter is still lingering, it's that even when the weather is good, it's less easy to access the great outdoors. Biorhythms make us naturally resistant to intense training over winter, but winter training is an opportunity to work at weaknesses and set your year’s riding on a strong trajectory into summer.
- Indoor cycling guide: how to get started training indoors
- The best Zwift setup for every budget
- Here’s why winter training is key to summer success
An indoor smart trainer will give you all the hardware and software to ride up a storm inside your living room, whilst an Atlantic low pressure system pelts the roof with rain.
Indoor training bikes have undergone a revolution over the last decade. Machines such as the Wattbike Atom bring professional grade cycling technology into our home. The new generation of smart indoor trainers can replicate authentic pedalling resistance and harvesting a lot of useful data.
A smart indoor trainer such as the Wattbike Atom has excellent connectivity, too. With ANT+, FE-C and Bluetooth, it allows you to access a treasure of training apps, seamlessly pairing with all your devices and creating an immersive digital training experience.
Diversity in your training is crucial to attain success. Although superior cycling fitness might be a goal, the benefits of cross-training are inarguable. There are many traditional exercises which are not bike related but classify as hugely beneficial to an indoor training regime.
To assist you in getting the best from your smart indoor cycling experience, here are ten gym tips to ensure that your winter training does not stagnate.
1. Go digital
There are an array of excellent cycling apps around, many of them allowing you to access Grand Tour team levels of scientific analysis and input. Most smart indoor trainers sync seamlessly with all these apps due to their excellent connectivity. You can also use a wearable smart training wrist device to manage winter training.
2. Embrace virtual reality
In a world where we live vicariously through our device screens, you might as well incorporate augmented reality in your winter training too. The Wattbike Atom has an ergonomically designed handlebar mount, securing a tablet in your field of view. This allows you to embrace the virtual cycling worlds of an app such as Zwift.
The box jump is an explosive indoor exercise which combines elements of power, balance and visualisation. Box jump benefits go beyond the sheer explosive power you’ll build having to leap onto the box. Visualisation is a crucial part of this exercise as you boost off the floor and anticipate landing on the box’s surface. Best of all, the wooden box you’ll use can be repurposed as a seating or stowage surface in the house, when it is not used for exercise.
4. Go with the flow
Indoor trainers don’t have the same cooling environmental airflow that you would experience on a conventional road bike ride. To ensure that you don’t suffer unnecessary heat fatigue, position a fan in front of your indoor training set-up.
5. Resistance bands
Popularised by physiotherapists for injury recover, resistance bands have not transitioned into mainstream fitness. They are wonderfully easy to use and offer the benefit of having similar tension in both the positive (explosive) and negative (contracting) range of any exercise motion, greatly stimulating those muscles which only activate when you need stretching stabilization. If you are afraid of doing traditional squats, resistance band squats are a superb substitute.
6. Try asymmetrical training
Every cyclist has an inherent imbalance in the physiology, either biased to the right or left side. To work at reducing that disparity, an indoor trainer is unrivalled for one-legged pedalling. Try it for a few minutes in each winter training session.
7. Master your pedal stroke
Even professional riders constantly evaluate their pedal stroke. It is a lifelong cycling obsession. Some indoor trainers will help you asses the power input and balance of your pedalling, allowing you to get closer to riding the ‘perfect circle’. Winter training is a great time to really craft those small, but vital, improvements in pedalling technique. The Wattbike Atom has unique software which measures your force input and gives you a pedal effectiveness score.
You need to build power and balance your core. Traditional exercise wisdom has always qualified the squat and deadlift as solutions, but those exercises are fought with injury risk and difficult to master. Not to mention the sheer inconvenience of finding room to store barbells in the house. Kettlebells take up a lot less space and they are superior for developing true core power in the hips, lower back and legs. The kettlebell swing is also a much safer power exercise to master.
Road riding with music or listening to a podcast is dangerous and inadvisable, as you cannot hear approaching rearward traffic or audible warnings. It is a very different scenario in your living room. Indoor winter training allows you to multitask by clocking miles and listening to some new music, or an insightful podcast, without feeling any guilt about potentially being a reckless road user.
10. Play ball
An exercise ball is a great way to improve your posture and core muscle stability whilst seated – it could be a home working life saver. At home you can also use it to activate deep muscle stability fibres in your core. The exercise ball offers an array of movements which target the abs and lower back, without requiring you to lay uncomfortably on the floor.
T3 created this content as part of a paid partnership with Wattbike. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of T3. Read more about Wattbike here.