Getting Disciplined: Training on a Spin Bike

News & Results

01/27/2005| 0 comments
by James Herrera, MS

Getting Disciplined: Training on a Spin Bike

While outdoor buffs find it difficult to train indoors, the great features of a spinner shouldn?t be overlooked.


While outdoor junkies might rather be bombing twisty single-track or doing a city limit sign sprint on the weekend group ride, a spin bike can be a valuable training tool when a lack of daylight or weather forces us indoors. Follow these tips to maximize your progress indoors.


?          Transfer measurements from your personal bike to a spin bike. Measure your effective top tube length (center of seat tube to center of handlebar), saddle height (center of crankbolt to top of the saddle, along the seat tube), and handlebar to saddle height difference. An experienced cyclist can ballpark these measurements just by jumping on the bike. Less experienced riders should carry their measurements and a small measuring tape in their gym bag. Matching measurements of your outdoor bike will minimize the risk of a poor bike fit, which can result in injury.

?          Take a group class and seek out a quality instructor.

?          Perform longer intervals around your lactic threshold.   This assists aerobic development, making a more efficient use of training time. You?ll finish your workout feeling pleasantly fatigued as opposed to exhausted.

?          Include over-under intervals in your workout sessions. These efforts will train your body to endure large doses of lactic acid while jumping from a steady pace to a maximal effort and back to a good steady cruising pace, similar to a group ride.

?          Use entertainment (music, movies, training DVDs) as tools to increase your indoor time on the bike.

?          Focus on any cycling deficiencies you may have picked up during the race season or summer months. Many cyclists need to focus on high cadence work to improve their leg speed while others need to push heavier muscle tension gears, focusing on strength building on the bike.

?          Keep workouts short when concentration is fading. Two hours of total ride time broken into a morning and evening one-hour sessions might be more productive. Many athletes have a mental shut-off valve when it comes to indoor training. Some can ride for 4-5 hours indoors, while others last 1 hour.

?          Variety is the spice of life. Use new workouts, invite friends for suffer fests, expand your video or music library, and ride into spring with your best fitness ever.


James Herrera is an Elite Coach and Director of Coaching for
Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). To find out what James and CTS can do for you, please visit



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