Ideas for Indoor Workouts

By Jarrod Shoemaker

It has already started snowing in parts of the U.S. and Canada, so now is a good time to think about winter indoor training. It is mentally harder to train indoors, but the evolution of indoor training over the years, from roller trainers and compu-trainers to internet connected devices, has now made riding and running inside much more enjoyable and interactive.

I follow a few indoor bike riding rules:

1) Every hour of indoor riding is equivalent to approximately 90 minutes of outdoor riding. Why? Because outdoor riding has a lot more dead spots compared to indoor riding.

2) Indoor riding needs to be more structured. Why? Because even if you ride more easily outdoors, your power varies a lot more with stop signs, hills and other changes in terrain as you to change pace.

3) Remember to stand up and move around on your saddle. Why? Because when riding indoors, you can just lock into one position. But for outdoors on the uneven terrain, you move forward and backward on the saddle and stand up, which is better for your underside.

The great thing about riding indoors is that you can achieve a more focused and succinct workout. Your warmup can be more focused and it’ll be easier to do a perfect interval without worrying about cars, stop signs or changes in terrain that can make it easier or harder to produce power.

I have a few good examples of indoor workouts, but feel free to change and modify the workouts. Try to keep it fresh and try to always incorporate something into an indoor workout, because 3 hours of riding inside can be a mental drag.

Workout 1: Simple Builds

Warm up for 15 minutes. Then do a 60 second build from 7-10 RPE (rating of perceived exertion) with 2 minutes recovery.

The Main Set is 8-10 x 2 minute builds from 7-9 RPE with 2 minutes recovery. By the end this will get more and more challenging.

Warm down easy to finish out your time.

Workout 2: VO2 Max

Warm up for 15 minutes. Then do a 60 second build from 7-10 RPE (rating of perceived exertion) with 2 minutes recovery.

The Main Set is 7-8 x 90 seconds maximum effort w/ 3 minutes recovery. This workout is extremely tough but keep at it the first and second ones can be harder than the middle ones once your body gets warmed up.

Warm down easy to finish out your time.

Workout 3: Long Tempo

Warm up for 15 minutes. Then do a 60 second build from 7-10 RPE (rating of perceived exertion) with 2 minutes recovery.

The Main Set is 3-4 rounds of 10 minutes at 7 RPE (85-90% threshold) with 2-3 minutes recovery. Every 3 minutes of the effort do a 10-15 second pickup. This will lock you into tempo pace and mimic small hills or passing athletes in a race

Warm down easy to finish out your time.


Change of pace and hard efforts can be maximized on an indoor workout as you have more control over your environment. Another good tool for indoor workout time is to work on your pedal stroke. Practice pulling across the bottom, pushing across the time, or focus on the quadrants of the pedal stroke doing one leg drills. Indoor workouts can be time efficient and maximized to help you achieve quality in a short period of time. Focus on quality over quantity and if being on your own doesn’t work, find a friend to challenge yourself with!