The Ultimate Indoor Cycling Training Plan for 2023

The Ultimate Indoor Cycling Training Plan for 2023

If you’re looking to get into indoor cycling this year, you’ve come to the right place.

As an avid cyclist myself, I know that having a solid training plan is key to seeing results and staying motivated.

In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create your own killer indoor cycling program in 2023.

How Do I Plan an Indoor Bike Workout?

If you’re new to structured training, planning your own indoor cycling workouts can feel overwhelming at first.

But don’t worry, it’s easier than it seems!

Here are some tips:

Know Your Goals – Having a goal in mind will help guide your training.

Are you training for a specific event like a century ride? Or do you simply want to improve your overall fitness? Define your objectives.

Vary Your Workouts – A good training plan includes different types of rides like HIIT, hills, endurance, intervals, etc.

This helps develop all aspects of your cycling fitness.

Use Periodization – Periodizing your plan from base training to intensity/peaking helps maximize your gains. More on this later.

Schedule Consistency – It’s better to have a consistent routine (e.g. Mon/Wed/Fri) than a haphazard plan.

Your body adapts better with consistency.

Listen to Your Body – Don’t be afraid to take a rest day or back off if you feel overly fatigued.

Forcing it can lead to burnout or injury.

Use Technology – Apps, training platforms, and power meters are great for tracking progress and hitting specific training targets.

Okay, let’s look at how to take these tips and turn them into an actual weekly training schedule.

Here’s an example beginner 1-week plan:

Monday – Low-Intensity Endurance Ride – 60 min at 65% Max Heart Rate

Wednesday – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – 10-20 min alternating hard 1 min efforts with 1 min easy

Friday – Hill Climb Intervals – 10 x 1 min hard hill efforts with 2 min easy recovery between

Saturday – Long Endurance Ride – 90 min at 70% Max HR

Sunday – Rest Day

This hits all the major workout types and allows for adequate rest.

From here, you would repeat and progress over the course of a training cycle.

Let’s talk about that next.

What Are The Best Intervals for Indoor Cycling?

Intervals are those hard efforts between bouts of easier riding or rest.

They are key for boosting fitness!

Here are 5 of the best interval workouts for indoor cycling gains:

1. Tabata Intervals – 20 seconds all-out effort followed by 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times. Ultra intense!

2. 30/30s – 30 seconds hard at about 110% FTP followed by 30 seconds easy. Do 5-10 sets.

3. 2x20s – 2 minutes hard at about 105% FTP, 20 seconds easy recovery. Repeat 5-8 times.

4. 5x5s – Do 5 minutes at 95% FTP followed by 5 minutes rest. Complete 2-3 sets.

5. Hill Simulations – 1 minute hard at max sustainable effort mimicking a steep climb, 2 min easy.

Mix up these intervals into your plan to target different energy systems and see major fitness improvements!

Just be sure to start conservatively and progress slowly to avoid burnout.

Is 20 Minutes of Indoor Cycling Enough?

For many time-crunched cyclists, getting in intense 20-minute indoor cycling sessions sounds ideal.

But is that really enough to see training gains? Well, it depends.

For the casual rider simply looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness, then yes – 20 quality minutes 2-3 days per week can be sufficient.

This allows you to target different systems with intense interval sessions.

However, if you have more serious fitness or competitive goals, 20 minutes is generally not enough indoor cycling training volume.

Most training plans for dedicated cyclists prescribe hour-long workouts at minimum, even on recovery days.

This builds underlying endurance and greater workload capacity.

The takeaway is that 20 minutes can be a good starting point or minimum if you’re strapped for time.

But to truly transform your cycling fitness, I recommend striving for longer sessions and overall weekly volume.

Supplement with strength training too!

Is 30 Minutes of Indoor Cycling a Day Enough?

What about bumping up your daily indoor cycling to 30 minutes?

Is half an hour on your bike trainer adequate for making worthwhile fitness gains?

In most cases, yes – 30 focused minutes per day is enough.

Here’s why:

  • It allows for intense interval training in that time frame.
    Intervals done right can be extremely effective.
  • You can hit higher training loads in a 30 min sweatfest vs 60 minutes easy.
    Intensity matters.
  • It’s a time commitment many can more realistically stick to on a daily basis.
  • For novices and intermediates, it provides sufficient training stimulus.
    Adaptation happens quickly and early on.
  • Consistency over time in a 30-minute routine compounds results.

However, for those with greater aspirations in cycling, you’ll eventually need to build to longer sessions to keep progressing.

And mixing in stronger 60-90 minutes workouts once or twice a week is wise.

But for the average rider, 30 minutes of quality indoor cycling daily is plenty to see big gains in your fitness over a training cycle.

Is It Safe to Cycle Indoors Every Day?

A common question around daily indoor cycling is if it’s safe for your body to be grinding away on the trainer day after day.

Won’t that lead to burnout or overuse injuries?

It’s a fair concern.

Here are some tips:

  • Vary your workout intensity and volume each day. Going hard daily is a recipe for trouble.
    Mix in easy and moderate days.
  • Take regular rest days, especially after hard sessions.
    This allows your body to adapt and absorb the training.
  • Closely monitor signs of overtraining like elevated resting heart rate, fatigue, lack of motivation. Take a break if needed.
  • Use proper bike fit and technique to avoid undue strain on any one area.
    A professional bike fit can help.
  • Cross-train on your non-bike days by running, swimming, yoga, etc.
    This maintains fitness while giving your body a break.
  • Fuel and hydrate well for each session. Nutrition is vital for recovery.

With sufficient variation, rest, and proper technique, cycling daily can be safe, sustainable, and very effective.

But don’t hesitate to take a day or two off if your body is telling you it needs a break.

Learning to balance training stress and recovery is a skill all cyclists need to hone.

12-Week Indoor Cycling Training Plan

Alright, let’s put together a 12-week indoor cycling training program pulling together all these principles and best practices.

Here’s an overview of the periodic progression:

Weeks 1-4: Base Training

Focus: Aerobic endurance development, long slow distance, technique work

  • 3-4 rides per week
  • 45-90 minutes per session
  • 65-75% max heart rate effort

Weeks 5-8: Tempo/Threshold Training

Focus: Lactate threshold, economy, muscular endurance

  • 4 rides per week
  • Intervals at 85-95% threshold power
  • 1 long endurance ride

Weeks 9-12: VO2 Max/Anaerobic Training

Focus: High intensity, sprints, power, speed

  • 4-5 rides per week
  • Multiple interval days
  • Long ride for active recovery

Here’s an example of how the Monday/Wednesday/Friday weekly schedule might look:

Week 1-4: Base Training

Monday: 60 min easy spin

Wednesday: 45 min easy spin + drills

Friday: 90 min endurance ride

Week 5-8: Tempo/Threshold

Monday: 60 min endurance + 4×5 min tempo intervals

Wednesday: 30 min warm-up, 3×10 min @ threshold, 15 min cooldown

Friday: 60 min easy

Week 9-12: VO2 Max/Anaerobic

Monday: 60 min endurance

Wednesday: 10 min warm up, 3×5 min VO2 max @ 120% threshold, 15 min cooldown

Friday: 30 min warm up, 5×90 sec sprint intervals, 15 min cooldown

Customize this template based on your specific goals, available time, and current ability level.

The key is keeping your body guessing, building your workload over time, and allowing adequate recovery.

Now let’s finish up with some general indoor cycling workout tips.

Tips for Indoor Cycling

Here are some additional pointers to make the most of your indoor cycling training sessions:

  • Use a fan for cooling and indoor air circulation. Prevents overheating.
  • Play upbeat music or watch entertaining videos to help pass the time.
  • Record and analyze your workout data using apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks to track progress.
  • Consider using structured training platforms like Zwift, Sufferfest, or TrainerRoad for added motivation.
  • Embrace the convenience! No need to deal with traffic or bad weather indoors.
  • Mix it up between seated climbing and standing sprints to engage your entire body.
  • Stay fueled with some water and nutrition within arm’s reach.
  • Look ahead and visualize your goals during challenging intervals. Mind over matter!
  • Recruit a couple training partners. Accountability and friendly competition helps!

Stick to a well-structured plan, train consistently, and you’ll be amazed by the indoor cycling improvements you can make over a 12-week training cycle.

Have fun with it!

Final Thoughts

Creating your own comprehensive indoor cycling training program may feel intimidating as a beginner, but I hope this article showed you that it’s completely doable with the proper guidance.

Applying sound training principles and periodization is key.

The takeaways:

  • Know your goals and train accordingly
  • Plan regular weekly workouts of varying types
  • Progress your training loads over time
  • Allow for adequate rest and recovery
  • Use technology to enhance your training
  • Emphasize consistency over several months

If you follow these guidelines and stick to the process, your fitness will have no choice but to improve by leaps and bounds!

Just be patient, trust in the program, and keep those pedals spinning.

Now you’re prepared to dominate your indoor training this year! Here’s to achieving all your cycling goals in 2023.

Enjoy the journey. Ride on!

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Joey B. Ramsey
Passionate cyclist, father, and blogger.
I've been riding bikes since childhood and enjoy sharing my knowledge with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
My diverse bike collection allows me to write reviews and advice based on personal experience with various bikes and accessories.
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