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Is one hour on the trainer enough to keep me fit in the off season?

While one hour on the trainer is not enough to make significant gains in your aerobic energy system, it is plenty to target your lactate threshold and vo2 max. How this translates to on-the-bike performance is that you will be able to race hard in a crit (criterium- bike race on a short course) coming off of your winter training, but a 4 day stage race will be a different story. Moving the riding inside, and cutting it short, will not prepare you for a century, but that doesn’t mean there is no merit to it either. One hour on the trainer working power intervals is certainly more effective in building off season bike strength and fitness than one hour on the couch watching football.

I encourage athletes to use their trainer time to focus on the technique and cadence of their pedal stroke. Fast pedal drills and single leg pedal drills are staples to all of my trainer workouts. Not only is trainer time a good time to focus on maximizing the power and efficiency of your pedal stroke, it is also a great time to nail those narrow power ranges. There are plenty of advantages to working on the trainer in addition to avoiding road rage drivers, head wind and biting temps. Neuromuscular adaptations, pedal stroke power and efficiency, and holding highly specified power ranges round out the many benefits of riding indoors.

So I encourage you to use the simplicity of the trainer to focus on your weakest link in the off season. Doing so will enable you to reach your highest peak next season.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.