The Great Indoors: How to Optimize Your Cycling Experience

Indoor cycling has never been more popular.

Ticking the boxes for convenience and ease, without losing that intense cardio workout that cyclists crave, indoor cycling has become a go-to strategy to help professionals and amateurs alike stay in peak physical form all year round.

Developments in technology have also opened the door for virtual cycling apps to create exciting, immersive worlds for riders to explore. Since 2019, the MyWhoosh platform has provided a space for this community to connect, train, and even compete in.

Read on to learn how to optimize your cycling experience by harnessing the power of the great indoors.

How does indoor cycling work?

Indoor cycling is a form of exercise which replicates the same pedal motion and cardiovascular intensity as outdoor cycling, without needing to step foot outside the house!

Using either a smart bike or turbo trainer to complete your indoor rides, you can adjust the resistance as needed to create a workout that is unique to you and your goals. Connecting to apps like MyWhoosh allows you to tackle bespoke training plans in a fun, immersive way. Users can ride across virtual worlds, compete in prize-money events, and race with friends from every corner of the globe. MyWhoosh also produces detailed performance metrics, allowing you to track and monitor your progress throughout your training. Most smart bikes and trainers will also match their resistance to the conditions of the virtual track, meaning you can really feel every hill and headwind!

While in the past, indoor cycling may have been deemed a winter-only workout option, today it is considered a critical component of any competitive training plan, allowing riders to follow consistent programs all year round, including during injury and off-seasons.

What do I need to get started?

Unlike outdoor cycling, indoor training requires minimal equipment to achieve an effective workout. Keen indoor cyclists might transform garages into ‘pain caves’, complete with music, lighting, and wall decorations to help keep them energized, but for those just starting out, you will only need the essentials:

If you’re new to indoor cycling and ready to get started, check out our list of the best equipment to use with MyWhoosh.

What are the benefits of indoor cycling?

Indoor cycling has a vast range of benefits – the most obvious being that it is an easy, inclusive alternative to cycling outdoors when faced with poor weather conditions or time constraints. No need to stop training just because it is raining!

Cycling indoors also allows you to perform complicated intervals with precision, so you can really focus on enhancing your technique. Workouts based around short periods of intensity – such as 40/20’s and 30/15’s – can be performed safely and accurately, without any vehicle or pedestrian hazards.

And while an indoor ride without wind or other natural cooling conditions will likely raise your core body temperature, this can actually work to your advantage. A higher body temperature will increase your blood plasma, which will help improve your VO2 and aerobic efficiency. Beyond cardiovascular fitness, the controlled indoor environment can also help you target specific muscle groups. For example, adjustments in bike positioning and resistance can give bias to your quads, hamstrings, calves, or glutes.

Can I still achieve satisfactory results in real life?

Absolutely. Indoor training will complement your outdoor cycling to help you reach goals and pinpoint areas which need improving. Riding indoors also allows you to train for the specific demands of your outdoor event with tailored drills. For example, if you were training for a Gran Fondo, but did not have any long climbs in your area, you could create a training plan which centres around long climb tracks on MyWhoosh.

But do not just take our word for it – many of the best professional riders regularly train indoors to accelerate their progress. New Zealand rider, Michael Vink, was even discovered on MyWhoosh, and now competes professionally as part of UAE Team Emirates.

Can anyone start indoor cycling?

One of the remarkable things about indoor cycling is how accessible it is to riders of all ages, genders, and levels of proficiency. The absence of road hazards while cycling indoors, paired with the minimal impact nature of the exercise itself, it makes this a safe workout which is gentle on joints – the perfect option for cyclists of any generation.

Gender is not a barrier either. In fact, virtual cycling can offer a more inclusive environment than in-person racing. For example, the MyWhoosh Championship, which took place in April and May of 2023, offered women the highest prize pool in virtual or real-life cycling history, and marked a rare occasion where a cycling event awarded equal prize money to both men and women.

And although many professionals use indoor cycling to enhance their training programs, amateur cyclists have just as much to gain. Beginner riders can start with lower intensity workouts, and gradually build up their strength and fitness with the help of a virtual training plan.

What does a typical indoor training plan look like?

A typical training plan on MyWhoosh will take you through three core training phases: Base, Build and Preparation. Each one will feature guidance, tips, and motivation to help push you to peak performance.

At the end of the training program, you should be in a strong position to take on your next real-life or virtual race. Or simply up the ante and start a tougher plan! Whatever your goals, MyWhoosh has you covered.

Download the MyWhoosh app and start your free journey today. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows.

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