60 minute turbo training sessions for time-crunched riders

Three workouts to boost your power on the bike in an hour

Wahoo Kickr, winter training

Whether you use a turbo, rollers or a smart bike, indoor training is an extremely efficient way to train. If time is tight, these 60-minute indoor cycling workouts will help increase your power and aid recovery.

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Indoor training is more popular than ever, with smart trainers offering road-like realism and training apps like Zwift keeping riders entertained and motivated.

We’ve included three tried-and-tested training sessions here, whether you want to improve your Function Threshold Power, become a stronger all-round cyclist or work on your top-end intensity.

Heart rate training zones

First of all, you need to work out your training zones. For simplicity, we’ve used heart rate zones here, but you can easily adapt the sessions using the equivalent zone if you train with power.

  • Zone 1: Establish base fitness > 60–65% maximum heart rate
  • Zone 2: To improve efficiency > 65–75% maximum heart rate
  • Zone 3: To improve sustainable power > 75–82% maximum heart rate
  • Zone 4: To push up threshold power > 82–89% maximum heart rate
  • Zone 5: To sustain a high percentage of maximal aerobic power > 89–94% maximum heart rate
  • Zone 6: To increase maximum power output > above 94% maximum heart rate

Become a stronger cyclist — improve your FTP

This workout aims to make you a stronger all-round cyclist. The classic threshold workout is 2 x 20 minutes, but you can only do so many before you get bored or lose motivation, so this is all about variety.

Time flies on varied sessions like this, too — maybe a bit too fast on those 10-second recoveries!

You’ll be hitting a full range of energy systems, working on your strength and power, and going deep into the red with the final intervals. This session is a great Function Threshold boost.

The workout

Warm up

  • 10 minutes building progressively through heart rate zones 1 and 2

Main session

  • Five minutes at zone 3
  • Three minutes at zone 4
  • Two minutes at zone 5, two minutes rest
  • Eight minutes swapping between one minute at low zone 4 and one minute at mid zone 5
  • Two minutes rest
  • Eight minutes climbing, swap between, one minute standing and one minute seated at zone 4
  • Two minutes rest
  • Four minutes big gear/low cadence riding at 60rpm building through zone 5, sprint for the last minute
  • Two minutes rest
  • Eight x 20-second max efforts with 10 seconds rest

Cool down

  • Five minutes easy spinning

Pyramid scheme — increase workout intensity

If you’ve established a decent endurance base, it’s time to increase the intensity of your workouts and put in some sustained race-pace efforts..

A solid two x 20 minutes threshold workout can be hard to get your head around. A pyramid-style workout, which still logs a similar amount of time at threshold intensity but breaks it up into more manageable chunks.

Your upper body should stay still and relaxed, as any swaying or excessive head movement will increase drag when you’re out in the real world.

Also aim to keep your pedalling action smooth — don’t stomp just because you’re on a turbo. Try to maintain your race position.

The workout

Warm up (10 minutes)

  • Three minutes easy spinning in zone 1 (90rpm)
  • One minute zone 2, 95rpm
  • One minute zone 1, 90rpm
  • One minute zone 3, 100rpm
  • One minute zone 1, 90rpm
  • One minute with a five second maximal sprint followed by 55 seconds zone 1, 90rpm
  • One minute zone 1, 90rpm

Main session

  • One minute high zone 4 (as close to Functional Threshold Power/Heart Rate as possible, race cadence)
  • One minute easy spin recovery
  • Three minutes high zone 4 (as close to FTP/FTHR as possible, race cadence)
  • One minute easy spin recovery
  • Five minutes high zone 4 (as close to FTP/FTHR as possible, race cadence)
  • One minute easy spin recovery
  • Three minutes high zone 4 (as close to FTP/FTHR as possible, race cadence)
  • One minute easy spin recovery
  • One minute high zone 4 (as close to FTP/FHTR as possible, race cadence)
  • One minute easy spin recovery

Repeat three times in total

Cool down

  •  Nine minutes easy spinning

Race pace with sprints

This is a great workout for raising your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is the highest average power or pace you can maintain for one hour.

By including some sprints, you’ll develop your ability to recover from hard efforts while still maintaining a relatively high overall pace.

If you’re training for a specific event, a benefit of dialling in your race pace intensity through this session is that you’ll know exactly what it feels like come race day, even if you have to dig deep and put in some higher-end efforts.

This is a tough workout but will stand you in good stead.

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Mentally, if you can hold the pace required here with sprints on top, you know that it will be comparatively easy to hold that pace consistently through the event. Plus, you’ll have the confidence to attack lumps and bumps and sprint out of bends.

The workout

Warm up

  • 10 minutes building progressively through heart rate zones 1 and 2

Main session

  • 40 minutes holding 25-mile TT pace in your race position. This will translate to 85–95 percent of FTP for power or mid-to-high zone 4 for heart rate
  • Every five minutes perform a maximal 30-second sprint. Don’t let your effort drop after the sprints; get straight back onto race pace and don’t sneak in any sly recoveries

Cool down

  • 10 minutes easy spinning