Are you finding that winter is dragging on a little bit? Us too. The big freeze outside sometimes makes the idea of going for a pedal pretty off-putting. However, it's often said that 'medals are won over winter' - and even if you've not got your eyes on an Olympic gold you can still reap the rewards of some power hours on the indoor trainer this season.

Training indoors - on a turbo trainer, rollers, static bike or watt bike - means you can fully concentrate on the task in hand. You don't need to watch out for ice, wet drains, or drivers and you can't freewheel. As a result, constant pedalling makes indoor training very time efficient.

We'd never recommend that you just get on the turbo and pedal, though - you need a session plan to keep you motivated and help you get the most from your time on the trainer.

If you're mega short on time, we've got some sub 30 minute sessions here, and if you're after real gut busters, try our pro-worthy turbo sessions outlined by serious cyclists who use them. But there's more.

Below, we've got five sessions specifically designed to help you develop those fast twitch muscle fibers that enable powerful and explosive movements. And some others that will develop your ability to put that explosivity to good use. In other words, they're your key to winning the sprint - be it a bit of fun between your mates on a group ride, or at the end of your first race this season.

Before you start any of these sessions, make sure you've got some motivational tunes to keep you going, a towel to mop up the sweat, and a fan to prevent you from overheating. Aim to mix these sessions with easy recovery rides, too - because it's when your body is resting that it actually gets stronger.

12 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid on the Turbo Trainer

Russian Steps

russian-steps-int

This is a classic session designed to help you learn to blast out the power when you need it, over a selection of different durations.

This one is a real favourite with the coaches at British Cycling who say it's a great one for racers to use "going into the season or anytime you fancy a hard hour long blast to clear away the cobwebs." (Though they have you complete the main set three times - up to you if you want to!)

Each 'hard' effort needs to be as hard as you can go for that interval - it's not going to be easy, particularly by the time you get to 45 seconds and a minute. However, keep pushing through and you'll thank yourself when you're glowing with 'pride' at the end.

Here's the detail:

Warm up:

  • 10 minutes easy pedalling
  • 5 minutes as 5 x 20 second fast cadence, 40 second soft pedal
  • 5 minutes gradually increasing pace

Main set:

  • 15 seconds hard, 45 seconds soft pedal
  • 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds soft pedal
  • 45 seconds hard, 15 seconds soft pedal
  • 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds soft pedal
  • 45 seconds hard, 15 seconds soft pedal
  • 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds soft pedal
  • 15 seconds hard, 45 seconds soft pedal
  • 5 minutes recovery
  • Repeat

Cool down:

  • 10 minutes gradually reducing the pace

Total: 54 minutes

Dani King's Standing Start Sprints

sprint-session

Olympic Team Pursuit medallist Dani King gave us this session a while back, and we're big fans. Whilst the others have you repeating efforts after short recoveries, this one is about occasional sprints as HARD AS YOU CAN GO. Recoveries are long so you really need to put everything you can into the short bursts. Start your sprints in a high gear, with the pedals almost stopped. At the start of the sprint, your cadence will feel very slow but it will increase as you wind up. Once it feels like you're up to speed, hit it again with a final 10 second smash. NB: don't try to do this on the rollers.

The detail:

Warm up:

  • 10 minutes easy pedalling
  • 5 minutes as 5 x 20 second fast cadence, 40 second soft pedal

Main set

  • Pedal steadily for five minutes, then come almost to a stop. Select a high gear, and sprint flat out for 15 seconds.
  • Hold the same pace for 15 more seconds- your cadence should be faster now so you should feel like you can 'coast' a bit.
  • Attack once more with another 10 second effort
  • Repeat x 5

Cool Down:

  • 10 Minutes easy

Total: 50 minutes

Progressive Gearing Intervals

prg-gearting

If you want to be able to smash out a quick turn of speed, you need strength. You can build strength in the gym, but working on it actually on the bike means you'll strengthen the specific muscles needed for cycling.

During this session, you'll push the pedals at a high resistance. High gear efforts will make you stronger - but avoid them if you have any niggles or knee problems as they'll compound the problem.

Here's the detail:

Warm up:

  • 10 minutes, gradually increase the pace

Main Set:

  • Get into the big ring and select a gear that feels like a bit of a push but is only moderately hard to pedal at around 70-80rpm
  • Pedal smoothly for 2 minutes, the effort should feel moderate (click down a gear if it's hard)
  • Shift up two gears, and keep pedalling for two more minutes at the same cadence, it should feel quite a bit harder
  • Shift up two more gears, and keep pedalling, aiming to keep the cadence the same, this should feel like a real push
  • With one minute left, jump out the saddle and pedal as hard and fast as you can
  • Five minutes easy pedalling, repeat twice

Cool down:

  • 10 minutes easy

Total: 56 minutes

60 Second Blasts

60-seconds-blasts

This session is about being able to ramp up to your max speed - and hold it. Repeatedly. It's also handy on a day when you just don't feel like thinking, and want to switch off your brain a bit. There isn't a lot to remember.

You can 'grow' with this one, too. In time, aim to increase the intervals in the first set, reducing the length of the second - until you can do 10 minute long efforts with one minute breaks in a row. Alternatively, if you intend on taking part in more endurance focused events over the season, add an extra interval to each set - but we'd recommend you call it a day if you get to two sets of ten one minute intervals.

Here's the detail:

Warm up:

  • 10 minutes easy pedalling
  • 5 minutes as 5 x 20 second fast cadence, 40 second soft pedal
  • 5 minutes gradually increasing pace

Main set:

  • 5 x 1 minute as hard as possible, 1 minute easy
  • 5 minutes easy pedalling
  • 5 x 1 minute as hard as possible, 1 minute easy

Cool down:

  • 10 minutes gradually reducing the pace

Total: 55 minutes

Race Winning Intervals

race-winning-intervals

There are many ways to win a race. One of those ways is to attack, force a break, keep the pace up - and then ideally win the final sprint against anyone who managed to come with you.

'Race winning intervals' are designed to mimic this process. Even if your next race doesn't exactly play out like that, the repeated attacks followed by threshold efforts (finding threshold effort with power here, and with heart rate here) will certainly prepare you for the constantly changing paces of a race.

Psychologically, doing these intervals on a regular basis can really help you to feel prepared ahead of a race where you really want to make an impact.

And if you're not planning to race? This session will still help develop your overall fitness, and ability to put another dig in, even when the going gets tough on your next ride.

Here's the detail:

Warm up:

  • 10 minutes progressively increasing the pace

Main set:

  • 30 seconds sprint
  • 3 minutes at 'threshold' (about 7/10 in intensity)
  • 10 second ALL OUT SPRINT
  • 4 minutes 20 secs easy, repeat three times

Cool down:

  • 10 minutes gradually decreasing the pace

Total: 56 minutes

Good luck with your training! It'll all be worth it when you get to that finish line first. We've got lots more where those came from - check out:

3 Great Turbo Sessions you can do in Under Thirty Minutes

6 Pro Worthy Turbo Sessions for Winter Fitness