If you’re increasing the hours spent cycling indoors during winter due to the cold weather, consider optimising your position and comfort to avoid injury, stop unnecessary discomfort and max-out your training time.
1. Check Your Measurements
It goes without saying that optimum comfort comes from a bike fit. Ensure the bike you’re riding on indoors is the bike you’ve been fitted to during a bike fit - not your old commuter hack! If you’re using a Watt Bike, ensure the set-up is as close to your bike-fit measurements as possible.
The key measurements to double-check are from the front of the saddle to the middle of the bars, and the top of the saddle to the middle of the bottom bracket.
2. Sit Right in the Saddle
Smashing out intensive Zwift training sessions? When we work hard on the bike we often edge forward onto the tip of the saddle, thus moving the pressure from our sit bones to the soft tissue areas.
Be aware of your position in the saddle and keep reminding yourself to sit back in the saddle. Why not use recovery periods to sit more upright and move the pressure back to the sit bones before your next effort.
3. Move More
In the absence of free-wheeling down descents or jumping in and out of the saddle to climb, we’re stuck in a very static position for extended periods of time.
Try to simulate cycling outdoors by getting in and out of the saddle regularly or moving from the hoods to the drops to replicate descending.
4. Rise Up The Front End
All turbo trainers lift the back wheel off the ground but very few come with a component to lift the front wheel along with it.
If you’re suffering from discomfort down below or have numbness in the hands and fingers, this could be a sign your front end is too low.
Consider looking for a product such as the Tacx Skyliner, Elite Sterzo Smart or Wahoo Kickr Climb. The latter simulates the gradient of a climb to create a more realistic cycling experience.
5. Rock Around
We’re yet to try this product out: The Rocker Plate sits under the turbo trainer and is designed to allow the bike to move under you in a more natural side-to-side motion.
It’s purpose is to relieve pressure felt through your body - but also your precious bike. We'd imagine it can also help build core stability; something many cyclists are prone to struggling with.
6. Avoid Abrasion
Struggling with chafing and sores? The increased temperature when cycling indoors - and without wind - will increase your sweat levels. Ensure you use a chamois cream, even for short sessions. One small blister can keep you out of the saddle for weeks.
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7. Shop For Shorts
Have your old threadbare shorts been demoted to turbo use only? Indoor cycling is when you need the comfort and protection the most. Resign those rags to the bin and treat yourself to a quality pair of shorts.
Le Col X Wahoo shorts are an adapted version of their summer bib shorts, with a lighter-weight fabric, straps that wick away sweat and increased padding at the front of the chamois.
8. Add Air-Con
Your indoor set-up should include a fan - even during the winter. Not only will a fan reduce your sweat rate, thus avoiding the risk of abrasion, it will also help to lower your heart-rate.
Lowering your heart-rate will allow you to stay more in control of your effort and focus on your form, cadence and position on the bike.
10. Tilt the TV
Whether you’re thrashing it in Watopia or chilling out with Netflix, you’re staring at the same spot on the wall and certainly not looking around at the scenery.
Consider the position of your TV or laptop. Too low or too high could cause neck and shoulder pain.
11. Stretch Lots!
There’s an increased need to include stretching into your training regime when cycling indoors.
Whether it’s a weekly yoga session or a 15-minute routine after your workout, ensure you’re increasing flexibility in your hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors to avoid injury.
12. Drink More
If you’re on the turbo for longer than one hour ensure you have two bottles with you. Drop in some electrolytes to replenish the minerals lost through sweat and to avoid cramps. In between session ensure you're staying hydrated at your desk.
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