Training Effectively Indoors
A common question I am asked is what is the best way to train/condition indoors on a stationary bike? My usual response is, “Well, what exactly are you training for?” There are as many variations and training methodologies as there are trainers and events out there. Which one is right? If you are seeking a specific performance goal, you will need to train for that. For general health would train differently. However, there are a few commonalities I have among ALL athletes, beginner or elite.
The biggest is commonality in conditioning and individual is that it’s not so common at all. It’s very individualized! Every ‘body’ is unique, and, to condition or train that body is just as unique as the individual’s personality. To accommodate for this difference we need valid and reliable bio-feedback. Specifically heart rate. Nowadays, heart rate is an easy and cost effective way for capturing cardiovascular measurement. Especially in comparison to expensive testing to estimate stroke volume (Stroke volume is the amount of blood ejected by the left ventricle in one contraction) and cardiac output. Consequently, measurement of the heart routinely is used to asses the response of the heart to exercise, recovery from exercise, and exercise intensity prescription. With incremental increased heart rate training during exercise we see a mirrored increase in cardiac output which is very individualized to a persons genetics.
Individualization by Heart Rate
Another commonality is that everyone has heart rate zones that are again, individualized. When I work with any athlete (young or old), conditioned or beginner, I look for a few different heart rate associations (biometrics) to determine the individuals proper training zones and amount of load I will place on them for conditioning. I train/condition all my athletes the same way. Based on their individual heart rate zones. Further, I can train/condition them at the same time while working the individuals zones. For example in my indoor cycling class I have a super athlete who is 78 years old. Roberta can consistently push her heart rate maximum which is roughly 169 beats per min. She does not compete or train for sport. Her goals are purely health and wellness. Conversely, one of my young cyclists Tony hits max heart rate numbers as high as 205 beats per min. He races and is highly competitive. Both are in super fitness and routinely come to my indoor cycling classes and ride. Based on their zones I can train each of them (at the same time) in group scenario as individual while achieving there individual goals.
What must be understood here is that zones are different for each person and must be setup appropriately to that individuals abilities (genetics). Further, it’s important understand that different physiological changes occur in different heart rate zones that illicit a physiological response or adaptation to the zone or zones being utilized. Utilizing zone training (I have found) is the most effective way to condition the heart while training indoors on a stationary bike.
Importance of Interval Training
I want to also point out that Interval training is another very important key for me as a trainer/coach in conditioning all my athletes. I have found that specific zone training at specific times will produce the results my athletes are seeking. So as a trainer/coach, knowing my athletes abilities, heart rate zones, bio-makers, goals, and physiological makeup help me set an appropriate training prescription for the individual. Further, it allows me train multiple athletes at the same time while achieving the individuals goals. So, when training my athletes, I train specific zones on specific days to allow for maximum results. It’s important to understand that repeating the same workout daily is good but it does not allow for maximum conditioning, rest, or gain. A former coach of mine would say, “Hard work with hard rest!” This is so very true. A balance workout program is a important to achieving ones goals. I fully believe that heart zones training (developed by Sally Edwards) is the most effective way to condition the cardiovascular system, optimize time, and achieve maximum results for not just cycling but all sports.
For questions related to this article please write to: Paul.Drake@Heartzones.com.