Too wet, too cold, no problem

The winter months have a habit of sending many of us into cycling hibernation. But bad weather is a great excuse for the most time efficient workouts you’ll ever do.

It’s time to get on the home trainer.


You have a few options on how to do an indoor session – a spin class or do it at home on rollers or a trainer.

Spin classes give you structure and the group environment can help with motivation.

Doing a session at home takes a little more discipline but the benefits include no travel time and a tailored workout.

If you’re going for the home trainer option, in addition to the bike equipment, you’ll need a fan for cooling and some form of entertainment (distraction from the pain), e.g. TV, radio or a podcast.

Zwift has been a great addition to the home trainer options, which was famously used by Mathew Hayman in preparation for his 2016 Paris-Roubaix win.

I’ve never done a spin class. However, I’ve spent plenty of time on the home trainer. And I’ve recently subscribed to Zwift.



Time can drag on forever on the home trainer so this is not the place for long endurance sessions. Sessions with shorter intervals are more entertaining and make for a super effective workout.

I also recommend that you use a heart rate monitor and or a power meter.

And be warned, the perceived effort is much higher than when riding outdoors.


Here are two of my favourite home trainer sessions.

This one extends your ability to ride near the red zone and recover more efficiently when the pressure goes off a little.

  • 10min warm-up
  • Anaerobic: 5 x 1min on, 1min off. It’s the max effort you can hold for 1min. By the fifth effort, my heart rate is up near 185bpm (my max is 196bpm).
  • 5min recovery – keep the legs rolling gently
  • Vo2: 3 x 4min on, 4min. This is right near the tipping point of the max you can hold for 4min. This has my heart rate at roughly 177bpm
  • 5min recovery – keep the legs rolling gently
  • Threshold: 8min effort at a threshold. My heart rate is at 168bpm for this one and it’s a little above the level where you can hold a conversation.
  • 10min cooldown

This is a really hard session.

My other favourite is really simple and helps build sustained power.

  • 15min warm up
  • Anaerobic: 13 x 1min on, 1min off. It’s full gas for 1min, then keep the legs rolling during the 1min recovery
  • 10min recovery – keep the legs rolling gently
  • Anaerobic: 13 x 1min on, 1min off. It’s full gas for 1min, then keep the legs rolling during the 1min recovery
  • 10-15min cool down

This session will come in handy on the Col du Beloka.

Enjoy the great indoors.

Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.

Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.