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Using a gym bike for training

dsoutardsoutar Posts: 1,746
I'm starting to do intervals using this regime http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... e-interval

I don't have a power meter so is a gym bike (which does have a watts measurement) a good alternative ? Any issues (apart from the fact that I find their saddles uncomfortable) ?

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  • dsoutar wrote:
    I'm starting to do intervals using this regime http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... e-interval

    I don't have a power meter so is a gym bike (which does have a watts measurement) a good alternative ? Any issues (apart from the fact that I find their saddles uncomfortable) ?
    Just repeatability/accuracy of the power measurement. Probably best if you can stick with same unit as while it may not be accurate, one would hope it will at least be consistent.

    Otherwise, get stuck into it.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I'd agree with Alex. I spent several years combining training with business travel which forced me to use gyms a lot. Some gym bikes are actually very good at measuring power, others are terrible. Also they vary widely in terms of comfort (as you have found) and how closely their pedaling action resembles the real thing. (The problem with saddles is they tend to be far too wide, adjusting so the seat is as high as possible and sitting right on their nose can help a bit with this.)

    For the drill you are using you could also use a couple of other effort measures to check the power one your bike is giving is consistent:
    - As the article says a HR monitor can give some indication. Trouble is that HR lags power quite a bit on these sort of intense intervals but if you set a target of say 95% HR and keep an eye on how HR changes with time at constant effort you should get a feeling of how a typical interval proceeds and get some feeling for progress. HR can also be useful to check the gym setup. The biggest issue I had when traveling was with hotel gyms that lacked proper ventilation, surest sign of this was HR skyrocketing much more quickly than it should.
    - Also as the article says you can use body feedback as a measure of effort. The efforts in these intervals are above threshold so with a bit of experience you will get used to the point where your breathing shifts from the steady controlled deep breathing that you can keep going for an hour or so to the more desperate lung sucking this drill requires. If you are doing the interval right then the very last breath before you need to stop will be between 4-6 mins of starting. Enjoy :D
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    One other thing. You can equally well do these intervals on a bike, gym or real, that doesn't have power meter if you use distance covered in the interval. With a bit of trial and effort you will soon find how far you can go in 4-6 minutes max effort. Training is then just repeating this distance over and over hopefully getting quicker>increasing the interval distance. On the road the main problem is finding somewhere you can reliably/safely repeat the effort, which is why hill repeats are commonly used.

    Even if you do have a power meter using distance as a measure is worth trying. Personally I find it more motivating to see the metres ticking away and trying to set faster times for (say in this case) a 4-5km effort than staring at a clock/watt meter for 6 minutes.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
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