Cycling Roller Workouts for Improved Muscular Endurance

Updated on May 27, 2016
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Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer, he ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Muscular Endurance is a key ability for time-trial events

Muscular endurance is a key ability in time trial events, cyclocross, and breakaways within road race cycling events.
Muscular endurance is a key ability in time trial events, cyclocross, and breakaways within road race cycling events. | Source

The importance of muscular endurance in cycling

Muscular endurance is a key ability for cyclists to target whether it's the height of summer racing season or you're in the depth's of a dark winter and stuck in the garage due to bad weather

What is the importance of muscular endurance for cycling?

Muscular endurance is an athletes ability to turn a relatively large gear at a relatively high cadence. Therefore it is a key element required in road racing, cross country mountain bike events, time trials and cyclocross.

Muscular endurance needs to be focused upon by a cyclist in their workouts throughout the training year in Base, Build and Race training mesocycles. As it focuses mainly on the muscular aspects of performance without taking an athlete deep into anaerobic energy requirements muscular endurance training can become a regular part of a training regime.

Cycling Roller Training to improve muscular endurance

These cycling roller workouts for muscular endurance will help you achieve your potential- Whether you ride sportive events, race on the road, love nothing more than to ride a time trial against the clock, or want to power through the cyclocross field.

Why are bike rollers great for muscular endurance training?

Cycling rollers are a fantastic training tool for cyclists to have at home, however are often overlooked by many in favour of a turbo trainer which fixes to the bikes back wheel

Training on rollers is a skill for cyclists to learn. It changes their balance and bike handling abilities while leading to improvements in pedalling fluidity. Rollers are also closer to road riding in terms of how you're forced to ride and therefore can give a more realistic workout.

Rollers are not fixed to the frame so are better suited to using your best carbon framed road race or time trial bike without the worry of putting extreme twisting forces through the bottom bracket area when using a turbo trainer.

Tempo workouts are a great opportunity to ride on your aero bars

Use your aero bars on the cycling rollers for a realistic race tempo workout
Use your aero bars on the cycling rollers for a realistic race tempo workout | Source

Tempo Workouts on cycling rollers

Tempo workouts are well suited to bicycle rollers. A set of rollers allow a cyclist to push large gears at high cadences. Aim for a main workout cadence of around 100-110 rpm to resemble race situations

Start with riding around 20 minutes at a heart rate around 10-20 beats below your lactate threshold. This workout is designed to work the legs- not stress the heart.

Tempo workouts are an excellent opportunity for time trial cyclists to get down on the aero bars while testing their balance on rollers in a controlled environment.

An example Tempo Roller Workout

Time (mins)
Description
Heart rate
Typical gear
Cadence
0-10
Warm Up
From resting HR slowily increase to 80% max
53x19 through to 53x16
Around 100 rpm
10-40 mins
Threshold Main Workout
Around 80% Max
53x15
100-110 rpm
40-50 mins
Cool Down
Take down from 80% to near resting HR
53x16 working up cassette
around 100 rpm
A typical Tempo Workout on Rollers. Gears may differ depend on the individual cyclist

Sub-threshold intervals for muscular endurance

Cycling rollers are great for performing long intervals due to the need to stay in control of your heart rate and effort, while remaining alert to the need to concentrate on form and technique.

Aim to complete 4-5 intervals of 5-10 minutes in length. Start with 5 minute intervals and extend the length of intervals as your fitness improves. Aim for a cadence of 100-110 rpm so you will be pushing a big gear. Take 2-3 mins easy pedalling between work intervals

Heart rate should be around 85% of your maximum heart rate or around 5 beats below your lactate threshold heart rate (if you know it)

A typical hour long Sub Threshold Roller Workout

Time (mins)
Description
Heart Rate
Typical gear
Cadence
0-10
Warm Up
From resting HR up to around 80% of max
53x19 through to 53x16
Around 100 rpm
10-18
Sub Threshold Interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x14
100-110 rpm
18-20
Recovery Interval
Ease off slightly for short recovery HR drop
53x15
100-110 rpm
20-28
Sub Threshold Interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x14
100-110 rpm
28-30
Recovery Interval
Ease off slightly for short recovery HR drop
53x15
100-110 rpm
30-38
Sub Threshold Interval
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x14
100-110 rpm
38-40
Recovery Interval
Ease off slightly for short recovery HR drop
53x15
100-110 rpm
40-50
Sub Threshold Interval (extended)
Around 85% of Max/ 5 bpm below threshold
53x14
100-110 rpm
50-60
Cool Down
From 85% max down towards resting
53x15 moving up cassette
Around 100 rpm
A example Sub Threshold interval workout suitable for riding on cycling rollers

Do these roller training workouts work for you?

We're always happy for your feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment below

  • Have these cycling roller training workouts helped your performance?
  • Do you have other roller workouts you would like to suggest?

Best of luck with your training

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Cameron 

        11 months ago

        Hello

        All of these workouts use heart rate as the key metric.

        I want to use power as the key metric in place of heart rate whilst on the rollers.

        What values of power should be used in place of heart rate for each of these workouts?

      • profile image

        Cameron 

        12 months ago

        Thanks guys.

        I'll be using rollers in a shed outside. How to minimise noise on the rollers so that neighbours don't get upset?

        Cameron

      • profile image

        Rajat Agrawal 

        15 months ago

        I m cycling player and help me in cycle practice help help help me

      • profile image

        Sardar nazakat ali 

        17 months ago

        Good training far roller

      • profile image

        Uffe Sommerlund 

        19 months ago

        @Cameron you could use the 50-15 instead.

        use this site to calculate use the meter development

        http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

      • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

        Liam Hallam 

        20 months ago from Nottingham UK

        Thanks Cameron. You can simply adjust your gearing to work. Instead of a 53x15 you can consider 50x14 quite easily.

      • profile image

        Cameron 

        22 months ago

        I have the compact front chain ring crankset.

        Is this workout still possible, given that this workout has been stated to have the standard crankset in place?

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