Our Weekend Ride at the Gym

January 4, 2016

On Saturdays at The Cycling Gym, we ride a program designed to improve our members’ tempo ability and muscular endurance. We believe it is essential to maintain this program in our weekly workouts throughout the year.



To improve your aerobic system, you must ride in a steady state below 83% of your maximum heart rate for periods of five to 60 minutes of steady state uninterrupted work. However, it is truly impossible to achieve this on the bike in Toronto: there are too many traffic lights and the terrain is just not suited to maintain an even power. We need, and don’t have, a Mont Ventoux. (FYI Brimley, Bayview and Rosedale Valley Road hills don’t work for this: we tested them.)


Fortunately, we can easily do this work on the Computrainer at the gym!


Here is what we do:

15 min warmup 40-70% MAP (Maximum Aerobic Power)

1 hour steady state: 75% MAP

15 min cool down 50-40% MAP


The Quandary

The goal is for our members to ride at 80-83% of their maximum heart rate while also riding at 70-75% of their MAP. However, most people can’t actually achieve this: their heart rate will eventually rise above this zone, with the result being that they will no longer be training to improve their aerobic system. The difficulty is that if you train by keeping heart rate technically “low enough,” the power will be too low to challenge the muscles adequately.


The Solution

We use a combined approach so that the muscles will experience the required stress, while the heart rate stays in the correct zone to enable aerobic development.


While testing using a MOXY (muscle oxygen) sensor, we found that allowing periodic recoveries to 60-70% of your Maximum Heart Rate will allow a rider to build muscular endurance without exceeding their tempo heart rate.

We use three versions of this workout:

A)  For people with a strong aerobic system: they will ride within the range of 80-83% of their max heart rate and do a full hour of training without stopping for recovery. Their steady state heart rate and power are in the optimal balance of riding at 70-75% MAP with the heart rate not exceeding the tempo zone.


B)  For people with a medium aerobic system: they will begin their hour steady state and ride for a five minute interval, then stop and recover to 60% of their max heart rate. If their recovery time is under a minute, they will add a minute to their next steady state effort.


Here is a sample interval pattern:

5 min on

1 min off: recovery to 60% is under a minute=yes

6 min on

1 min off: recovery to 60% is under a minute=yes

7 min on

1 min off: recovery to 60% is under a minute=yes

8 min on

1 min off: recovery to 60% is under a minute=no

Keep riding 8 min on, 1 min off for the rest of the hour.


C) For people who have a weaker aerobic system: they will ride 5 minutes on and recover to 60% of their max heart rate (however long it takes), then continue with another 5 minutes on, recovery and so on—for the full hour.


Riding this kind of program consistently (at least once a week) will build a base that supports all other riding: it will improve both threshold power and VO2 Max.


Certainly, it is important to do this work during the winter months, but we also encourage people to stick with this steady state riding throughout the summer as well to maintain endurance throughout the riding season. 


Please reload


What to pack for an event

August 23, 2016

Please reload

Please reload

Please reload

  • TCG Icon_Facebook.png
  • TCG Icon_Twitter.png
  • TCG Icon_InstagramBlueWhite.png

105A-388 Carlaw Ave, Toronto, ON




© 2019 The Cycling Gym. All rights reserved.

TCG_online_white on black.png