In the frigid days of winter, even the pros are stuck most days on the trainer. So we asked Petr Vakoč, a former road cyclist and current gravel racer from the Czech Republic, his favorite trainer workout. Vokoč picked this one because its “something that really makes the training fun and the session go really fast. It’s something that hurts a bit but not too much and you have a good feeling afterwards.”
This big-gear session is like lifting weights on your bike. Vakoč points out that it builds fast-twitch muscle fiber strength, and is backed up by a 2019 study that showed big gear training causes more power to come from the hip joint—which appears to be an important adaptation in elite cyclists.
Vakoč does this workout twice a week or three times every two weeks. His target power is at 500 to 550 watts, which he describes as hard but not all out. Us mortals will want to target a little lower. Try to stay in the saddle for as many reps as you can, but it may be necessary to stand up for the last few.
Normally, Vakoč would use this workout before the start of the season to build a little extra strength in the legs. But it’s a great workout anytime you’re on the trainer, tired of the old routine, and looking for something quick, challenging, and feels good to complete.
Workout of the Week: Petr Vakoč’s Big Gear Indoor Ride
10 min. steady riding
12 × 30 sec. @ 60 RPM. Choose a wattage that’s very hard but not all out
90 sec. rest
10 min. easy pedaling