Improve Your Hill Climbing with this Bike Trainer Session


Posted by Coach Jay Weber

The offseason allows us time to reflect on the past year, develop new goals, and see where we are. For me, it is a time to hunker down and really focus on the things that I always say that I'm going to do, but never really do. To make sure that I'm still enjoying the sport and getting rejuvenated about the upcoming season, I focus on one sport in each off-season month and have some fun with it. This month it's the bike, so I'll share with you one of my favorite bike trainer sessions.

Most of the population is now into the part of the winter where riding inside is a necessary requirement, and since it's usually safer to be on the trainer, than on the road- it isn't a bad thing to be on the trainer when it's colder, and darker!

I like repeatable training sessions, so I can measure my progress. I also love hills. I love going up, love going down, and like to see how hard I can push myself effectively. Some days it means sprinting up, some days building strength, but I love to have hills for every meal of the day!.

Give this hill strength focused session a try, and use cadence and gearing to check progress.


Warm up

5:00 - Pedal easy with cadence above 90 rpm, Zone 1 to 2.

5:00 - Alternate 0:30 seated, 0:30 standing at Zone 2 to 3.

6:00 - Seated, alternate 80-percent of the workload between 1:00 right leg, 1:00 left leg at Zone 1 to 2 intensity. (estimate the 80-20 leg power split if you don't have a power meter) 


Main Set

4 x 3:00 with 1:00 recovery between each set- Seated at 70 rpm (preferably in the big chain ring), slowly ramping up to maximum effort by the last three-minute interval. Effort ranges from Zone 2 to 5.

2:00 - Spinning at Zone 1 to 2 intensity, 90+ rpm (easy gear)

4 x 3:00 - Begin with 2:00 seated, using a bigger gear or more tension than in the first set. After 2:00 seated, bump up the tension and stand for the last 1:00. Effort ranges from Zone 3 to 4. Take 1:00 of easy spinning between each effort.



7:00 - Easy spinning recovery, Zone 1


Repeat this workout throughout the winter to build strength and you'll be flying up hills come spring!


Jay Weber is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and Team-in-Training Tier 1 Coach who's completed 25+ Triathlon/Duathlon events including Ironman. Since 2009, Coach Jay has worked with five triathlon Team in Training groups, bringing over 200 participants into the sport of triathlon. Jay officiates 12 to 15 events per year for USAT (Cat 3 Official), IRONMAN, and ITU (Level 1 Official). He has served as the Head Official and Assistant for USAT and has worked in every single ITU officiating position (number about 20). Jay serves as a race director for the San Diego Tri Club, helps with Challenged Athlete Foundation camps, and works as the Director of East Coast Sales for XTERRA. He specializes in working with youth and those new to the sport. Learn more about Coach Jay here

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