Date Posted:19 May 2022 

THE UNIQUE DYNAMICS OF INDOOR CYCLING

Have you ever noticed that you may have a power difference when riding indoors vs. outdoors? Or potentially efforts at the same given intensity feel harder when you’re on your indoor trainer? Well, you’re not alone. This is where cycling dynamics come in place. Many cyclists find that they are unable to produce the same power indoors as they do out on the roads. Before you go on blaming the trainer, it is important to take a step back and try to evaluate why you may be producing less power indoors comparatively. 

Understanding your why can help you address and identify specific areas that may be weaknesses for you – and that are holding you back.

Why Can I produce Higher Power Outdoors?

There may not be a clear black or white answer to this question, as this will differ for every rider. While some may see a clear difference between outdoor and indoor power, others may not have a numerical difference at all.

That being said, when you ride outside your bike is able to move freely underneath you. When does this affect us the most? Full out sprints! You are using not only your legs, but your upper body as well when you dance on the pedals and feel the bike moving back and forth beneath you. While many can assume that this added power from riding outdoors sprints can come from your upper body movement when you pull on the bars, it is not the only factor that is at play.

  • Gravity
  • Proper Alignment
  • Body Positioning
  • Air Movement
  • Mental

What if your Outdoor Power is Different from Indoors? 

Fear not. The first step would be to try to identify why your power is different. Are you suffering from hip mobility? Could you use a boost in your core strength? Or is the heat bogging you down? 

From here you can begin to increase your mobility patterns to try to unlock your tight hip flexors or take time to increase your core strength to help see improvements indoors.

If you do have a power difference, and it is a large difference, then be sure to address your indoor and outdoor FTP. Depending on each FTP, your workouts will be altered to suit your individual needs. If you are someone (or a coach) who uses accumulated fatigue numbers to track fitness/progress, using an FTP number that is either too high or too low will alter your accumulated fatigue scores for each workout.

If not using power, then being in tune with your own RPE (relative perceived exertion) can help you to make adjustments to workouts both indoors and outdoor.

Check out our range of Wahoo indoor trainers today and see what best suits your riding needs. 

To read more of this article and get more insight into the factors that may effect your indoor riding, read the original article from Wahoo's "The Knowledge" blog here.