Turbo Trainer Intervals – When will it end?

I didn’t think I’d be able to do that!

Yesterday, despite still having a bit of a cold, I did my 3:2 minute intervals workout on the turbo trainer. Last time I did this workout on Feb 1st I did the hard efforts at 280 Watts and wrote:

My legs were feeling it come the end, but it does seem as though I’m improving. Just in time for some races throughout the summer. It does mean I will have to increase the wattage to 290 Watts next time, which I sure will start to hurt!

So, true to my word, I increased the wattage to 290 Watts yesterday and thought I would struggle. Once again though I completed all seven repetitions and it wasn’t too bad. you know what that means… 300 Watts next time.

My heart rate did peak a little higher than last time (158 bpm rather than 155 bpm), but that is nowhere near my maximum, so hopefully I’ll at least get close to completing it at 300 Watts. Maybe I am improving for real.

Turbo Trainer Workout

3 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    I’m not the only one increasing the wattage.. Just had this from a follower on Twitter:

    @justalcole Keep it up. I’m at a similar point. Just completed my power intervals @ 310w on Wednesday. That means 320w next week.

  2. Mike says:

    Hope my question is not too rudimentary–but why the watt measurement for training? Also, does this watt rating transfer to other devices (is a 280 on your turbo-trainer that same as lets say for example and sake of comparison–a Concept II rower? Finally, cna you steer me to some sources of information that’s reputable on watt’s and heart-rate training? Very much appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks!

    • Alan says:

      Hi Mike,
      Watts is a good unit to use when training as it is a constant that is relatively easy to measure and doesn’t change. Heart rate is of course just as useful but that will vary from session to session based on a number of things and will vary during a single session based on your temperture. This is especially true during an indoor workout on a turbo trainer.

      With watts you should be able to compare actual power output (performance) from day to day or during a session rather than your personal effort. It also gives you a good comparison with other people on similar equipment too. Heart rate by comparison is a good judge of your effort during a training session rather than your actual performance. Recording both if possible is the best thing to do as then you can see improvements (hopefully) over time. You’ll be producing more power output at lower bpm, more performance for less effort, which is what we all want!

      Unfortunately although in theory power output measurements from one machine should compare with power outputs from another machine and they are fairly accurate from comparisons I have seen, at these sorts of price points they are never going to be scientifically accurate and would need to be accurately calibrated in order to give meaningful comparative measurements from one piece of equipment to another. Comparing power outputs between a turbo trainer and rowing machine isn’t likely to be of much use either as the two sports won’t compare when it comes to the amount of power you generate for a given effort.

      I’ll have to look up some references for you when I’ve got some time.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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