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What does a world champion’s indoor trainer workout look like? Two-time ITU world champion and three-time Olympian Helen Jenkins gives us a look at her two favorite workouts, and one not so favorite, yet highly productive interval session. Like most of us right now, Helen’s looking to stay fit even if the race schedule has been turned upside down. The 2020 season was her comeback year following a 4-year break that involved having two children and two spinal surgeries. After a top-5 finish in February at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, her comeback was right on track, but now she’s gone indoors to keep her fitness rolling.

Helen says, “Like any athlete, I like doing what I’m good at. I have always been good at holding sustained power on the bike and pace on the run for a long time. I can train and race like this, so sessions that involve going really hard for a long time suit me. What I’m not good at, and hence don’t like doing as much, is going above this. I know I get a lot of benefit from doing that especially on the bike, and with my move to Ironman 70.3, I know I have to work in these areas also.”

Here are Helen’s recommended workouts for improving power on the bike. Since these are high intensity workouts, plan to have a recovery day between each one to ensure proper recovery in order to keep the quality of each session high.

Workout 1

Warm Up

  • Progressive 5/4/3/2/1 building power in each block
    • 5 minutes (easy or Watts at 50-65% FTP)
    • 4 minutes (steady or Watts at 70-75% FTP)
    • 3 minutes (steadier or Watts at 80-85% FTP)
    • 2 minutes (getting hard or Watts at 95-100% FTP)
    • 1 minutes (hard or Watts at 105-110% FTP)
    • 5 minutes easy

Main Set

  • 3 x 30 seconds building each 10 seconds so last 10 seconds is almost a sprint with 30 seconds recover
    • 10 seconds hard or Watts at 170%+ FTP
    • 10 seconds hard or Watts at 180%+ FTP
    • 10 seconds hard or Watts at 200%+ FTP or more…go full blown sprint track cyclist
    • 30 second easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP
    • Repeat 3 times
    • 5 minutes easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)
  • 6 x 5 minutes with 3 minutes recovery
    • 5 minutes – All out efforts and looking to hold the best power achievable for each of the 5 mins and not losing too much power as the sessions goes on. Record your average power here for Session 2
    • 3 minutes recovery – easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP
    • Repeat 6 times

Warm Down

  • 15 minutes warm down, descending power in each block 1/2/3/4/5
    • 1 minutes (hard or Watts at 110-100% FTP)
    • 2 minutes (getting easier or Watts at 100-90% FTP)
    • 3 minutes (steadier or Watts at 90-80% FTP)
    • 4 minutes (steady or Watts at 80-70% FTP)
    • 5 minutes (easy or Watts at 65-50% FTP)

Session 2

Warm Up

  • Same as session 1 (5/4/3/2/1)

Main Set

  • 5 minutes easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)
    • 5 x 10 seconds max power with 50 seconds easy
    • 10 seconds at max power…go full blown sprint track cyclist
    • 50 seconds easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)
    • 5 minutes easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)
  • 5 x 8 minutes with 4 minutes recovery
    • 6 minutes at 20 watts below what you were able to hold for the 6 x 5 mins in Session 1
    • 2 minutes as hard as you can hold
    • 4 minutes recovery – easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP
    • Repeat 6 times

Warm Down

  • 15 minutes warm down as in session 1 (1/2/3/4/5)

Session 3– (The session Helen doesn’t like but knows she needs to do)

Warm Up

  • Same as previous sessions (5/4/3/2/1)

Main Set

  • 5 x 30 seconds hard with 30 seconds recovery
    • 30 seconds hard or Watts at 130%+ FTP
    • 30 second easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP
    • Repeat 5 times
    • 5 minutes easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)
  • 6 repetitions of:
    • 15 seconds at max power…go full blown sprint track cyclist
    • 2 minutes at 6 x 5 min session power
    • 10 seconds at max power…go full blown sprint track cyclist
    • 1 minute at 6 x 5 min session power
    • 5 seconds at max power…go full blown sprint track cyclist5 minutes easy (easy or Watts at 60-65% FTP)

Warm Down

  • 15 minutes warm down as in previous sessions (1/2/3/4/5)
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