Sign up for our newsletter


Endurance training with Wattbike

Leave the five-hour rides to the pros and build your endurance even when time is limited

4 Sep 2020

Conventional wisdom suggests that if you want to build endurance you’ll need to invest serious time to do so. However, the latest research shows you can gain endurance without spending months grinding out slow miles. Wattbike’s training consultant Dr David Nichols explains…

‘For many of us, finding time for long endurance rides is a non-starter, but you can replicate the effects on an indoor trainer in a fraction of the time.’

Even when the total training volume is limited, workouts can still be structured to maximise endurance and aerobic adaptations. Although it might seem counterintuitive, this means you can prepare for long days in the saddle, even if you’ve only got an hour at a time to train.

Time management

‘The key is to up the intensity and get the most out of each session,’ says Nichols. ‘While increasing VO2 max or threshold power is often the goal of endurance sessions, improving pedalling technique and sub-maximal efficiency offer big performance gains over time,’ Nichols adds.

‘At a cadence of 90rpm you’ll make roughly 38,000 pedal revolutions in a seven-hour sportive, so maximising efficiency is a big benefit.'

An indoor set-up allows you to develop sustained power, with no traffic, changes in gradient or wind to contend with, and importantly no freewheeling. Every pedal stroke counts indoors!

How to do the session

After a 20-minute warm-up that includes incremental loading plus a few sprints, complete a ‘reverse pyramid’ interval session as follows:

1min @ 100% FTP, then 1min easy spin
2mins @ 90% FTP, 2mins easy spin
3mins @ 85% FTP, 3mins easy spin
4mins @ 80% FTP, 3mins easy spin
3mins @ 85% FTP, 2mins easy spin
2mins @ 90% FTP, 1min easy spin
1min @ 100% FTP

Cooldown by spinning easily for several minutes until your heart rate returns to normal. To find out how to determine your FTP, go to

To do this workout and many more, download the Wattbike Hub app, available free in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Next, watch our three-minute videos about hill trainingHIIT, the FTP test and sprint training.