Episode #80 – Unlocking the Power of Indoor Group Training with Richard Wharton

Episode #80 – Unlocking the Power of Indoor Group Training with Richard Wharton

If solo indoor training isn’t your thing – or you’re looking for some variety in your winter program then indoor group cycling (in the right place) might give you a motivational and performance boost. This episode discusses how a studio builds their cyclists, and the added benefits of training in a group environment.

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If you’re listening to this in the southern hemisphere – you’re a lucky bastard. People in winter are suffering through their off-season looking for ways to kill the boredom and frustration that comes with not being on their bike – outside.

As a coach it’s something I struggle with – to help my athletes in snowbound environments get the most out of their training – even if they can’t ride outside. Training indoors alone has come a long way over the past few years, but it’s still not for everyone. So I started hunting around for alternatives, and the odd spin class can’t hurt right? Well in it’s natural state, it’s not going to us as favours either. So what’s left? Indoor group cycling, for more serious folks.

And with the rise of technology, comes the potential to link riders of different abilities together. To train together in a studio environment. If you frequent one of these places, you must know the benefits that come along with training in a group.

To go into a little more detail on what indoor training in groups can do for your riding, and your motivation I got Richard Wharton on the show. Richard is an Indoor training and training with power veteran. Coaching for 20+ years and riding for longer. He owns the Cycling Center Dallas, which is the type of place serious cyclists can go to beat the winter weather.


I asked Richard these questions:


Would you say that spin classes only leave you with cardio fitness and no leg strength. Whereas what you’re doing is cardio on your own bike with progressive resistance, with the aim to make you a real cyclist on the road?

The thing that fascinates me is, how to move a group of people forward together. I know you use 6 week blocks, and programs to set people up to peak for certain events, do you periodise your blocks?

I know one of your specialities is preparing workouts for multi-bike systems. And the greatest benifit of using a Multi rider system is that you can base workouts on a percentage of thresholds, but what’s the secret for planning effective workouts?

It seems you like to keep things fresh so people avoid mental burnout. How much variation do you use week to week? Do you build one or two systems for the entire 6 weeks with different workouts?

I’m interested in the power of group dynamics when it comes to training. Crossfit is a great example of this. Which is hard to foster on the road for lots of reasons, but the indoor environment creates opportunities to use each other for support and motivation. There is an oppurtunity to work out with team mates and buddies, even your mum. Overall though how do you use the riders in the room to motivate each other?

There must be times when a rider does not fit within the groups schedule or they want to do there own training. Do you ever have individuals that want to conduct there own training? How do you personalize programs?

Let’s talk tech for a moment. You’ve been around cycling training technology for a while, there have been some big gains made in the past coupld of years, but where do you see the future direction of training with a power meter heading?




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