Now that we are all encouraged to stay at home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the perfect time to start or return to indoor cycling training. Whether you are a newbie or a pro, I recommend using indoor cycling apps to help you with your workout.
What are the top iPhone apps for indoor trainers? Go for apps that provide structured training that will help you achieve your fitness goals. You also have the option to use indoor cycling apps that give you immersive experience while you train.
Most of the favorite indoor cycling apps use power-based training to measure how much work you have done over time.
Read on to learn the top 6 indoor cycling apps’ features to help you decide which one is right for you.
One of the most popular indoor cycling training apps, the TrainerRoad, lets you create a training plan that is best for you.
Training plans are divided into Base, Build, and Specialty Phases.
The Base Phase will help you develop your endurance and skills to give you the necessary foundation. The Build Phase will help you to become faster, raise your threshold, and make better-sustained efforts. The specialty phase is for fine-tuning your skills to prepare you for specific events like road racing, triathlons, and off-road racing.
The app also lets you track your performance. You will be able to see your personal records and compare how you performed in different seasons. You can also dive into detailed ride analysis if you wish.
Unlike other indoor cycling apps discussed here, the TrainerRoad does not incorporate riding simulations on your screen. Instead, you will see a graph that represents your intervals and progress on the display. Instructional texts are also provided on the screen.
If you want to focus more on your training and don’t care much about on-screen simulations, this app may work for you.
You can get a TrainerRoad for an annual subscription of $189 or a monthly subscription of $19.95.
The Sufferfest is a complete cycling and triathlon app. Subscription to the app gives you access to unlimited streaming and offline access to the full library of structured video workouts designed by the best coaches.
You can choose workouts from 11 different categories, namely Base, Climbing, Drills, Endurance, Fitness Tests, Mashups, Racing Simulation, Recovery, Speed Building, Style / Form, and Time Trial.
If you want to keep track and analyze your progress, check out your stats in your Passport tab. The app also features integration with third-party apps such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, and Garmin Connect.
The annual plan for The SufferFest costs $129, while the monthly plan costs $14.99. If you want to test the waters first, you can avail of the 14-day free trial.
If you are feeling a little competitive, you can try Zwift. Like most indoor cycling apps, Zwift offers structured workout and training programs. What makes it different is that the app lets you join group rides and races in virtual worlds.
Zwift is compatible with iPhone 5S and higher and iPad Air and higher. But I must admit that Zwift is best enjoyed on the big screen. It is excellent that the Zwift app is also available for Apple TV 4th Gen or higher, as well as for most laptops and PCs.
If you’re like me who prefer the big screen, you can download the Zwift Companion app on your iPhone instead. This will enable your phone to be a game controller for Zwift on your Apple TV or PC.
Subscription to Zwift costs $14.99 plus local tax where applicable.
Short for Road Grand Tours, RGT Cycling aims to give you a road-like experience when indoor training.
The app features eight ultra-realistic roads based on real places. You can even ride your own route! Just upload a GPX file of a course that is less than 100 km, and the Magic Road feature will make it happen for you.
You need to install the RGT cycling mobile app, your phone, and the RGT Screen App on your Apple TV or MacBook. The mobile app will let you connect your device to the virtual world so that you can use your iPhone to start rides, chat with other riders, create and join group rides and races, and manage your training. The screen app will display the virtual world while you ride.
While most indoor cycling apps require a monthly subscription, RGT Cycling offers both free and premium options.
With the free option, you will have access to the real roads and Open Riding Mode, and you will be able to join events. Uploading and integration of your data to TrainingPeaks are available as well.
The premium subscription costs $14.99 per month and will give you access to more features, including Structured Workout Mode, Magic Road, and you can even create an event on both the Standard and Magic Road.
What’s great is that you can try all the premium features for free during the Covid-19 pandemic, so this is the best time to sign up and try it out.
Rouvy is another indoor training app that offers an immersive experience. The app features Augmented Reality Routes–real video recordings of roads which are combined with 3D animation/avatars and elevation data.
There are 6,000 workouts available, so you will never run out of options. You can also join races and may even have a chance to win actual prizes for completing game challenges.
Compared to other indoor cycling apps subscription, Rouvy is cheaper at $10/month for the one year plan. This even includes family sharing for up to three people. If you just want to explore first before committing, you avail of the 14-day free trial.
If you are not the competitive type and just prefer riding alone, but would enjoy a visual distraction while you ride, then Fulgaz may be the app for you.
You won’t be able to join races or group rides with this app, but it does have built-in training programs and workout library. You can even add your own workout.
FulGaz uses 4k resolution videos to help you keep engaged while riding.
The monthly subscription is $12.99 per month. You can save more with an annual subscription that costs $108.99 per year with free one family member on your account.
Do I need a smart trainer to use the above apps? For the best results, I recommend using a supported smart trainer to use with the apps mentioned above. However, if you do not have a smart indoor trainer, you can also use either a power meter or speed sensor(using virtual power) with Zwift, Rouvy, SufferFest, and TrainerRoad. RGT Cycling requires at least a power meter.
Are there any apps that don’t require the use of power meters or speed sensors at all? While you are still waiting for your delivery for your power meters or speed sensor, you can still start your indoor training with the help of a simpler indoor cycling app like CycleGo and Exercise Bike Workout that don’t require sensors.
What is Functional Threshold Power? FTP is the highest average power you can sustain in an hour. Cyclists use this to determine their training zones.