Lab to living room: How to benchmark your cycling fitness at home

Physiological testing is no longer the preserve of the sports science lab. Hill-climb champion and coach Tom Bell explains how to measure your key benchmarks from the (dis)comfort of your home

Sam Gupta on indoor trainer
(Image credit: Future)

Over the last few weeks, many pro racers and their coaches have been busy testing in the lab. This early-season testing is a mainstay at the top level of the sport. It helps coaches understand their athletes’ fitness profiles and to set training intensity targets and priorities. But fitness testing isn’t just for pros. It can be helpful for cyclists of all abilities – and in this feature we will explore the home-based testing protocols that you can undertake for a fraction of the cost of lab testing. 

As a coach, I often have athletes use home-based testing because it can be performed more regularly, and also provides important data on actual performance as opposed to physiological metrics such as VO2 max, which don’t always predict real-world performance. In this feature, we’ll review three homebased testing approaches that require only a power meter or smart trainer and a device, such as a laptop or cycling computer, to record the data. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1