Comfort vs aero on trainer during winter/indoor season

Hi, until now my trainer bike has had a comfortable drop. But this year I am planning to become as aero as i can. 1,5 week ago i got a stem that lets me go very aggresive.

When evaluating my racing season i see that 95% of my races would benefit from max speed over having a high watt/ watt/kg in certain parts so I’m planning to do all my training with focus on staying very low and allot of time in drops and aero in hoods.

Is it worth staying comfortable while doing hard intervals or should i just do most possible time in aero position to get accustomed to it and get max watt in that position.

Personally I train in the position that gives the edge in the event.
I think it is best to be comfortable in various positions as event demands, but to be aero for long and powerful enough, one needs to spend more time in it while training. Recovery rides included… It is good to identify areas where riding could be improved. For example I was never comfortable standing long enough while climbing, so had to specifically go spend more time climbing out of the saddle.

Train as much as you can in the position you would race in i’d say. But never skip an interval because you just can’t do it in that position. Then it’s better to get into a more comfortable position and get the benefits of the workout.

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Thanks for replies, then i will continue my quest to get the best aero position i can get on my road bike.
Starting with my indoor bike and forcing my self to be as aggressive i can during all workouts.

I’m had the same situation as you. I did a bike fit in the summer and now I can be on the drops much easier than before. So I started doing all my TrainerRoad intervals on the drops two months ago. My ability to produce power on the drops has improved a lot since then. But now I’m thinking if I should train in other positions as well since I can feel that doing an interval on the tops is getting harder. I’m planning to do a 300 km sportive next summer and I will be spending a lot of time on the tops and hoods even though I don’t need to produce a ton of power while in the more relaxed positions.

Last season I did the hard parts in the drops and only the easy bits in my aero bars (tri bike) and as a result my race day power was much lower than what my FTP suggested.

Now preparing the new season I’ll do almost anything in my aero position, aside from all out sprints maybe. It meant I had to drop my FTP by 8% for now but I am sure it will pay out come race day. 3 weeks of semi-structured training in I am already feeling the difference. I highly recommend doing as much race specific preparation as possible.

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First off I’d make sure that what you think is aero is actually a good position. If you drop the front end too much and close up your hip angles then your position may be fundamentally unsustainable and/or less powerful, however much time you spend training in it. There are times when it’s worth sacrificing power for aero e.g. sitting on the top tube or going into a very tight and narrow tuck on a fast descent, but I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about. If you haven’t already, I would check in with a good fitter before assuming that a “very aggressive” position is a good move. Or at least move to that position gradually and do some of your own testing along the way to assess what impact it’s having on your power, speed, etc.

Second thing is think about specificity. You’re talking about max speed, which I assume means that you’re talking about relatively short and intense efforts such as a sprint finish or the initial surge needed to make or get onto a break. The position you can hold for a short burst well above FTP isn’t necessarily a position you could or should sustain for longer efforts at or below FTP. For example, bending your arms to 90 degrees in the drops position to get very low might make you more aero but also inhibit how well you can breath. This may not matter too much for a 10 second sprint to the line which is mostly anaerobic, but it would certainly matter for a sustained effort like being in a break where you’re mostly working aerobically.

Assuming your more aero position is good and appropriate for what you’re trying to achieve, my take is that you need to train in it enough that it’s not a limiter, but not necessarily any more. By not being a limiter I mean that being in that position isn’t sacrificing power, and you can hold it as long as you need to in a race situation. E.g. I race or do group rides typically twice a week, and spend sustained periods in the drops position in both. For me that seems to be enough training/adaptation that riding aero/drops isn’t a limiter, I can ride a regular drops position pretty much indefinitely without losing power, and can ride a more aggressive drops position suitable for attacks or turns on the front for as long as I need to sustain those efforts. So I don’t bother making any particular effort to train in those positions outside of races and group rides. I spend most of my trainer time on the hoods or bartops because it’s a better position for watching TV and because I prefer it when I’m indoors (this seems to be a psychological thing not a physiological one - when I’m outdoors and on the front or riding solo I’m almost incapable of riding on the hoods, my brain is screaming at me to get more aero).

I would definitely say you should have your trainer bike set up in the same position as your outdoor bike though. Even if you’re riding on the hoods I think it makes sense to have your indoor hoods in the same place as your outdoor hoods.


Thank you for very good and detailed tips. By max speed i mean the fastest i can go , best aero/watt combination. In my races thats whats needed most, i do allot of 25min TT’s and in my road races i always end up in breakaway and spend allot of time taking wind.

The gap between my indoor and race bike has been big, this year i also want to focus on becoming more aero(bigger drop on race bike) over trying to raise my FTP, i believe i have much bigger gains to go for that.

As I am doing more and more indoor rides (terrible summer as well) i guess it’s important to do more aero training here.
I have allot of data so shouldn be too hard to see how much watt i loose, but will have to wait until summer to see the benefit i get from going lower and hopefully more aero.

Sounds sensible. If you do a lot of TTs then you should also have a good feel for getting a position with the right balance of power and aero. I do a fair bit of TT riding as well, I’m sure that translates to being able to ride more aero on the road bike. My road and TT positions are pretty much identical in terms of hip and back angles, only difference is that on the road bike I need to support my weight muscularly instead of skeletally (tried resting my forearms on top of the bars, never felt comfortable racing that way). Because of that I think doing some strength work off the bike can also help with holding that position for a long time.

Over a short time i have gotten 4-5cm more drop on the indoor bike from saddle to handlebar horisontal. Also i have removed the “neo block” that the front wheel is standing on (included in the 4-5cm). It felt very steep at first, but getting more accustomed to it now.
I hope by removing the block i get angles that simulate flat/little downhill where its hard to keep high watt. I live in super flat aera and its not much height meters in my races.
I try to get very aero in the drops without angling my elbows to not allow my self to “cheat” when the fatique comes.

im at SSBHV1 now so i just start in drops and keep that position as long as i can, then i go back and forth between drops and hoods(which is also quite aero now).

The sad part is that my strenghts is long rides with loads of climbiing and finish on top.

Arms on road bars, or so called praying mantis position, worth checking rules as in some countries this position is banned due to safety. I used it a lot and was very comfortable on it, and it is very fast. Only when solo or chasing though.

As Cartsman suggests there is a balance between being aero and gains. If lower back starts screaming at you in middle of the race, then, perhaps, there isn’t much use of aero position anymore for the rest of it… Or it may result higher speeds on flats, but rob sustainable climbing power, etc…

Sounds like you need to move house! Good luck

Yea i will try to evaluate this underway, i already got 2 winters with SSBHV so hopefully i will be able to see if my watt is going the wrong direction (startet base yesterday).
I don’t get lower back pains, but my left hip has some issues that often comes when im overly aero on TT/road bike. But my bike is optimized for “comfortable position” so i hope now with aero focus i will adjust my seat so i can stay in this position without issues. It seems okay, but I know from experience that what seems ok for a week might result in new/old problems soon.