Training in the aero position?

I did quite few of my latest workouts in the aero position but my RPE is much higher compared to an upright position.

I was wondering how you guys go about workout on your aero position on a road bike.
Do you try to work on it all winter?
I was thinking about enjoying myself on the trainer for now and going back to aero work 1 month before returning to the road.

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Your RPE being higher in Aero is normal, because your body is not yet accustomed to the new position.

In my experience it takes a fair amount of time to get used to this new position. Training indoors during the winter is what I did too to get my body accustomed to this new position. Keep in mind though that in most cases, no matter how long you train, using the aero position will always be harder compared to the upright position.

As for the actual training. My preference lies in sub threshold intervals in aero and >FTP in upright position. Ofcourse you can use a different approach, like starting in aero and getting up when things get too tough. Experiment a bit which works best for you. Just don’t get discouraged when things feel too hard, your body needs time to adapt.


Similar situation here, I want to get used to being in aero position as much as possible…so that’s what I do. I permit myself breaks to come up, but whenever possible I am trying to spend as long as possible in the drops.

I would still do my Ramp Test ‘up’ in the normal/upright position, but then try and incoporrate as many aero sections into my normal workouts. Even if that’s 1 minute on/off/on etc and increase duration.

I am also trying to do a plank exercise every day to help my core.

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I work on it outdoors. Do all of my hard (>Z2) work on the bike outdoors in the aero position, other than steep climbs. I find the wind resistance gives me a good incentive to naturally get more aero, and also lowers RPE - faster always feels better! I’ve done and continue to do enough outdoor riding that I can ride as long as I want in the aero position, so I rarely bother doing it indoors, I prefer hoods or tops for watching TV.

Does take some getting used to. Time in position helps, and doing some strength work can help as well. If it still feels much harder after a period of training that position, and you don’t think strength is a limiter, then can be worth getting your fit checked out. I used to have to force myself to ride in the drops, had a fit done about 8 years ago by a fitter who was really focused on optimising the drops position and it made a huge difference.


Also being on the aero bars is easier to hold outside as the wind resistance supports you.

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If it’s an easier ride (endurance/tempo) I stay upright but I try applying an aero position during most workouts.

Say it’s a 4x20 min Sweet Spot I’ll do two of them upright and two of them in an aero position.
Any kind of intervals I try doing at least 50% of them in an aero position.

One thing I’ve really been focusing on is making sure the final interval especially is in aero position for the mindset of what will happen in a race. When you’re most tired gotta dig deeper in those final minutes!


Is there a point in a tri plan a should ramp trst in the aero position and do all my intervals in aero?

Training your aero position is as important as the training itself. As you become accustomed the the position RPE will drop. Your neck, shoulders, and diaphragm will all become accustomed. Also practice your breathing in that position.Much like riding a TT it is a learned position.

That’s what I do in IM prep but for winter training I find I’m not aero most of time as my race is far away.
As race time approaches my time in aero increases including doing FTP tests in aero, doing subthresholds with helmet on and neck strengthening exercises. I record how long is my longest time in aero position in outdoor rides and increase that from one ride to another. Once I reach 120min, I know that I’ll be fine for the full 180km.
However, intervals above thresholds and hard climbs are seated.


Put your front wheel on a trainer block to raise it up. if you already use a trainer block, but something else underneath it or use the CycleOps trainer block with multiple heights.

I could never hold my aero position indoors, but could jump on my bike outside and be comfortable for hours on it. Once I got my front wheel up higher, I could ride aero inside just fine.

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How do you want to race? Higher numbers in upright make little difference when you race aero. Train like you WANT to race.

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In previous seasons I couldn’t be bothered with aero indoors and as a result I was leaving quite a bit of power on the table in my races. For this block I dropped my FTP to a TT-FTP and did all my the work up to low suprathreshold in my aerobars. It is uncomfortable, but there are a few crucial adaptations that take more than 4 weeks. There is your breathing, the additional or at least unfamiliar work arm, shoulders and core have to do. And there is a slightly different activation pattern in your quads and glutes that takes getting used to. And this might be just me, but I also feel that blood flow in my femoral artery can be restricted when my position deteriorates.

All of this is much better this block after 10 weeks of build, to a point where my FTP in my aerobars is very close to my power output in upright roadbike position.

That is worth knowing, will have to try that. I can hold TT position for 30 mins outdoors easily and upto an hour without too much issue…indoors on trainer I can’t last 2 mins!!!

What is the angle of your TT bars?

Mine are angled slightly upwards. I find that makes me much more stable indoors and keeps me firmly planted on my seat. It may work the same as rising your front wheel. It creates a backward force keeping you from sliding off your seat. Also feels much more comfy to me. With my aerobars angled up I had no trouble with 20min sweet spot effort in TT position.

I also find efforts that require less power are harder to sustain in TT because less of your weight is supported the force of your legs. So more pressure on the saddle.

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I have them angled partly upward but don’t want to change them for indoors as kind of ruins the purpose of getting used to outdoor position. As I say, outdoors no issues at all - indoors can’t even do a couple of minutes!!!

I think it varies a lot by individual and depending on your history and position. The key is doing enough training in TT position that you can comfortably hold it for the duration of the race, and that there is little or no power discrepancy between TT and road position. Whether you choose to do more than that depends how much you enjoy riding the TT position and how much triathlon/TT is your focus vs road.

Personally I like to do a bit (typically one ride every week or 2) of TT training throughout the year, so that I’m always reasonably comfortable and adapted to the position, and then it’s pretty easy to just ramp it up in the run up to an event. I don’t like putting my TT bike on the trainer as I have an old road bike that lives permanently on there (no time wasted when I start a workout), getting the horizontal dropouts in is a pain, and I like watching TV which is harder from a TT position. So I do my TT training outside, and nearly always with some longer SS or threshold intervals so that it’s quite specific to what I’ll be doing on race day. For me that’s enough that I can jump on the TT bike and do anything up to a 40km TT or bike leg at pretty much any time with no comfort issues and minimal power discrepancy from my road position. If I’m racing a longer distance than 40km I’ll ramp it up.

I know people who prefer their TT bike to their road bike and ride it almost exclusively indoors and outdoors all year round. Great if that’s your thing, I don’t think it’s necessary. What you want to avoid is doing too little too late in the TT position and then finding either that you can’t maintain it on race day and/or that you have a big power loss in that position. If in doubt then start working on it sooner rather than later.

One idea is to make it a principle to train in the aero position, but use the upright position as a “reward” (e.g. if I complete repeats #1 and #2, I’ll go upright in the next one). You can also employ position changes to break down longer repeats into smaller chunks. For instance, when doing a 20-minute section, pedal for 6 minutes in the aero position, then go upright for 4 minutes, then repeat.

I also recommend to have a bike fit done if you haven’t already. It helped a lot to make the aero position (hands on the drops) sustainable for me.

After the fit, I did FTP test in the aero position and have done all intervals and most outdoor riding in the aero position the last half a year. Now it is totally natural for me to stay aero and I doubt there is much power loss.

I’m not sure if this is the optimal strategy to get faster though. Perhaps I my FTP would be higher now if I had trained in a more upright position with slightly higher watts.

Easy spins and recovery I will sit upright. Any time I’m “working” I try to be in aero as much as possible. ESPECIALLY for a ramp test. If I do it upright, I’ll get a higher than normal result. And that will skew my next 8 weeks of training by giving me intervals that are unsustainable in aero position.

I have a 10% rule. Not because of any science, but because it’s easy to remember. If I’m at greater than 10% above FTP I know I’m only likely to go above that uphills, which means a slower speed and aero doesn’t matter as much. Even for a few minutes on the flat I’ll try to keep at ~5% above FTP.

Different though if I was a sprinter or track rider, but I’m very not.

I make an exception for very low cadence drills too. I find a cadence of 40-50 to be hard on aerobars.