Zwift is a popular platform for indoor training and racing
Indoor training apps all cyclists should know about
We take a look at the fitness apps that can help you get the most out of your indoor training sessions, and make them more enjoyable, too
Junior Tech Writer
For those of us north of the equator, the balance of outdoor riding over indoor riding will begin to swing in favour of indoors very soon. The evenings are drawing in, the temperatures getting progressively colder and there will undoubtedly be an onslaught of bad weather. This trifecta of inclement conditions make cycling indoors the more attractive proposition.
To make indoor cycling a bit more fun and worth the investment there is a sea of apps that can help engage and monitor your static riding through the winter months.
Here we have a list of some of the cycling apps for indoor cycling that you should know about.
Read more: Getting started with Zwift indoor training
Zwift offers an immersive riding experience across a range of cycling worlds
Perhaps the platform that comes to most people's minds when you think of about indoor training is Zwift. The Zwift virtual cycling world accommodates the needs of all types of riders from casual leisure participants all the way to pro racers. Offering a selection of worlds to ride in, including Paris and Watopia, there is plenty of variety to keep riding indoors interesting and fresh.
Zwift also has a training section where you have the ability to select either a specific plan or a bespoke workout from its extensive training library. If you are pairing Zwift with a smart trainer such as the Wahoo Kickr, these workouts will be run under ERG mode, meaning it will hold you at the target power, regardless of gear and cadence.
The platform is also used as a virtual racing hub, with races taking place 24 hours a day, seven days a week that users can join. Zwift offers these races in categories depending on your FTP in watts/kilo, meaning everyone can race at a relatively competitive level. Zwift offers a nicely rounded training, racing and riding package to keep indoor riding fun.
To access Zwift, you will need to pay a monthly membership fee of £12.99/month ($14.99/month) although some indoor trainers are now shipping with a year's subscription included.
The Zwift companion app in action
For those riders that are Zwift users, an essential app to use in conjunction with the virtual cycling platform is the Zwift companion app. Along with displaying past rides and achievement levels, the app will allow you to view and join events that are taking place soon.
For those that like to use the social side of Zwift, the companion app allows you to communicate with those around you, as well as make route decisions on the fly and control camera angles whilst riding.
Wahoo X uses its own 4DP fitness test to offer tailored training for users
Wahoo offers a similar platform to Zwift, with its own bespoke app, Wahoo X. This combines in-depth training that goes beyond just cycling workouts, with a more rounded approach to training a complete athlete.
Wahoo X offers members training plans and workouts written by professionals for both cycling, strength training, and yoga to enable you to train as a well-rounded athlete. Based off the 4DP fitness test that Wahoo developed, your training will be tailored to your ability, ideal for those looking for more external input in setting their training goals.
To access Wahoo X, a monthly subscription of £12.99 ($14.99 )is required or an annual membership of £135 ($149).
MyWhoosh currently offers free use of their platform
MyWhoosh feels like something of a newcomer to the virtual cycling world, and it was relatively unheard of until earlier this year when it was announced that it would be replacing Zwift as the hosting platform for the e-sports World Championships.
Unlike the other virtual cycling platforms mentioned, MyWhoosh is free to download and use. There is similar functionality between MyWhoosh and other virtual cycling hosts in regards to training sessions, live racing and long term training plans.
The cycling app, much like team UAE Team Emirates, is backed by the UAE government, with a stated goal to increase fitness and cycling participation across the UAE. One of the notable ways MyWhoosh set out to do this is by offering sizeable prize purses each month for in-app competitions sitting at around $75,000/month.
MyWhoosh offers a great option for those looking to give virtual cycling a go, without the financial commitment of signing up to a subscription based provider. With the UAE set to hold the UCI Road World Championships in 2028 and with MyWhoosh partnered as e-sports host for at least the next three years, it is a platform seemingly on the rise.
Strava has really useful functionality on the road but also has its uses for indoor training too
The fitness app most of us are aware of, Strava, has been around for well over a decade now and has revolutionised how we view training data and keep track of our progress. Strava offers both a free and premium model, with the free version omitting a lot of analytical tool as well as tailored segment leaderboards.
The free version of Strava offers users a training calendar and a base level of analysis of activities. For those that are lucky enough to feature in the top 10 of segment leaderboards you will still be able to see your position and time. However, for the rest of us seeing our ranking on segments is now a premium feature. As a premium user of Strava you get to view your training log, use the route planning features and access the full level of analytics including fitness vs fatigue profiling.
Strava can be a great indoor training tool for both free and premium users, especially for those that use Zwift as their virtual cycling provider. Strava has a whole list of segments from the Zwift virtual worlds allowing you to monitor your progress and best efforts during your indoor training sessions.
Strava is available to use for free, but to access all features a monthly subscription of £8.99 or an annual plan of £54.99 ($11.99p/m or $79.99 annually) is needed. Download the app here: Android, Apple
Rouvy uses real world footage in an augmented reality format to create a fresh take on virtual cycling
Rouvy touts itself as the most realistic virtual cycling app on the market, using real-world roads to base rides on. What sets Rouvy apart from other virtual cycling platforms is that the footage used to accompany a ride is a real-world recording from each specific location.
Rouvy can also be used as a training tool with more than 7,000 workouts in its library for riders to choose from. The app also offers its users training incentives with cash and other prizes for completing in-app competitions, ideal for building some added motivation during the depths of winter.
The platform offers more than 15,000 kilometres of augmented reality riding from real-world locations, as well as offering in-app racing with other riders from around the world. Rouvy is also a bit cheaper than Zwift or Wahoo X, coming in at £10 ($12)/month.
Trainer road offers a different take on indoor training, using a graphical display to show progress
TrainerRoad is a little different from the virtual cycling worlds offered by some of the other indoor cycling apps we've looked at, in that it aims to offer in-depth training plans and workouts tailored to the specific athlete. To give such a tailored and specific approach, TrainerRoad uses a machine learning model form of AI (artificial intelligence) to derive the most appropriate training sessions for its users to achieve their goals.
The app has more than 3,000 workouts in its library and over 100 bespoke training plans that can be used to work towards specific goals. TrainerRoad does not have a virtual cycling element like that of Zwift or Rouvy; instead you are shown a graphical representation of the session to follow along with.
TrainerRoad could be a great cycling app for those that are not interested in virtual riding and use indoor cycling as a specific tool to build fitness towards a goal. Membership to TrainerRoad is either an annual payment of £156 ($189) or a monthly subscription of £15.50 ($18.95).
© Training Peaks
Training peaks offers a platform ideal for coached athletes and riders who like to analyse their training
TrainingPeaks offers a great platform for data nerds to go wild, even if it is definitely not an app that is solely for indoor cycling. TrainingPeaks is a software that allows users to set and record training sessions with plenty of metrics to measure progress and fatigue. It can take a little bit of practice to get up to speed with all the data on offer but for those looking to monitor their progress.
The ability to import data from most fitness tracking devices, including Garmin and Apple, directly into a training calendar is hugely appealing to its users. Two of the main metrics for tracking progress on training peaks is CTL (Chronic training load) and ALT (Acute training load) that together provide a figure called TSB (Training stress balance) that is an insight into your fitness vs your recovery.
A lot of coaches like to use TrainingPeaks to set training sessions as it has a good coach-to-athlete interface for uploading and analysing training data. TrainingPeaks also offers its own training plans based around common athletic goals.
Some functionality is available for free with TrainingPeaks. However, to get the most out of it and to have full access to training assets and data, a monthly subscription of £16.50 ($19.95) or an annual membership of £107 ($129.99) is required. You can also buy individual training plans (like these from GCN) that include a basic subscription.
YouTube is an amazing free training resource where you can ride along with sessions on channels like GCN Training
The original free training companion, YouTube shouldn’t be overlooked as a go-to indoor cycling app. Not only do we have a dedicated training channel ourselves with GCN Training, but there is a whole wealth of cycling content to follow along with, as well as serving as a good distraction during some of the longer suffering sessions in your pain cave.
Watching old race highlights or a bespoke training session can be a great way to cut your teeth in the world of indoor cycling. The beauty of this is that you can simply do it on rollers or an older indoor trainer that doesn’t have all the smart connectivity of some of the more immersive apps.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to selecting what to use for your indoor cycling sessions, from free apps that allow you to simply enjoy cycling indoors, to premium apps built specifically for athletes looking to build towards their next goal.
The main thing is to find something that works for your specific needs and keeps cycling enjoyable no matter what the weather is like outside of your window.
Are there any apps you use whilst indoor cycling that you think we should all know about? If you do, make sure to share them with the GCN community in the comments section below!
Another fantastic way to keep your mind occupied whilst on the indoor trainer is to subscribe to GCN+ where you can watch race replays and documentaries about all things cycling.
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Junior Tech Writer
Alex writes for the GCN editorial tech with a passion for all things bike tech.