To give you extra motivation and inspiration to train indoors we are introducing something new: a Virtual training camp! Together with Astana Pro Team, we’ve created a full week of workouts and activities comparable to their high altitude training camp in Tenerife in April. You can perform this camp at home with the Tacx Desktop app at the same time as the team. While the pro riders use this to prepare themselves in the best way for the Giro d’Italia, you can use it to improve your cycling performance and to get ready for this cycling season! But why do they train on high altitude and what does a training camp look like? This article explains what to expect.

What’s the benefit of an altitude training?
Training on high altitude is the holy grail for modern cycling. Many pro cycling teams organize training camps on remote elevated places where riders can make a difference in their preparation for a Grand Tour like the Tour de France. But what’s the reason for this?

On high altitude there is less oxygen. To cope with this, the human body creates more red blood cells causing a better transportation of oxygen in the blood. So, when you train in such an environment for a couple of weeks, you actually teach your body to adjust to this oxygen level. You’ll notice the benefits when you return to sea level again: your endurance as well as your recovery capacity will have improved. This is pretty useful for endurance athletes like cyclists of course and this positive effect can last for months. That’s why many pro cycling teams and pro riders are increasingly choosing to use these training camps each season.

Besides this effect, riders can also simulate tough mountain stages and multiple long climbs in one day. All in all, it is the ideal preparation for a Grand Tour.

So why Tenerife?
Because this island, part of the Canary Islands, is next to North Africa, the weather is almost always agreeable. But that’s not the main reason why most pro teams and riders visit this island for many years. Nope, it’s mainly for El Teide. This volcano reaches to 3.718 meters above sea level and thus guarantees enough altitude for low oxygen levels and a lot of climbing fun! The teams and riders don’t stay in the cosy villages at the beach though, but in desolate hotels high on the flanks and far beyond the tree line of El Teide. Up there they are constantly surrounded by thin air causing a greater training effect, even when they sleep.

What does a day look like on a training camp?
Train, eat, sleep, repeat. Sounds pretty straightforward, but that’s how it is. Many riders find it tough though: not only because of the heavy physical aspect of training in the mountains with low oxygen levels, but also because of the mental aspect. They are away from home for a long time and it can be pretty boring in those abandoned places. Although they live like a monk on training camps like these, they can totally unwind themselves because there are no distractions at all. It’s an ideal way to achieve great focus for a Grand Tour.

What does a training schedule at high altitude look like?
One of the big benefits of training in the high mountains is that riders can vary a lot with their training sessions: from powerful intervals to sprinting and from riding on long ascents to multiple climbing sessions. There is a great temptation to train hard straightaway, but it is very important for riders to acclimatize first. That’s why they mostly start off with an easy ride to loosen up the legs a bit, followed by a resting day to get more used to the high altitude. Thereafter, it’s time to start increasing the training sessions in length and later on in intensity. This can end up in 10 to 15 minutes training blocks on their VO2-max level and long threshold training sessions, for example. Mind you, these are all performed in thin air. The effects of such a training camp varies per person, but gaining 1 to 2% in performance is possible. This might just be enough to beat their opponents in a Grand Tour.

Join the Tacx/Astana Virtual training camp!
Just like the pro riders, you can take advantage of a training camp as well to beat your cycling buddies! Simply clear your training schedule from April 1st until April 7th and join the Virtual training camp. The camp we’ve created with Astana Pro Team consists of Tacx Films in Tenerife, professional core stability training and fitness workouts. You’ll even get advice about your nutrition from their head chef. And when the team is riding outdoors, you’ll be cycling a Tacx Film in the same area in Tenerife. In case of a structured workout, you’ll be doing a simplified version of the team’s workout.

During this virtual training camp, you’ll receive a training schedule with different workouts by email on a daily base. In total, you will ride around 150 km (with 4000 altimeters) and it takes up about 6.5 hours for the entire week. To join this virtual training camp, you only need a Tacx trainer and the Tacx Desktop app with a subscription to Tacx Premium or Premium HD.

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the button below to join this camp!