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Spinervals Review: Aero Base Builder Vol.18.0

60 minutes in duration

MPORTANT: Before beginning any exercise make sure you have taken the necessary health precautions regarding your current physical conditioning. Make sure you have plenty of some type of liquid with which to hydrate, whether it be water or your favorite nutritional drink. I highly recommend a nutritional drink. Most of your popular brands on the market are great. Find one that suits your taste. I also suggest drinking about every 5 minutes during your rides.

NOTE: After reading this review, if you are unfamiliar with any of the terminology or the design of the Spinervals workouts, please read our introductory article on the Spinervals training system: Getting to Know Your Spinervals DVD.

Aero Base Builder 18.0 is the third DVD in the Aero Base Builder series and has become my favorite! Like the previous two, the ride time is 60 minutes, but as you will read below, there are fewer breaks during this particular DVD so your overall time of the DVD is right at one hour. Which can save a little time!

You will also find, this particular workout is not that complicated but there are some advantages this one has over the previous two that we will also discuss later. But first…let’s take a look at the work…

The Workout:

The Warm-up:

If you are familiar with any of the Spinerval DVD’s, you will be familiar with the basic warm-up used throughout most of the workouts.  Like volume’s 16.0 and 17.0, the warm-up for volume 18.0 consists of 3 x 30 second pick-ups with 30 seconds rest between each. This set is designed to warm-up the legs and get the heart rate pumping. But not too much! Remember this an aerobic base-building workout. After the warm-up, you will take about a 90 second break while still spinning in an easy gear (small chain ring up front and 15 tooth cog in the back) as Troy explains the main and upcoming set.

Primary Set:

  • 20 minutes straight ride (90 second rest/easy spin)
  • 15 minutes straight ride (90 seconds rest/easy spin)
  • 10 minutes straight ride (90 seconds rest/easy spin)
  • 5 minutes straight ride (90 seconds rest/easy spin)

Cool Down

A three-minute cool down of easy pedaling completes the hour-long ride. Take this time to shift to an easier gear as you begin to bring your heart rate down. Do the cool down! Do not be in such a hurry to get off the bike knowing you have finished the hard set. Relax as you spin and try and bring your heart rate below 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Nothing scientific about the 4 segments of the main set. They are as they state…each being a straight ride! But don’t worry, you won’t get bored! Throughout each segment, Troy will have you shifting gears and pedaling out of the saddle with the main goal being, maintaining a consistent aerobic heart rate at a high cadence. As you shift to different gear ratios, obviously, your cadence will vary, but try to keep your heart rate consistent. At the conclusion of each segment, you will spin at an easy cadence in an easy gear for about 90 seconds before beginning the next segment.

If you have read each of the Aero Base Builder reviews (16.0, 17.0 and this one…18.0),  you may notice a pattern develop. Each DVD has you resting less and less within each set while spending more time in the saddle. And that is why I love this particular DVD.

Aero Base Builder 18.0 introduces you to more time in the saddle per segment (albeit, each segment is reduced in time) which allows you to “get lost” in your ride. But not so much that you get stuck in a spinning rut. Troy will keep you on your toes in this one. But it does put you in the aero position for a longer period of time compared to the first two and this is excellent practice. Plus you will be spinning at a higher cadence for longer periods of time. This not only helps to develop your hip flexors and maximizes your fat burning, but helps insure that you are keeping the lactic acid from building up in your legs (that burning feeling in your legs). This is crucial as you acclimate from cyclist to runner during a race.

Note: Be patient during this DVD. If you are not used to pedaling at a higher cadence for longer periods of time, you may find your heart rate actually higher than normal and you will probably find yourself bouncing in your saddle. That’s ok. This is normal. Just slow down for now! A little trial and error is required as you find that sweet spot in your cadence (that point where you are spinning at a high cadence but not bouncing in your saddle). And if you find your heart rate higher than normal, than shift to an easier gear rather than slowing your cadence.

Safety Note: Again, throughout this set, Troy will have you standing out of saddle while pedaling at a higher cadence. BE VERY CAREFUL, especially if you are overcoming a knee or leg-related injury. Pedaling out of saddle at a higher cadence will cause some stress to the knees and if you are not used to it, you could do some injury to yourself.  So, initially, slow your cadence down to a comfortable level as you stand and pedal.  Over time, you will develop the necessary strength and a feel for pedaling out of the saddle at a higher cadence.

Final Note: If you find your targets are not what Troy calls for in the DVD (for example, your cadence is not as high as suggested in the DVD)…do not worry! Just find a pace that works for you. If you are consistent…YOU WILL improve! Just be patient. Over time your hip flexors will become more flexible and you will find yourself comfortably spinning at a high cadence and within your aerobic heart rate range. And once you are at that point, you can begin to challenge yourself by increasing the resistance of your trainer.

It is no secret, I have become a huge fan of the Spinervals DVD training system. So I cannot find any negatives to say about these DVD’s. What you gain from these workouts will indeed transfer to the road. No, they do not replace the road. So you still must go outside and ride, especially if you live in a hilly or mountainous region. The only setback for riding on a stationary trainer is a lack of gravity primarily when simulating hill climbing. Stationary trainers rely on resistance, which does help, but does NOT replace gravity. However , these DVD’s will definitely get you ready for the road and you next race and can easily take the place of a ride or two during your training regimen.

As in all of the Aero Base Builder DVD’s, Volume 18.0 was designed to fit into your pre or post-season training with the emphasis placed on maintaining a lower, aerobic heart rate while pedaling at a higher cadence. However, there is no reason you could not include any of the base building DVD’s as part of your regular season training as well.


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