Simply hook up your bike and carry on like you normally would, just in the comfort of indoors. Although you might miss the view, read on to find out how to make things a bit more enjoyable, beneficial and achievable.
Turbo trainers vs rollers
One question we get asked all the time is whether you should choose turbo trainers or rollers.
Turbo trainers are probably the most popular kind of trainer. You clamp your back wheel into them, lifting it off the ground. A small roller on the turbo trainer presses onto your tyre, and the turbo provides some resistance.
They allow you to forget about steering and just focus on the fitness side of things. They also offer plenty of resistance too and the added peace of mind that you probably won’t fall off it.
The only negative is that it wears out the rear tyre more quickly, so it’s worth replacing your regular one with a trainer-specific alternative. To find out more about turbo trainers, check out our turbo trainers buyer’s guide.
On the other hand, rollers are a bit trickier. They have three large drums (or rollers, if you like!) – one at the front and two at the back. You put your back wheel on the paired drums and your front one on the single drum, and pedal away! The front drum is connected to the back ones by a rubber belt so that your wheels both move at the same speed.
The benefits of rollers are that you have to stay upright, meaning it feels like you’re riding outdoors, plus it can help you improve your bike handling skills and core muscles.
However, you don’t get the same resistance as turbo trainers and they generally require more attention to stay on them.
At the end of the day, which one you choose is up to you. However, if you’re just looking for working on your fitness and staying active, turbo trainers are probably the smartest choice.
Top tips to make turbo training fun
To get the best out of cycling indoors, you should make sure that you have everything in place before you start pedalling, including:
- A fan to keep you cool.
- A TV to watch old cycling races or a speaker to listen to your favourite motivational tunes.
- The latest bike technology to monitor your progress.
- A mat to protect the floor from your sweat.
- A riser block to make sure that your wheels are level. This will raise your front wheel to match the back one and makes things much easier.
Different ways to do turbo training
Although it’s good to have a distraction when training, why not forgo How I Met Your Mother reruns and instead put more focus on finishing a dedicated session. There are loads of free and easy to follow interval training sessions online, which will not only give you an end goal but help to pass the time even without a scenic route!
Although in theory, this sounds similar to interval training, threshold training enables you to keep up a consistent effort for a longer length of time.
So whereas you might train in a short burst of about 5 minutes as part of your interval training, threshold training could be sustained for up to an hour. This helps to train your body to work at a higher intensity for longer, which can only help your ability on the road.
As you increase your threshold, you’re overall efficiency as a cyclist will improve, essentially allowing you to push the pace harder!
‘Sweet spot’ training
Sweet spot training of around 20 minutes allows you to work just under your threshold and ideally means you never enter the ‘red zone’, your limit. By performing at a consistent rate for a shorter amount of time, the idea is that you maintain a level that you wouldn’t necessarily consider ‘difficult’.
Another great advantage of the sweet spot session is that you can adapt your workout to how much time you’ve got on your hands, without taking a super high-intensity flogging!
Although your sessions will be shorter, this type of training will still contribute to improving your threshold, whether for those minute-long bursts or hourly sessions.
Feeling pretty confident with your current training regime? Why not add a bit of fun and challenge yourself a little bit more. As simple as it sounds, switching legs and using only one pedal at a time is a great way to balance any pedalling imperfections you might not know you have.
By focusing on one leg at a time you’re allowing yourself to focus on the areas which you may have otherwise ignored! You could also use a Garmin to monitor your power, so you can actually see the difference in results from leg to leg!
Regular one-legged drills will not only improve your overall pedal stroke, but really add an ease to the sensation of cycling in circles when you go back to using both legs.
So there you have it! To get geared up for turbo training, head over to our site and check out our range of turbo trainers and rollers! You’ll also find a selection of turbo trainer accessories as well.