Pros & Cons of Rollers vs Trainer for Indoor Cycling Training


rollers vs trainer - The Vegan Cyclist

Shawn Rumbaugh wants some pointers on training on rollers, the do’s and don’ts. We give him and anyone else contemplating home training some help with how you should go about it and warn about the boredom and the heat. Image credit (the Vegan Cyclist)

Could you please tell me what the dos and don’ts are for first time roller user. Winter is around the corner and I am planning to do some indoor riding. If it is easier to pass along a source on the subject that would also be great. Thanks in advance.

Hi Shawn,

Yea best thing is not to fall off!

Do you intend to ride on unsupported rollers or a set of turbo trainers?

Rollers tend not to have any resistance, which is great for keeping supple but will not give you any more power. Rollers do also help with your balance and this is where accidents can happen as you get tired you can fall of them, so be careful!

With all home training boredom is the worst problem, the best things to do is to either have music or a favorite cycling video to watch. Although the best reliever of the boredom is to train hard and the best way is with interval training.

Interval training can be done very scientifically with a pulse monitor or/and a power meter, you can get up to your required pulse and ride to your max pulse and rest for the correct length of time also. All interval training follows the same principles if you are on the road, track, mountain bike or trainer.

We have covered interval training before and it’s the best way to get fit and to make the time pass quicker.

I would not ride on rollers or a home train for longer than a hour and you need to work up to that length of time, start with 15 minutes and then extend the ride by 5 minutes more each ride until you are up to the hour.

Start with a steady warm-up then ride brining your pulse up to a point where you are starting to breath a little heavily, keep this up until you have done your ride then have a cool down. Steady rides are the best way to get used to indoor training, after a couple of weeks then you can start the interval training, split the intervals in to short sprints and longer intervals, in other words; aerobic and anaerobic training.

Remember if you are indoors then you need to use an electric fan and even if you are in a cool garage or open cover you still need the ventilation of moving air.

Video : Pros & Cons of Rollers vs Trainer

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  1. james smith

    Just loged on
    Nice information about in door cycle

  2. Lieven Soens

    You don’t ride inside for the thrill of imaginary sprints over carpet-covered floors. You ride inside because you’re serious about training—even when the conditions outside are seriously rough.Because your training goals don’t change based on the weather, you demand performance from an indoor cycle in your home that is as responsive, comfortable and effective as the bike you ride outside. The Pro 300PT is the best choice!! Off-season?? Yeah right!! Best regards from Belgium. Lieven S.

  3. Brice

    Rollers are a greating training aid. I had a set which used a magnetic resistence unit. Riding them requires you to intensely focus on keeping yourself in the center of the rollers. I use a step stool to start and stop. Training on rollers is great training for your spin. Speed safe…

  4. Palle Bratholm

    And just for the record: Riding rollers is very far from “no resistance”. You have at least three options:1) Buy rollers with small diameter drums2) Buy a “fan-type” addon for your rollers3) Use the gears of your road bike for varying resistance.I have “lived happily” for a year with my pair of “TACXS” rollers and I can assure you the towel for the top tube is not just for show, even though I only opt for No. 3 above AND allways train outdoor.For more info see the website of Kreitler – they also have a chart of the speed – power relationship for different drum diameters with and without an addon resistance.

  5. Neil

    Hi All,I’ve personally owned a Minoura Trainer for a little over a year now and I love it. I have to agree with the comments about taking care getting on and off, particularly with using Clipless, you need to take care with your footing both mounting and dismounting. There are a number of Trainers on the market and although it comes down to personal choice I bought (and like) the Minoura VFS-G. It’s a Fluid Trainer with a heavy flywheel as well as remote adjustable magnetic resistance for when you want to imagine you’re climbing the Alps. Couple this with something like the Spinervals Series of DVDs and you can train to any level you want. I’ve found no difficulty in training at anywhere from 60 to 90% heartrate on it and agree with Samuel that the biggest problem is boredom which is why I like the Spinervals DVD’s (or a good movie).

  6. Kirk

    If you have never used rollers before, its not as easy as it looks. Set yourself up in a doorway to start. You use the door jambs for support if things get a little scary. Stay focused or you will be in trouble before you know it. Forget a water bottle on your frame to start. Just concentrate on trying to stay centered on the rollers. They will look real narrow when you first get rolling. Drape a towel over your bars / toptube, dripping sweet makes a mess of alum and possibly your bikes finish. Remember when dismounting you are probably 3-4 inches higher then usual. Have fun

  7. Clinton Slayton

    There are lots of good media presentations for specific training, and I use these to keep on pace, instead of daydreaming about crossing the Galibier line with my arms up. I arrange an oscillating fan about ten feet away, a towel on the top tube, and PLENTY of hydration; not that I am Eddie Merckx or anything, but if you watch La Course en Tete, you can see that you will sweat gallons because there is no real wind or sun to evaporate (unless you do your indoor training outdoors, I have seen that, too), and keeping topped up is easy to forget until you have done some damage.

  8. Lewis A. Songer

    Thanks for the tips on indoor winter training. I am on the verge of buying one and have heard different stories about magnetic versus fluid. Any advise on which is better?

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