How to use the bicycle trainer in your training

How to use the bicycle trainer in your training?

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In this article, you will learn what training rollers are, what types exist and how you can apply them in your workouts. So if you are interested in doing more focused workouts with precise objectives and under controlled conditions, this post will be of great use to you. Let’s go into detail.

What are bicycle trainers and rollers?

If you plan to include indoor cycling in your training, you should know that there are two basic options:

How to use the bicycle trainer in your training

One is the support trainer or bike trainer and the second is the rollers or bike rollers. Both start from the same principle of substituting rolling on the pavement and doing it indoors, but each one presents its peculiarities, as well as different levels of resistance, ways of obtaining balance and accessories to refine the experience.

In the support coach, there will be two groups. The first type is known as a wheel-on-trainer. In this type of trainer, the complete bicycle is attached to the system by means of the rear wheel axle. In turn, the rear cover rubs against a roller through which friction will be generated.

The second type of trainer is called direct-drive. In these trainers, it is necessary to remove the rear wheel to mount the bike directly to the system. These trainers feature an axle and cassette that will simulate the rear wheel. Keep reading

On the rollers, the sensation of rolling on the pavement is more realistic, because here the bike is not supported and you have to balance yourself, which makes them a bit more complex to master, but with a few hours on them, I am sure that you will achieve it without major setback.

Both have different models and different functions, so we invite you to see our selection of the best bicycle rollers and trainers. Read also: Women’s bike size chart

Bicycle Trainer and Roller Benefits

Support trainers and rollers, in addition to avoiding bad weather, have a series of utilities as more effective training systems both to lose weight and to do series and specific cadence work; Recovery; speed; power; heart rates, with which any cyclist who wants to dabble in this form of training can benefit.

Train in a controlled environment

Forget the cold, heat, rain and any other inconvenience of the weather, plus you can train without worrying about traffic and even other cyclists.

While on a bike rack trainer, you can’t pedal with terrain management in mind: working a curve, etc., it doesn’t mean that a trainer is a limited tool. On the contrary, a trainer is a tool with which you can obtain various options for your training. Here are some of them.

Effective Training in a Controlled Environment: Specific interval training becomes highly effective without the natural variables of the terrain outside. With it, you have a controlled environment to set specific intervals without any inertia effects. That is why I can assure you that in it, you will be able to enjoy climbing when doing low rpm repetitions.

Pedal stroke and posture

Without the requirement of riding your bike around traffic, terrain, and other cyclists, the trainer provides an optimal environment to work on your pedal stroke and maintain correct posture, ensuring that you maintain optimal posture from minute one to the finish, of your training session.  

Your posture on the pedals may seem to have no importance. However, it does because this way, you will get more power in each pedal stroke and you will learn to drive well despite fatigue, situations that, as you train, you can extend until the day of your race.

Specificity of the intervals

It can be challenging at times to find the right terrain for interval training, but the trainer offers you immediate and controllable intervals where you can mimic sustained efforts to train without limiting the terrain and train for speed, alternating and power intervals. Offering you all the options: lactate threshold, acceleration and power peaks.

Time-saving training

Many cyclists have to deal with limited time and limited opportunities to get out and ride during workweek days. An indoor bike trainer makes it easy for you to do your training when and where you have it.

Although both systems (trainer and rollers) offer the same advantages, I personally find rollers a feature that may interest you.

Balance is one of the best attributes of the reels. If you want or need to work on your pedaling form and efficiency while maintaining a straight line, rollers are a good option. Well, your body and mind will always be alert when you are on the rollers, even during light efforts or active recovery runs. However, you can also match the rollers with fork support (scissors) for greater stability.

Types of bicycle rollers

These use three drums, one under the front wheel and two under the rear wheel, on which the tires rest and rotate while riding.

The centrifugal force of the spinning wheels keeps you balanced, just like when pedaling on the roads or paths.

Riding on the rollers takes a bit of practice as it requires balance and a lot of focus to stand upright, but once you have adjusted, it is quite easy and a lot more fun than riding on the support trainer, which does not require much attention by the cyclist.

Resistance rollers

The rollers come in a variety of drum sizes that dictate how much resistance there is in the rear wheel. The smaller the drum, the greater the resistance. However, some rollers come with resistors in the form of magnets that can be added to the side of one of the drums.

Free-motion rollers

By far, the most fun gadget to ride indoors is the free-motion rollers. These are attached to a bracket that allows them to slide back and forth with pedaling through the bearings.

Free-motion rollers allow the bike to move not only side to side while pedaling but also back and forth, allowing you to naturally stand on the pedals and even get off them while you pedal but be careful, do this only when you have more experience.  

In them, it is easy to feel like you are rolling down the road. They also have variable resistance with a magnet attached to one of the drums or cylinders.

Bike Trainer with Stand – Wheels On Trainers

As we have seen, a trainer is a mount that supports your bike through the rear axle and has an axle that is pressed against the transfer resistance of the rim.

Trainers come in three main types that differ from one another by the way they apply resistance to the wheel.

Fluid trainer

A fluid trainer uses – you guessed it – a liquid (usually oil) inside the turbine that is attached to a shaft that the tire leans on to create drag.

Fluid trainers apply the most uniform resistance to the wheel while also being relatively quiet. The level of resistance in a fluid trainer increases exponentially the more you push.

Wind or Turbo Trainer

Wind trainers use a fan that is designed to catch the wind as it spins to create resistance.

This is then attached to an axle that rests on the rear wheel like that of a fluid trainer.

Because the fan is cutting through the air to create resistance, they are loud. However, as stationary or indoor pedaling can be quite hot due to the lack of wind in the body, wind trainers often redirect the breeze towards you, creating a cooling effect.

The resistance level of wind trainers increases the harder you pedal, but not to the extent of fluid trainers.

Magnetic trainer

Magnetic trainers use magnets to create resistance in your bicycle tire. Most magnetic trainers have a setting that allows you to vary the level of resistance as you pedal.

Magnetic trainers can vary widely in the amount of resistance they can provide.

Trainer without wheels – Direct Drive Trainers

One drawback for all of the above trainers is that the resistance is placed directly on the bicycle rim, causing the tire or tire to wear out quickly.

Some riders use old tires that are only mounted on their trainer, but if you frequently switch between riding indoors and outdoors, changing a tire all the time can become tedious. Fortunately, there is a new style of trainer that does not directly use the rear wheel of your bike.

This type of trainer has a cassette that is attached to the support in which your bike is attached, and that provides the resistance that you can change yourself while pedaling in your training.

The most advanced models of this type even come with software to make the experience more real because with the computer program, you can compete with other users and experiment in virtually any type of terrain and geographical area on earth. In addition to that, you can quantify a variety of variables.

Basic tips for a good roller training or support trainer

Before starting your indoor training session, it is important that you keep in mind a series of basic tips that will allow you to perform the session more comfortably.

Correct posture

Not because you are in comfort means that you are not going to take care of your posture on the bike.

So there’s no excuse for riding with your elbows locked, shoulders tight, and hips rotated on the saddle. Ride like the rider you want to be.

With indoor training, you have the opportunity to understand, appreciate and apply smooth and fluid pedaling.

The right room

It is important to carry out your training in a suitable space for it. A room with good ventilation is the essential requirement for the air in the room to circulate and avoid that after 20 minutes of being in the trainer, the place smells like a wounded animal’s cave and with 3 or 5 degrees more of temperature.

Ventilation is also important in order not to sweat so much and to slow down the rate of dehydration a little more.

Correct hydration

Another extremely important issue is the correct hydration of the body. Roll sessions or coach are almost always indoor or indoor so that dehydration and sweating rates are much higher. It is important to always do your training with at least 1 bottle of water or mineral salts and the ideal would be to drink 0.5-0.75 liters of water for every hour of training.

Towel and equipment

Although it may seem like a small thing, any training session should be accompanied by the corresponding equipment. In addition to the typical cycling accessories (shoes, shorts, heart rate monitor, etc.), you should include a towel, both to dry the sweat from the forehead and to prevent sweat from falling directly on the frame of your bicycle, since sweat is especially corrosive over time.

If you have decided on the rollers without any belay, I recommend that in the first sessions, you have a chair or something firm near you to hold on to avoid a fall.


In order to make your indoor training less monotonous, you can make use of technology using with confidence: headphones with your favorite music and regardless of the volume, because here you do not have to take care of cars.

You can also put a screen or a tablet to enjoy your favorite videos, series, movies or watch professional cycling round. That’s up to you. In addition, if you use interactive software, you will be able to view everything from a screen.