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Spencer Smith - Turbo vs Rollers

Spencer Smith - Turbo vs Rollers

World class triathlete and multiple world champion, Spencer Smith, talks us through the pros and cons of turbo trainers and rollers. 

With the summer nights drawing to a close, now might be the perfect time to start looking at options for bringing the bike training indoors. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the sport, the advantages of investing in an indoor turbo trainer or a set of rollers are huge. These two training tools not only enable you to maintain the fitness that you may have gained over the summer months, but it also gives you the platform to improve. The question now is, which training tool is best for you?

The Turbo Trainer

    • Stability and Safety - Once you lock your bike into the turbo stand and place the front wheel into a *riser block (* a riser block enables the front wheel to be safe and secure as the front wheel cradles inside the riser . These risers are sometimes included with the trainer, other times they are sold separately). Once the bike is securely in place and the resistance is set correctly (on some turbo models you will have the ability to alter the resistance in addition to being able to change gears) you will have peace of mind that you will be safe without the fear of falling.
    • Ease of use - Whatever training session (aerobic, strength, tempo, sprints or recovery) you are undertaking, the turbo trainer will be the perfect tool to deal with them all. Lock the bike into the trainer and pedal away- Job done!
    • Specificity - The turbo trainer is the perfect environment to be very specific in your training. It matters not if you are gauging your efforts on perceived exertion, heart rate or wattage, the turbo trainer has it covered. There are zero distractions, which for many maybe a gateway for boredom, but for me as an athlete and a coach, it is a vital piece of training equipment during the winter and summer months.

The Rollers

    • Improves bike handling skills - Unlike the turbo trainer, rollers require balance and skill. On most rollers (not all) you do have have to pedal without the help of being locked in. Therefore, if you are new to riding I would suggest starting with the turbo trainer first.
    • Improves pedalling efficiency - The smoother your pedal stroke the easier it becomes to balance on the rollers. Rollers are a perfect tool to improve your pedalling technique.
    • Keeps you engaged and focused - The skill required to stay on the rollers and maintain great form makes for a very focused workout.

The bottom line is both pieces of equipment have their advantages. If you are looking for something that you lock in and crank away on the pedals, then the turbo trainer is the way to go. If on the other hand you are looking to improve pedalling technique and bike handling, then the rollers are a great choice.

Whatever you choose, both will help those long winter nights go that little bit quicker with the added advantage of improving you as an athlete along the way.

12 September 2014

Rollers and Turbos