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The Benefits of Training on Cycling Rollers

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist and a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Elite Ghibli parabolic rollers

Elite Ghibli parabolic rollers

How can you improve your cycling using a set of training rollers?

Training rollers are a set of 3 rollers attached to a frame with two positioned close together for the rear wheel of the bicycle to sit on with a front roller which the front wheel of the bike rests on. The front and middle rollers are connected with a belt which means that as a rider pedals they create a rolling road scenario.

This article details some of the key benefits of training on cycling rollers and how they can potentially improve your training.

The key benefits of cycling on training rollers

They may look like a torture device but a set of cycling training rollers can help to give you the edge when you're racing or simply riding with friends for pleasure. The key benefits of cycling on rollers are detailed below.

Improved balance while cycling

Rollers are unequaled at developing better balance on your bike, One of the key benefits of cycling on rollers is their ability to mimic cycling on the road. Riding on a stationary turbo trainer does not have this effect. By mimicry of cycling on the roads you are training your muscles to fire in the same manner as they would do while out on the road.

You use your balance to keep yourself upright while cycling however rollers give additional concentration to this effect as you have to be consistently aware that you are only cycling on a piece of road around 30 centimeters in diameter. In theory you could do this relatively easily on the road however this does mean your concentration has to be consistent.

Improved pedalling efficiency

Many cyclists DO NOT have an efficient pedal stroke. The pedal stroke is the whole way around the cranks and often riders have points of weakness. This is natural, however it only takes a small amount of work to make a huge difference to pedalling technique and this can potentailly lead to performance gains for cyclists.

Efficient cyclists are especially good at the top, base and recovery sections of the pedal stroke. Pushing down on the pedals comes pretty naturally- it's pedalling in fluid circles that takes practice and effort. Riding on rollers has a dramatic effect on pedalling efficiency and you can truly feel the effect on the road.

Rollers teach riders to cycle in an efficient straight line

When racing, competing in century rides and completing sportive's it is paramount for a rider to waste as little energy as possible. To do this it is key for them to have a technique which allows them to ride in a straight line and holding onto a wheel in front to save energy.

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By riding on rollers regularly a racing cyclist will improve their technique for bunch riding and be less likely to cause crashes, or simply be involved in them as the peloton can be a pretty scary place with so many bodies close to each other.

Train on the same bike indoors and outdoors

If you only own one bike you can simply ride it outdoors and indoors and outdoors (obviously after you've cleaned it!)

Riding your own bike means that you don't have to worry about setting up a gym cycle specifically to your measurements. It also allows you to train on your specific race bike so your muscles are trained to fire related to the bike you ride.

Need some advice on how to ride on rollers? Read this article


WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on January 05, 2012:

Yeah, the weather is warm, but the sun is harsh. You must be careful about that, and sometimes the heat is too much. There are no hills, so the real cyclists go back and forth over the bridges to train.

Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on January 04, 2012:

Thanks for your comment WD Curry 111. Florida must be a great place to cycle? I imagine you get great weather for a large proportion of the year which is fantastic for getting outside. Rollers keep you cycling indoors for the times you need to ride indoors but are also a fantastic training tool

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on January 04, 2012:

I have never heard of rollers, but I am new to cycling. I live in Florida, and have always ridden a beach cruiser. Now I have a decent bike, and have found out how much I have been missing. I live 15 miles from the beach, and I can beat the bus that stops by my neighborhood by 15 minutes. Of course, there are transfers on their circuitous route, but you get my drift.

I will not be a racer, but my interest in following the sport is growing.

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