Guest Blog: What's Up With Indoor Bike Trainers?!

June 5, 2011

in Blog, Guest Posts, News, Facts, Fitness, Workouts

Hey all!!  Its Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend!  I’ve got a very special post for you today!  Its from Ron Fritzke who is an avid cyclist and regularly reviews cycling products!

If you have a road bike at home, and have been thinking about getting an indoor bike trainer (or already have one), read on!  Or, if your not familiar with what a bike trainer is….read on!

He’s also included some great interval workouts!  WOOHOO!  Enjoy!!!!






What’s Up With Indoor Bike Trainers?

It wasn’t too many years ago that I hardly knew what an indoor bike trainer was, never mind knowing anything about the different types…or which types of workouts are best done on them.  But that’s all changed, and bike trainers have become nearly an obsession. 

After all, an obsessive/compulsive kind of guy like me has to be fixated on something, and I guess focusing on bike trainers beats checking the lock on the front door every five minutes. 

Back to the subject at hand, namely indoor bike trainers (click on the text to learn about different types of indoor bike trainers)

Indoor bike trainers attach to most road bikes.  Here are a couple of examples:

bike trainer.jpgbicycle trainer.jpgBike Trainers And Interval Training

What used to be strictly the domain of hard-core distance runners, or professional cyclists is now mainstream in the fitness world. 

I’m talking about interval training.  It’s interval training that will do you the most good in your efforts to be fit and to lose weight.  By using the principles of interval training…mixing intervals of very hard efforts with easy pedaling, you can be assured that your metabolism will remain elevated up to several hours after you’ve finished your workout.  That’s what facilitates weight loss most effectively.

Coincidentally, bike trainers shine in the interval training world.  Let me give you an example.

One workout that I’ve seen done on a bike trainer goes something like this:

10 minutes easy warm-up.
10 minutes, alternating very hard pedaling for 10 seconds, followed by 10 seconds easy spinning.
10 minutes easy warm-down.

It’s really a short, but sweet workout that might be impossible for a lot of people, if not for the advantages of a bike trainer, or a stationary bike.  After-all, can you imagine someone who’s in the early stages of losing 50 pounds pounding out 10 second sprints by running on the high school track? 

It’s not going to happen…but on a bike trainer there is no shock to the joints, so such intensity is possible. And private, if you’re concerned about that.

The next two examples of workouts were done when I was getting ready for the bike racing season.  They are a bit of over-kill if your intent is merely to lose weight, but if you’re seeking a high level of cardio endurance, they’re very effective.  You could also do these on a stationary bike.

The first one is a ‘pyramid’ style effort:

10 minutes easy warm-up.
2 minutes hard, followed by 2 minutes easy.
3 minutes a little bit less intense, followed by 3 minutes easy.
4 minutes, backing off a little bit more on the intensity, followed by 4 minutes easy.
5 minutes, backing off a little bit more, followed by 4 minutes easy.
4 minutes, at the same intensity as the previous 4 minute interval, followed by 3 minutes easy.
3 minutes, at the same intensity as the previous 3 minute interval, followed by 2 minutes easy.
2 minutes hard.
10 minutes easy warm-down.

I’ve sometimes found a ‘descending ladder’ workout easier psychologically, because each hard effort is shorter than the previous one:

10 minutes easy warm-up.
8 minutes moderately hard, followed by 4 minutes easy.
6 minutes a bit harder, followed by 3 minutes easy.
4 minutes a bit harder, followed by 2 minutes easy.
3 minutes a bit harder, followed by 2 minutes easy.
2 minutes hard.
10 minutes easy warm-down.


Types Of Bike Trainers For Intervals

In order to do intervals on a bike trainer, you’ll need one that can provide enough resistance. 

One style of trainer that’s appropriate is a Mag (magnetic) trainer like the CycleOps Mag Bike Trainer, or the SuperMagneto Pro.  This type of trainer creates resistance by moving metal through a magnetic field (using the magic of Eddy Current Braking).  Whereas, mag trainers used to be wrought with unreliability, the kinks have been ironed out and now they are a good and viable option.

Another type of trainer that shines for intervals is the fluid trainer.  This style spins an impeller through a fluid-filled chamber (usually filled with silicone) in order to generate a workload.  These are touted to be the closest you can get to a ride outdoors.  Excellent examples of quality fluid trainers are the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and the Cycleops Fluid 2.


Lose Weight And Stay Fit On A Bike Trainer

We didn’t even get into some of the other benefits that an indoor bike trainer provides.  Advantages like not having to travel from home to get in a workout, not being subject to bad weather, or even not having to be concerned about what to wear to the gym.

I know that my bike trainer has been critical in my effort to exercise year-round, and it’s invariably an interval style workout that I choose when I want to maximize my time working out.

About the author: ron.jpg 



Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer who’s latest focus has been on finding and writing about good bike trainers.  Having run a 2:17 finishing time at the 1983 Boston Marathon, he now satisfies his competitive instincts by racing his bike in Northern California.

His site is Cycling-Review dot com

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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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