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For all of you roller experts(15 posts)

For all of you roller expertsD1234
Oct 30, 2001 5:00 AM
Why aside from balance, is your HR higher relative to workload on rollers vs. the road or other training, as well as sweat rate. Given the higher HR, are the aerobic benefits similar to other types of training with the same HR? I ride the rollers for 40 minutes almost daily- bad wather in the North with avg Hr=150-Zone 3- 4 most days. My max is 186. Does this happen to anyone else. Any experience with off -season roller training. Is it effective in maintaining fitness level. I know it helps spin, balance, riding skills, but what about fitness?
Gears on rollersStampertje
Oct 30, 2001 5:32 AM
Another roller question: what gearing do you use on rollers? I currently only have a 42x16 fixed gear / 42x17 freewheel. Since a knee injury is keeping me off the ice I need to do something else for a while - cycling would be OK. It'll be a few months yet before I have something with gears again.
Gears on rollersD1234
Oct 30, 2001 6:25 AM
Well, I'm a track racer, so I ride a 48x14 or a 92.5 gear inch on 3.25 in rollers. BTW, i did the knee surgery/rehab stuff 2 years ago. Take it easy and slow- it will be better than before.
Easy and slowStampertje
Oct 30, 2001 7:21 AM
Thanks. Going easy and slow is going to get hard really fast... but at least getting better than before will keep me focused.
roller infoDog
Oct 30, 2001 6:27 AM
Heartrate may be higher on rollers cause your scared of falling off. I know I am the first few times each season.

Heartrate is pretty much tied to how much work you are doing, but you can be doing a lot of work just pumping your legs up and down without a whole lot of resistance. Plus, you'll likely be very hot on rollers without a big fan, and your hr goes up when you're hot. Getting the heartrate up is a good thing. That's one thing rollers are good for.

For a good muscle workout, though, I find I can do much better on a fixed trainer. Being able to hammer out of the saddle can really work the legs, more like hill climbing. Might be good to do both.

Gearing - I use the tallest gear I can get, a 55x11 on one bike. The faster moving wheels stabilize the bike and give a little bit more resistance. May not work that way if yours have a resistance device attached, though.

"freak-out factor"lonefrontranger
Oct 30, 2001 9:46 AM
You are right about the fear of falling off. I find that no matter what, fans, windows open in the middle of January, low resistance, spin easy, etc... my HR is ALWAYS about 20 - 25 bpm higher on rollers than any equivalent.

I've learned to deal with this, and have dubbed it the "freak-out factor". I've been riding rollers for *years* and can ride while watching TV and even a bit no-hands. But I've never gotten really casual about them. They just plain freak me out.
"freak-out factor"Ray Sachs
Oct 30, 2001 10:17 AM
All you have to do is bite it hard once or twice to earn a healthy respect for 'em. The first year I was riding rollers, I got pretty comfortable on them after a few rides and decided I was obviously good enough at this un-natural act to ride no-handed. I raised my hands off of the rollers and, man, did all hell break loose. One of the worst crashes I've had and I wasn't even technically moving. I'm content keeping at least one hand on the bars these days. The occasional slip (the wheel slides off, but you generally don't go down) or close call is still enough to give me an adrenaline rush.

"freak-out factor"Dog
Oct 30, 2001 10:26 AM
I'm a Fred roller-er. I put a strip of bright yellow duct tape at each edge of the front roller, so I can always see it clearly even in peripheral vision. Helps a little. Make the tape a little lumpy, and you get sound warnings of approaching the edge, too.

Roller workouts just don't really cut if for me, as it just takes too much thought and attention to stay on the darn things, and the resistance is just not high enough. Nothing like getting out of the saddle on the trainer and mashing, watching the heartrate skyrocket and sweating all of the place, but with no fear of doing a face plant. I ride them anyway, just for a change of pace. They do liven it up a bit.

Something really stupid!Jon
Oct 30, 2001 11:48 AM
I've tried riding the rollers with my eyes closed--supposedly to improve my balance!
And ended up on the carpet a couple of times. My wife, probably correctly, thinks
I'm one of the biggest morons who ever tried to ride a bike!!
yup, that's stupidDog
Oct 30, 2001 11:53 AM
So, did it improve your balance? I'd think that rollers are challenging enough without that. Try sprinting, standing, using aerobars, jumping off - anything, before that.

yup, that's stupidJon
Oct 30, 2001 11:58 AM
I didn't have the guts to keep at it long enough to find out! I do do aerobars and seated sprints,
though. I've maxed out at 145 rpm on the rollers. Ever watch trackies warming up? They sit
there and spin with no hands, look around, talk to their friends, etc.
Something really stupid!Ray Sachs
Oct 31, 2001 4:46 AM
That's worse than watching a tape of some old Tour or Giro and unconsiously leaning into the turn while the pack descends an Alp! No good can come from this, trust me.

Beware the dead zone.bill
Oct 30, 2001 6:54 AM
Look, I'm no expert, but I have tried to understand what the experts are saying. Most authorities say to avoid working out in that 80% of max neighborhood -- that your real benefits come either in the below 70% or brushing 90% of max neighborhood (intervals). Enough people have called that average of 150 HR with your profile the dead zone that they can't all be wrong.
I either go pretty light on the gearing, working on a high cadence with low resistance (you actually can get your HR up for intervals using cadence in a relatively light gear, say 53-17) or pound out a strong cadence in a 53-11, which gives a workout. I can maintain the 53-11 at a tempo cadence (90-100 or better) for only a couple of minutes.
I think you get a workout. It's not hill-climbing, but you certainly can sprint (although, in order to stay on, you do have to work up to a sprint, which isn't quite a sprint, I realize).
re: For all of you roller expertsbrider
Oct 30, 2001 7:59 AM
HR will be higher for a few reasons, one of which is related to sweat rate. You don't really sweat more than you would in a similar temperature outdoors ride, you just don't have the cooling effect of the air moving over your body evaporating the sweat, so it appears you sweat more. You will have some heat build up because of it also, so the sweat rate may be a LITTLE bit more. Also, even though the balance characteristics comes close to riding on the road, it's not the same -- you actually need to put more energy into balance on rollers. As for aerobic condiditoning, your heart and lungs don't know the difference between cycling, running, cross country skiing, or sex. HR is HR. However, exercise conditioning IS specific, so while you are building aerobic conditioning, the legs aren't getting the same workout unless you duplicate the resistance that the road produces. Kreitler makes a resistance unit for rollers that could help.
re: For all of you roller expertsJon
Oct 30, 2001 8:13 AM
I have 3" rollers and have always noticed the effect referred to here. I agree with what Doug had
to say. There are three factors influencing heart rate on rollers, I believe. First, with mine at least,
there seems to be slightly higher rolling resistance compared to the road. So although the gears
feel rather easy, you're actually working a little harder than you think. Secondly, you're working
internal stabilizing core muscles to maintain balance. That will drive up heartrate somewhat.
And third is thermoregulation. As stated you need a good fan. Even with a large fan right on me,
after about an hour and a half to two hours I experience cardiac drift of about 5 bpm.

I found after an entire winter on rollers last year I had a really good spin, great balance, and good
base aerobic fitness, but not much strength or power. So this year I'm throwing in a couple of
sessions per week on the mag trainer doing muscle tension intervals and standing climbing
intervals to build leg strength. We'll see come Spring, I guess.