Using a Resistance Trainer Riders who are serious about performance often turn to a resistance trainer. Regular use of a trainer improves riding power, endurance, and speed. And in the winter... Well, you'll be kicking butt as soon as the daffodils break through the snow. For serious riders, I recommend you use the DVD "Biking Power" twice a week. This is an intense strengthening workout (designed specifically for mountain bikers) to be used with your resistance trainer.
Resistance trainers cost between $50 and $900. We have a high-quality unit for sale at the UMB store for a great price. [ Take a look! ]The resistance trainer attaches to your rear wheel. Two cups tighten onto the caps of your quick-release skewer. (See photo at right.)

The rear tire turns a resistance unit. The resistance is provided by fluid or by magnets (sometimes both). Most trainers allow you to change the amount of resistance with a control unit on your handlebar. Some "kick in" extra resistance automatically as you increase your pedaling force.

Considering a Powertap hub?  Click here for info...

Yes, you can use your favorite mountain bike (left) . I recommend you buy a slick tire (around $10) for the rear wheel, rather than using your knobby tire. Your road bike (right) is ready to go onto the trainer as-is.

The one critical part is a quick-release skewer -- one that fits the receivers on the trainer. A cheap bolt-on wheel won't do!

Some useful equipment hints!

Get an old "beater" rear wheel and install a slick tire on it. (Disc brakes? No problem. A rim-brake wheel will do.)Use the same equipment you'll be riding with. That means your usual shoes and your clipless pedals.Invest in an exercise pad ($10-20). It will save wear on your floor, and protect your carpet from stinky sweat.
Locking the bike onto the resistance trainer:
Pop the rear wheel off your mountain bike. Substitute your "exercise wheel." (Be sure the cogs match your derailleur and shifter -- don't throw a 7-speed wheel on a 9-speed bike.) You can use your regular tire, but the tread makes a lot of noise and vibration.

Lock the wheel in place. Make sure the skewer fits properly into the receivers on the resistance trainer.

Drop the rear wheel into the trainer, so the receiving cup covers the end of the skewer.Turn the tightener until the receiver covers both ends of the skewer and presses firmly against the dropouts of the bike.Engage the locking mechanism. (On this trainer, it's a ring that keeps the tightener from rotating.)
Matching the rear-wheel height to level the bike:
Elevate the front tire, so it's even with the rear. You can buy a molded wheel-support cup (around $15) that's made for this purpose.

Equipment hint:  To work on your hill-climbing power, you can raise the front wheel further. (See photo at right.)

Some finishing touches:
Attach the resistance control (if your trainer comes with one) to your handlebars (left).

Position your TV or DVD monitor as if you're looking 30 feet down the trail. (You should exercise with your head and eyes in the position you'll ride in!)

Other important stuff:
For aerobic training, you should use a heart rate monitor to keep yourself in the training zone. (If you work inside the "training zone," you get maximum benefit in less time, with less muscle breakdown, less risk of over-training syndrome, less fatigue, and less pain.)
Replace fluids as you work out. Because trainer workouts are usually indoors, you may sweat more. If you're doing a distance workout, your fluids should be accompanied by some calorie replacement after the first 45 minutes.
Indoor workouts are often warm and humid. Overheating prevents you from exercising to your full potential, and can even cause muscle damage and heat exhaustion. I recommend that you dress very lightly, and have a fan blowing directly on you as you work out!
Shifters and handlebars get quite slippery as the sweat trickles down your arms. A towel also helps keep the salt out of your eyes.
In many workouts, you're asked to maintain a certain pedaling speed. A cadence monitor will display your pedaling speed (how fast you turn the cranks) in revolutions per minute (rpm). You can buy a speedometer that includes a cadence monitor. (The sensor attaches to the chain stay, and the magnet attaches to your crankarm.)
And, last but not least: You need something to keep your mind going. If you get bored, you won't keep at it. You can buy a book-holder that mounts on your handlebars. Or, you can watch a movie.I recommend that you buy DVDs from Great workouts. Great music. Great coaching. And the pretty scenery reminds you why you're riding in the first place!
- Bruce Argyle
- Bruce Argyle