After sweating it out for our Turbo group test we discovered a few essential products that will make all those hard hours of indoor training a lot more bearable. Look out for our budget Turbo trainer test coming very soon.
Sweating on the kitchen floor isn’t very hygenic so a mat like this one will not only keep you from sliding round in a puddle but will minimise noise when you’re going for those sprint efforts.
2. Bike cover
Usually a towel thrown over the top tube solves the problem of dripping sweat but there are products available which are specifically designed for this. Either way, it’s best to use something when you’re really going for it.
3. HR monitor
When you’re staring at a wall instead of a scenic vista you need to keep some focus. Heart Rate monitors will help you get the most out of your session as you can plan and measure interval efforts and training targets around your maximum heart rate.
Best of all you can register and plot your fitness and improvements, thus giving you a guide as to how your fitness is progressing. Training without one is like fishing without bait.
4. Power Tap and/or cadence monitor
Again, focus your targets on the turbo to get the most out of your sessions. A power tap – a hub for measuring power output – will allow you to concentrate on another specific aspect of your fitness.
Additionally, use a cadence monitor to measure the rate at which you are spinning the pedals. Great for high-cadence spinning training.
5. Towel and water bottle
For obvious reasons, a towel will come in handy when you’re working up a sweat and it’s essential that you stay hydrated throughout your sessions with plenty of water or better still some sports fuel of some sort.
6. An electric fan
A floor fan is an absolute must for hard turbo sessions. You’ll sweat buckets when training indoors and a fan on full blast will help to cool you down a little bit as well as circulating some air. You can get a basic floor mounted fan from around £16.99 from Comet. It’s about time one of the Turbo manufacturers came up with a unit on the machine to power the fan as you ride.
7. iPod or beat box
Spend any significant amount of time riding within four walls and things can get pretty tedious. Pick the right music and you can alleviate the bordom, maintain motivation and give yourself a rhythm to pedal to. Lightweight iPods or mp3 players are great for storing all your top turbo’ing tunes. Alternatively get a beat box, but don’t expect to strap it to your lycra, it may weigh you down.
Check out RCUK’s selection of Turbo tunes
8. DVD Trainright
With an on-screen cadence monitor, interval timer and overall running time this DVD series caters for all disciplines of riding to help you strenghthen your specific training for Time Trialing, Climbing, Crits, Sprinting and Race Simulation.
Whether it’s improving anaerobic power, optimizing the efficiency of your pedal technique or improvong your VO2 system just stick your turbo in front of the telly and these workouts have something to offer all cycling levels.
9. Wheel support
10. Continental training tyre
To make them suitable for turbo use, a special harder compound is used to increase their service life. Another benefit of these turbo-specific is that they’re designed to be quieter in use, a blessing for your neighbours.
OK so all of this equipment will help you have a happier training regime, but are you training accurately and with some kind of strategy? A full fitness assessment will take the guesswork out of your target heart rate zones and give you a clear idea of what you need to do to get better. Dr. Garry Palmer is one of the most experienced ‘testers’ in the UK. He’s currently offering some great deals for 2006, so it could be the best Christmas present you get this year.
For more details, visit www.sportstest.co.uk or call Dr. Garry Palmer on 01384 700 99
Oh, and just an extra one, if you want to improve your pedal technique and position (or if you’re just really vain) you can place a mirror in front of you when you turbo. Or alternatively a reflective surface such as conservatory doors or windows will do the trick and are slightly less obvious! Many pro riders video a part of their training session so that they can perfect their position, pedal alignment and style. Happy turbo times ahead…