Rollers are the second best indoor training tool for a track racer (the first best being an indoor velodrome but not everyone can have one of those readily available).
Using rollers in your training will help to improve your form, strengthen your balance and smooth your cadence. There’s not much resistance offered so power workouts aren’t really in the cards. For that, get an indoor trainer… or better yet, just go outside and ride. As opposed to trainers, rollers have a lot to offer even when the weather is nice enough to ride in. For trackies, training on the rollers is a year-round thing.
In track racing, leg speed is of the essence. Obviously the bikes have only one gear which means that if you want to go faster, you need to pedal faster. The following is a simple half-hour leg speed workout that to help get your leg muscles used to firing at high speeds. It’s good to do one of these workouts once or twice a week.
This is a really easy workout, all you really need is a clock, a set of rollers and of course your bike. Running a computer is optional but it helps to keep track of your cadence if you want to know how fast you can spin. You don’t need a cadence pickup, just use a gear calculator to figure out how fast your pedals are moving. A heart rate monitor is pretty useless with this exercise. The intervals are too short to get an accurate reading. That’s why this is my favorite rollers exercise, because it’s so simple and only takes half an hour. Keep doing it once or twice a week and you will kill at Goldsprints.
[Pro Keirin racers do this workout all the time.]
Roller Sprints (aka Spin-Ups)
0:00 » 1. Warm up. Everyone is different but I usually just warm up for 5 minutes at about 100-120 rpm. It’s a tough workout but very low intensity (as far as power goes) so you can still use the first couple of spin-ups as part of the warm-up.
5:00 » 2. SPRINT! For 20 seconds pedal as fast as you can — and I really mean AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Use your legs and relax your upper body. Don’t clench on the handlebar or you’ll fall off the rollers. Concentrate on an even (fast but smooth) pedal stroke. The effort starts at the start of the twenty seconds, don’t ramp up into it.
5:20 » 3. Recover for 1 minute and 40 seconds. Slow your roll, sit up and relax. It’s good to have a bottle of water set up on a table next to the rollers. You’ll be needing it.
7:00 » 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 nine more times. It’s basically a 2-minute loop for an even twenty minutes. This is barely enough recovery time between efforts but I like it because it’s TOUGH. Of course this workout is totally modifiable. If you need more recovery time, try a 3-minute loop. If you want to make it hard on yourself, try a 3-minute loop with 30-second sprints.
25:00 » 5. Cool down for five minutes. You should be so tired at this point that even the cool-down ride is exhausting.
30:00 » 6. Done! Wipe the sweat off your bike and drink some more water — I bet your bottle is empty.