The Best of Virtual Training Apps
No matter the time of year, the only workout we regret is the one we never did. However, when the temperatures drop and it is dark outside at 5 P.M., it’s sometimes to difficult to find the motivation to hop on the trainer. Luckily, technology has figured out how to make riding indoors fun, intelligent, and focused. These days an indoor trainer session will give you a solid workout and an enjoyable one.
One of the key ways that indoor bike training has changed is the exploding popularity of smart trainers and virtual training apps. Smart trainers have changed the game by better imitating an outdoor ride, giving you the full body workout you would get outside. The software communicates with your smart trainer to create interactive resistance, making your time on the bike more productive, more entertaining and more impactful.
But, with a plethora of training apps available, how do you choose which one is right for you? At the end of the day, it depends on what you want to get out of your ride. We’ll provide a brief overview of a few options and give you some insight and thoughts to consider. But, heck, indoor training season is long, and most virtual apps offer a free trial for new users -- so try them all!
Rouvy uses user-generated content to provide thousands of real-life rides from around the world and replicates them in your living room.
The trainer resistance increases and decreases based on the terrain and the speed of the video shown also reacts to your pedaling. Onscreen, your ride metrics are shown as well as a close up view of terrain changes and a long term view of the full ride.
Rouvy is available for iOS, Android, and PC so you can run it on your favorite ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart enabled device. Rouvy is best for the rider who wants to pre-ride a route to later do in real life (ie. race course, vacation locale) and who wants to feel a part of the real world ride.
Zwift’s mission is to connect cyclists from around the world in pursuit of a better in-home training game. Zwift offers a number of ride options – virtual routes (in one of their five macro locations of Watopia, London, Richmond, New York and Innsbruck), structured workouts, or social group rides.
You can connect via ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart to a range of devices (phone, computer, tv). Because you race against other riders, Zwift is best if you like tapping into your competitive spirit, all while watching your ride metrics (power, speed, time) in real time.
As a bonus, you can choose your own kit for your rider, so feel free to show your PowerTap or CycleOps colors out there (To unlock a kit, just hit “P” in game and enter the unlock code. RIDEPOWERTAP for PowerTap and GOCYCLEOPS for CycleOps)!
TrainerRoad is available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC and connects via ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart to measure your power, speed and other details. It then uses that data to customize workouts to your personal fitness level.
TrainerRoad is best if you are looking to get in a structured interval workout and don’t need the visual stimulation of the “real” world environment.
Once you chose the best way you would like to train, the next step is setting up your system. At CycleOps, we are here to help you overcome any hesitation or confusion about getting your trainer and app set up.
You can purchase scheduled in-home set up or phone guidance through CycleOps.com. After all, the goal is to ride AND have fun.