Treadmills or stationary bikes may be your first choice when you’re looking for at-home fitness equipment. This is because indoor smart trainers and treadmills can support your overall fitness. Our expert guide shows you how a bike trainer can be as beneficial for your running performance as treadmills.
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The key differences between a treadmill and a smart bike is clear: one is a bike, one is not. Though their design and how they are used differ, both can support your running performance and improve your overall fitness.
Stationary bikes - Stationary bikes or indoor bike trainers, are cycling machines which allow you to stay in one place as you pedal. As you would pedal a road bike in order to move a wheel, pedalling on a stationary bike moves a flywheel or direct drive trainer.
Smart bikes, like the Watbike Atom smart bike, are advanced versions of a stationary or static bike, equipped with technology which records the data of your ride and allows for interactive training.
Whilst the Wattbike Nucleus air bike uses air resistance to provide off-feet conditioning and support your running performance.
Treadmills - These provide the opportunity to walk or run in one place, on a moving platform driven by an electric motor. The belt moves to the rear, and so running or walking, depending on the pace of the belt, allows you to remain in the same spot.
Smart bikes aren’t just for cyclists. Many of the benefits of indoor cycling can be used to support your running training:
Stationary bikes, and smart bikes in particular, offer interactivity to support your training. The Wattbike Atom is compatible with a number of indoor cycling apps and some of these, such as Strava and TrainingPeaks, offer running training programmes too. Combining the real-road routes, shareability, and motivation from these apps with your smart bike is a great way to push yourself to complete your running targets.
When you train on a stationary bike rather than a treadmill, you improve your endurance and aerobic efficiency, both of which are essential for improving your ability to run over a long period of time or distance. This is because the stationary bike means you can complete longer cardiovascular workouts, because you’re not on your feet for the duration of the session. Therefore, you can increase your ability to sustain power over time.
Running can feel monotonous, so introducing a different type of workout could help you stay in touch with your training. Switching an outdoor running session for a pedal on a stationary bike rather than the treadmill can provide a refreshed sense of motivation. That way, you can introduce cycling workouts to your training plan and unlock a new way to reach your potential.
Using a smart bike for running training means you can improve your fitness without the impact that running has on your muscles and joints. This opportunity to take the load off your musculoskeletal system is known as off-feet conditioning.
Providing you with low impact exercises means you improve your cardiovascular fitness, but the impact on your joints and muscles is lower. Therefore, you’ll be less likely to sustain an injury.
Cycling doesn’t just workout your legs. You can still target your overall fitness to improve your running. Standing up as you cycle provides a total-body workout, which can help you gain muscle and exercise all aspects of your body.
When it comes to your running performance, both treadmills and smart bikes can offer effective at-home workouts. Smart bikes, though, can offer you more insight into your performance and help you accomplish your goals:
Treadmills may be the first thing you think of to improve your running and see the benefits of running from your own home. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to treadmills that are worth considering before you purchase:
When you’re choosing between a treadmill and an indoor smart bike, you should consider all of the reasons for your investment. Ranging from your performance targets to your space constraints, here’s an overview of what you should consider:
Train in the app of your choice. With Workout Export, you can export and ride your custom workouts in third party apps, like Zwift, Rouvy, TrainingPeaks, as well as your bike computers to take your training outdoors.