Single leg cycling is one of the best forms of rehab exercises to establish full range of motion. Wind trainers are valuable aids to enable you to exercise in the comfort of your own home. They work by holding your bike in a stationary position by connecting a static frame to your back wheel axle. They provide varying levels of resistance to simulate outdoor cycling and fold up relatively compact when not in use. A wind trainer will continue to provide value beyond rehab, for your general exercise routine, making it a worthwhile investment for your overall fitness regime.
Before investing in a wind trainer it is important to select the right purchase criteria to suit your needs. Wind trainers come in three distinctive types all with pro’s and con’s:
Wind - A simple mechanical circular fan that blows air onto the wheel powered by the cyclist. Wind trainers are great for budget conscious, but the fan can get noisy as resistance is increased and for some cyclist the resistance is too limited.
Magnetic - A magnetic flywheel creates pull which applies resistance to the rear wheel and can be adjusted up and down. Magnetic Trainers are relatively inexpensive for a quiet ride. The resistance increases and decreases in a linear fashion which is not as authentic as road riding.
Fluid - A series of resistance chambers house fluid that create friction which provide a quiet, authentic road riding experience. Fluid trainers are the most expensive and complex and thus can be prone to overheating and sometimes result in leaking fluid.
The following table provides a comparison of the top 3 best sellers in each category:
In conclusion, if you are simply looking for a rehab aid with linear resistance progression to build your range of motion and leg muscles then a magnetic trainer would be your best option, providing a quiet ride so you can listen to music or the TV whilst you exercise. The Magnetic Steel Bike Bicycle Indoor Exercise Trainer Stand offers the best value in this category, also being the Best Seller on amazon with over 1,000 reviews from customers.
If budget is not a problem or you are looking to invest in equipment to support long term exercise programs then the Fluid Trainer is likely to provide the most desirable outcome. The Kinetic Road Machine Fluid possibly offers the best long term investment because of its leak proof fluid resistance unit with a lifetime warranty. It has a sturdy base (which does not fold), fits bikes from 22-29” and is very quiet.
On a final note when purchasing your bike trainer be aware that your rear wheel axle may not fit the trainer. This is easily remedied by purchasing a training Skewer. Youtube "how to change a rear skewer" to easily change your skewer.