Indoor cycling is an intense cardiovascular workout. It also provides overall toning, especially for the lower body. The sport was revolutionized by Johnny Goldberg (“Johnny G”) with a new stationary exercise bike design that was developed in the mid-1980’s and a corresponding fitness program that took nearly ten years to develop. Indoor cycling has gained millions of practitioners, and classes and programs can be found in gyms and specialty fitness studios all over the world. If you are thinking about getting involved with indoor cycling here are the basic guidelines that will ensure your safety and basic knowledge of the sport.
- Before beginning any new workout plan, speak with your doctor to address any concerns that may have to do with your health and fitness.
- Know your way around a stationary bike. Improper adjustment can lead to injuries. If you are setting up a new indoor cycle at home, read the manual carefully to determine the proper adjustment methods. If you are taking a class, ask the instructor to help you adjust the bike properly.
- Wear the appropriate clothing. The best apparel to wear for indoor cycling is snug fitting padded bike shorts and moisture wicking shirts to help absorb the sweat. If you choose bike shorts without padding, be sure to use a padded seat. Special shoes are also available for indoor cycling, much like those of road cyclists. A shoe with a breathable upper and a stiff sole are best; choose a shoe that is specifically made for indoor cycling and allows you to clip your shoes to the pedals. This ensures balanced muscle toning and more effective pedaling.
- Get familiar with the hand positions and the five core movements used by indoor cyclists. Hand positions 1, 2 and 3 are identified by the area where your hands should be placed onto the handlebar. To avoid neck and shoulder tension, use a firm but relaxed grip. The five core movements are seated flat, seated climb, standing flat, standing climb and jumps. The different positions target different muscles.
- If you are taking a class, be aware that they use loud music in class to motivate and pace the class. If you are sensitive to noise, bring ear plugs to soften the sound.
- It is important to stay hydrated during this intense sport, so bring a bottle of water to class with you. Also be sure to consume plenty of fluids before and after your workout.
- Bring your own towel. You’ll need it, and many gyms require that you have your own.
- Practice good posture. Indoor cycling requires that you maintain good posture during your workout. Poor posture can lead to unwanted strains and pains. Ask a certified instructor for assistance.
If you are new to indoor cycling, these are a few of the guidelines you will want to be aware of. Indoor cycling is a great way to get healthy and fit, offering improvements in cardiovascular health, weight management, blood pressure and more. The key is training safely. Always ask a certified professional for help when you need it.