As a fitness expert, I believe a comfortable and effective workout routine. Going to the gym gives you the motivation you need, but having a personalized home gym can work out just as well. Through all my years of experience in fitness, I have not seen a machine work quiet as well as the indoor cycling bike when it comes to consistency and keeping people healthy.
What are the benefits of indoor cycling?
High chances are, you have heard about indoor cycling classes before; whether in a movie or from a friend. Indoor cycling classes may be challenging and exhilarating but the benefits are worth it. The benefits are enhanced when you combine them with aerobics and high intensity training/resistance workouts. Do not worry; you can use indoor cycling as your main workout and get all the workout benefits you want.
Going for indoor cycling is definitely going to help you with the following
Indoor cycling classes may be challenging but they help you build overall body strength. To improve your strength on the indoor cycling bike, you need to do at least 150 minutes per week. The results are fast, you will see them after a couple of weeks on the indoor cycling bike.
The indoor cycling bike is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and more. Using an indoor cycling bike is similar to other cardio forms like swimming, running and elliptical training. It is great for people looking for a cardio workout without having to place so much stress on the bones.
To burn calories
Indoor cycling bikes are a great way to burn some calories. Depending on the duration or difficulty of the exercise, you could burn up to 600 calories on the indoor cycling bike every day. To see the weight loss results fast, you would have to be on the stationary exercise bike 5 or 6 days a week.
N.B; it is still a good idea to follow a healthy diet that includes protein and carbohydrates so you can have enough strength.
Indoor cycling classes vs having your own bike
Indoor cycling classes are great but only if you find an instructor that you resonate with. While there are benefits that come with indoor cycling classes, it could take you a few classes and different instructors to help you understand how they are structured.
The thing with classes is that they target a particular aspect and sometimes they mix it up. They are grouped into categories like endurance, power, speed, muscle gain, weight loss and more. The problem with this is you have to find the right indoor cycling class to cater for your needs, and there are not many out there.
Cycle at home!
If you ask me, an indoor cycling bike is an investment. Why pay for something you can do at the comfort of your own home? You only need access to a indoor cycling class app and music of your choice then get things going. The indoor cycling bike at your own home motivates you to work more frequently.
You get to set your own pace
If you prefer a high resistance and speed frequency, then having the indoor cycling bike at home is an extra plus for you. This is great benefits for people who are recovering from a high intensity type injury and have to do some light cardio at home.
You get to adapt your own needs and abilities. You do not have to reach a specific level just because you have to keep up with the class.
Being stationary is fun
There is a beauty that comes with pedalling and not moving. No one cares how fast you are going because it will not impact anyone. It also allows you to observe from professionals online. You can also hire a personal trainer who will carry out the training sessions at the comfort of your home, saving you a lot of time.
What muscles are used during indoor cycling?
Indoor cycling, just like jogging and running is a total body workout and uses all major muscle groups for support. Here are the main areas used and how they are used for indoor cycling.
- The core – the core is used to stabilize the entire body throughout your indoor cycling session. This helps you achieve an overall balance. The best way to gain major core strength is pin while standing.
- The upper body – the muscles in the upper body are used to support you while you are on the bike. In indoor cycling classes, some professionals are known to incorporate upper body building exercises by using resistance bands and dumbbells.
- The back – indoor cycling helps you build and maintain a strong and stable spine, which helps strengthen and tone your back muscles as well as lose areas in that region.
- Glutes – you can feel your glutes every time you work a pump on the indoor cycling bike, especially if you are on a standing position, and inclined. This increases the resistance and muscle strength needed to cycle.
- Quadriceps – these are the main muscles used during mountain climbing exercises. You can also get the same benefits from peddling; they work to tone and strengthen your legs.
- The hamstrings – you can strengthen or loosen your hamstrings with indoor cycling. The hamstrings lift the pedals up with each cycle and help stabilize the joints.
- The lower legs – the calves come into play on each cycle you do on the stationary exercise bike. The calves help protect your ankles and feet while you are indoor cycling and this helps strengthen them also.
Benefits of having the indoor cycling bike at home
An indoor cycling class has its benefits – you have an instructor to make sure you are doing it safely and correctly. But you no longer have to worry about that; there are plenty of videos online and other exclusive ones by professionals that have instructions on how to work out on a indoor cycling bike. All you have to do is follow along with the online classes and you will do great.
While you have to forgo the chance to meet with new people and build a sense of community in a indoor cycling class, you get to spend time on your own at home. The energy of having people is good when you want a support system but you can always get that at home with your family.
You get to pedal away the thoughts
Working out alone while listening to your favourite music and following the cues of the instructor from the screen can help you free your mind from the mental loops of work and home. You get the chance to give your mind a break and feel refreshed and energized.
Build mental strength
What we do physically lies on our thoughts. With a indoor cycling bike, you are able to push yourself beyond any limits. You gain more confidence as you continue achieving your body goals with the indoor cycling bike.
Ride with ease
The next time a friend or date wants you to ride a bike around the city or through yes; you will feel more confident and enthusiastic about saying yes. Pushing yourself to the max during indoor cycling classes , riding a bike will be very easy and enjoyable.
Come into balance
With a indoor cycling bike, there is less risk of injury and falls which can cause many people to have balance concerns when riding a real bike. It is perfect for properly with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; they have balance difficulties due to pain in the joints.
Important features in indoor cycling bikes
Typically, there are three types of indoor exercise bikes; they include the upright exercise bike, the recumbent exercise bike and the indoor cycling bike.
Indoor cycling bikes are the newest addition to indoor cycles. Unlike the others, the stationary exercise bike gives you an authentic cycling experience one similar to riding a real outdoor bike.
Here is what to look out for in the best indoor cycling bike
The weight of the flywheel
This is the elevated wheel at the front of the indoor cycling bike. It is more like hat of an outdoor when and moves when you pedal the bike.
The weight of the wheel should come in handy when you are looking to purchase a indoor cycling bike. The weight of the flywheel will dictate the motion of the bike. Indoor cycling bikes with larger weights have smoother motions. Get a indoor cycling bike with a general weight of 40 pounds on the flywheel. Commercial bikes have around 50 pound on the flywheel. Avoid one with a flywheel that weights less than 35 pounds; this is too light to provide you with smooth, seamless motion.
The frame and legs
The frame of the indoor cycling bike is very important; look for a bike with wide legs and strong stabilizing frame so you can get the best balance even when the exercise is vigorous or high intensive. This can be a little difficult to access online but we have the real information laid out to make the choices easier.
The drive system
There are two basic types of drive systems on indoor cycling bikes. The first is the belt based and the other the chain based driver system. Your first option should be to grab the indoor cycling bike with a belt driven driver system.
It is superior to the chain based system because it does not make much noise and will not require nearly as much maintenance as the chain driven system. It is easy to use and adjust or replace.
The braking system
There are different types of breaking systems depending on the manufacturer. You can get fabric, leather and magnetic brake systems. Stationary exercise bikes with fabric brakes are mostly entry level bikes while leather is found in high end indoor cycling bikes for both commercial and domestic use.
Magnetic braking system is the best because it is silent and does not need any physical contact. Magnetic brake systems offer a high range of resistance and do not require any replacement or maintenance.
The modes of resistance
There are 4 main forms of resistance found on indoor cycling bikes; the manual screw resistance, electronic magnetic resistance, electromagnetic resistance and cable resistance.
Cable resistance – this mechanism is found on low end indoor cycling bikes. I would not recommend bikes with a cable resistance because they have a tendency to slip and this makes them unreliable.
The manual screw resistance – works very similar to an analogue system and involves a knob for the resistance. It is quite simple but gets the job done.
Electronic magnet brakes – these indoor cycling bikes use a tiny hydraulic system that moves the magnet and applies the resistance to the flywheel.
Electromagnetic systems – indoor cycling bikes with this systems are very rare and a recent addition to indoor cycling bikes. They do not involve any moving parts because they use electromagnetic force/field to create some resistance.
Adjustability is important when you are tall and overweight or short and overweight, Most indoor bikes offer adjustable handles and seats so you can change I up and make it more comfortable for you. Different brands offer completely different variable ranges or adjustability. Generally, this is not such a big issue because most bikes have the option to adjust the seat and the handles vertically and horizontally.
The display screen
All modern indoor cycling bikes come with a clear display screen. A basic system should be able to show you important details like he total distance covered, the speed of the bike and how many calories you burned out during the workout. Others offer real time info like your heart rate and also the ability to set goals for you.
For stability, most have a toe strap attached. Commercial indoor cycling bikes feature straps for SPD cleat found on cycling shoes for specialists. They are more secure than toe straps but do not make that much of a difference.
The bottle holder
It is important that you always stay hydrated during all forms of exercise including indoor cycling. Indoor cycling is just as strenuous as outdoor cycling and induces as much perspiration. High end models have a double bottle holder. Ensure the location of the holder is convenient so that you can reach for it while you are cycling.
The transportation wheels
Indoor cycling bikes are heavy and therefore quiet difficult to move around. Lucky for you, modern versions have transport wheels to make movement easier.
The dos and don’ts of indoor cycling
To get the most out of your work out, especially when you are doing it at home, there are several rules you should follow.
Always be punctual
Having a regular set time for your indoor cycling bike will help you achieve your body goals faster and much easier. It is more advisable to have your indoor cycling in the morning because that is when you are likely to be more active, fresh and ready for an exercise. Always check up with a health instructor to get everything right before you start.
The set up
Always ensure the handlebars and bike seat are in the right positions before you ride the bike every morning. You can also call up an expert to check on the bike once in a while and ensure it is safe.
Just like any other exercises, indoor cycling bikes have an effect of using up your energy and water. You need to stay on top of the fluid game if you want to remain at the top. Drink plenty of water through the day, during and after your indoor cycling session. Drink plenty of fruits; this helps to replenish all the water you lose during indoor cycling through seating and exertion.
Lose the electronics.
Do not use your phone or earphones during the indoor cycling lesson, well unless you have to. You can listen to an outer source of music and watch your indoor cycling lesson on a larger screen to make you more comfortable.
Hinge at the hips
The position you cycle in will depend on your body and your main goals. If you are still new to indoor cycling, you should avoid standing up as that could injure your hips very badly. Draw your ears ways from the handles to prevent any hunching over or tensing up.
The risks that come with the indoor bike
There are minimal chances of injury when it comes to the indoor cycling bike but you have to be careful. Always ensure the machine is in top shape by asking for expert advice every once in a while.
For beginners, you have to be careful not to push yourself too hard in the start. This especially goes for people with medical concerns and injuries. Indoor cycling could make the injury worse if you are on the indoor cycling bike against the doctor’s wishes.
Balance the indoor cycling bike with other activities to make it work. If you spend a major part of the day seated, you need strength, resistance training and stretching before you can jump on to the indoor cycling bike.
To be safe and avoid any form of injury, take everything in moderation. This means you have to build up slow and work your way up once you are used to it.
Note that it is completely normal to feel fatigue during the first few weeks of indoor cycling. The more you do it the more you can withstand longer and more intense indoor cycling periods.
Are you looking forward to lose some major weight and get your body ready for the bikini season? Take it from a professional; you actually can do it with a few simple routines. Instead of spending your time on the treadmill, get yourself an indoor cycling bike and reap all its benefits.
In all my years as a fitness advisor, I have come to enjoy and appreciate the benefits that come with having an indoor cycling bike. You can build your overall strength, physical fitness and cardiovascular endurance preventing a number of health issues along the way. Indoor cycling equipment can be expensive, but the benefits make the cost really worth it.