If you're looking for a great way to burn calories indoors, cardio cycling may be just what you're looking for. Check your local gym or fitness center to see what indoor cycling classes are offered, because individual instructors will vary workouts between interval training, strength training and endurance training.
History of Cardio Cycling
Cardio cycling started in the late 1980s when an ultra-endurance cyclist invented the first indoor cycling bike so he could accommodate his training schedule and still stay home with his pregnant wife. Today, group cycling classes are a popular, fun way for fitness enthusiasts to reach their goals.
Basic Indoor Cycling Moves
If you're one of those people who gets lost trying to follow an instructor in an aerobics or Pilates class, you can put your fears aside if you're thinking about trying an indoor cycling workout. This exercise has five basic movements. If it is a real concern, it might help to watch a class before signing up, but for the most part you'll find the moves are uncomplicated, easy to learn and set to music. If you start to feel too tired, you can adjust to make the routine work for you. Just pedal more slowly or lower the resistance.
Five Basic Movements
- Seated flat: Standard biking position, hands in front of you, seated flat on the seat
- Standing flat: Stand on the pedals and pedal quickly as if running
- Seated or standing climb: Seated or standing climb positions are done with increased wheel tension. In the standing climb position, the rider is hunched over with an extended hand grip
- Combination of sitting and standing jumps: Includes repeated controlled moves from sitting to standing and back to sitting
Determining Your Goals
Indoor cycling is a creative exercise form even though it is still structured. Once you finish the warm up, cardio cycling classes are often designed to imitate a ride out-of-doors. Every class is different, but this "outside" ride will mimic flat surfaces as well as hills to challenge the rider while upbeat music motivates and keeps your legs pumping. With this in mind, it's good to note that classes often last for 45 minutes to an hour and will incorporate the following:
- Endurance: Keeps the heart rate in the aerobic energy zone
- Strength: Focus on building muscle power
- Interval: Heart rate is raised and then allowed to recover several times through intervals. Interval training is an effective way to burn fat and lose weight.
Adjusting the Bike to Fit You
When you're ready to get started, be sure to talk to your cardio cycling instructor about adjusting the bike to fit you before you join in on your first class. Seat position is vitally important to a successful workout. It should be high enough to allow your knees to be a little bent at the bottom of the downward pedal movement. Most bikes also allow you to adjust the seat forward or backward, too.Handlebars are adjustable as well. As a beginner to cardio cycling, you'll probably want to keep the handlebars just a bit above the seat height until you're comfortable with the moves and you've learned to master your balance. Eventually, as you become a more experienced cyclist, you'll move the handlebars to be just about even with the seat.
In closing, consider these cardio cycling benefits to help you decide if this is the workout for you. Indoor cycling is:
- An excellent way to burn calories while building strength and endurance. In fact, in an average class, you can easily burn between 400 - 900 calories.
- Is a workout that can be tailored for all fitness levels.
- Is great for toning both front and outer thighs.
- Fun indoor exercise, but a special piece of equipment known as an indoor cycling bike is needed. You can buy your own bike, but it is recommended you take a class or two first to not only learn technique, but to also see if you'll stick with it.
Written by: Donna Sundblad