With the explosion of cycling studios around the country, we see a huge increase in the number of ways to do it wrong…and therefore not get fit.
At Revocycle we have 25 years of cycling experience, 12 years of racing, and a Ph.D. in biology. We know how to use a bike to get fit.
Here are 3 ways your cycling studio is teaching you wrong….
1. Pedaling too fast.
Imagine riding a bike along a road. You start in an easy gear and speed up by pedaling faster until you start to ‘spin’ out- at which point you shift gears and your legs slow down. But, here’s the key…you’re now working harder! You’re going FASTER on the bike. As you continue speeding up, you start to spin out again, so you switch gears and again your legs slow down. Now you’re going even faster and working even harder!
When you go ‘faster, faster’ in your spin class, especially with a fixed-gear spin bike, you’re just ‘spinning out’ and not pedaling- the flywheel is pushing and pulling your legs around and you’re literally JUST SPINNING YOUR WHEELS. To get fit from cycling, you need to add resistance and slow your legs down.
2. Standing up with no resistance.
When you stand up on a bike outside, you do it on a very steep hill or a super hard gear in a flat road. There is huge ‘resistance’, so huge in fact that your need to bring your body weight OFF the saddle and ONTO the pedals to drive it. You can’t pedal that resistance sitting down- THAT’S why you stand.
In your Spinning classes your instructor has you out of the saddle for 5, 10 or even 20 minutes. In fact, in many studios you spend most of your time out of the saddle….which means you aren’t pushing heavy resistance and are just riding the momentum of the fixed-gear flywheel. You aren’t getting fit. Falling with gravity on the downstroke and letting the flywheel ‘pull’ your legs around is not driving a heavy resistance with your body weight. If you can stand for 5 minutes, you aren’t getting the benefits of cycling.
3. Swinging the upper body around in ‘around the worlds’ and ‘corner to corners’.
Your Spin studio tells you these ‘work the core’. They do not. Your Spin studio tells you these boost your cycling workout. They do not. In fact, they DETRACT from your cycling workout! Here’s how to understand this. Again, imagine riding a bike fast along a flat road. Your pushing hard, breathing hard. Now, picture how it would feel to do some pushup or ‘around the worlds’ as you’re cycling fast. You can’t! The lower back, hips, glutes and quads are VERY busy when your pedaling hard…you literally could not do these upper body moves and be pedaling at the same time. You’d have to stop pedaling to do the moves!
So if you can do these in your Spin class, you are not pedaling, and not getting fit from cycling. You’re simply…again….having the legs flung around by the momentum of the flywheel.
If your Spin class is ‘teaching’ you these techniques, it means they don’t know how to use a bike to get fit. And by the way, all of these violate the certifications of national indoor cycling programs because they…don’t get your fit and will injure you.