By Jack Nunn
Indoor Cycling classes are an ideal place to work on proper cycling technique and provide a traffic-free environment that can go a long way toward replacing the on-the-road experience. It’s a great place for cycling novices to improve ten aspects of cycling that will quickly make them a better rider. It’s a great place for the veteran cyclists to refresh their technique as long as they remember not to ride an indoor bike the same way they do their outdoor bikes.
Let’s face it. Indoor workouts are extremely safe and effective! Cross training with indoor cycling is only valuable to a competitor in a sport if the cross training improves performance. Unfortunately, cycling on the roads can be dangerous. There is a saying among outdoor cyclists:
“Every cyclist has one major crash. It’s just a matter of time when it will happen and how bad it will be”.
Subsequently, indoor cycling bikes offer the perfect Cross Training solution with all the training benefits of road cycling without the risks of crash injuries.
There is no greater confidence in muscle endurance strength building than good climbing. That’s why it is crucial to learn how to use all the muscles of the leg and not just the quadracips. Hamstrings and glutes are used on the recoil of the footpedal stroke. There’s no better place to focus on this full rotation and pull up of the footpedal on the upstroke than on indoor cycling bikes.
Seated Climbing: Most outdoor cyclists know that they should pull up on the pedals on the upstroke, which activates your calves, hamstrings, and glutes while reducing the load on the quadriceps. In reality, outdoor cyclists rarely have the opportunity to do it for long periods of time on the typical outdoor ride as they rely on the environment of the ride. Here’s the technique for indoors: Engage your lower abdominal to help push your butt towards the back of the seat, then drive the pedals down with your heels lower than the toes. Keep the heels low when you pull up and as soon as you lift the heel above the ball of the foot, you turn off the calf muscle. Most outdoor cyclists sit too high on an indoor bike and don’t hinge their torsos forward enough while keeping their heels up and pulling up with their shins and quads, not calves.
Standing Climbing: In order to utilize the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles as you would outdoors you must adjust your posture for the lack of angle. On an outdoor climb, the front end of the bike is tipped up. To replicate the position on an indoor bike, hinge at the hips, keep you back straight and parallel to the ground, and push your nose down to within a few inches of your handlebar. This maneuver is commonly known as ‘hovering’ over the seat of the bike in the typical indoor cycling class.
In addition, since a typical stationary bike cannot be rocked beneath you, simulate the effect by moving your body side to side. However if you are using the Realryder® Indoor Cycling Bike the natural ‘swaying’ motion is already replicated and added to the real-time feel of an outdoor bike.
C-Cycle Studio® is NOT your typical Spin® studio, we not only feature RealRyder® bikes but we believe hovering is a bit unsave and not encouraged.
Road cyclists are generally locked into a 90 rpm mentality. While the indoor cycling bike’s typical weighted flywheel will push any rider’s cadence higher, huge gains can be had with specific techniques.
Standing Speedwork: To build explosive power and raise your lactate threshold as well as rapid turnover, stand straight up and “run” on the pedals. The key to is put the entire weight of the body on the quads and push the watts much higher in order to gain muscle endurance strength. The technique: Stand tall, with the head, hips, and bottom bracket in a straight line. The upper body stabilized by engaged abdominals with light hand pressure on the bars as you blast your cadence up to around 120-130 rpms which blows away the 110 rpm most top cyclists can manage outdoors while running out of the seat on your bike.
Sitting Speedwork: Ideal for building rapid turnover, this technique is typically easy. The technique: Use little to moderate resistance as you get set in the forward position on the saddle while engaging the abdominal to stabilize hips and upper body, and then go as fast as you can. Try and hit around 130-140 rpms for maximum efficiency in your seated sprint workouts.