In-Studio Classes
Is Group Indoor Cycling For You?
Part 1 of 1
By: Jackie Wright

Group Indoor Cycling, also known as spinning, has become hugely popular all over the world as an effective aerobic/cardiovascular endurance workout. If you are considering participating in a class, keep in mind the following:

What is group indoor cycling?

  • Group Indoor Cycling is a group exercise class conducted on group indoor cycles.
  • Group indoor cycles are not like traditional upright stationary cycles you may find in many health clubs (or you may own) where you sit and ride to a pre-designed program and probably read a book or watch television.
  • Group indoor cycles are designed to simulate an outdoor ride on an indoor cycle.
  • The bikes have a resistance element which places “drag” on the weighted flywheel enabling the rider to simulate varied terrain. For example, the resistance is increased to simulate a hill climb and continues to increase as the hill becomes steeper or the resistance is decreased to simulate a downhill or flat road.
  • The group ride is coached by a certified group indoor cycling instructor to motivating music and includes skill-focused drills, in and out of the saddle, such as hill sprints, steady-state flats or climbs, and flat road accelerations.
  • The activity is perfectly designed to provide the rider with both interval and steady-state training.
  • An average caloric expenditure during a ride, depending upon body weight and exertion level, is approximately 300-600 calories in 30 minutes, double that for an hour.

Is it right for you?

  • This is an activity that almost any healthy adult, from 18 and above, can perform.
  • It is non-impact, so it is easy on the joints.
  • There is no complex choreography to follow.
  • You have control over your own bike. Consequently, you control your own intensity by adjusting the resistance placed upon the flywheel as well as the pedal cadence.
  • Even though the instructor may be coaching you to sprint up a hill out of the saddle, you can perform that same sprint in the saddle, you can decide not to sprint and just stand and climb, or you can stay in the saddle and not sprint at all. You are 100 percent in control of your own ride!

What to consider when looking for a group indoor cycling class?

  • Make certain that the instructor holds a nationally recognized primary group exercise or personal training certification as well as a specialty cycling certification and possesses significant teaching experience.
  • Familiarize yourself with the participation policies of the health club or fitness studio as many require advance sign-in/registration and additional fees due to the limited number of bikes.
  • Arrive early to the class to make certain you are properly fit on the bike by the instructor.
  • Make certain that the cycles are in good condition, are maintained regularly, and wiped down after each use.
  • Make certain that the instructor monitors exercise intensity via your target heart rate zone, the talk test and ratings of perceived exertion.
  • Bring a bottle of water, hand towel, if not provided, gel seat or padded cycling shorts/pants and, once you know this is the activity for you, cycling cleats
  • Pace yourself and work at an intensity level that fits your needs.
  • Check with your physician before participating in this or any other physical activity.

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