There’s nothing quite like the intense sweat and muscle pump you get from an awesome cycling workout.
Ideal for beginners and fitness fanatics, cycling workouts are all the rage— thanks in part to studios like SoulCycle and FlyWheel who attract some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.
From boutique-style classes to traditional cycling programs, people are lining up to get a seat in the gyms and studios offering this intense workout. That’s because cycling, also called spinning or indoor cycling is one of the best ways to torch calories and get your cardio in.
Whether you like the accountability and motivation that comes from a group exercise class or the flexibility to work out on your own, indoor cycling may be exactly what you need to kick-start your fitness plans and get into shape just in time for summer.
Indoor cycling workouts have a ton of benefits.
“Indoor cycling classes work, plain and simple,” Erin Moone and Dionne Del Carlo, co-founders of StarCycle told INSIDER. That’s why they’ve been around for decades.
In addition to being energizing and fun, Moone and Del Carlo said an indoor cycling or spin workout is a phenomenal and effective way to get a high-cardio workout, with low-impact to the joints.
They also pointed out that an indoor cycling class works your major muscle groups like your glutes, quads, and core. Whether in a class or on your own, this piece of cardio equipment challenges the legs in two different ways: Crank up the resistance and the push-pull movement increases the intensity by placing more tension on the quads and hamstrings, or lower the resistance and you end up with a workout that is fast-paced and more endurance based.
The downstroke engages the gluteal muscles, the quadriceps, the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles), while the up-stroke uses the hamstrings and the flexor muscles in the front of the hip.
It can also burn a lot of calories.
Plus, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says that a 45-minute group cycling class can burn 350-600+ calories, that makes it equivalent to running for the same amount of time (with less impact to your body).
But it’s the ability to connect the mind and body that makes indoor cycling so beneficial to your overall health. “It’s just you and the bike, getting it done,” said Moone and Del Carlo. One way they create an atmosphere that enables riders to make the mind-body connection is by not having screens or monitoring devices on their bikes.
“We really believe health starts with giving your mind a break from that stimulation and feeling the visceral sensations of your body hard at work,” they both explained.
Certified Sports Chiropractor, Dr. Alex Tauberg, told INSIDER that one of the main benefits of Indoor cycling is the ability to customize your workout. “Today’s exercise bikes do an excellent job of simulating different rides and conditions–regardless of whether you’re training for a sprint, a hill climb, or just to get a great workout, there is usually a setting for you,” he said. Tauberg also said indoor cycling is just plain safer, especially compared to outdoor cycling.
You can do indoor cycling pretty often, but you should listen to your body.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that the average adult get 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week to develop and maintain cardiorespiratory fitness. This works out to be about 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise five days per week.
And if efficiency is what you’re after, then the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends doing 75-minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, which equates to about three days a week for 20-25 minutes each session.
But remember, these recommendations are only if you want to meet the basic health guidelines or maintain your endurance level. If you’re looking to lose weight or crank up your endurance level, then you’re going to have to kick it up a notch or two.
When you do crank it up, make sure and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Just like outdoor cycling, there are still overuse injuries with indoor cycling. Tauberg said some of the more common injuries include tendinitis or muscle strains, which can be mitigated by not overdoing your workout. “Try to stay within your limits and don’t increase the intensity of your training to fast,” he recommended.
The bottom line is this: When it comes to how often you should do a specific workout, the best answer is, do what’s right for you. “Rather than being prescriptive, we’re big believers in tapping into what your body needs, said Moone and Del Carlo.
That said, a good rule of thumb is to ride three to five days a week. This will help you experience the full benefits of spinning workouts.
But, just like any other exercise program, if your body is telling you it needs a break, listen to it.