Aside from building a fit lower body with an emphasis on boosting endurance and strength, indoor cycling workouts help release feel-good chemicals in the brain and burn big calories. They also inspire what many call a “healthy addiction” to cycling classes at the gym. On the days when your schedule conspires against you or you get shut out of that popular instructor’s ride (heaven forbid!), don’t despair! You can recreate the same big-bang workout using a bike in the gym’s cardio area or at home on any stationary cycle. All you need is a PLAN and a PLAYLIST.
*To ensure you get the most out of your workout, use this simple perceived exertion intensity scale from the Schwinn® Cycling Instructor Training program to monitor your effort level throughout the ride:
||Very comfortable for legs, easy to breathe.
||Comfortable but challenging. Breathing is rhythmic through nose/mouth.
||Very challenging "Race Pace." Breathing is rapid.
||All-out effort to breathless.
Time: 5 minutes
Song: My Body – Two Door Cinema Club Remix by Young the Giant (4:50)
Begin with light pedaling that feels Easy*. Make sure there’s enough resistance on the bike that you sense the front of the pedal stroke more than any other spot in the pedaling circle (another way to think of it is that you add enough resistance to the bike that it feels like riding outdoors, where the effort of your legs pushing the pedals is moving the bike forward.) Half way into the warm-up, change the resistance, moving from Easy effort into Moderate work. Your pedal speed may slow down a bit at this point, but your effort will continue to increase.
WORK STAGE – “Flat Sandwich”
Total Time: 15 minutes
Imagine an outdoor loop either in a neighborhood or out on a trail. It begins with a manageable hill, levels out to a flat section and ends with another hill bigger than the first. It’s a “Flat Sandwich” – the hills are the bread and the flat is the filling. And the good news is no one section is longer than 4 minutes!
Time: 4 minutes
Song: Wild Ones by Flo Rida feat. Sia (3:54)
Begin the climb at a Moderate intensity, out of the saddle with your body weight balanced over the pedals. In order to keep the intensity at Moderate and feel supported in the out-of-saddle riding position, you’ll need to add resistance to compensate for your body weight. Half way into the climb, sit in the saddle and find Hard work through to the top of the hill, either by adding more resistance, pedaling a bit quicker or a combination of both.
Time: 4 minutes
Song: Release Me – Party Rock Remix by Agnes and LMFAO (4:07)
Sitting in the saddle, lighten the resistance to Easy effort for 30 seconds. Add resistance to Hard effort for 30 seconds. Repeat this cycle four times.
Time: 4 minutes
Song: Fighter by Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder (3:49)
Begin the climb seated at a Moderate intensity. Continue to build the resistance until the hill is too steep to stay seated. keep your legs at an appropriate pedal speed while having enough air to continue the climb. Move to an out-of-saddle riding position and find Hard work either by adding more resistance, pedaling a bit quicker or a combination of both. In the last minute of the hill, accelerate your pedal speed and go for an all-out effort to the top!
Time: 3 minutes
Return to light pedaling at an Easy intensity. Sit up, away from the handlebars and roll through the shoulders, release the neck side to side and open the chest by pulling the elbows wide at shoulder-height. Towel off and hydrate as needed.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Now, do it again! You can repeat the work stage twice for a 35-minute workout, (e.g., 30 minutes of stage work plus a 5-minute warm up, with the “Recover” stage serving as your cool down. You can also repeat the stage work three times through for a full 50-minute ride. To stay motivated, start the first stage with the provided music suggestions and then for the repeats, feel free to customize your playlist with your favorite songs.
Julz Arney embodies all-out energy and motivation! As an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor with 22 years in the fitness business, she initially carved out her unique space as a dance-exercise expert, choreographing and starring in dozens of DVD programs. Today she’s evolved to be the Education Programs Director and Lead Master Trainer for Schwinn® Cycling, a master trainer for Indo-Row™, SHOCKWAVE, BOSU®, and Gatorade, a dedicated student of yoga, and an AFAA-certified instructor. Her newest fitness adventure is tackling the sport of competitive running and she’s having a blast bringing home hardware in her age group as she learns. Follow her on Twitter @JulzArney.
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