Indoor Cycling Routines – What You Should Know

If you’re someone who’s very much into cardiovascular exercise, indoor cycling routines are a great way to stay in shape, enhance your fitness, and reach or maintain your ideal body weight. Many people are quick to run to the treadmill or cross trainer to get in their cardio training, but you can really see numerous benefits from cycling as well.

Whether you’ve done competitive cycling in the past or you’re someone who just likes to get up on your bike and go for a ride every once in a while, it’s definitely a good workout to add to the mix.

Indoor cycling routines are perfect for strengthening the quads and hamstrings and will also offer some clear upper body strengthening benefits as you lean over and hold onto the handles for balance.

If you’re someone who’s looking for lower body power development, they’re definitely the type of workout routine that you want to be doing.

Let’s take a look at what you should know about indoor cycling routines and then walk you through a few examples.

Steady State Rides

The very first type of indoor cycling routines that you can complete are steady state rides.  These will be great for those who are looking to build up a base level of cardio training as you’re going to go at one steady pace the entire time throughout the workout.

Typically those who are performing steady state rides will extend the total time that they’re doing the workout a bit longer, typically to around the 45-60 minute mark.

If you’re just starting out however or are someone who is looking to do their indoor cycling routine along with weight lifting activity, then you’ll likely want to keep them to around the 30 minute mark instead.

Remember that your body can only do so much training at once and if you haven’t built up the base conditioning level to perform an hour or longer of straight activity, extra-long rides with additional activities in that same session will likely be a bit much.

Interval Training Cycling Routines

Moving along, the second type of indoor cycling routines is interval training.  Interval training is excellent for those who want to take their fitness level up a notch, really enhance their natural metabolic rate, improve their cardiovascular conditioning, and workout at a much higher intensity than what they’re used to.

With interval training cycling routines, rather than going at the same pace over and over again, you’re going to alternate a much higher pace with a much lower pace.

So you’ll go at an exertion level of about 8 or 9 on a scale from one to ten and then take it back down to an exertion level of just three or four for active rest.

Your intense intervals should be lasing around 30-45 seconds while your rest periods should be about double this at 60 to 90 seconds.

Once you’ve figured out how long you’ll perform each of the intervals for, then you can calculate how many you need to complete the workout.

Most people will do best using about 6-10 intervals per session so their total workout time comes out to around 20-25 minutes or so.

Make sure that you’re also adding a five minute warm-up and cool-down to that cycling time to help get your body ready for the workout and help bring your heart rate back down after it’s finished.

Also keep in mind that since these workouts are much more intense, you shouldn’t be attempting to perform them daily or it will likely be just a little too much for your body to handle.

Instead, perform them every other day or two to three times per week along with your usual strength training workout.

Spinning Cycling Classes

Finally, the last form of indoor cycling routines you might find yourself taking an interest in are spinning cycling classes.

The great thing about spinning cycling classes is that led by an instructor, these routines keep continually changing.  While interval training can be changed based on how many intervals you’re doing, the speed at which you’re doing them, the intensity in which you’re training, and so on, spinning cycling classes vary considerably more.

Since part of making sure that you don’t hit a plateau with your training is adding constant variety and stimulation, this will be critical for long term success.

The other nice thing about spinning cycling classes is that they’re typically completed in a group atmosphere, which many people do enjoy.  If you find you’re more motivated working out with other people, then you’ll definitely find that you prefer this style of workout more over individual based workouts.

Let’s now provide you with a few sample workouts to get you started so that you can create a routine that helps you maintain and improve your fitness level.

Interval Cardio Cycling Routine

5 minute warm-up

30 seconds at RPE 7
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 8
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 8
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 9
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 9
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 9
60 seconds at RPE 5
30 seconds at RPE 8
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 8
60 seconds at RPE 3
30 seconds at RPE 7
60 seconds at RPE 5

5 minute cool-down

Steady State Cardio Cycling Routine

5 minute warm-up

40 minutes at RPE 7

5 minute cool-down

So if you’re looking to get started on some indoor cycling routines, consider these options.  While outdoor cycling does prove to be quite enjoyable for many people during the summer months, indoor cycling is a terrific option for the cooler months or when it’s raining indoors that will still allow you to fully challenge your body and provide all the key benefits that cycling has to offer.

[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology.  In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]

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4 Comments

  1. Ann Jackson November 18, 2011
  2. Timothy Garcia November 18, 2011
  3. Ian O'Connor November 19, 2011
  4. Mary Bobbitt November 19, 2011

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