Introduction to Group Cycling Classes
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/21/2006 | Fitness
Group indoor cycling classes are one of the best exercise activities that you can participate in. People with all levels of fitness and endurance can benefit from these workouts.
Indoor cycling classes are terrific alternatives to aerobic classes that require you to learn tricky moves, or running on a treadmill, which can cause discomfort for some in the leg muscles and joints.
There are no complicated movements that you must learn to enjoy this exercise program. Cycling is a low-impact exercise that most anyone can do and participation is not reliant on a preset fitness level or ability. It is an activity anyone can join.
Indoor cycling classes are lead by an instructor and incorporate high-energy music for added motivation. The instructor will guide you through the cycling session indicating what resistance and speed you should try to achieve.
For first time participants, the instructor should be able to help set up the cycle properly. As a general guide:
1. Your seat height should be positioned where there is a slight bend in the knee as the pedal is at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
2. The lateral seat position should be positioned so the elbows are at a slight bend and, on rotating the pedals until they are level with the other, your knees should be directly over each pedal.
3. The handlebars should be level or slightly below the seat. Certainly you do not want the handlebars positioned where you might feel discomfort in your lower back.
The cycling resistance is controlled by a knob below the handlebars. If the know is turned to the right, the pedaling resistance increases.Conversely, if it is turned to the left, the resistance decreases.
The cycling session begins with an easy warm-up. As your heart rate and breathing starts to increase, the instructor begins the session of simulating hill climbs and interval work.
For hill climbs, the instructor will have the class increase the resistance of the cycle simulating the effort you would encounter as you pedal up an increasingly steep hill. Interval work will require fast pedal revolutions for a specific amount of time as if you are sprinting. Each of these exercises are incorporated into the session to build leg strength, endurance and overall fitness.
Note that the effort you do should be only as much as your body can endure. Some come to the classes to work out extremely hard and others are just beginning their quest for better fitness and may not be in top condition. You should only work as hard as you can and not try to compete with the person next to you.
Most indoor cycling classes last around 45-minutes. Instructors will generally have you ride at least two hill climbs and perform two interval groups. A cool down of five minutes on the cycle follows the climbing and interval work. A simple and quick stretching routine typically ends the cycling session.
A group indoor cycling class is a fantastic way to exercise in a fun, low-impact and high-energy environment. Strength, endurance and overall fitness can be achieved with regular sessions on the indoor cycle.