The Basics of Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling has been around as one of the most common group exercise formats for at least 25 years. Classes focus on endurance with high intensity interval training using a special stationary bike. (Different from the recumbent or upright bikes you will find in the cardio room of your gym) It’s also commonly called spinning and is considered by many the ideal low impact cardio workout. Perfect for folks with impact injuries, cycling provides the intensity and calorie burn of high energy cardio classes without the joint jarring.

I highly suggest looking into an indoor cycling certification for anyone who currently teaches group ex or is considering becoming a group exercise instructor. It’s a great format to introduce you to the world of group exercise instruction and there are always instructor jobs available thanks to class popularity.

– Cardio Endurance-

Riding any kind of bike increases your heart rate immediately and helps improve your cardio endurance. Cycling classes focus on varying the intensity levels through body position, cadence, and  speed. Each variation gives your body the ability to fight though another obstacle it would otherwise not experience. The longer you take cycling classes the more easily you will be able to run for longer, climb more stairs, and walk faster without losing your breath as quickly. During class you should feel your heart pumping and the sweat pouring, if not increase that resistance! In addition to making your heart stronger, cycling classes can also tone your body while creating long, lean muscles.


-Low Impact-

Cycling is the ideal low impact cardio workout. It is perfect for someone with knee or back issues or a novice to the exercise world. Riding the bike won’t put pressure on your joints and has a much lower risk of injury compare to other cardio formats. It’s the perfect format for anyone recovering from an injury due to its repetitive and non-jarring nature. Always be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. Make sure to keep your abs braced to protect your lower back and your elbows loosely bent throughout all of class for added intensity and proper form.


-High Caloric Burn-

Sitting on a treadmill, elliptical, or upright bike can get boring. Taking any kind of group exercise class will keep you motivated and entertained throughout your entire workout while encouraging you to work hard. Cycling can help you burn more calories at a faster rate than almost any other cardio format. The amount of calories you burn will depend on your height, weight, and workout intensity but you have the potential to burn hundreds in a short 45 minute class. Classes will usually vary between 30-70 minutes depending on your gym or studio class schedule. Remember to bring plenty of water and have a healthy meal or snack before class to avoid injury.



-Private Success-

One comment I frequently hear from beginners in the gym is that they don’t want other people to judge them for lifting small weights or going slower on the treadmill. Cycling is perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to keep their workout private. Only you can see the amount of resistance on your bike and know how easy or difficult of a class you are having. Class offers a dark and private environment that is stress free. You will sweat like crazy and have a great time. Everyone struggles in cycling because it is the nature of the class. It will never be easy but should become easier over time. Any instructor that calls you out for not performing at a certain level or makes you feel uncomfortable is not the instructor for you.


Cycling is truly unlike any other exercise format. It torches calories and strengthens the entire body while providing a private and intimate exercise experience. It is the perfect blend of intensity and excitement.  Give yourself three classes before forming an opinion on a particular class. It takes time to adjust to new instructors, bikes, and music. No matter where you go in the world cycling will always be found in every gym.

Ready to try your own indoor cycling workout? This workout can be completed on any kind of indoor bike depending on equipment availability at your gym or house. Each interval is repeated within the circuit and the entire circuit is meant to be repeated. Always include an easy warm-up and cool-down for safety.

RPM- or rotations per minute can also be called cadence. If you are on a bike that does not display your RPM, you can still determine it by counting how many times one leg makes a full circle for thirty seconds. Take that number and multiply it by two for your rotations per minute!

Cycling interval workout