Indoor cycling made its way onto our shores more than a year ago and has now undeniably reached critical mass. If you’ve been nursing a secret curiosity for the fitness trend, the new year is the perfect time to try it. Still feeling a little skeptical? Ride Revolution instructor Kylee Lagman shares: “You’ll be working your leg muscles a lot obviously, but you’ll also need to activate your core. Then there’s the bonus of an upper body workout to help your arms and back get leaner. It’s a full-body workout that gives you the benefits of intense cardio—you lose fat, making it easier for your muscles to be visible.”
Want to know more? Here are 10 things you need to know before you sign up online.
1) The class is mostly composed of girls (with a smattering of dudes who look like they do Crossfit).
And if they can endure spinning, then you know they have really good stamina. But before you get any ideas...
2) Everyone already knows each other.
It’s kind of like the first day of school all over again. You just need to muster the courage to talk to your seatmate, and the best excuse to do that is...
3) You gotta set the bike up.
The seat (called a saddle) should be as high as your hip, and the handlebars a tad higher if you’re a beginner. Make sure the handlebars are far enough that you’re not squished but also near enough that you don’t have to consciously reach for them. Technically, your knees should bend at a 20 to 30-degree angle and align with the ball of your foot when you pedal.
4) You’ll be given special shoes that clip in the bike pedals.
Pick these up before entering the studio, then just jam your foot into that pedal until you hear it click. If you never learned how to ride a bike, you’ll spend the session worrying about falling off—even if you know you won’t. (Don’t be shy to ask your instructor for help.)
5) It’s not just cycling; it’s cycling with club music and lighting.
Kylee says “It’s a party and a challenging workout at the same time; that’s the perfect mix.” Kind of like this video—except there’s no bouncing. Bouncing is bad because it means you’re not getting the most out of your ride. The same goes for swinging side to side.
6) There will come a point when the instructor says you will “get out of the saddle.”
That means you’re going to pedal while standing. If you don’t have enough upper thigh strength for this, you’re going to have to sit your ass down and your gooch. Will. Kill. You! It’ll feel like you’re bruising your balls. But don’t try to fake it when you’re really putting all your weight on your arms; you might injure yourself.
7) Don’t cheat the resistance level a.k.a. do as you are told.
Otherwise, while everyone is sprinting, you’ll spin out of control and just tire yourself out right away. Your feet will also be noticeably faster than your classmates’, so everyone will know what you’re up to. (But always listen to your body and turn the tension down if you really can’t keep up.)
8) Your upper body will not be neglected.
Other than engaging your core, your instructor will be sure to incorporate your shoulders and arms into the mix. Depending on the gym, you’ll use either hand weights or a resistance band for this.
9) Getting off the bike is tricky.
Apparently, the best way to do it is to turn the resistance way up, stand, unclip one foot (by turning it inward) then use it to stand on the ground, then unclip your other foot so you’re finally free from that torture device.
10. DOMS is real, so be sure to stretch.
You’ll be avoiding stairs for a few days. “A class may be intimidating at first but it’s so easy to fall in love with if you just try it. A lot of guys even surprise themselves with how much they love indoor cycling,” shares Kylee. Now remember, breathe, always keep your hips back, shoulders down, spine neutral and elbows tucked inwards, relaxed. Lastly, never death-grip the handlebars. Happy cycling!
Want to ride with Kylee? If you already know someone who goes to Ride Rev, they can bring you for free on January 18, Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. class. But be warned, you’ll have to walk down three flights of stairs before and after the class.