The Benefits of Indoor Cycling: Why Cycling Should Be At the Top of Your To-Do List

Odds are, in the past year you’ve either attended a spin class, been invited to a spin class by a friend or family member, and/or wondered what all the hype is about indoor cycling classes. There’s a reason for all the hype, and it just might make you want to put spinning at the top of your To-Do List this year.

Check out the list below for the incredible list of benefits that indoor cycling can do for YOU. 

The Benefits of Indoor Cycling You Just Can’t Ignore:

1. Indoor Cycling is a Full Body Workout:

An indoor cycling class, like CycleBar, isn’t just any regular ‘ole bike ride. This type of exercise is a full body workout, challenging your cardiovascular endurance and working muscles throughout your entire body:

a. Build strength and endurance in your legs and glutes. While cycling, your legs and glutes are continuously pushing and pulling as you pedal through your ride. The resistance is cranked up, pushing your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes to their max throughout each revolution of the pedals. During a ride, you will also be challenged with intermittent isolation pedaling and consistently move through seated and standing positions to activate and strengthen different leg muscles.

b. Engage your core and arms. While cycling, you engage your core and arms as you work to center yourself on the bike. In an indoor cycling class, like CycleBar in particular, riders further work their core and arms when moving through the motions of standing up and sitting down on the bike, performing tap backs out of the saddle, doing push-ups on the bike, climbing hills, and following the instructor’s choreography.

c. Even more, the classic CycleBar ride includes an arm workout. Each CycleBar class dedicates one full song (3-5 minutes) to an arm workout using the signature weight bar found on all bikes in the studio. With your choice of a 4- or 6-pound bar, your instructor will work you through a series of chest presses, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, rowing motions, and other isolations to target your arms and engage your abs all while still pedaling on your bike.

d. Improve overall body functionality. In general, this type of spin workout will develop coordination, improve overall core stabilization, increase heart and lung capacity, and enhance muscle recruitment throughout your whole body.

2. High Calorie Burn + High “Afterburn Effect”:

Cycling is 50 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular training. The instructor leads the class through various movements of sprinting, hill climbing, and pedaling both in seated and standing positions, varying in intensity throughout the ride, which results in the manipulation of the heart rate up and down. This raising and lowering of the heart rate in high-intensity intervals with short bouts of lower-intensity work triggers a higher calorie burn than a typical steady state cardiovascular workout, like jogging.

Also, the higher intensity the workout, the greater EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), one will experience. EPOC, also known as “afterburn effect”, refers to the body’s elevation of oxygen consumption after a high-intensity workout necessary to restore the body back to its pre-exercise state. This increased intake of oxygen lasts for an extended period of time after your workout, therefore creating an “afterburn” of calories for that period of time following your workout.

Moreover, working larger muscle groups yields a higher calorie and fat burn in general than one would burn training smaller muscle groups. Cycling primarily challenges the largest muscles in the body (the legs and glutes) therefore, one can expend a larger amount of calories during a leg-heavy cardio workout such as cycling.

3. Low-Impact Cardio Option:

When one thinks “cardio”, one of the first things that may come to mind is to go for a run. Running is not the only type of cardio workout out there, and while running has its own list of benefits, running can be very harsh on the body. Cycling, on the other hand, is a lower-impact, effective cardio workout.

Indoor cycling offers an intense cardio workout, minus the pounding on the limbs and joints that running creates. If you’ve ever clipped in to a stationary Schwinn bike, you’re familiar with that feeling of pedaling a bike with incomparable smoothness in resistance and motion of your legs. The smooth ride of a stationary bike not only eliminates the pain and stiffness that may come from running, but could also allow a person to exercise at a higher intensity longer by lowering the risk of injury from consistent pounding.

Moreover, biking and indoor cycling is often used by distance runners as a cross-training workout for this very reason. The low-impact, high-intensity workout aids in recovery of the legs while still exercising and preserving the joints. Cycling is much more forgiving on the knees, ankles and feet while still training the heart at a high level.


*The benefits from the indoor cycling workout that boutique studios like CycleBar have to offer are numerous, which explains the buzz recently generated behind these types of classes. The benefits extend further into cross-training for races and, in some cases, improving individual marathon times. So the next time you’re invited to try out a spin class, think back to this list of insurmountable benefits and see for yourself!

Training for an upcoming race? Keep your eye out for an upcoming blog post on why cycling may be a crucial component to your success.*

With healthy intent [and all the love for spin], 



*This blog post was written for, and in collaboration with, CycleBar Uptown Minneapolis. All content written and composed by Meghan Bergman, NASM CPT.*



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