Since it's important to vary workouts and keep the body guessing, this year I resolved to add indoor cycling to my usual running-and-weights fitness routine. I made sure to wear and bring the right items to the gym, but I learned a few technique-related tips during class that I wish I'd known earlier. Planning to try an indoor cycling class for the first time? Keep these three pointers in mind to steer clear of injuries and make the most of your workout.
- Regularly shift your hands: To avoid stiff, sore wrists, be sure to move your hands around the handlebars by correctly incorporating the standard cycling hand positions. You should try to keep your hands slightly loose — no death grips necessary — and do your best to let your weight fall into your feet, rather than leaning your entire body into your hands. It's also important to keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
- Keep pedal rotations pause-free: Aim to make each pedal revolution as smooth as possible so that you don't put any extra strain on your ankles or the balls of your feet. There's a natural tendency to pause at the bottom of a rotation — especially during standing intervals — so make sure that your leg and glute muscles stay in a constant push-and-pull rhythm. To achieve this, try keeping your feet flat rather than letting your heel turn up and toe push down.
- Focus on technique, not resistance: As you ease into indoor cycling, don't worry too much about the resistance level on your bike. Instead, strive to stay moving throughout the entire class and learn to fluidly transition between the sitting and standing positions. Later, when you've grown more comfortable on the bike, you can begin to worry about increasing resistance and amping up your workout.