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Studio Cycling Class: The Rules Of The Road
by Lee Wright, BS Program Director for Enron' s corporate fitness center the "Body Shop"

Studio cycling is an exciting new training program that brings a new dimension to indoor cycling. It incorporates the physiological and biomechanical science of cycling with motivational techniques of sports psychology to bring aerobic and anaerobic training to a whole new level. When instructed properly and safely, studio cycling workouts are for riders of all fitness levels and populations. It provides an alternative for aerobic training because it is non-impact but can be weight-bearing when lifting off the saddle and cycling while standing in the pedals.

Here are several helpful tips to help you receive the most benefits from your first studio cycling workout:

First check with the facility to learn more about their studio cycling program:

  • Are the instructors certified studio cycling instructors?
  • What types of classes are offered introductory, beginner, advanced levels.
  • Is there a fee or sign-up to participate in class?
  • What do you need to bring to class water bottle, towels, and special cycling shoes?

Inform the instructor that this is your first class and ask he/she to:

  • Teach you about bike set-up adjustments to insure a proper fit. Hasty adjustments can lead to injury.
  • Discuss cycling techniques, elements of the ride, resistance controls, safety and injury prevention and monitoring exercise intensity.

Cycling Apparel:

  • Wear clothes that enhance cooling, prevent skin abrasions and minimize pressure to seated areas.
  • Cycling shorts or gel saddle covers help protect riders and reduce saddle soreness.

Footwear:

  • Cross-trainer tennis shoes that has a stiffer sole.
  • Cycling shoes that fit Look or recessed SPD pedals.

Bring a Water Bottle and a Towel to Class: Adequate hydration throughout the ride is imperative. Indoor cycling raises your body temperature and causes significant perspiration. Drink plenty of water before, during and after training. Bring a towel with you to each class. Please be considerate of other riders by wiping down the bike and surrounding area after each class.

Take Frequent Posture Breaks: The forward flex position of the spine during cycling can become uncomfortable until you have built up your core muscles (abs and back) in the cycling position.
Rules of the Road

Cycling Guidelines:

  • Work at your own level of fitness.
  • It is recommended for riders new to indoor cycle to remain in the saddle most of the time during their first several workouts.
  • Reduce resistance if you begin to feel tired, out of breath, or feel leg muscle fatigue.
  • During exercise monitor your exercise intensity by using the Talk Test (the ability to carry on a conversation during exercise
  • without becoming winded).
  • Take time to sufficiently cool-down after the workout.

Resistance Controls: Each bike has a resistance knob/lever which can be adjusted to make the tension easy, moderate, or more difficult allowing each rider to work at their own fitness level. As you become stronger and more conditioned through studio cycling, you will be able to work at higher levels of resistance controls.
Resistance Knobs:

  • To increase resistance, turn the knob to the right.
  • To decrease resistance, turn the knob to the left.
  • To come to a stop:
  • Press down & hold the knob down. The pedals will stop.
  • Slow pedal speed and come to a controlled stop.
  • Resistance Levers:
  • To increase resistance, push lever down.
  • To decrease resistance, pull the lever up.
  • To come to a stop:
  • The pedals will stop
  • Slow pedal speed and come to a controlled stop.
  • Be sure and have enough resistance when standing in the pedals. Too little resistance can compromise proper pedaling techniques and may lead to knee stress.

Cycling Techniques

  • Basic Seated Pedaling moderate pedaling with moderate resistance.
  • Seated Climbs slower pedaling with moderate to hard resistance.
  • Seated Sprints fast pedaling with light to moderate resistance.
  • More advanced techniques:
  • Standing Climbs slower pedaling with moderate to hard resistance.
  • Standing Sprints fast pedaling with moderate resistance.
  • Jumps/Lifts lifting out of the saddle with fast to moderate pedaling and light to moderate resistance.

Speak with your instructor either before or after the workout if you have any more questions. And remember, Keep Pedaling.....
Lee Wright is the avid cyclist with over twelve years of road and off road cycling experience. She has competed in many long distance cycling tours and is a group studio cycling instructor at The Downtown YMCA. Lee is the co-owner of Cyclistics, a group cycling certification and continuing education company recognized by the American Council on Exercise awarding 1.2 ACE continuing education credits and accredited by the University of Houston earning 1-college semester hour. For information about upcoming Group Cycling Specialists Certifications and workshops, contact Lee at 713-869-8355 or their web site at Cyclistics@yahoo.com

View Lee's Bio




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Lat Pulldowns
Pulldowns are a great exercise for the back muscles but avoid pulling the bar behind the head. Pull the bar down in front of the body toward the collar bone and with the bar just below your chin. Pulling the bar behind the head puts undue stress on the shoulders and rotator cuff.
Running
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Do you have lower leg pain or shin splints from running? Running on hard surfaces, worn out running shoes and weak calf muscles could be the culprit. Try running on soft trails, buying a new pair of running shoes or adding calf exercises to your weight training routine.
Walking
The Talk Test
A great way to make sure you are staying in your aerobic fat-burning range is the talk test. If you cannot comfortably carry on a conversation with your walking partner you probably need to bring down the intensity to assure yourself that you are burning fat.
Fat Burning
Your Anaerobic Threshold
A great way to make sure you are burning fat during cardio sessions is knowing your anaerobic threshold or where your heart rate zone needs to be to burn fat stores. Find a gym or fitness center that offers anaerobic/VO2 testing. Merlino Fitness offers anaerobic threshold testing every month. Check out the link below for more details.
Merlino Fitness Metabolic Testing
Nutrition
Keys to Weight Loss
If you are trying to drop weight make sure you incorporate the following to get you on your way. Drink lots of water, don't skip meals (especially breakfast), do not eat late night meals or snacks after 7 or 8 pm and build as much activity into your everyday life as you can. Michael also recommends joining weight watchers to anyone trying to lose weight and keep it off long term.
Nutritional Supplements
Stay Away From Ephedra!
The weight loss/energy supplement is in the news again. Supplement companies that market this controversial supplement claim it is safe although many have died from this dangerous supplement. Make sure you check the labels of your nutritional supplements as many are laced with ephedra, also known as ephedrine or ma huang (the actual herbal).
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