By Danielle Braff, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:43 PM EDT, September 26, 2012
Bringing your cycling workout indoors doesn't mean you have to ditch the exhilarating experience. The newest craze in indoor cycling — SoulCycle — has become an addiction for many of its followers. It's a full-body fat-burning and strength-training workout that's fun and easy to follow — even if it's your first time cycling.
The fad is popping up in studios throughout the country, but if it hasn't come to your neck of the woods yet, try routine, a class created by MB Regan, a Los Angeles-based SoulCycle master instructor. Every exercise should last 3 to 5 minutes — or the length of one song, unless instructed otherwise.
Indoor cycling info
If you've never cycled indoors before, study this cheat sheet before you hop onboard.
Perfect posture: Core engaged, shoulders down, arms slightly bent. The seat should be a forearm's length from the handlebars, and your legs should be almost fully extended with a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Resistance: Depending on the bike, this would be adjusted with a knob or a wheel under the handlebars. Turn the knob to increase the resistance.
Position one: Seated in the saddle with your hands in the center of the back of the handlebars.
Position two: Hovering above the saddle, core engaged with your hands on the middle bar of the handlebars, shoulders down.
Position three: Core engaged, riding parallel to the bike, shoulders down, butt back, hovering over the saddle, hands lightly grasping the end of the handlebars.
Why: To test your core stability in and out of the saddle.
Try it: Sit on the bike and then rise up using your core. Hover over the seat, and with light-to-moderate resistance on the wheel, start at a jog. Add resistance if it's too easy. Think about pulling up with your knees rather than pushing down with your legs.
Why: Sprints are the best way to improve your aerobic endurance. Not only is it an uplifting, powerful exercise, but you'll also burn fat, raise your metabolism and strengthen your heart. When your body gets exhausted, it starts releasing endorphins, which can give you that runner's high.
Try it: Sitting on the bike, start with light-to-medium resistance on the wheel, while keeping your shoulders down, chest open and upper body relaxed. Keep your core engaged and start pedaling as fast as you can. After sprinting for 1 minute, start your interval training by pedaling slowly for 40 seconds followed by a 30-second sprint. Before you start each sprint, add on a little resistance.
Why: This exercise strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, core and quads.
Try it: Wrap your hands lightly around the end of the handlebars (you should still be able to wiggle your fingers) and rise out of the seat into the third position (see how-to box on positions). Keep your chest lifted and shoulders down while your hips stay still. Keep a constant pace as you turn up your resistance every 30 to 45 seconds.
Why: Build your core strength.
Try it: Push your body out of the saddle using your core in a slow, controlled motion with moderate-to-heavy resistance on your bike wheel. Your hips should be back over the seat as you lightly grasp the end of the handlebars, keeping your core engaged. Keep your shoulders down and your chest open without leaning too hard on the handlebars. Bend and extend your elbows out to the side, lowering and raising your chest in a pushup position. Do this slowly and in control with moderate-to-heavy resistance on your bike. While you're doing the pushups, continue pedaling.
Why: Strengthen your triceps.
Try it: Lift out of the saddle and do a light jog, remembering to pull your knees up with each rotation. Put your hands in first position, keeping your core engaged so you don't lean forward. Stay upright with your elbows by your side, then bend and extend them (elbows still at your sides) like you're absorbing a bump. Then pulse with your arms.
Why: This one is all about having a good time with a little biking choreography while getting your heart rate up.
Try it: Start in third position with your hands at the end of the handlebars. Your hips should be over the front of the seat as you keep your core engaged and your shoulders down. From the front of the seat, rhythmically shift your hips to tap the back of the seat, and then return your hips to the front of the seat and repeat, doing a small pelvic thrust in time to your music. Return your hips to the front of the seat and repeat.
Mini arm routine
Why: You'll get a complete upper-body workout that strengthens and tones your arms, shoulders and back.
Try it: Grab 1- to 5-pound hand weights and hold the weights while you sit up straight and tall on the bike with your core engaged. You should be biking throughout the exercises with medium resistance at the pace of a moderate climb. Do each exercise 32 times.
Biceps curls: Holding the weights with your hands facing up, raise the weights toward your shoulders. Slowly lower down, keeping your core engaged, your back straight and your elbows still.
Chest press: Lifting the weights to chest level, hands holding the weights facing away, keeping your elbows bent. Slowly push the weights away from your body and then pull back in, keeping your body stable by engaging your core.
Chest fly: Hold the weights out in front of your body, hands holding the weights toward each other. Move your hands slowly toward and away from each other as you squeeze your chest.
Shoulder press: Start with the weights at shoulder height with your forearms up at 90 degrees. The weights should be at about the height of your head. Press the weights up over your head, keeping your elbows and wrists stacked one over the other. Lower to your starting position and repeat.
Triceps: Hold the weights behind your head with your elbows pointing forward. Raise and lower the weights by bending and extending your elbows.
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