Here is a line I have heard so many times over 20 years in indoor cycling, cycling and triathlon.
“Spinning, no that is not for me. I ride real bikes outside! You won’t not see me in the studio.”
And I have spent numerous hours to try explaining and convincing all types of endurance athletes to give Spinning a go and see what can be in it for them.
Today I decided to write a blog about it as I think this might clear up a few things and help some to find their way to THE CYCLING ROOM.
First of all, I think it is important for an endurance athlete to know what is out there in the indoor cycling world. Not all Indoor Cycling classes are Spinning or cycling oriented for that matter.
There are different types of indoor cycling studios and classes and I believe it is important for an endurance athlete to know this while selecting which studio to choose for their indoor cycling training:
- Studios like THE CYCLING ROOM, where all classes are using relevant cycling techniques and road simulations. Usually these studios offer different types classes with a variation of training stimuli and intensity levels. These studios are usually using some form of effort related tracking devices (HR and or Power). Classes are a combination of fun, cycling, science and results. What’s more is that at THE CYCLING ROOM each class has different type of training orientation. Some classes are oriented at Cardiovascular base building, called Foundations. Other classes are more interval and strength related such as the Performance and Tabata classes. All other classes on the timetable are designed with training science in mind and will have specific training impulses to them.
- Some studios opt to include upper body exercise, weights and other non-cycling related exercise to the indoor cycling routine. It is THE CYCLING ROOM’s belief that this is not the most effective way and at times not the safest to achieve full body results. That’s why, at THE ROOM venues, we have a wide variety of other group classes like SHAPE, Yoga and Pilates to create full body balance. Very often while speaking to road cyclists or triathletes, irrelevant or outright dangerous moves are one of the main reasons they do not wish to participate in indoor cycling sessions. (also see studio type 4 below)
- Next are studios opting to offer pre-choreographed classes for their Indoor cycling programs. These classes run through a fixed workout set for a period of time (several weeks or months). Although these have proven to be very popular, as THE CYCLING ROOM we have chosen to opt for a wide range of variation in the weekly schedule offering different training stimuli and intensity levels all throughout the week.
- Finally, there are unfortunately quite a few studios where you will find a combination of excessive cadence ranges, unnecessary and unsafe movements on the bike. Unfortunately, in my opinion, these studios can really discredit the indoor cycling sport.
Secondly, why do I think any endurance athlete will take pleasure in experiencing classes at THE CYCLING ROOM or THE PERFORMANCE ROOM (BYOB – bring your own bike studio)?
- The sessions offer systematic training based on basic principles of physiological adaptation through sound work to rest ratios, sets of repetitions, cadence ranges and progressions over the weeks.
- The sessions offer great feedback on efforts and performance levels through data recording of heart rate and/or power, cadence. This in return offers great opportunity to analyze results and offer training plans to athletes.
- Fixed gear bikes allow for each second of training to count as there is no coasting and constant power generation.
- Fixed gear training in general is a great way to improve cycling technique and economy.
- The sessions are a great way to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at virtually no injury risk as there is very low impact and no risk of falling etc.
- Muscle soreness from even the hardest sessions is limited for the experienced athlete, which means that recovery from these sessions will be easier and vastly shorter than sessions that involve impact (such as HIIT running sessions and others). In short, you will have the fatigue but you will not be stiff allowing for effective training again faster.
- The studio offers for a stable environment that allows for efforts to be repeatable and can be compared to previous similar rides. This makes it an excellent environment for field and FTP testing (Functional Threshold Power testing in the BYOB studio) to track fitness progress of an athlete.
- You can train throughout the entire week, even during very busy work days, as these sessions, contrary to your rides outside you do not need for a minimum of 3-4 hours from door to door. You can walk in the studio and get an effective workout for 45’ to 75 minutes at THE CYCLING ROOM.
- Training in a studio obviously does not get impacted by the weather. No matter how hot it gets (or cold and rainy in other regions), your training can go ahead any day. With the upcoming summer in the UAE, no need to mention that this is a great advantage. In cases of extreme heat you can also do longer rides indoors by doubling up classes on at THE CYCLING ROOM.
- A great advantage is the group atmosphere and environment to train in. Especially during the harder workouts it is great to have the support from others to go through to the end of the session.
- When working out on the road, it is very difficult to find people of the same level as yourself to train with all the time. Hence during outdoor group training, some people feel like training too hard or too easy all the time for their own levels. Surely it is fun and great outside but when an athlete wants to train in specific training intensity zones, the studio certainly offers for a better solution for these workouts when wanting to train together.
- Last and not least, in a region like Abu Dhabi and many downtown areas in the world, long hill training is not possible. That is where the studio comes in very handy. You can simulate any type of gradient, duration at any selected intensity. In short, you can prepare for any climb in the world! It personally made me prepare for my first ever climb of the mythical ‘Mont Ventoux’ in France.
Maybe these elements have shed some more light on things now and you might think: ‘Great, I am ready to try this out!’.
What would I recommend to you to start with. If you are a weathered cyclist or triathlete I would recommend you join a Performance (Interval) ride to start with or a Foundations ride (Endurance or Aerobic interval session). After a couple of these you should try out the Tabata (HIIT) session and see how much fun it can be and what great workouts are in store for you at THE CYCLING ROOM.
If you are more of a beginning athlete, the Introductory class is great to get the basics right about bike set-up, breathing, hand positions, the techniques, etc. From there your road probably takes you to the Foundations rides and towards Performance sessions.
THE CYCLING ROOM’s Care Team is ready to welcome and guide you to make your Indoor Cycling training both fun and effective.
Finally, a note to nature loving cyclists who just have an aversion to riding indoors, we hear you, it is not easy to come indoors. That is why, as long as the weather allows for it in Abu Dhabi, we have the Saturday afternoon ride on THE TERRACE!