Indoor cycling: what it is, how it works, benefits, equipment and workout plans

Indoor cycling, or spinning, is a low-impact cardiovascular workout performed on a particular indoor cycling bike setup that combines endurance, intensity, interval, and recovery exercises to mimic outdoor cycling conditions. Like outdoor cycling, biking indoors primarily targets muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors, engages the core, lower back and shoulders to maintain proper cycling posture.

The benefits of indoor cycling are aids in weight loss, enhances muscle strength, flexibility, and stamina, improves balance, posture, joint mobility, and bone strength, promotes lung health, boosts the immune system and defense against diseases, alleviates fatigue, elevates mental and sexual well-being, and assists in combating anxiety and depression while improving sleep quality.

A systematic medical review led by Professor Dr. Manuel Chavarrias from the Faculty of Sport Science, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain in 2019 proved that indoor cycling when combined with a diet, improves the lipid profile, promotes weight loss, reduces blood pressure, and on its own can enhance aerobic capacity.

To start cycling indoors you will need indoor cycling equipment like an indoor training bike, or bike trainer set up with your regular bike, along with indoor cycling accessories and apps. You may want to read related indoor cycling books and take advantage of tech-driven indoor cycling platforms like Peloton, Zwift, Wahoo X and more. Meanwhile, a structured indoor cycling workout plan is necessary, either for an indoor cycling class in the gym or training at home.

Table of Contents

How does indoor cycling work?

Indoor cycling works by providing a comprehensive cardiovascular workout that gets your blood pumping, aiming to burn fat and improve heart health. In structured indoor cycling classes, participants engage in a combination of uphill climbs, sprints, intervals and short recovery periods with easy pedaling, often synced to motivating music. 

These classes typically last 45-60 minutes and are led by an instructor who guides participants through various cycling techniques, including getting off the saddle to pedal in a standing position. Moreover, some indoor cycling classes incorporate a weighted workout for the arms, making it a holistic body exercise. 

When you ride on virtual indoor cycling platforms like Zwift, you can choose from various maps and workouts, along with real-time riding groups or events, which brings the indoor cycling experience to a near-real outdoor cycling session.

Indoor cycling vs outdoor cycling

Indoor cycling differs from outdoor cycling by the environment, equipment used, controlled conditions, external factors, and variety of terrain. Indoor cycling involves stationary bikes in a controlled setting, while outdoor cycling utilizes road or mountain bikes and exposes the rider to varying terrains and weather conditions.

  • Environment: Indoor cycling occurs in a gym or home setting, allowing for consistent conditions and fewer distractions, while outdoor cycling offers a dynamic environment, scenery, and the experience of nature.
  • Equipment: Indoor bikes are designed for stationary use with features to adjust resistance and track workout metrics, whereas outdoor bikes are equipped for different terrains and may include gears.
  • Controlled Conditions: Indoor cycling provides consistent resistance and avoids the unpredictability of weather, making it easier to focus on specific workout goals. In contrast, outdoor cycling is subject to wind, rain, and temperature variations.
  • External Factors: Outdoor cycling requires more attention to traffic, road conditions, and navigation, whereas indoor cycling removes these concerns.
  • Variety of Terrain: While indoor cycling can simulate terrains with resistance changes, outdoor cycling offers genuine climbs, descents, and varied path textures.

Indoor cycling vs outdoor cycling

What does indoor cycling do for your body?

Indoor cycling works for your body by providing a cardiovascular workout that burns calories, strengthens the heart and lungs, tones and builds muscles, particularly in the legs and core, and releases endorphins to boost mood. 

Indoor cycling helps improve stamina, increases muscle endurance, and can offer a low-impact exercise option, reducing strain on joints while still offering an effective workout. Additionally, indoor cycling classes can incorporate resistance training for the upper body, giving a more comprehensive full-body workout.

What muscles do indoor cycling work?

Indoor cycling works on muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes because the pedaling motion requires continuous engagement and contraction of these major leg and gluteal muscles. When maintaining proper posture on the bike, the core muscles including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back, are activated to stabilize the body during the ride.

Does indoor cycling build muscle?

Yes, indoor cycling builds muscles, particularly in the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, by repetitively engaging and contracting these muscles during the pedaling motion because the resistance and intensity of the workout challenge and strengthen these muscle groups over time.

Indoor cycling benefits

The 9 benefits of indoor cycling are numerous, ranging from physical fitness enhancements to improved mental well-being, physical benefits include helping with weight loss, improving muscle strength, improving balance, promoting lung health, boosting immune system and alleviating fatigue, while mental benefits include elevating mental and sexual well-being, helping to release anxiety and improving sleep quality.

  1. Aids in weight loss: Indoor cycling is an intensive cardiovascular workout that burns a significant number of calories in a short time frame. The consistent pedaling increases the heart rate, helping the body to enter a fat-burning zone. Consequently, regular sessions can lead to a reduction in body weight when combined with a balanced diet.
  2. Enhances muscle strength, flexibility, and stamina: As cyclists pedal against resistance on stationary bikes, they engage and strengthen various muscles, especially in the lower body. This consistent activity builds muscle strength and enhances flexibility and boosts overall stamina, preparing the body for prolonged physical tasks.
  3. Improves balance, posture, joint mobility, and bone strength: The seated position and the act of pedaling can enhance one’s posture and balance over time. Moreover, the non-impact nature of indoor cycling makes it gentle on the joints, promoting mobility. The resistance provided by the bike puts stress on the bones, which can increase bone density and strength.
  4. Promotes lung health: Engaging in cardio-intensive workouts like indoor cycling can expand lung capacity and improve respiratory functions. This increased lung efficiency aids in better oxygen distribution throughout the body, benefiting overall health.
  5. Boosts the immune system and defense against diseases: Regular exercise, including indoor cycling, can strengthen the immune system. It facilitates better blood circulation, allowing immune cells to move freely and function efficiently. This enhanced circulation can help in defending the body against potential diseases.
  6. Alleviates fatigue: Despite being a rigorous activity, indoor cycling can reduce feelings of fatigue in the long run. Post-workout, the body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers, giving participants an energy boost and making them feel rejuvenated.
  7. Elevates mental and sexual well-being: The endorphins released during indoor cycling can elevate mood, enhancing both mental and sexual well-being. The improved blood circulation can lead to better brain function and increased libido, positively impacting overall well-being.
  8. Assists in combating anxiety and depression: Regular participation in indoor cycling sessions can lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. The physical activity serves as a natural remedy, releasing chemicals in the brain that act as mood lifters. 
  9. Improves sleep quality: Additionally, as the body gets tired after an indoor cycling workout, it aids in inducing better and deeper sleep.

Indoor cycling benefits

Indoor cycling benefits for ladies

Indoor cycling benefits for ladies are weight management, enhanced muscle tone in the lower body, improved cardiovascular health, stress reduction, increased joint mobility, support during pregnancy, and a boost in mental well-being.

  • Weight management: Indoor cycling helps women burn calories efficiently, aiding in weight loss or maintenance.
  • Enhanced muscle tone in the lower body: The activity targets muscles in the thighs, calves, and glutes, offering toned legs and firmer buttocks.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: Regular indoor cycling can elevate heart rate, enhancing heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Stress reduction: The endorphin release during indoor cycling sessions acts as a natural stress-reliever, promoting relaxation.
  • Increased joint mobility: Indoor cycling is a low-impact exercise, making it beneficial for ladies who seek to improve their joint mobility without excessive strain.
  • Support during pregnancy: With proper guidance, indoor cycling can be a safe way for pregnant women to stay active, benefiting both the mother and the fetus.
  • Boost in mental well-being: Regular sessions can lead to better mental health, helping combat symptoms of anxiety, depression, and promoting overall positivity.

Indoor cycling benefits for ladies

Can you indoor cycle while pregnant?

Yes, you can indoor cycle while pregnant only if you have received clearance from your healthcare professional and you make necessary modifications to ensure safety, because maintaining physical activity can be beneficial during pregnancy, but it’s crucial to prioritize the health and comfort of both the mother and the fetus.

A medical research published in 2023 on the Journal of Health Study and Medicine led by Adam Rzeźnicki from the Department of Social Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Poland gave the result that, 63.96% of women during pregnancy engaged in physical activity, with 18.02% choosing indoor cycling, preceded by walking and swimming as their preferred exercises.

Indoor cycling benefits for men

Indoor cycling benefits for men are improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength and definition, enhanced fat burning, better joint mobility, stress reduction, and a boost in mental sharpness.

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health: Regular indoor cycling sessions can increase heart and lung efficiency, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases.
  • Increased Muscle Strength and Definition: Focused pedaling targets the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, leading to toned and strengthened muscles.
  • Enhanced Fat Burning: High-intensity intervals during indoor cycling can maximize calorie burn, promoting fat loss and weight management.
  • Better Joint Mobility: The low-impact nature of indoor cycling can enhance the range of motion in the knees and hips without adding undue stress.
  • Stress Reduction: Cycling indoors can lead to the release of endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, reducing overall stress.
  • Boost in Mental Sharpness: Engaging in regular indoor cycling can improve concentration, memory, and mental clarity due to increased blood flow to the brain.

Indoor cycling benefits for men

Is indoor cycling actually a good workout?

Yes, indoor cycling is actually a good workout because it offers a combination of cardiovascular endurance, muscle strengthening, calorie burning, and mental engagement. A good workout means it effectively targets multiple areas of fitness while minimizing the risk of injury, and indoor cycling delivers on these fronts by providing high-intensity intervals, resistance variations, and a low-impact environment that suits various fitness levels.

Is indoor cycling good for weight loss?

Yes, indoor cycling is good for weight loss because it helps burn a significant number of calories in a relatively short period. You lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. Depending on the intensity and duration of the workout, indoor cycling can burn anywhere from 300 to 1100 calories in an hour depending on the intensity and body weight. If you engage in indoor cycling for an hour per day for one week, you can burn upwards of 2,100 to 7,700 calories, which can lead to a weight loss of approximately 0.6 to 2.2 pounds(0.27-0.99 kg), given that a deficit of 3,500 calories is roughly equivalent to losing one pound of body weight.

Calories burned indoor cycling

Calories burned indoor cycling in 30 minutes can vary from 150 to 550 calories depending on body weight and intensity. Below is our indoor cycling burned calories calculator based on the Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks(METs) method: 

Calories Burned per minute =MET value × body weight in Kg × 3.5/200

The METs values are from the Compendium of Physical Activities stationary bicycling 2011 version.

Stationary Bike Calorie Burn Calculator
Estimated Results

Calories Burned:

Based on the METs method, below is a quick view of indoor cycling burned calories for 30 and 45 minutes under moderate and vigorous intensity for different body weight persons.

Body Weight (lb/kg)ModerateSpin Bike Class
30 mins45 mins30 mins45 mins
125 lb (56.7 kg)202.42303.62253.02379.53
155 lb (70.3 kg)251.00376.49313.74470.62
185 lb (83.9 kg)299.57449.36374.47561.70

Calories burned indoor cycling

During 45 minutes of indoor cycling at moderate intensity, a 125-pound person can burn approximately 303.62 calories, while a 155-pound person can burn 376.49 calories, and a 185-pound person can burn 449.36 calories.

During a 45-minute spin bike class at vigorous intensity, a 125-pound person can burn around 379.53 calories, a 155-pound person can burn 470.62 calories, and an 185-pound person can burn 561.70 calories.

Does indoor cycling burn belly fat?

Yes, indoor cycling burns belly fat by elevating your heart rate and creating a calorie deficit, which forces the body to use stored fat, including belly fat, for energy. Because weight loss is systemic and not localized, as you burn calories and reduce your overall body fat percentage through indoor cycling, you’ll see a reduction in belly fat over time.

Is a stationary bike good for knees?

Yes, a stationary bike is good for knees because it offers a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that places minimal stress on the joints. However, proper saddle position and an appropriate bike fit setup are crucial to ensure the knees move correctly and to prevent any potential strain or injury.

Is indoor cycling good for knee rehabilitation?

Yes, indoor cycling is good for knee rehabilitation because it provides a controlled, low-impact exercise that promotes joint mobility and muscle strength around the knee. However, it’s essential to consult with a doctor or physiotherapist before starting, to ensure the intensity and duration are appropriate for the individual’s specific condition.

Indoor cycling training for professional cyclists

Indoor cycling training for professional cyclists is a specialized regimen designed to enhance power, endurance, and specific cycling skills in a controlled environment. Because of its ability to simulate various road conditions and set precise resistance levels, it allows cyclists to target specific performance limits and work on areas of improvement without the unpredictability of outdoor factors.

Is indoor cycling good for arthritis?

Yes, indoor cycling is good for arthritis because it offers a low-impact exercise that helps maintaining joint mobility, reducing stiffness, and strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints. However, it’s essential to ensure the correct setup of the bike and maintain a proper riding form to prevent any undue stress on the joints. Consulting with a physician before starting any exercise regimen when having arthritis is always recommended.

Is indoor cycling good for diabetes?

Yes, indoor cycling is good for diabetes because it helps in regulating blood sugar levels by increasing muscle glucose uptake during exercise, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and aiding in weight management, which are crucial for diabetic patients. But it’s essential to monitor blood sugar levels before and after exercise and to have a carbohydrate-based snack on hand in case of hypoglycemia. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning an exercise routine if you have diabetes.

Is indoor cycling good for heart disease?

Yes, indoor cycling is good for heart disease because it offers a cardiovascular workout that strengthens the heart, improves circulation, and helps reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Regular aerobic exercise like indoor cycling can help lower high blood pressure, cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight, all of which are beneficial for heart health. But individuals with heart disease should consult with their cardiologist or primary care physician before starting an indoor cycling routine to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for their specific condition.

Indoor cycling disadvantages

Indoor cycling disadvantages include triggering neck pain, upper and lower back pain, hip pain, groin pain, wrist and hand pain, knee pain, and foot pain, causing numbness and nerve damage, exposing muscles to cramps and injury, inducing genitourinary issues, decreasing bone density, elevating stress over the heart, being expensive, time-consuming, potentially causing frustration, being limited by storage, promoting feelings of loneliness, and raising environmental concerns due to bike production.

Indoor cycling equipment

Indoor cycling equipment includes stationary bikes, trainers, accessories, apps, platforms, and books tailored for the indoor cycling experience.

  • Stationary Bikes: These are specially designed bicycles that remain stationary and are used to mimic the experience of outdoor cycling indoors, providing a controlled environment for effective cardiovascular workouts.
  • Trainers: Trainers allow cyclists to use their regular outdoor bikes indoors by fixing the bike’s rear wheel to a device that provides resistance, offering a familiar and customizable training experience.
  • Accessories: These can range from sweat guards, heart rate monitors, to padded shorts, ensuring comfort, optimizing performance, and collecting data during workouts.
  • Apps: Digital applications can guide training sessions, simulate outdoor routes, provide structured workouts, and monitor performance metrics to enhance the indoor cycling experience.
  • Platforms: Platforms like Zwift or Peloton provide interactive and community-based experiences, offering virtual races, group rides, and classes to motivate and challenge users.
  • Books: Cycling literature provides insights into training techniques, nutrition, recovery strategies, and the science of cycling, equipping enthusiasts with knowledge to enhance their indoor training.

Indoor cycling equipment

Indoor cycling bike

An indoor cycling bike is a stationary exercise machine designed to mimic the feel and fitness benefits of outdoor cycling in an indoor setting, typically equipped with a weighted flywheel, resistance mechanism, and adjustable saddle and handlebars. Indoor cycling bike allows users to engage in high-intensity interval workouts, endurance training, or casual pedaling sessions. 

Either in gyms, fitness centers, or homes, the indoor cycling bike works by adjusting the resistance level, allowing users to simulate various terrains, such as uphill climbs or flat roads, and provides a full-body workout targeting both cardiovascular fitness and muscle strengthening.

How to choose an indoor cycling bike?

To choose an indoor cycling bike, you should consider price, technological features, smart connectivity, brand, type, resistance, comfort, weight limit, height adjustments, speed, warranty, caloric burn potential, space requirements, and the presence of an integrated screen.

  • Price: Determine a budget and compare features within that range, understanding that higher prices often correlate with more features or durability.
  • Technological features: Determine if you want a tech-driven bike with features like heart rate monitoring, virtual courses, or training programs.
  • Smart connectivity: Advanced bikes might offer connectivity to fitness apps or online platforms, elevating the training experience with data tracking and interactive workouts.
  • Brand: Brands like Sunny Health & Fitness, Marcy, and Schwinn are popular, but always check reviews and ratings.
  • Type: Decide between Upright, Recumbent, or Indoor Cycle based on your fitness goals and comfort preferences.
  • Resistance: Ensure the bike offers varying resistance levels to suit beginners to advanced riders and mimic different terrains.
  • Comfort: Look for bikes with padded seats, ergonomic handlebars, and adjustability to ensure a comfortable riding experience.
  • Weight limit: Check the bike’s maximum weight capacity to ensure it can support your weight comfortably and safely.
  • Height: Ensure the bike’s seat and handlebars are adjustable to accommodate your height and provide an ergonomic fit.
  • Speed: Investigate if the bike has a speedometer and the range it offers, as this can influence the intensity of workouts.
  • Warranty: Consider bikes that offer longer warranty periods, which can be an indicator of durability and quality.
  • Caloric burn potential: Some bikes display estimated caloric burn; consider this feature if tracking calories is essential for your fitness goals.
  • Space requirements: Measure your available space to ensure the bike fits comfortably without hindering movement around it.
  • Integrated screen: Some bikes come with screens that display metrics or virtual cycling routes, enhancing the workout experience.

How to choose an indoor cycling bike

How much does an indoor cycling bike cost?

An indoor cycling bike costs from as low as $78 for Schwinn IC2 on Walmart clearance to over $2,495 for premium models from top brands like the Peloton Bike+ model. Prices can fluctuate based on the brand’s reputation, technological features such as smart connectivity and integrated screens, build quality, design, and added accessories. It’s essential to check current prices and customer reviews on platforms like Amazon, brand websites, or other retail outlets for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Indoor cycling trainer

An indoor cycling trainer is a device that allows cyclists to use their regular outdoor bicycle in a stationary position indoors. The indoor cycling setup typically involves a trainer, the cyclist’s own bike, and sometimes a screen or device for virtual cycling experiences. The trainer holds the bike in place while providing resistance, simulating the feeling of riding outdoors. 

Indoor cycling trainer has become increasingly popular among professional cyclists, fitness enthusiasts, and even casual riders. The reason for its popularity stems from the convenience of training indoors regardless of weather conditions, the ability to engage in virtual races or training programs with apps like Zwift, and the specific training control it offers. It’s especially favored by those who want to maintain their cycling routine year-round or prefer the consistency and safety of an indoor environment.

What are the types of indoor cycling trainers?

The primary types of indoor cycling trainers are roller, turbo trainer, smart trainer and direct-drive trainer. Indoor cycling trainers come in various types, each offering a unique riding experience and catering to different needs. 

  • Turbo trainer: the most common indoor cycling trainer in the market, affordable and easy to pack and setup.
  • Rollers: Unlike other trainers where the bike is clamped in position, rollers require you to balance the bike on three cylindrical rollers, which can improve balance and pedaling technique. However, they have a steeper learning curve and might not offer the same resistance features as other trainers.
  • Smart Trainers: These are interactive trainers that can connect to devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones. They can automatically adjust resistance based on virtual terrains or training programs. Compatible with platforms like Zwift and TrainerRoad, they offer a more immersive and dynamic training experience but are usually pricier.
  • Direct Drive Trainers: This type requires you to remove the rear wheel and connect the bike directly to the trainer. They provide a high level of accuracy, less noise, and a realistic ride feel. Many of the newer models are smart trainers.

What are the types of indoor cycling trainers

Indoor cycling roller

An indoor cycling roller is a type of bike trainer that consists of three cylindrical rollers on a frame. Cyclists place their bikes directly on these rollers and pedals, requiring them to maintain balance and proper alignment while cycling. Unlike other stationary trainers where the bike is anchored in place, rollers demand more skill and concentration, as there’s a risk of slipping off if not balanced correctly. This design provides a workout for the legs and improves core stability, balance, and pedaling technique. The resistance on most rollers comes from the friction between the tire and the roller, offering a road-like feel to the rider.

Indoor cycling turbo trainer

An indoor cycling turbo trainer is a device that allows cyclists to use their own bicycle in a stationary position for training or exercise indoors, it works by securing the bike’s rear wheel into a stand that provides resistance, simulating the feeling of riding on the road. The resistance can often be adjusted to mimic different terrains, such as climbing hills, and some modern turbo trainers are can be “smart” by adding a Bluetooth Ant+ receiver, meaning they can connect to computers or tablets to provide real-time feedback or to virtual training programs like Zwift. This type of trainer is popular among cyclists who want to maintain their training regimen in inclement weather or want specific, controlled workout sessions without the variables of outdoor cycling.

Indoor cycling smart trainer

The indoor cycling smart trainer is a technologically advanced training device that allows cyclists to connect their own bicycles and train in a stationary position indoors. Unlike traditional turbo trainers, smart trainers can automatically adjust resistance based on software inputs by ergometer mode(ERG) mode., such as a virtual cycling program like Zwift, RGT(Wahoo system), Rouvy, TrainerRoad or a structured workout. 

These indoor smart trainers communicate wirelessly with computers, tablets, or smartphones, allowing riders to experience simulated real-world terrains, participate in virtual races, and receive detailed performance metrics. The interactivity and feedback provided by smart indoor trainers offer cyclists a more engaging and precise training experience, making them particularly popular among serious enthusiasts and professionals seeking to optimize their workouts.

Indoor cycling direct drive trainer

Indoor cycling direct drive trainer is a type of stationary bike training device where the bicycle’s rear wheel is removed, and the bike’s drivetrain directly connects to the resistance mechanism. This setup provides a more accurate and realistic riding experience by eliminating the tire-to-roller contact, which in turn reduces slip and tire wear. The direct connection results in more consistent power measurement and more precise resistance changes. 

By minimizing external variables, direct drive trainers often offer better stability, higher resistance levels, and a quieter operation than their wheel-on counterparts. Many modern direct-drive trainers incorporate smart technology, allowing them to interact with training apps and simulate various terrains and conditions for an immersive training session.

Indoor cycling trainer vs indoor cycling bike

Indoor cycling trainer differs from indoor cycling bike by allowing users to utilize their own bikes, offering more portability, often being smart-connected, and typically being less expensive, whereas indoor cycling bikes provide a specific design for indoor workouts, built-in metrics consoles, and adjustable settings.

Indoor Cycling Trainer:


  • Allows you to use your own bike, ensuring a consistent fit and feel.
  • Generally more compact and can be stored easily.
  • Versatile: Many trainers are “smart” and can connect to training software.
  • Can replicate real-world cycling conditions with variable resistance.


  • Requires setup each time (removing the wheel or mounting the bike).
  • Wear and tear on your actual bike’s drivetrain.
  • Quality and experience can vary based on the trainer and bike combination.
  • Potential for tire wear in wheel-on trainers.

Indoor Cycling Bike:


  • Specifically designed for indoor cycling, often resulting in a smoother ride.
  • Resistance levels can be easily adjusted.
  • Doesn’t put wear and tear on your outdoor bike.
  • Many come with built-in screens or consoles for tracking metrics.


  • Takes up more space and is less portable.
  • Limited to the design and feel of the indoor bike.
  • Often more expensive than a basic trainer.
  • Doesn’t offer the same “real bike” experience for serious cyclists.

Indoor cycling trainer vs indoor cycling bike

FeatureIndoor Cycling TrainerIndoor Cycling Bike
Utilizes Own BikeYesNo
Portability/StorageGenerally more compactBulkier and less portable
ConnectivityMany are smart trainersVaries by model
Wear on a Personal BikeYesNo
ExperienceReal-bike feelDesigned specifically for indoor cycling
CostTypically less expensive for basic modelsOften more expensive
AdjustabilityBased on your own bikeBuilt-in adjustable settings
Built-in Metrics ConsoleNo (requires external device/app)Many have built-in screens/consoles

Indoor cycling accessories

Indoor cycling accessories include items such as fans, power meter, heart rate monitor, smart plugs, towels, sweat protectors, indoor cycling shoes, indoor cycling clothing, wireless keyboards, phones, desks, and rocker plates.

  • Fans: Essential for cooling and ventilation, fans help in regulating the rider’s body temperature during intense indoor cycling sessions.
  • Power meter: Used for indoor cycling, measures the actual power output a rider produces in real-time, providing precise data on performance and effort.
  • Heart rate monitor: monitors and displays a cyclist’s heart rate, offering insights into their cardiovascular exertion and fitness levels during a workout. 
  • Smart plugs: Useful for controlling various electronic devices, smart plugs can optimize the indoor cycling environment by managing lights, fans, or other connected devices.
  • Towels: A necessary accessory, towels help in wiping away sweat, preventing slips, and maintaining hygiene during workouts.
  • Sweat protectors: These protect the bike and floor from the excessive sweat, ensuring longevity of equipment and cleanliness of the space.
  • Indoor cycling shoes: Specifically designed for indoor cycling, these shoes offer a secure fit and better power transfer, enhancing the pedaling efficiency.
  • Indoor cycling clothing: Tailored for comfort and sweat-wicking, indoor cycling clothing helps riders feel more comfortable and less restricted during workouts.
  • Wireless keyboard: Handy for riders using apps or platforms on a larger screen, a wireless keyboard allows them to change settings or interact without dismounting.
  • Phone: Essential for tracking workouts, streaming classes, or playing music, the phone is a central device for many indoor cyclists.
  • Desk: Positioned in front of the bike, desks can hold laptops, tablets, or other items, making it easier for riders to follow along with virtual classes or multitask.
  • Rocker plates: These platforms allow a slight side-to-side motion of the bike, simulating the feeling of riding on a road and reducing static pressure on certain parts of the body.

Indoor cycling accessories

What should I wear while indoor cycling?

While indoor cycling, you should wear moisture-wicking clothing, padded cycling shorts, and indoor cycling shoes because these items enhance comfort, reduce friction, and improve pedal efficiency. Moisture-wicking clothing helps to draw sweat away from the body, preventing overheating and skin chafing. Padded cycling shorts offer cushioning, reducing pressure on the sit bones and preventing saddle sores. Indoor cycling shoes, with their stiff soles and cleat system, ensure a secure connection to the pedals, allowing for better power transfer and protection for the feet.

How should indoor cycling shoes fit?

Indoor cycling shoes should fit snugly but not too tightly, with a secure heel to prevent slippage, and allow for a slight amount of toe room. This ensures efficient power transfer to the pedals, minimizes foot movement inside the shoe, and reduces the risk of blisters and hot spots. It’s crucial that the arch of the shoe matches the arch of your foot for optimal comfort and support during rides. Always try them on with the same socks you plan to cycle in, and test the shoes in a cycling position, as feet can expand slightly under pressure.

Indoor cycling app

Indoor cycling app is a digital platform designed to enhance and guide indoor cycling workouts through features like virtual routes, training programs, performance analytics, and real-time feedback. The top indoor cycling apps are Strava, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Wahoo X System, Rouvy, FulGaz, BKOOL and MyWhoosh.

  • Strava: Predominantly known for its social features, Strava allows cyclists to track their workouts, test FTP in cycling, share their achievements, and compete in challenges. While not exclusive to indoor cycling, many use it to log and analyze their indoor workouts.
  • Zwift: Zwift provides a virtual world for cyclists, allowing them to train and compete in a gamified environment, making indoor workouts more engaging.
  • TrainerRoad: TrainerRoad focuses on structured training plans tailored to individual fitness goals, offering a vast library of workouts and in-depth performance analysis.
  • Wahoo X system (formerly known as Sufferfest): This system offers a comprehensive training solution with video-based workouts, targeting cycling and strength, yoga, and mental training.
  • Rouvy: Rouvy offers augmented reality cycling experiences, overlaying 3D avatars on real-life video routes from around the world.
  • FulGaz: FulGaz replicates real-world rides through high-quality video content, giving riders a more realistic training experience on routes from all over the globe.
  • BKOOL: BKOOL offers an immersive 3D cycling experience, combining real-world video with virtual environments, allowing cyclists to ride routes from all over the world.
  • MyWhoosh: MyWhoosh provides guided workouts with real-time feedback, tailored to the cyclist’s performance and goals, ensuring an effective and dynamic indoor cycling experience.

Indoor cycling app

Indoor cycling platforms

Indoor cycling platform is a digital interface designed to offer immersive and structured training experiences for indoor cyclists, combining elements of virtual reality, real-world visuals, and structured workouts to enhance user engagement and training effectiveness. The best indoor cycling platforms are Zwift, Wahoo X, Rouvy, and Peloton.

  • Zwift: A highly interactive platform, Zwift offers a gamified experience by allowing cyclists to train and compete in a virtual world, making indoor workouts feel like an adventurous journey.
  • Wahoo X (formerly known as Sufferfest): The Wahoo X system provides a holistic training solution, encompassing video-based workouts that are about cycling and focus on strength, yoga, and mental training, aligning with the holistic approach to indoor cycling.
  • Rouvy: By offering augmented reality cycling experiences, Rouvy overlays 3D avatars on top of real-world video routes, thereby merging the virtual with the real for a more immersive indoor cycling session.
  • Peloton: As a premium subscription-based service, Peloton provides live-streamed and on-demand indoor cycling classes led by professional instructors, emphasizing both the community and motivational aspects of indoor cycling.

Indoor cycling platforms

Indoor cycling books

Indoor cycling books are written resources designed to provide insights, guidance, and structured workouts for enthusiasts looking to maximize their indoor cycling experience. The best top 4 indoor cycling books are listed below.

  • Ride Inside: The Essential Guide to Get the Most Out of Indoor Cycling, Smart Trainers, Classes, and Apps by Joe Friel and Jim Rutberg (2020): This comprehensive guide delves deep into the nuances of indoor cycling, offering readers knowledge on leveraging smart trainers, joining effective classes, and utilizing apps to optimize their training.
  • Workouts in a Binder for Indoor Cyclists by Dirk Friel and Wes Hobson (2005): A practical guide for those seeking structured training sessions, this book provides a series of workouts that can be easily followed during indoor cycling sessions, ensuring variety and progression.
  • Spin Perfect: Indoor Cycling Made Simple by Tony Tempest (2018): Aimed at simplifying the indoor cycling experience, this book breaks down techniques and offers straightforward advice for both novices and seasoned spin enthusiasts.
  • Ride and Shine: How to Become a Successful Indoor Cycling (or Group Exercise) Instructor by Izabela Ruprik (2020): Catering to those who aspire to instruct, this book offers step-by-step guidelines and professional insights into becoming a successful indoor cycling instructor or group exercise leader.

Indoor cycling workout

Indoor cycling workout is a structured exercise routine that involves riding a stationary bike to simulate the challenges and intensity of outdoor cycling. The primary focus of an indoor cycling workout is to improve cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and strengthen key muscle groups in the legs, core, and occasionally the upper body.

These indoor cycling workouts can be conducted in gym classes, where an instructor guides participants through various phases of exercise, or online through platforms that provide virtual terrains and coaching. At-home workouts offer flexibility, as individuals can follow along with pre-recorded sessions or live-streamed classes. 

To start an indoor cycling workout session, one requires a stationary bike (either an indoor cycling bike or a regular bike mounted on a trainer) and, depending on the format, a screen or device to access the online content.

Indoor cycling class

Indoor cycling class is a guided fitness session where participants ride stationary bikes to the instruction of a certified trainer, often accompanied by music and sometimes visual simulations of outdoor terrains. 

How long does an indoor cycling class last?

Typically an indoor cycling classe lasts between 45 to 60 minutes, though they can vary in duration based on the program and the instructor’s design. 

How much does an indoor cycling class cost?

A single indoor cycling class like a spin class will cost between USD 10 to USD 35, depending on the studio’s location, the instructor’s expertise, and the amenities provided. Premium studios in metropolitan areas and those with celebrity trainers might charge more, while community gyms and local fitness centers may offer more affordable rates. Many studios offer package deals or monthly memberships, which can reduce the cost per class if you attend regularly.

Are indoor cycling classes worth it?

Yes, indoor cycling classes are worth it because they provide a structured, high-intensity workout led by experienced instructors who can motivate participants to push their limits. The group setting fosters a sense of community and camaraderie, enhancing the overall workout experience. Moreover, the classes often incorporate music, lighting, and other elements to create an engaging and immersive atmosphere. The variety of routines and the ability to adjust resistance levels mean that participants can customize the workout to their fitness levels. 

However, it’s essential to consider the costs of indoor cycling classes, as frequent classes can become expensive, and some people might find similar benefits from free or lower-cost resources or by cycling on their own.

How to become a certified indoor cycling instructor?

To become a certified indoor cycling instructor, you should research available certifications, meet prerequisites, enroll in a certification course, complete the course, pass the exam, maintain your certification, gain experience and stay updated.

  • Research Available Certifications: Begin by researching and selecting a reputable certification program specific to indoor cycling. Popular programs include Spinning, Schwinn, and Stages Cycling, among others.
  • Meet Prerequisites: Ensure you meet any prerequisites set by the certification body. This often includes a minimum age requirement and sometimes a general group fitness certification or CPR/AED certification.
  • Enroll in a Certification Course: Once you’ve selected a program, enroll in their certification course. This may be offered as an in-person workshop or an online course, depending on the program.
  • Complete the Coursework: Attend the course, which typically covers indoor cycling techniques, safety guidelines, class structure, music selection, and effective coaching techniques.
  • Pass the Exam: At the end of the course, you’ll likely have to pass a written and sometimes practical exam to demonstrate your understanding and proficiency.
  • Maintain Your Certification: After becoming certified, many programs require instructors to earn continuing education credits and renew their certification every couple of years.
  • Gain Experience: Start by teaching classes at local gyms, studios, or community centers. Over time, as you gain more experience and build a following, you can explore opportunities to teach at larger fitness centers or even open your own studio.
  • Stay Updated: The world of fitness is continually evolving. Regularly attend workshops, training sessions, and conferences to stay current with the latest trends and techniques in indoor cycling.
Best indoor cycling teaching techniques

The best indoor cycling teaching techniques are consistent communication, incorporating varied resistance levels and intervals, using motivational music and cues, setting clear objectives for each session, employing visualization techniques, providing personalized feedback and corrections, offering modifications for varying fitness levels, and emphasizing safety and proper bike setup. These techniques make the indoor cycling class engaging and effective, ensure participants feel supported and motivated throughout their indoor cycling journey.

How to start an indoor cycling studio?

To start an indoor cycling studio, you should research the market, create a business plan, secure funding, choose a suitable location, obtain necessary licenses and permits, design the studio layout, purchase cycling equipment, hire and train instructors, develop a class schedule, implement marketing and branding strategies, and establish a membership or pricing structure.

Indoor cycling at home

Indoor cycling at home is the practice of using a stationary bike or indoor cycling trainer to simulate outdoor cycling within the comfort of one’s own residence. Unlike attending an indoor cycling class like a spin class, which is led by an instructor in a group setting and often includes synchronized music, choreography, and a specific workout structure, indoor cycling at home provides individuals with the flexibility to set their own pace, choose their own routines, and exercise without the constraints of scheduled class times. While spin classes provide a sense of community, motivation from peers, and a structured workout, indoor cycling at home offers convenience, privacy, and the ability to customize the experience based on personal preferences and needs.

How often should you do indoor cycling at home?

You should do indoor cycling at home 3 to 5 times per week if you’re aiming for general fitness and cardiovascular improvement. For beginners or those just getting into exercise, starting with 2 to 3 sessions per week can help build endurance and familiarity with the workout. However, if training for a specific goal or event, the frequency might increase, combined with varying intensities and durations. Always ensure to listen to your body, allowing time for recovery, and consult with a fitness professional or physician if uncertain about the right frequency for your individual circumstances.

How much should you do indoor cycling at home?

You should do indoor cycling at home for 30 to 45 minutes per session, 3 to 5 times per week if you’re aiming for general fitness and cardiovascular improvement. For beginners or those returning to exercise after a hiatus, starting with 15 to 20 minutes per session, 2 to 3 times a week, can help build endurance without overwhelming the body. For those training for specific goals or events, the duration might extend to 60 minutes or more, combined with varying intensities and durations.

Is 30 minutes on a stationary bike enough?

Yes, 30 minutes on a stationary bike can be enough if your goal is to maintain general cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, or achieve a moderate daily exercise routine. The effectiveness of a 30-minute session can be enhanced by incorporating interval training, increasing resistance levels, or maintaining a consistent and challenging pace.

What is the average heart rate while indoor cycling?

The average heart rate while indoor cycling is typically between 130 to 160 beats per minute for most adults, because this range represents a moderate to vigorous exercise intensity suitable for cardiovascular conditioning. However, individual heart rates can vary based on factors like age, fitness level, and the workout’s intensity. It’s essential to understand your personal heart rate zones and monitor them during exercise to ensure you’re training effectively and safely.

What is the average indoor cycling speed?

The average indoor cycling speed equals 12 mph(19.31 kph) at a moderate intensity with 80 RPM (revolutions per minute), the calculation is based on the METs method and data from the Compendium of Physical Activities USA 2011 version.