10 Indoor Cycling Tips and Tricks for an Effective Workout
Indoor cycling is a fantastic cardio exercise that gets better with certain tips and tricks. Whether you are new to the activity or an old hat at the game, there’s a lot you can do to maximize the experience. This goes beyond buying the best exercise bikes, or subscribing to premium spinning apps − it entails employing specific hacks to enhance the effectiveness of your workout. Read on to learn these tips and tricks that guarantee the best workout experience!
10 Indoor Cycling Tips and Tricks
Invest in a Fan or Two
Indoor cycling is no child’s play, so be prepared to sweat up a storm! And needless to say, sweating profusely while exercising is the most uncomfortable thing there is, and your performance is bound to suffer. A sweaty body aside from being uncomfortable prevents one from working out at peak performance. Naturally, the environment is designed to keep you cool when you move from one point to another, but sticking to the same spot (as with indoor cycling) defeats that function. That means you will need a fan, and not just any fan, but a functional one. And if you can get two fans, that will be better!
The good news is, big powerful fans for cycling aren’t a rarity and neither do they cost a fortune. You can easily buy one on Amazon or at your local hardware store. And here’s a bonus tip; you can plug the fan or fans into smart plugs and control them via a remote. Ensure to direct the fan to your face and your lower body to enjoy its maximum cooling effect.
Give the ERG Mode a Try
Smart trainers often come with an ERG mode that helps monitor and control intensity levels. An ERG mode set at 200 watts will provide resistance of equal measure (200 resistance) regardless of your cycling cadence. This function is especially great for workout programs with specific targets as the trainer maximizes your effort. However, if you are using an app like Zwift, it is best to use the Sim mode which tailors resistance per the metrics on the screen. Though ERG mode has its benefits, You should note that it has a bit of a learning curve.
Plus, if you suspend your effort (however little) while on the ERG mode, the trainer will amp the resistance to match the given wattage, leading to what is known as the “spiral of death”. And the more the trainer amps up the resistance, the more exhausted your legs will become. Eventually, your cadence will run out and your legs will reach a sudden halt. To keep the “spiral of death at bay|”, increase your cadence before starting a session so, and as you near the end of the ride, don’t let go or give up; instead wait for the trainer to decrease the resistance.
Consider a Front Wheel Block
A front wheel riser block is one of the most underrated accessories on an exercise bike. Most riders don’t consider them an essential accessory because not all bikes need them. However, some bikes are disproportionately built with the rear axle sitting higher than the front, which can suspend an uneven amount of weight to the hands and wrists – causing major discomfort.
Riser blocks serve to stabilize the front wheel or enhance steering functionality (as seen on some workout apps). They are sold in different shapes, heights, and sizes to achieve one or both of the aforementioned functions. Additionally, a riser block elevates your front wheel so you can maintain a balanced riding position that is akin to riding on a road.
Dare to Adjust Your Workout Intensity
Here is one indoor cycling tip that has worked and has been working for eons. Your workout intensity is yours to control and not the other way round. Playing around with the intensity settings not only promotes positive performance output but also helps strike a good workout balance. So when you feel like going all out, dare to explore the higher numbers on the intensity scale, and on days you feel out of sorts, don’t hesitate to drop it down a few notches.
But here’s the caveat: starting a ride with full force can lead to early burnout and dropping down the intensity before you warm up will affect your workout output. So here’s how to do it right; try the recommended intensity for a quarter of the workout and adjust the settings as you go.
A wireless Keyboard or Mouse is Non-negotiable
The last thing you want is to get off your bike each time you want to switch TV channels or catch up with friends on social media. This is why it is wise to invest in a wireless keyboard or mouse that is compatible with your in-training device. A wireless mouse makes it easy to switch between channels or even control your workout intensity while you cycle, so you won’t lose out on quality workout time.
Besides having to get up, stretch, or lean (every minute) on the fly, may dampen your workout spirit. And as far as the best wireless keyboards are concerned, we recommend one with a built-in trackpad and sweat-resistant properties, so it doesn’t get damaged by sweat and moisture.
Pay Attention to Your Workout
Indoor cycling bikes are sold in all shapes and sizes and not all may fit into your space. Thus, it is important to take stock of the size of the bike in comparison to the spot you are planning to set up the bike. Note the features of your floor; whether carpeted, tiled, or concrete. This is because exercise bikes tend to leave unsightly scratches and stains on surfaces and if you’d like to maintain the aesthetics of your floor, you should consider getting a durable floor mat.
Aside from the build of the machine and your space specifications, you should also factor in the noise of the trainer – you don’t want a trainer that will disturb you and your neighbor’s peace. As an alternative, you can set up the trainer in noise-friendly areas of the house such as the basement or garage. Better still, do your research before purchasing an exercise bike for home use and preferably buy an indoor bike with magnetic resistance with minimal noise productivity.
Dedicate a Space for Your Stuff
Yes, you need a secure and convenient space for your stuff when cycling indoors! These include your device (to operate your workout apps or stream entertainment), snacks, water, and smartphones. Although most spin bikes provide a space for your belongings such as a tablet shelf and bottle holder, some bikes may not sport this feature or have sufficient storage space for all your paraphernalia.
In this case, you can go “DIY” by adopting sheet music stands or an ironing board as a makeshift storage solution. These are affordable yet reliable. The best part is they are height and tilt adjustable and fold easily for storage. Or you can situate the bike next to the dining table or kitchen island (if you have enough space that is) where you can place your stuff.
Quality Headphones are a YES
When it comes to injecting enthusiasm into your workout, nothing compares to sound; be it good music, a motivational podcast, or an excellent audiobook. But while the sound may be the magic you need to make the most out of your workout, the people you reside with may not take kindly to your choice of entertainment.
This means you’d have to invest in a set of quality cycling headphones so your neighbors won’t beat the path down to your door and disrupt your workout, every chance they get. So getting a pair of headphones is a worthy investment that guarantees an enjoyable and non-intrusive workout experience.
Don’t Obstruct Your Line of Sight
Imagine being in the middle of an intense workout and you have to crane your neck or strain your eye to keep tabs on your target – that is super-inconvenient you will agree! To avoid this pesky inconvenience, avoid setting your tablet or bike monitor too high.
In line with this, it is best to work with exercise bikes that are equipped with adjustable monitors or tablet stands, so you can tilt them to your desired viewing angle. Squinting too hard or hunching down to keep track of your metrics will not only affect your performance but may potentially damage your eyesight and posture.
Keep a Towel Handy
Intense cycling sessions translate to buckets of sweat that drip from your body onto your handlebars, headset, top tube, and other machine parts that come into unavoidable contact with your sweaty body. Ultimately, of the affected parts, the handlebars take the worst hit.
So it makes sense to drape a towel over the handles so you don’t cause unintentional damage to its internal workings. More so, it is no fun gripping the bars with sweaty hands, so a towel acts as a barrier between your sweat-dripping hands and the handles. That said, microfiber and cotton cycling towels are highly recommended!
And it is a wrap! Sometimes you just need to tweak or try one or two things to modify the feel of your workouts and there’s no better time than now to explore indoor cycling tips and tricks. So consider these 10 tips and tricks is your ticket to a delightful and high-performance yielding workout experience. I also recently went through a couple of indoor cycling myths that you might find helpful if you are getting ready to start your indoor cycling journey.