Indoor cycling integrates motivating music, mind-body synergy and unparalleled training benefits. The devotee accepts no substitutes. For others, however, indoor cycling feels more like an hour of pain and suffering than an hour of cardiovascular bliss. Instructors have done a wonderful job of putting this format at the forefront of fitness. Now it’s time to introduce cross-training to the die-hards, craft inviting classes for beginners and create a total-body workout that is inclusive and fun.
Enter “Cycle Circuit.” This class adds circuit exercises to regular training drills. Advanced students get everything they’ve come to expect: long progressive hills, steady-state flats and, oh, those intervals! But the intervals take on a different meaning with added circuits that introduce strength, agility and balance. The interactive, game-like atmosphere is nonintimidating and fun, which helps beginners see indoor cycling as something that is within their reach.
Cycle Circuit Details
Arrange the cycles in a circle, slightly wider than shoulder distance apart from one another. Leave an open space inside the circle.
Format: indoor cycling circuit for 20 participants
Total Time: approximately 70 minutes
Equipment Needed: Use what’s available to you; the sky’s the limit. Choices depend on room size, number of participants and goal of each station, drill or class theme.
For the class detailed here, you need 20 Xertube® or Ultra Toner™ resistance tubes, one medicine ball, 40 paper plates, 20 half foam rollers and one jump rope.
Music: Choreograph music to dictate the ride profile and circuit. Here is a sample breakdown:
- warm-up: 145 beats per minute (bpm); “Happy” by Ashanti
- progressive hill climb: 135 bpm; “Bass Beat Melody” (P.A.L.)” by Brooklyn Bounce vs. Safri Duo
- recovery flat: 60 bpm; “I Feel Good” by James Brown
- lower-body training off the bike: 130 bpm; “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Tom Jones
- intervals off and on the bike (medicine ball pass, jump rope count): bpm varies; “Proud Mary” (the faster part) by Ike and Tina Turner
- steady-state flat run: 170 bpm; “Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley
- aerobic interval hill climb: 130 bpm; “Softer to Me” by Relient K
- handlebar abdominal “Roman Chair”: “All Right Now” by Dave Betros
- upper-body training off the bike: 130 bpm; “Best Friend” by Toni Braxton
- cool-down/stretch off the bike: varying bpm; “Blackbird” by the Beatles
Use your own discretion and teaching style when instructing the ride segments, staying within time and safety parameters. Follow instructions provided below for circuits.
Begin pedaling at an easy to moderate pace. Use the following checklist while preparing the body for the workload ahead:
- Make sure participants are properly fitted on bikes.
- Cue correct body alignment.
- Review rating of perceived exertion and/or heart rate maximum.
- Preview class format.
- Perform general upper-body limbering exercises.
- progressive-intensity hill climb, 12 minutes
- steady-state recovery flat, 3 minutes
Circuit Station 1
Lower-body training off the bike, 6 minutes.
1. Face bike in athletic stance. Place a paper plate under each foot and hold handlebars. Slide right leg back, lunge with left. Slide back to start. Repeat slowly (4 counts out and 4 counts in) 10–12 times. Repeat on opposite leg.
2. Perform 10 sliding plié squats.
Circuit Station 2
Medicine ball pass on the bike.
Determine interval time by how quickly the medicine ball is passed around the circle. This depends on the number of people and will range between 20 and 60 seconds. Choose a start person and begin timing. While pedaling at a moderate pace, pass ball as quickly as possible until it reaches the start point again. Pass two or three more times if the group is small. Stop timer, put ball aside and tell group how long next interval will be. Perform aerobically challenging interval while seated or standing. Repeat a few times to see if group can reduce time.
Circuit Station 3
Jump rope count, approximately 6 minutes.
Ask a participant to stand in middle of circle and jump rope. At “Ready, set, go,” riders do an interval while selected participant completes 100 jumps. Repeat with another jumper. Count jumps aloud to build excitement. Note: Perform this same drill with push-ups, sit-ups, squat jumps, etc. Use center of circle as “stage.”
- steady-state flat run, 7 minutes
- aerobic-interval hill climb, 8 minutes
Circuit Station 4
Handlebar abdominal “Roman Chair,”
Stand between two bikes, facing center of circle. Grasp ends of handles and rest forearms on handlebars (use small towels if uncomfortable). Lift knees to chest using abdominals and lower slowly. If advanced, perform with straight arms. Repeat 10–12 times.
Circuit Station 5
Upper-body training off the bike, 6 minutes.
1. Stand facing bike. Wrap tubing around handlebar and handlebar post (choose tubing that will cause fatigue at 10–12 reps). Align chest with anchored tubing spot and, from either a squat or lunge position, perform 10–12 reps of each of the following:
- back flye
- low row
- high row
2. Turn away from bike and grasp handles. Align with tubing anchor point again and perform chest press, 10-12 reps.
3. Lean forward and simulate swim stroke, pulling down with tubing, 10-12 reps.
4. Place half foam roller dome-side down under knees or hands (for balance challenge) and do 20 push-ups.
Use the bike for whole-body stretches: calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, shoulders and back, 6–10 minutes. Congratulate class for a job well done.
Photography: Jim Coit; Photo taken at Bally total fitness, san diego
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