How to Get the Most out of your Cycling Class

It’s easy to let it all go once you’re inside the dark, sweaty room of your favorite cycling class.  You are chatting with friends, jump onto a bike and the bumpin’ music starts, and you forget to pay attention to your form, your body and what you want from your workout. When it gets down to bare bones, your focus on form and what you are doing determines the effect of your workout as well as whether you will get injured, whether you’ll get the best workout you can, and whether you are doing the exercises correctly. “Listening to your body, ensuring that you are tuned into your muscles and paying attention is key to being the best athlete you can, as well as preventing injury,” says Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, sport psychologist and owner of Fly Fitness in Lincoln, Nebraska.  For many people, she says that because they are new to cycling or not as familiar with some of the moves, they might be doing things incorrectly and potentially putting their bodies at risk. Luckily, the 5 most common mistakes new riders make are easy to fix, said Bruning Brown. Here are the 5 things you need to do to make sure you get the most out of your cycling class sweat session: 1.Show up early.  If you get there late, you can’t get clipped in, get on your bike and get all the equipment figured out.  You need to have a little time to get settled, figure out your bike and know what it feels like on the bike before class starts. 2. Keep your butt back over the saddle (seat).  Many new riders tend to lean forward and put all their weight over the knee and stress the knee joint.  Leaning back will allow you to use more of the leg, not just the quads.  We tend to push down a lot with the legs and forget to use the full circle motion, but sitting back and allowing yourself to pull and push with the pedal uses a more distributed weight, using core, hamstrings and core, says Bruning Brown 3. Relax your shoulders.   Dr. Bruning Brown says that it’s easy to let your shoulders come up during a ride, but to try to remind yourself to bring them down away from your ears to avoid straining your neck. 4. Don’t be scared to add resistance.  If you don’t add resistance, you will bounce out of the saddle, possibly come unclipped and just generally not get as good of a workout.  You need the resistance to build muscle.  Don’t worry ladies, you won’t get BIG, bulky legs, you’ll get BIG confidence! 5. Bring your knees in and tighten the core.  Cycling is not only a leg workout.  By elongating the spine, focusing on your core and inner thigh, you will ensure a full body workout.  Often, new cyclists have difficulty with their legs coming out to the sides and are riding mostly with their quads, says Dr. Bruning Brown.  Using core to control allows a more full body workout and prevents injury.

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Redefining fitness–to empower you to reach your strongest self. Redefining fitness–to empower you to reach your strongest self.
Redefining fitness–to empower you to reach your strongest self. Redefining fitness–to empower you to reach your strongest self.