4 Hot Tips for Indoor Cycling Newbies

Introduce Yourself to the Instructor Before Class Starts

Arrive about 10 minutes early and tell the instructor that you’re new to indoor cycling. That way, he or she can set you up on the bike properly, which is essential for a safe, comfortable, effective ride. The instructor should also show you how the bike works—including how to add or take off resistance, how to gauge your pace, where to put your hands when you’re using different riding positions, and what the different metrics on the bike’s computer screen (if there is one) mean. Knowing the basics before the workout begins will make it that much easier for you to follow along during the class. So be sure to ask questions as they occur to you!

Always Add Resistance When You Come Out of the Saddle

It's a matter of getting enough support, pure and simple. When you’re riding in a standing position, whether your hands are at the back of the handlebars or up front (when you’re climbing a hill or running against resistance, for instance), make sure you have enough resistance on the bike to support your muscles while your legs are moving. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for you to maintain proper form and you could end up hurting yourself. Remember, too: Riding in a standing position can be very challenging for newcomers, so don’t feel compelled to stand for as long as other riders do; sit whenever you want or need to. Similarly, feel free to stand when you need a saddle break if your bottom feels sore. In other words, adjust the ride to accommodate your needs.

Listen to Your Body to Gauge How Hard to Push Yourself

There's no need to kill yourself to try to keep up with the rest of the class. For your first few classes, take it a bit easy and focus on getting the hang of indoor cycling and a feel for the class format. Doing too much or going too hard too soon can suck the fun out of the experience and it can make you sick if you really overdo it. (Even though this is a form of group exercise, the only person you should be competing with is yourself, not your fellow riders.)

Your goal should be to enjoy yourself and to want to come back for more, so work at your own comfort level and enjoy watching it rise over time. Yes, there’s a learning curve to indoor cycling, but it’s a short one. I like to tell newcomers: If you take two or three classes per week, you’ll feel so much stronger and more comfortable within two to three weeks as your body adapts to the challenge.

Talk to the Instructor After Class

Feel free to share your goals (whether it’s losing weight or building aerobic fitness or something else). Tell the instructor what you liked about the class and what you found especially challenging, and ask for advice that addresses your specific concerns. Don’t be intimidated! Remember: Every instructor started out as a newcomer to indoor cycling and every one of us has learned tips and tricks that help improve people’s form and comfort on the bike. You might as well tune into our know-how and make it yours. If you do, your next ride will be that much more rewarding, and you’ll be able to reap more benefits from indoor cycling. That’s what we all want for you!

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