Any sport, be it running, cycling, swimming, rowing, football, badminton or anything for that matter, does require some kind of cross training. This is primarily because we can’t keep training the same way over and over again, as it would just end up over-tiring the muscles and hence an injury.
There are various options like aerobics, zumba, rowing, climbing, and more that you could choose from. But if you’re into other sports and looking for a cross-training, then indoor cycling might be a good option compared to other options and here are the reasons why it could be so.
If you’re afraid of your knees hurting after an hour of cross-training, then you may not need to worry about that while spinning. Indoor cycling has very low impact on your body, provided you maintain a good posture while spinning. This way you could get the benefits of cross training with very little impact.
Cycling indoor is effective in terms of boosting endurance, especially for someone who would want to train for endurance but want less impact and want to train indoors. Moreover, during summer, when it is tough to do any of the endurance sport outdoor, indoor cycling is a great option to train for endurance.
Key to achieving more power and speed
Indoor cycling works on increasing both power and speed. While both power as well as speed are essential for any sport and are the key factors, spinning is a good way to increase both. Especially due to the fact that while playing the sport you focus, you might end up not paying enough attention to power and speed. With specific spin sessions, you can dedicate the session to speed and power.
Activation of slow twitch and fast twitch muscles – intervals.
Interval training on an indoor bike is always a good idea even for cyclists. But it is an even better idea for other sports as well. Intervals in spin sessions, activates both, the slow twitch and fast twitch muscles, which is necessary for most of the sports. Although there are specific drills that could do the same, this just has other additional benefits like doing it at a convenient time and indoor.
Beating the heat!
It is summer and the last thing that you would want to do is head outdoor for a run. But that doesn’t mean you could compromise on your cardio for the day or even those long endurance workouts. Indoor cycling is a good replacement for outdoor training during summer because you can still get your workout in the comfort of air conditioners.
During recovery phase
After a hard week of training, be it running or cycling or any sport, it is necessary to recover. But this is the time when you would end up losing fitness and the feel guilty about it. Instead, you could opt for going easy on the spin session, which would be a perfect recovery as well as a good workout.
Prevents the mental burnout
Most of the time, we might find doing the same thing quite boring and repetitive, and over a period of time being in the training phase for a long time in a particular sport could result in mental burnout. Indoor cycling during that time would be refreshing and would enable you to get back mentally fresh to the training phase.
Strengthens the muscles
Like outdoor cycling, indoor cycling does provide the benefit of strengthening the muscles. But indoor cycling has an additional benefit of working on the abdominal muscles, and the upper body as well. With indoor training, there is more resistance, which would enable more strengthening of muscles.
Stay injury free
Any sport, when done continuously without cross training ends up in fatigue of muscles and therefore giving space for any injury. Spinning, being a low-impact sport, which also uses the bigger muscles such as the quads and the hamstrings, is less probable to cause an injury. It is easier to spin indoor and reduce the chances of injury and hence improving performance than over training in a particular sport and being injured
Build an aerobic range
Maintaining range of motion
Indoor cycling would improve the range of motion of the joints, especially the knees and the hips. With the right posture, indoor cycling can prove highly beneficial in improving the range of motion of the joints.
While training requires climbs, speed intervals, and tempos, it might be tough to do it outdoor, given the traffic and the heat outdoor. Indoor cycling is a good option to keep the variations in training going while the condition outdoor may not be favourable to train.
While indoor cycling does have plenty of serious benefits as a cross training, it also adds an element of fun because of the music and the rhythm. Another additional element of fun is that it is a group session and the energy would just carry you through the session, thereby gaining the maximum out of the session, in terms of both, fun and training.
Author – Keerthana Swaminathan
A Sports Psychologist from the Loughborough University UK and a passionate long distance runner and cyclist.