Reach for the Bars!
11September/2014

Reach for the Bars!

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Reach for the Bars!

Handlebars, that is. It’s important to listen to your instructor’s cues because programs and bikes can differ slightly, but here’s a general guide to where you should grab on throughout your ride. Remember to keep your grip light, and don’t lean forward excessively, which will place unnecessary strain on your wrists.

 

 

Take your fat blasting to the next level;

BY AMANDA VOGEL, CERTIFIED INDOOR-CYCLING INSTRUCTOR MODEL: JOLEY DAVIE, LES MILLS INSTRUCTOR | PHOTOGRAPHY DALLAS OLSEN | BICYCLE SUPPLIED BY BODY BIKE

 

If the treadmill and cross machine has become your go-to cardio machine, it’s time to consider cycling your way through a cardio workout.

 

We’re not talking about those recumbent bikes on which you pedal lazily while watching Ellen Degeneres. Think higher-intensity indoor cycling done in a class or even solo. Replacing one or two of your weekly treadmill runs with a spirited ride on an indoor bike will provide you with a laundry list of benefits that read like fitness ‘must-haves’: an improvement in cardiovascular fitness, a mega calorie burn (about 700* per hour) and an increase in lower body strength and definition.

 

Set up your perfect ride

Most bikes have adjustable handlebars and seat (up/ down and forward/back) so that you can fine-tune the bike to fit your body for both safety and comfort.

KNOW YOUR BIKE

Unlike the regular stationary bikes you may see alongside the treadmills and cross trainers at your gym, indoor-cycling bikes are usually designed with a fixed gear and heavy flywheel to increase the efficiency of your ride.

“Each pedal stroke produces more work and, therefore, more results over time,” says Shannon Derby, a Spinning Master Trainer.

These cycles also tend to have more areas that can be adjusted to get you into your optimal ride position (see “Set up your perfect ride” for more). Your gym may have a separate studio dedicated to this kind of equipment; ask a staff member if you are unsure.

GENTLE ON JOINTS, TOUGH ON FAT

More results sounds great – but what kind of results? For starters, a boost in cardiovascular fitness and a calorie-burn spike without the joint stress that accompanies high-impact exercise like running. Dialling up the bike’s resistance also helps you bang out killer calves, thighs and glutes while allowing you to tailor your workout to your own fitness level.

NO ROAD REQUIRED

Ready to ride? Get up to speed first with our expert’s tips and tricks. Then test-drive our DIY workouts – we’ve given you a speedy ride below.

Handlebars: You should be able to comfortably reach the handlebars in several places while keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed, and without leaning too heavily onto your hands and wrists. Your lower back should feel supported by the bike and not overextended as you hinge forward from the hips. If you are a beginner or are concerned about back pain or tightness, adjust the handlebars to be higher than the seat prior to your ride.

Saddle: “Position your knees over the center of the pedals and the center of the ball of each foot,” says Derby. “You should be able to look down and see your knee just cover up your foot when the pedal’s crank arm is in its front-most position.”

There should also be a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke when your leg is extended. A study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a knee angle of about 25 degrees was ideal for injury prevention and performance enhancement.

Pedals: Secure your feet into the cages without cinching the straps too tightly, which can hamper circulation; also, ensure your shoes have stiff soles. Some pedals accommodate cycling shoes; investing in a pair can help increase the power of your stroke. If you think cycling is something you’ll stick with, visit a bike specialty shop to get properly fitted. Some pedals accommodate cycling shoes; investing in a pair can help increase the power of your stroke. If you think cycling is something you’ll stick with, visit a bike specialty shop to get properly fitted.

 

For the rest of this article please check out the latest issue of Oxygen Australia in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.


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