In the field of fitness, group classes and group training are some of the most highly frequented activities in Spain, as shown in the latest report on Fitness Tendencies in Spain published a few weeks ago. Among these group classes, indoor cycling is one of the most popular. At the Universidad Europea de Madrid Cycling Health and Performance Research Group, we study aspects we believe to be fundamental for indoor cycling to be a healthy, safe, and effective activity for anyone going to the gym to improve their physical fitness.
Commonly called Spinning in its infancy, at the end of the nineties it became a fad that everyone wanted to do: subsequently, what is now called indoor cycling (Spinning is a registered trademark associated with a specific training program and bike) was introduced into most gyms. Indoor cycling is now a well-established a group activity in the world of fitness. The secret to indoor cycling may lie in its simplicity–as it does not require a great deal of coordination to follow the session–or also its ability to adapt the level of exertion to each participant, as everyone can select the resistance level on their bike based on their physical fitness. Music is a motivating aspect that users tend to highly value when doing this kind of exercise.
Frequently doing this exercise has numerous health benefits, the majority related to improving the cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal system, while also being a great activity for anyone wishing to improve their physical fitness or control their weight. But be careful; a poorly guided session may have harmful consequences for participants’ health. This is why investing in research is essential to understand exactly what kind of characteristics an adequate session should have before implementing it with a group of participants. Excessive amounts of time spent standing while pedaling, fast pedaling, and using poorly adjusted seat height or other bike settings may lead to serious ankle, knee, hip, or back injuries. Even worse, these injuries may be the consequences of participating in a poorly guided session for patients with any cardio-respiratory issue such as high blood pressure. That is why it is important to always go to fitness centers with professionals qualified to lead this kind of training.
Our research group’s most recent studies have been related to controlling exercise intensity during indoor cycling sessions. The majority of brands that sell indoor cycling bikes are incorporating models able to quantify the amount of energy generated while cycling. With this option, the exact amount of effort that each participant puts in during the session can be controlled. This is an excellent methodology to control exercise intensity, but unfortunately there are still no well-defined training programs for trainers to ensure they do their jobs optimally. Our research group has worked to develop an intensity control model by controlling the energy generated that allows trainers to give safe, effective, and fun sessions.
Therefore, thanks to these advancements in gyms that have bikes with potentiometers, it will be easier for instructors to control their training sessions. Indoor cycling has evolved slowly but surely, and in the future training sessions will be controlled without losing the fun, recreational aspect that has always characterized this activity, but the work done by the user will be monitored based on each participant’s individual characteristics and objectives.