8 Common Indoor Cycling Mistakes to Avoid – My guide
Spin bikes and indoor cycling is a fantastic hobby to have, and you can find yourself jumping on that bike every day, especially if you have a cool and advanced spin bike with HD screen that allows competition and socializing online.
It does take time to get the hang of it though, and it’s very easy to make mistakes along the way if you’re learning by yourself.
I have been indoor cycling for so many years and made many mistakes, but I learned the hard way how to avoid injuries while cycling.
In this article, I want to tell you all about the mistakes to avoid so you can just get on and enjoy your indoor cycling training as much as possible and hit your fitness goals quickly.
Not warming up or cooling down
We have all done it, maybe it was at a class, or perhaps you have done it at home, but it is so common. Not doing your warm up or cool down when cycling indoor is a bad habit you want to avoid when training indoors. In the warm-up, when your muscles are cold, they are prone to injuries, and that’s the last thing we want.
Working on cold muscles is an unnecessary strain on your body. A simple warm up takes the whole of 5 minutes and will not only help you perform better, but it will prevent injury.
I would also recommend not just warming up the lower body but the upper body too. We should also do a cool down to lower the heart rate and have a quick stretch afterward to loosen off those muscles.
Not cycling with good form
When your first start getting into indoor cycling classes, it’s easy to just jump on the bike and just assume you’re sitting in the right place holding the spin bike handlebars.
Unfortunately, eventually, this will later catch you up, and in those long rides, you can find yourself feeling really uncomfortable.
A lot of this is down to not riding with the correct form, and the easy way of fixing this is to have a bike fit.
A indoor bike fit is where a professional will look at you and set you up, so you pedal efficiently and stay as comfortable as possible.
You can also give yourself a DIY bike fit at home if you want to save a little money. Being fitted to your bike will help you with upper body movement and even optimize your pedal stroke.
An indoor cycling workout is so much better when you are doing it in good form.
Not Eating Enough
This is one of the most common indoor cycling mistakes to avoid. Many of us use the spin bike to lose some weight and get ourselves into a calorie deficit.
However, you can go too far and find yourself not having enough energy to give your indoor bike training what it deserves.
There are quite a few things to eat to fuel up your indoor cycling workout, but if you can’t have it all, I would highly recommend a small snack beforehand and a high-protein snack afterward to help your recovery and avoid muscle fatigue later.
For the longer endurance rides, I would even recommend taking an energy gel or two mid-ride to keep you going and avoid cramping while cycling indoors.
Not Drinking Enough
You knew this was coming up. How often do you go to an indoor cycling class and see people with no water on their bikes?
It’s mad in my eyes, and I can’t believe people would go into such an intense workout without some hydration or any preparation for spin class or indoor rides.
When we drink water while indoor cycling, not only does it help flush our blood of toxins, but it also helps the body cool itself down.
Studies have shown that people who don’t stay hydrated heavily underperform when exercising. Dehydration is the death grip of a good spin bike workout.
Not wearing proper clothing
When we turn up to an indoor cycling class or jump on our own magnetic resistance spin bikes, you will find that there’s a certain amount of time you can spend on that bike before feeling uncomfortable no matter how hard you’re working. This is mainly down to not wearing the correct clothing for indoor cycling.
Once you have suitable spinning workout clothing, you will find endurance rides and training for indoor racing much easier, and many riders find they are able to focus on exercise bike workouts much better.
Trying to spin before you can ride
As an indoor cycling instructor for so many years, I have seen a lot of people from their first session all the way through to becoming very experienced riders. The process of learning how to indoor cycle takes time, and rushing it isn’t a good idea.
In your first class, if you don’t stand up, it doesn’t matter. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself doing certain moves your back is slightly bent to start with.
If your push ups hurt your hip bone, then don’t do them. If you turn up to a class with no energy, call it a recovery ride. Take as long as you need to get it right and enjoy the process.
Not doing a structured workout
One thing many of us tend to do is just jump on the indoor bike and start spinning. Although it’s great that you’re on the spin bike and working out, you get much more from having a structured indoor cycling workout.
Planning yourself some intervals or maybe a power session will give you a goal to work towards. It will make your workout much harder, and also, you will get fitter much faster.
Cycling too hard, too often
Although most instructors won’t agree with this sometimes, it is possible to work too hard. Our body is capable of so much, but we can’t just keep pushing it harder and harder and expect it not to hurt or make us suffer. Going too hard too much can actually send your fitness in the opposite direction.
Make sure that not all sessions you go to your absolute maximum, and always make sure you’re giving yourself a couple of rest days a week, so your body has the time to heal, recover and make you stronger.
Erasing your efforts
A very common issue I used to see when I was an instructor was people undoing their own hard work. They would come into a class and would openly tell me they were planning on coming to lose weight with cycling.
They would give everything in the session but then completely undo all the hard work by filling up on lots of empty calories afterward.
This is a common error to make, and I would always remind clients to stay ahead of the game and after a class, get a high protein meal in and make sure they rehydrate. It’s like cleaning your car to throwing mud on it again straight after, which isn’t a sensible idea.
Indoor cycling isn’t easy, and there are a lot of easy mistakes you can make without really knowing. I would highly recommend avoiding these mistakes when cycling indoors on a spin bike or turbo trainer. Now you know some of the common indoor cycling mistakes, enjoy the miles and ride strong.