Is Rhythm Cycling a good cardio workout?

The world of fitness offers a variety of workouts, and it seems like new trends are arising every month. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of options and feel overwhelmed. If you have ever considered doing a cardio class, you probably encountered a few spinning types as well. This article will talk about whether Rhythm Cycling is a good cardio workout for everyday Joes.

The Workout Experience

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Rhythm Cycling is one of the few cardio workouts where you can completely zone out and forget about the sense of time. By focusing your attention on connecting your pedal strokes to the rhythm of the music, you have a completely different approach to the “work” being done. If the Instructor does an excellent job with his coaching and music, the class feels inflow entirely, keeping your attention on enjoying the music and working with the music instead of focusing on how much time has passed. If you’re interested to know how many calories you can expect to burn in an average class, head over to this article for a little deep dive.

The Physical & Psychological Intention

One thing is for sure: Rhythm Cycling is a great cardio workout to increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary function. The physical intention of the workout is to get the entire body in shape in 45min and improve your coordination and stamina. Compared to other cardio workouts, the intention in rhythm cycling isn’t to burn a specific number of calories but to find joy in celebrating your body’s ability to move with the music. The psychological intention of rhythm cycling is to provide a space for people to escape their everyday life and stress, have fun and connect to the music as one. Humans are naturally pulled to music and dance, as it is part of the human experience of emotional communication. Taking this information into account, it is safe to say that workouts like dancing or rhythm cycling are good for the heart.

Is Rhythm Cycling Beginner-friendly?

If this question is circling in your head, rest assured, you’re not alone. I’m here to break it down for you. If you are a beginner in spinning, you want to check out this article right here.

Your experience as a rider will vary depending on many different factors. The most important advice that I want to leave you with is to always ask for help when you need it. Ask instructors or experienced riders in your studio for tips, and don’t forget to take a good look at your bike setup and general riding form. You’ll find many helpful tips to set up & riding form in our blog posts too!

How many calories can you burn in a spinning class?

I’m sorry to tell you, but your fitness watch has probably lied to you. Opinions scatter when it comes down to the total number of calories burnt in a spinning class, and it’s understandable why. First, we need to determine what type of spin class we’re signing up for. There are three types of classes to find in studios: HIIT-based, hill-based, or rhythm-based spinning.

Since this is a site about Rhythm Cycling, we’re only going to relate to rhythm-based spinning in this article.

Class intensity and length

Depending on what type of class you partake in, the intensity and level required for the spin class can be different, and therefore the calories burnt to vary. A class length typically varies between 45-60min; most classes also include a 5-7min weighted upper-body session during class. And of course, as mentioned, the type of the coach plays a part in it as well.

The style of class can also vary from coach to coach. In general, studios like to keep a Blueprint to maintain the class structure for every coach, but you’ll soon find that every coach adds their own spice to the structure. That can be a class of many sprints, long moments holding the beat off the saddle, long upper-bodyweight sections, challenging choreography styles, and many hill sections.

If you’re looking for a rhythm cycling class around your area, look out for keywords like “riding to the beat,” “rhythm,” or “beat of the music.” Many coaches and studios offer their online classes if you have a stationary bike at home. If you’re unsure yet, if rhythm cycling is something for you, or in case you had a rather unpleasant experience with it, don’t give up just yet. I recommend looking out for coaches that other people in your circle like or looking for a coach that plays the music style you like online. Social Media is a great place to discover studios and coaches you can vibe with and widen your horizon about this class’s possibilities.

Your Metabolism

Your metabolism is the engine that determines how well you can break down the energy you’re consuming and use it to move your body, store energy, and rebuild your body tissues. Personal nutrition, genetics, sleep, and stress levels directly affect the metabolisms and play a significant role in the ability to perform in its best possible gear.

Many other factors like diet, genetics, hormones, lifestyle, physical activity, sleep, and stress are involved in the performance of each individual’s metabolism and, therefore, their ability to burn calories.

Personal Investment

In the end, the personal effort of the rider determines the outcome of the class. A rhythm cycling class is a great practice to zoom out of everyday life and let go. Whether it’s blowing off some steam, challenging yourself, parting it out on the bike, or having a blast with your friends, there is much more to it than just burning calories in a class. Remind yourself always to turn the resistance up, and enjoy the ride.

The Verdict

Let’s crunch some numbers finally but in a very generic way. Taking all mentioned factors into calculation, you can expect to burn around 300-600 calories in a 50min class. This, again, heavily varies on the individual’s daily condition and investment.

What is Rhythm Cycling?

What exactly is Rhythm Cycling, and how is it different from any other type of spinning/cycling?

This is what we’re going to break down in this article.

What is the foundation of Rhythm Cycling?

Rhythm Cycling is a well-structured indoor cycling experience focused on riding to the downbeat of the music as one unity. The music is the essence of rhythm cycling and is carefully curated by the instructor to target different muscle groups. The songs determine the speed at which the riders are cycling. Rhythm Cycling is sometimes also referred to as “dancing on a bike” as choreography is added to the upper body portion while keeping up with the beat of the music. Most Rhythm Cycling Studios have a “club vibe” to them, as the classrooms are kept dark with only spotlights or candles to highlight “moments” if needed. This setup allows the riders to feel more comfortable in the room and enables the coach to make the class an incredible experience they won’t forget so easily.

What are the benefits of Rhythm Cycling?

Next to being a very effective cardio workout for weight loss, Rhythm Cycling also teaches the riders musicality, coordination, and overall body awareness. It’s a great exercise to strengthen your core, improve your overall posture and strengthen your glutes. The group dynamic is a big plus. Everyone is moving to the same pace of the music, motivating each other to show up and push through the tough times as one. It’s a powerful feeling when you feel that group dynamic happening in a class and let the music take over. It’s the perfect space to have not only a physical workout but also a mental release. You will leave every class feeling elevated and inspired. The dimmed lights allow new riders not to feel too exposed trying it out.

Why do people like Rhythm Cycling?

People love Rhythm Cycling because it’s much more than just a workout. It’s a place for people to come together, work hard and leave the room feeling accomplished. I’ve experienced many breakthrough moments from riders in class – whether it’s becoming fitter, feeling more confident, or finding a Tribe where they feel they belong.

What’s the difference between Rhythm Cycling and a classic spinning class?

Compared to a normal spin class, where the focus primarily lies on building muscles around the quads, calves & hamstrings, Rhythm Cycling tones the body & works mainly legs, core & glutes. It’s therefore impossible to get bulky legs from doing Rhythm Cycling. No special spinning shorts are required in Rhythm Cycling, as there is less friction between the skin and clothing as riders are mostly riding off the saddle instead of being seated.

How can I start Rhythm Cycling?

The best way to start is by looking for a studio nearby. If you’re looking for a list of studios specializing in Rhythm Cycling in Europe, you can find it right here. If you have a stationary bike at home, you can also find classes online to get a feeling for it. Nothing compares to the actual experience inside the room, though.

How do I prepare for a class?

Drink enough water before class & perhaps even have a light snack 30min before class to avoid dizziness. If you have sensitive ears, make sure you ask for earplugs at the studio (usually provided) or bring your own ones. First-time riders are encouraged to choose bikes in the second or third row to familiarize themselves with the class structure first & let the experienced riders lead.

What do I need to bring to class?

One of the most significant benefits of every Rhythm Cycling Studio is the neat studio experience. Each studio has been designed to make the customer’s experience as effortless and enjoyable as possible. All you need is your workout outfit (don’t forget the socks!). Everything you need before and after the workout is provided. From towels and spinning shoes for the class to deodorant, hairbands, tampons, shower gels, and other post-class beauty care products.

I recommend cycling with tight clothing, just like leggings or cycling shorts. No biker shorts are required either as you’ll be riding off the saddle most of the time, avoiding friction between skin & clothes as you’re sitting. If you’re male, bring a light T-Shirt & biker shorts, as it is forbidden to ride topless. If you’re a female, a sports bra & leggings are probably your go-to outfit. If you easily catch a cold, bring a shirt to cover yourself from the ventilation system inside the room to avoid getting a cold. Changing clothing immediately after the ride is also advisable to avoid getting sick.

How to ride to the beat in an indoor spinning class

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, these tips will help you improve your overall class experience and ensure you nail every beat in class! How does one recognize the beat of the music? In rhythm cycling, we focus on stroking down the pedal on the downbeat of the beat. Let’s focus on what that is first.

What is the downbeat & upbeat of a song?

How do I recognize the downbeat? Count the beat of a song using 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. The “1, 2, 3, 4” of that beat is the downbeat, while the word “and” is the upbeat. That is the most accessible measure of the downbeat.

Now practice tapping your leading leg that you usually use in class to beat one of your favorite songs. If you’re unsure which leg your leading leg is, choose your right leg to tap. Did you find the downbeat?

You can implement the same strategy in class. Whenever you lose the beat, press the emergency brake right above the resistance button, slow down your legs, sit down on the saddle, adjust the resistance, find the beat and get back after it.

If you get to class early, start practicing getting the downbeat right, by listening to the intro music.

How do I improve my riding skills to the beat?

The tempo and resistance chosen determine the difficulty of you catching the beat. Most classes are structured in a way that you can build up your skills as you go through the class journey.

I always recommend riders to focus on these 3 points during their ride: Beat, resistance, and posture.

Once you start hearing the downbeat in the song, start adjusting your resistance to a level that allows you to pedal down to the downbeat. The resistance needs to be supportive of the beat yet challenging. If you feel that you are outrunning the rhythm, add on more resistance or vice versa. Your posture is determined by your bike setup & how much body awareness you currently have. If you’re unsure if you’re riding with a good posture, check out this article.

The five biggest spinning mistakes beginners make and how to correct them

Entering an Indoor cycling studio for the first time can be pretty overwhelming and stressful. The last thing a beginner wants to do is slow down the class, and therefore, many beginners shy away from asking for help when setting up their bikes. In this article, we will talk specifically about the five biggest mistakes beginners make when they join a spinning class and how to correct them for good. I want to emphasize that there’s a big difference between a spinning class and what we call a rhythm cycling class. If you want to learn more about the exact differences, I recommend reading this complete guide about Rhythm Cycling.

Showing up late to your first class

There’s a lot going on in a spin class. And you’re definitely not making yourself a favor by wasting time in the changing room or showing up last minute to class if you aren’t familiar with the studio. Respect yourself and the time of others enough to show up at least 15min early to your first classes. This way, you avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed in class. If an instructor has to set you up a minute before the class is about to start, your ride will be rather painful.

Riding on the wrong bike setup

Setting your bike up to your personal needs is the most critical first step to ensuring a successful class. Your bike setup may differ depending on the class type and bike brand. That’s why it is so crucial for beginners to understand their correct setup first. Don’t shy away from asking the instructor or your neighbors for help; we’ve all started as beginners once and know how intimidating it might feel at first. You can find a complete guide on setting up your bike for rhythm cycling in this article.

Ignoring the instructions of the coach

There are many things to consider in a rhythm cycling class, from form coaching, choreography, and resistance to hand weight choice for each class. There’s nothing worse for an instructor than having a beginner in class who completely ignores their instructions and doesn’t take the class environment seriously. Put your phone away, humble yourself and be present; the coach is trying to help you maximize your experience. Listen up, ask questions before the class starts and pick up light hand weights if you’re new to rhythm cycling. Better safe than sorry.

Rocking the hips side to side

When you join a rhythm cycling class for the first time, you might find it confusing to understand where the bounce of the riders comes from, which looks like “dancing on a bike.” The bounce is created by pushing the pedal stroke down on the downbeat of the song while pulling up on the upbeat with the opposite leg. As you can see in the image below, the bodyweight of the riders stays in the back while riding, hips steadily hovering over the saddle. This setup helps the riders engage their core and ensures that the grip on the handlebar stays light. To learn more about how to master riding on the beat, I recommend reading this article about it.

Wearing the wrong outfit

You don’t necessarily need to own a pair of biker shorts to be able to join a cycling class. However, there are a few things to avoid when spinning. Loose shorts will create more friction between your tights and take your focus away from the ride. As a woman, it is essential to keep in mind to bring a supportive sports bra, as you will be moving in and out of the saddle a lot. I recommend always bringing a shirt as a man, as it is forbidden to ride without it. The ventilation system in the cycling rooms is relatively strong, and the room temperatures vary from start to finish. Make sure you bring something to throw over if you quickly get sick or feel sensitive to fans.

What are the benefits of Indoor cycling?

Indoor Cycling has gained lots of popularity within the world of fitness & that is with good reason. No other workout is as accessible to all age groups as cycling. Today, we will talk about the most significant physical and mental benefits.

Physical Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Cycling is an excellent form of cardio, whether you choose to do it at home, outdoors, or indoors.

Why is it a great alternative to other high-impact cardio workouts like running or HIIT? Let’s look at the physical benefits of Indoor Cycling:

Indoor cycling is low-impact on your joints

So many people of different age groups turn to Indoor Cycling as their favorite exercise because it doesn’t put too much stress on the joints or the skeletal muscles. The round movement of the pedal stroke makes the workout more accessible for people with hip or knee injuries or recovering injuries than, for example, running or HIIT. To ensure you enjoy a safe workout, always get your bike fitted to your body’s needs and ask the instructor to help you.

Cycling is an effective way of losing weight

Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise on a bike for at least 30min will reduce overall body fat tone, strengthen their lower body and core, and improve the number of calories burnt in each session to up to 600 calories. Consistency in cycling pays off; a minimum of 3x30mins a week is recommended for effective weight loss.

Cycling improves your cardiovascular health & pulmonary function

Next to the fact that Indoor Cycling is a very effective form of cardio, it gets your heart and lunges fit and improves your ability to pump more blood into your muscles. And because most cycling workouts like Rhythm Cycling incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into their workout structure, you reap benefits like an improved VO2 max, improved blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and a more robust immune system.

Cycling improves your posture

Cycling, in particular, Rhythm Cycling, improves your posture immensely, as you find yourself out of the saddle with a neutral spine position. No matter your preference, cycling helps improve your body posture in today’s world, where most of us are sitting too much or constantly looking down at our phones. The most significant difference in posture between classical indoor and rhythm cycling is the spine position. In classical cycling, the focus is on maximum force production with every pedal stroke. For that to happen, the aggressive hunched-over position is optimal, as it helps the rider produce more power from the large gluteal musculature but can also put more stress on the spine with time.

In Rhythm Cycling, riders are seated more upright, with their pelvis tucked in and riding out of the saddle. This setup will naturally make your hip flexors and quadriceps more dominant in the movement but help you maintain great posture in your upper body without risking your bodyweight to move to the front.

Cycling strengthens and tones the body without making it look bulky

Many people are under the impression that cycling will automatically make you gain weight in the legs and create a bulky lower body. This myth couldn’t be further away from the truth. Studies have shown that it’s impossible to gain big, bulky legs and thighs in 45-90min, as the focus lies on burning calories and not gaining muscle mass endurance. Cycling may change the shape of your body, making your legs musculature stronger and leaner but never thicker in proportion to the rest of the body.

However, the bulking might be a bit of the case if you start incorporating many, long, intensive RPM-based rides that focus on building endurance in the muscle fibers instead of burning calories. Cycling will, therefore, change your legs’ shape and produce thicker fibers, but never create as much hypertrophy in the legs as weightlifting would.

Mental benefits of Indoor Cycling

Exercise is more than just a tool to help your body get in shape. Workouts like Indoor cycling are based on community and brings many other benefits to the table than just an improved mood and the lease of endorphins.

Indoor Cycling releaves stress and improves your focus

Indoor cycling classes allow the riders to leave their worries outside of the classroom, providing a safe container for them to blow off steam, elevate their mood, relieve anxiety and release feel good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Cycling helps the brain to exercise, build mental toughness and prevent depression.

Indoor cycling improves your self-esteem

There’s something special about stepping into a room full of like-minded people ready to give it their all. You step into the collective and start believing in yourself more and more with every class you take. Cycling not only brings your body and brain back in form, it’ll help you change your perception about yourself and your capabilities. You might find yourself having some serious breakthrough moments in a class or even burst out in tears – it’s all part of the magic.

Cycling improves your social circle

Joining a cycling studio allows you to connect to a community of like-minded people in and outside of the studioroom. Many people love to join cycling studios because they make them part of something bigger, a community that’s ready to push and grow with them.

How to set up your bike correctly for spin class

Rhythm Cycling is low-impact on your body and doesn’t cause discomfort or pain unless you set up your bike completely wrong. Let’s ensure you get the best riding experience possible by locking in the basics.

The Saddle

Stand alongside your bike & bring the saddle height to a level where it’s parallel with your hip bone. For most people, this is the ideal saddle height. Hop on the bike & pedal it out to see if this saddle height truly works for you. If your saddle is too high, it’ll feel like you need to reach down with your whole body, and you will naturally hyperextend your legs. If your saddle is too low, you’ll find your knee overbending on the upstroke (when the leg comes back up), which could lead to experiencing knee pain and discomfort. Get out of the saddle and ride to see how the setup feels. Your bodyweight should be hovering over the saddle as you ride, with your inner thighs almost touching the saddle. If the saddle is more than a fist height away from your body when riding, this is a sign for you to bring the saddle higher up. This will automatically force you to keep your upper body up during riding and support this riding style.

Saddle distance to the handlebar

The length of your forearm usually measures the ideal saddle distance. Place your elbow on the tip of the saddle, and extend your arm to the handlebar. Wherever your fingers reach, that’s where you want to bring your handlebar end to. Adjust the distance from tip to handlebar like this to determine the proper distance. Adjust either saddle or handlebar to find the perfect fit for you. Depending on the brand of the bike, this might vary.

Make sure you’re sitting on the wide part of the saddle; this will ensure you keep your overall body weight in the hips. You want to feel your abs engaged on every pedal stroke.

Your arms should be able to comfortably reach the handlebar without having to round the spine or needing to shift the bodyweight forward.

The handlebar

The handlebar height is the most significant difference between Rhythm Cycling and Classical Spinning setup. In rhythm cycling, we like to add upper body movements. Therefore it’s vital that the handlebar doesn’t cause extra stress on our bodies. If the handlebar is too low or high, it will be impossible for you to reap any benefits for the core, and you’ll feel very uncomfortable during the ride reaching for the different hand positions.

I usually measure the handlebar height by eye and go around 5cm (2 inches) higher than the saddle height. If you feel discomfort rising out of your saddle, reaching for the handlebar positions, or pain in your lower back, the handlebar needs to be higher. The bar is too high if you can’t perform an upper-body movement comfortably out of the saddle.

The arms are relaxed as you ride & never feel like they need to reach for the handlebar.

If you suffer from back problems or are recovering from an injury, you may want to keep the handlebars slightly higher!

Overall riding form

As you ride, the overall weight stays in the back of your hips rather than in the front. You want to avoid pushing your body weight forward into your arms or the handlebar. The same goes for your feet. If you point your toes down too much, you risk clipping out of your shoes during the ride and, even worse, injuring yourself. Your inner thighs are bouncing over the tip of the saddle but never touching. Your arms are comfortably bent and gently holding the handlebar. This will allow your body to bounce with the beat as you pedal down and create this “dancing on a bike” sensation. Chest is out, shoulders relaxed, core tight. If you notice your hips rocking from side to side instead of staying stacked over the tip of the saddle, check your overall posture, set up & push&pull motion as you pedal to the beat.

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