Up until this point, the workouts that I’ve posted on my site have either been some sort of total body workout or a cardio workout on the treadmill.
I know that not everyone takes as much of a loving to treadmills as I do. I’ve heard from a number of outdoor-running enthusiasts that running on a treadmill is the equivalent of a hamster running on a wheel. “You go and go and go, but you don’t really get anywhere.”
Ok, valid point. You don’t really physically go anywhere, but mentally, you can.
When I am running on the treadmill, I like to envision myself competing in some sort of race or challenge, full of obstacles like hills, sprints, and long flat roads. I like to envision myself as strong and swift, and that when I am running, nothing will get in my way. If I am doing a long, slow run, I do my best to let my mind zone out and use my run as a time to think calmly and rationally about all of the little things that are stressing me out.
However, I know that this really isn’t the case for everyone, and that’s okay! That’s the beauty of how versatile working out can be.
In order to provide some more options for those of you who share this frustration, I’ve decided to add some variety into the mix this week. This bike workout is inspired by two of my friends who have both completed a triathlon in the past, and who have inspired me to get back into biking and start exploring with swimming. Currently, a very scary thought.
I have always DREADED bike workouts, spin classes and anything of the sort because they always end up feeling like the hardest 60 minutes of my life. My butt is sore, my quads are burning and my heart is POUNDING through my chest. I get to the point of exhaustion where I become angry – it’s weird.
This bike workout does exactly what it’s title says: trains the total of your leg muscles – from your glutes down to your calves. This is cross-training workout that I did a number of times back in college. I remember having a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest and seeing the numbers skyrocket whenever I sat my butt down on that seat. It was over from that point.
This workout is incredibly user-friendly, so it’s a good option whether your new to spinning, or whether you’ve been doing it for a while. One of the beauty of spin bikes is that you can adjust the weight of the wheel based on the strength of your legs and how trained they are for this type of activity. The beauty is that you can also take active rests when needed, not fully coming to a stop on the bike, but lowering the resistance enough to where you can catch your breath back.
Doing a bike workout is incredibly different than running on a treadmill because I think that much of the cardiovascular work comes through extreme muscle exertion and eventual muscle fatigue. Doing a bike workout requires continuous leg movement – you have to focus on pushing down on the pedals with your quads and glutes, while preparing to pull up all in the next motion. You have to focus on keeping your feet parallel with the ground so that your toes don’t dip and you have to make sure to keep your core strong and your grip soft. Focusing on technique when your muscles start to fatigue ensures that you are completing the motion with full force of your lower body and your core, rather than falling victim of improper technique and facing possible injuries as a result.
This lower body bike workout is truly tough, but it’s one that will leave you feeling awesome. The best part about spinning is finishing a grueling workout, when you’re completely drenched in sweat, and feeling proud that you just pushed yourself through it! One 45-minute class alone can burn up to 500 calories, so if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!
What are your thoughts on bike workouts or spin classes? Do you enjoy going? Do you find that you get the same satisfaction out of a bike workout as you do your normal routines?