Plenty of cyclers pedal fast during their workout. They do this for a number of reasons, for one; it is easy to pedal fast indoors. It also makes cyclers feel that they’re exercising efficiently. Faster pedalling is also thought to burn more fat compared to slower pedalling. However, these benefits are far outweighed by the disadvantages of pedalling like a mad man. Read up to find out how your indoor cycling form and speed affects your exercise.
Speed and How it affects Your Form
You have probably noticed that you can easily keep a high tempo easily when indoor cycling. It’s the same exercise as outdoor cycling, but why does it feel easier if you’re cycling with an indoor bike? This is because of the weighted flywheel in indoor bikes! This flywheel causes unskilled riders to “pedal” faster at a low resistance, causing riders to go bouncing all around the saddle. They don’t exert much effort to maintain a high speed, because the flywheel causes the pedal to move so the biker doesn’t need to do much legwork to get the bike going.
Cyclists, who pedal furiously without maintaining the right form, also miss all the great benefits offered by cycling indoors. A high heart rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you are burning calories, so in reality you aren’t putting a lot of effort by pedalling fast. Pedalling at a high speed with minimal or no resistance leads to a lower power output, too. The reason for high heart rates isn’t the calories you’re burning; it’s the flopping and bouncing on the saddle, the inability of the muscles to contract quickly, and lack of technique.
Instead of cycling furiously with little to no resistance, you should pedal slowly at a resistance slightly higher than your comfort zone. Pedalling with a bit of resistance will force you to use your leg muscles and exert more effort, and this will directly translate to the calories you will burn. Start with 80 or 90 rpm, and train yourself to maintain the proper position. Maintain proper form by focusing on the upper and bottom halves of your pedal stroke. Relax your hips and upper body; concentrate your efforts on your leg muscles. Once you can confidently pedal without getting the feeling of being pushed by the bike, then you can start cycling faster, say 100 rpm.
Advantages of Pacing Yourself
Pacing yourself allows you to maintain proper form- preventing that feeling of being dragged around like a rag doll. It will also give you the energy and longevity to pedal at a higher resistance.
As you can see, pedalling like a mad man certainly isn’t the way to get the most out of your exercise, especially if you’re a beginner at cycling. If you are wondering what speed you should be pedalling, it really depends on your stamina and leg strength. It all boils down to your fitness level. Don’t be afraid ashamed of pedalling slowly when you’re in an indoor cycling class.
Photo Credits: Self.com