Perhaps one of the most effective and enjoyable aerobic workouts out there, cycling exercises can be both difficult and enjoyable when done properly. Cycling exercises work the leg muscles primarily, but they can also benefit core muscles and even shoulder and arm muscles. A rider can do cycling exercises either inside at the gym or outside on the roads or the trails, and if the rider is riding outside, he or she should be sure to wear a helmet and other appropriate equipment. The easiest way to begin the different types of cycling exercises is to simply swing a leg over the saddle and start cycling.
An easy to moderate sustained ride can help the muscles of the legs and back adjust to the motions of cycling. This is also a good time to evaluate the riding position and the strengths and weaknesses of the rider. If the rider experiences pain or discomfort, he or she should visit a local bike shop to get properly fitted to the bike. Once comfortable on the bike, the rider can determine the cycling exercises that are appropriate for his or her goals. A common cycling exercise is an interval ride.
During an interval ride, a rider will spin easily for about fifteen minutes before ramping up to about 75% of his or her maximum effort. The rider will maintain this effort for five to ten minutes, depending on fitness level, then return to an easy or moderate pace. The rider will repeat this several times over the course of the ride to help develop aerobic fitness, V02 max development, and fast-twitch muscle development.
Hill repeats are another popular form of cycling exercise commonly performed by racers training for a difficult upcoming race. The rider will find a medium length hill with a significant amount of elevation gain and, after a warm-up, will climb the hill to the top. The rider will then descend the hill, turn around, and repeat the process. This helps develop muscles in the legs and core, and it helps the body get used to the strain of climbing. Hill repeats can be done at the gym by adjusting the resistance level of the exercise bike.
For beginners, a cycling class may be the best bet to learn about different cycling exercises. These classes are usually held at gyms or fitness centers, and a trainer or coach leads the class through a one hour routine at varying speeds and resistance levels. A cycling coach can also help tailor a workout to a particular rider. Some cycling classes are aimed at improving aerobic performance, while others are aimed at fat burning; others still are aimed at building muscles.