Get More from Your Indoor Cycling Session with These Insider Tips

Whether you’re jumping on an open bike at the gym, in a studio class, or in your living room, indoor cycling is a killer cardio workout that can improve your muscular strength and endurance. “It’s a low-impact form of exercise that can be customized to any fitness level,” says Matt Wilpers, an instructor for Peloton, a technology company that brings group-style cycling and fitness classes into your home. But if you haven’t been properly introduced to it, you may be missing out on an even better experience. Ready to be in the know? Here are some of Wilpers’ best indoor cycling insider tips.

5 Indoor Cycling Insider Tips

Pedal the Whole Way Around Try to maintain pressure on the pedals the entire way around the pedal stroke to engage the muscles on both the front and back of your legs. “I often remind my class participants to make sure they are getting their hamstrings involved in their pedal strokes,” says Wilpers. To do this, you’ll want to avoid pointing your toes down. “Think about scraping the bottom of your pedal on the ground at the bottom of the pedal stroke,” says Wilpers.

Watch Your Knees “They should not be hitting the handlebars, and side-to-side movement should be limited,” says Wilpers. You can minimize side-to-side knee movement by keeping your knees in alignment with your feet and hips at all times.

Don’t Slouch Proper posture is important. Wilpers recommends extending your torso and gazing straight ahead. “Even though you’re leaning forward with some curvature in your back, try not to slouch,” he says. “Look ahead—not down, relax your shoulders, relax your arms, maintain a slight bend in the elbows (down and in), and unless you’re in a dead sprint, keep a light grip on the handlebars.” It’s also a good idea to think about pushing your bottom back in the saddle and maintaining a slight hip rotation forward, he adds.

Sip on the Fly “Staying hydrated is the key to feeling good throughout your workout,” says Wilpers. Keep your water bottle handy, and take sips often, especially during rest periods when you’re not focused on sprinting or climbing. Make sure you drink water before and after your session as well. You can set up reminders on your phone and log your water intake in the Fitbit app to help you stay on track.

Consider Clip-Ins Shoes that clip into the bike pedals offer incredible fitness gains. “Not only are they helpful for activating your hamstrings, they also facilitate improved energy transfer from your body to the bike,” says Wilpers. This means you’ll be able to create more power with the same effort, improving the quality of your workout and ensuring benefits for both your legs and your heart!

Ready to take your Peloton ride to the next level? Connect your Peloton and Fitbit accounts to help you track your performance, analyze your results, and set (and crush!) performance-based goals.

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  • Great article! Best investment I’ve made in a long time in my health. Yes, it’s a chunk of change – nearly $3,000 initial investment (bike, tax, delivery, shoes, 1-year subscription). BUT, it’s so worth it – I’ve been on my bike nearly every day since it arrived – it’s addicting and so easy to get dressed and join a class from the comfort and privacy of your home. I am done with my 30 – 45 minute workout in less time than it takes to get ready and drive to the gym and back – I LOVE it. I urge you to invest in yourself – I don’t think you will regret the decision. One last tip, YES, you need the shoes – so worth the $125.

    The bike is a sturdy 138 pounds and is nearly silent when operating – and takes up only 2′ x 4′ of space. The screen is gorgeous and the instructors are motivating.

    If you buy a bike and want to use my referral code, we will BOTH get an additional two months of our Peloton subscription, a $80 value. Here’s my link – provide it to your sales person or online.

    • Wrapping the strap of your fitibit around your shoe laces may have helped with you getting steps, but it never worked for me.

    • It would be worth it if you didn’t have to pay $500 or more a year after you just spent $2000 on it. It should have lifetime classes at that price 🙁

  • I teach an indoor cycling class. I put my fitbit around my ankle. It will track steps but the miles are not accurate.

  • The stationary bike I find to be one of the best pieces of equipment at the gym. I tell people I peddled off 125 lbs. Six days a week 45 minutes a day. Plus the 30 minutes I use on cross training on other machines. I feel better at 66 then at 36.

  • I can handle Fitbit, but not at the cost of a Peleton system. How about those of us with ‘generic’ stationary bikes???

    • I bought the belt drive Sunny bike – around $250. It’s fantastic!! Get an iPad mount and there are hundreds of free videos on YouTube.

  • I wear my Fitbit and when I go to the grocery store and hold the handle bar of the cart – my steps don’t calculate

  • I am just back from the YMCA. Each week I attempt to there twice. I am riding a total of two hours each week and the computer says I burn 500+ calories and 15 miles on each ride. Due to my age (75) and some injuries I’ve had I ride a recombinant bike. Part of the key to in creased fitness is to vary the intensity during each ride. Just start slowly and work your way up. And watch your heart rate.

  • The calorie count on My charge 2 is 100-200 off from others in my class. I know my calories burned will not be the same as someone else but shouldn’t it be closer than that? None of my friends have fitbits they either have Garmin or Apple watch. Is this a common complaint with Fitbit?

  • I did wrap my Fitbit straps around my shoe laces when I rode the recumbent bike but never got any steps for riding the bike.

  • I also have the Peloton bike. Bought mine when they first came out three years ago and have not missed a day. Most fun I have ever had exercising. As a former runner with bad knees it was a great choice. Love that it now sinks with Fitbit.

  • I have a recumbent bike and I do burn calories according to the machine, but I practically never sweat. I don’t feel as if I am working out when I don’t sweat. My question is, am I still burning calories when I don’t sweat?

  • When I participate in a spin class, my tracker (Fitbit One) only counts every other step. Does anyone know of a way to count every step?

  • It would be really nice to have fitbit actually track this as an exercise. I want my accurate heart beat and putting it on my ankle does not give that. Only option is an outdoor bike and then it says I didn’t go anywhere.

  • Since my Fitbit does not count anything on a stationary cycle like a moving one, I just use the exercise screen and tap it to workout to at least get heart rate and calories. I just wish it could count my equivalent mileage on the still cycle like it does on a moving one.

  • Why are steps not counted correctly when I ride my Schwinn Aerodyne bike? My arms are pumping the handle bars as I pedal. After I go 12 to 14 miles my step count is only 6,000 to 7,000 ?

  • I have attended a spin class at my local Y for the past three years and your tips are excellent. I’m 64 year young female and I kick butt on everyone, not to brag. The best workout for me, l also lift weights.

  • I ride the recumbent bikes in our local gym and their hand-grip heart rate monitors don’t always seem to work. But unfortunately neither does the heart rate function on my Charge 2. It just seems to shut down or else read a very low near-resting rate. I there anything I can do to fix this?

  • Strapping fitbit to shoe is not a good solution. The fitbit was not designed for this and will not register the same as for walking/running movement. I would like Fitbit staff to respond since they are writing the article on cycling….

  • I use a recumbent exercise bike at the gym or at home (bad back). My Fitbit flex 2 with buckle straps I got on the Internet, fits both my arm while sleeping and around my ankle for the rest of the day. I do pool aerobics, walking and biking regularly. AND I’m 72!

  • When I bought my fitbit, it was advertized as holding a charge for 5 days. After about 2 months, it only holds a charge for 1-2 days, max. I don’t see any way that the battery can be replaced, so is my battery wearing out and I’ll have to replace the whole fitbit in a couple more months.

  • Will Fitbit auto recognize bike activity as an excercise? I don’t think. can anyone please confirm if you have been using it for that purpose thanks

  • My wife and I got our bike about 3 months ago after considering getting one for about a year. We are very happy with the purchase of far. I have 75 rides completed already and my wife has about 45-MUCH more exercise for us compared to what we would have done with the gym memberships we cancelled.

    The bike itself is sturdy and well made. While expensive, I’ve read they sell the bikes at cost and make their money on the subscription service. That makes sense to me because the bike is easily the best I’ve ever used. The best part is that it is very quiet. It uses magnets which makes it virtually silent which is great for us since my wife works nights.

    Delivery was simple. They gave us a three hour timeframe and stuck with it. Setup was complete in 15 minutes and the delivery guy gave us some quick pointers to help us get started.

    The classes are great. They have 20, 30, 45, and 60 minute classes, as well as beginner rides and scenic rides (scenic has no instructor, just videos of places and you go at your own pace). So many options depending on how much time you have that day and how hard you want to work. Sometimes I jump on the bike knowing I want to break my own personal record (which they keep track of) and sometimes I just to sweat a little to feel like I got something done. You can take the classes when they are being filmed live or you can do them later on when they are put “on demand”. The library is HUGE and they add more classes every day. You’ll never have a shortage of choices.

    There are also a ton of instructors. You will learn your favorites. Some give clear cut instructions on what they expect from you and others are more like motivational speakers which will push you through the tough parts of the workouts. You also get to know which music they play- some focus on rock, some on rap and then there are mixes.

    My favorite feature of the bike, and the reason I initially wanted a Peloton, was the leaderboard. I would go to spin classes and feel frustrated that no one knew how much resistance they had on their bike. I always thought that if it was more competitive the classes would be more enjoyable. Then I found Peloton. It measures your total score by calculating your resistance (weight of force) versus your cadence (speed). Then it ranks you against everyone else who has done the ride. It’s pretty cool. Some classes I’ll be towards the top and sometimes I’ll fall further behind. It doesn’t really matter where you end up, it just pushes you to work harder than you would have on your own. It makes it more like a game, which distracts you from the intensity of the workout.

    Like I said I’ve done 15 rides in 3 weeks. I would never go to the gym that often. Having the bike in your home makes things so much easier. Wow, okay, didn’t expect to write that much but this is the stuff I would have liked to know when I was deciding on buying the bike.

    If you decide to buy the bike, we can both get two free months through their referral system if you use this link:

    I highly recommend this bike. It’s a good amount of money but I feel their prices are justified and worth it. This was actually a good financial decision for us because we will personally save money in the long run by canceling our underused gym memberships. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  • I have surge and wear it on my wrist when I spin. Since it measures heart rate, it does a nice job of tracking calories burned and is a good way to monitor effort in spin class based on heart rate. I select the spinning screen under exercising on fitbit. Where I think the fitbit falls down is on the step count associated with spinning. I spin for 55 minutes – pretty high intensity – 750 to 800 calories burned, but somehow only get around 1,500 steps. Seems like they need to fix their algorithm for spinning.

If you have questions about a Fitbit tracker, product availability, or the status of your order, contact our Support Team or search the Fitbit Community for answers.

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