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Tips to Crush Your Cycling Class
Fitness
Published Tuesday Oct 17, 2017 by Alissa Rogers

Tips to Crush Your Cycling Class

Cycling
Cardio

Cycling has zoomed into popularity in the recent years as a form of cardio that gets your heart pumping. Whether you’ve never tried it before or are a seasoned pro, consider these tips for the best biking experience possible:

 

Sit pretty in the saddle

It’s ideal to arrive 10–15 minutes early to allow yourself enough time to get comfortable on the bike and start warming up. The bikes are adjustable in multiple places, and the most common adjustment is the height of the seat. Standing next to the bike, raise or lower the seat until it’s in line with your hips. You should be able to sit comfortably on the bike with your arms naturally on the handlebars with a slight bend. If it doesn’t feel like you can bike for 45 minutes to an hour in that position, it’s going to be a long class (and probably a painful one).

 
Choose the shoes

Depending on the class and studio, you can either wear normal athletic shoes or cycling shoes. Some studios have straps that hold your regular shoes in, while some require you to have or rent cycling shoes that clip in. Check ahead of time if they specify.

 

Form a firm foundation

From start to finish, it's crucial to have the proper form. Not only will it maximize your ride and results, by it will also prevent injuries. Riding a bike may seem all about the legs, but your core and arms are equally as important to pay attention to. The core is your secret powerhouse that helps you push and climb your way to a stronger version of yourself. Avoid tensing up your upper back and wearing your shoulders as earrings. Take a second to check out your arms—they shouldn’t splay out towards the side, elbows stay close to your body and slightly bent. Focus on keeping your core rock-solid, upper body loose, back straight and shoulders down throughout class. It seems like a long list, but checking in helps keep you safe and strong.

 
Resistance is rad, not bad

Each bike has a knob under the handlebars that controls the resistance or "road" for your workout. Your instructor will call out when to turn it up or down, simulating hills or flat road throughout class. Some bikes have visual representations of the level you’re on, some are just a dial. If you don't have a visual way to see where it's at, go by the feel of it. It's important to remember that, though the instructor gives you cues, listen to your own body first. Don’t feel pressured to keep turning the knob just because you are told to—push yourself to your edge, but don't push it to the point of injury or pain.

Although it’s tempting to take off all your road when class gets tough, make sure you aren’t riding with no resistance at all. Sure, it’s a lot easier, but in the end it can be detrimental to your hips and knees. How can you tell if it’s not enough? Hips don’t lie. If you’re pedaling with too little resistance, your hips will bounce all over the place and your knees will look like they’re doing a crazy legs dance. Don’t let the bike do all the work, this is your time to shine and make a positive change.

 

Stretch yourself, don’t wreck yourself

After all the pushing and pulling, hill climbs and sprints, jumps and hovers, it’s no secret that cycling is a killer lower body workout. As with any intense class, it’s absolutely vital to stretch it out at the end. This not only protects your body, but helps build the muscles you just worked. Don’t skip out on the last five minutes of class saved for stretching and cool down—take some time to reward your body for the work it just did, and save yourself from some pain and soreness later. Although it seems like you mostly used your lower half, be sure to indulge your upper half by stretching your sides and core, as well as your neck and upper back. When it comes down to it, your entire body can benefit from cycling and could use a good recovery so that it can recharge and be ready for the next ride.

 

Whether you want to explore a new studio in your area or you're loyal to your favorite spot, use MINDBODY.io to book your next class!
 

Alissa Rogers
Written by
Alissa Rogers
Senior Copywriter
About the author
At MINDBODY, Alissa works on things like ad campaigns, emails, nurture drips, and direct mail campaigns. A California native, she loves being anywhere near a coast. In her free time, Alissa enjoys In-N-Out and yoga (balance), reading, and taking long walks through every aisle at Target.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

2
Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

3
Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.