bike riding

A Guide to Indoor Cycling

A cyclist on an indoor bike trainer

Indoor cycling has taken the fitness world by storm, offering a convenient and effective way to achieve your fitness goals without being subject to the whims of weather or traffic. If you’re new to this popular workout, you’re in luck! This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started on your journey, from setting up your space and choosing the right equipment to exploring popular apps and following structured training plans. So grab your cycling shoes and let’s get pedaling!

Key Takeaways

  • Set up an indoor cycling space to maximize comfort and efficiency.
  • Decide between a smart trainer or non-smart based on preferences, goals, and budget.
  • Enhance the experience with accessories such as mats, fans & towels. Utilize apps & training plans for structured workouts.

Setting Up Your Indoor Cycling Space

An image of two people riding an indoor cycling bike in a well-lit room, showcasing the ideal setup for indoor cycling.

For a comfortable and efficient workout, it’s important to have a dedicated space for cycling indoors. Here are some tips for setting up your indoor training space:

  • Choose an area with a hard, easy-to-clean floor
  • Make sure the space is away from quiet zones
  • Equip the space with a table or shelf for your devices and accessories

Setting up your indoor training space in this manner will allow you to focus on your workout without unnecessary distractions.

Maximizing the efficiency of your pedal strokes and avoiding injury requires a proper bike fit. While it’s highly recommended to get a professional bike fit, here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Set the bike seat at hip height.
  2. Ensure your legs can fully extend without locking at the bottom of the stride.
  3. Position the handlebars at the same height as the seat to avoid hunching while riding.

Several items are necessary in your space when using an indoor cycling trainer. These include:

  • The trainer itself
  • A block for the front wheel
  • A towel
  • Floor protection
  • Fans

Ensuring your rear wheel, also known as the rear tire, is properly secured to the trainer will also contribute to a smooth and effective workout.

Smart Trainers vs. Non-Smart Trainers

Indoor cycling indoor trainers come in various forms, including direct drive trainers, rollers, and friction trainers. One key distinction to consider when selecting a direct drive trainer is whether to opt for a smart trainer or a non-smart trainer. Smart trainers are capable of communicating with various applications and automatically adjusting resistance levels, providing a more realistic and engaging ride experience.

The advantages of smart trainers are numerous.

  • Simulating changes in gradient for an enhanced workout
  • Automatic resistance control
  • Increased interactivity, making indoor cycling more enjoyable
  • Helps you stay motivated during your training sessions

On the other hand, non-smart trainers are more cost-effective, simpler to set up, and require less maintenance. They still enable you to train with data using your heart rate zones, which can be sufficient for many cyclists looking to maintain or improve their fitness levels.

Ultimately, the choice between smart and non-smart trainers will depend on your personal preferences, goals, and budget.

Essential Indoor Cycling Accessories

StrideCharge Case and Mount on a dark table with head phones and a book

A handful of recommended accessories can enhance your indoor cycling experience. These include:

Having these items on hand will help make your workouts more enjoyable and efficient.

If you pair your phone to your T.V. to use apps like Zwift when you are working out, you should definitely get a phone mount that comes with a wireless charging phone case, so you can finish you workout with a fully charged phone.

A fan is particularly important when riding indoors, as it helps your body regulate its temperature, allowing you to focus on your workout and get the most out of your training session.

A mat placed beneath your trainer offers:

  • Stability
  • Prevention of slipping
  • Protection of the floor from moisture
  • Reduction of vibrations and noise

Make sure to secure your bike’s rear axle properly to the trainer for optimal stability.

Especially for those using clipless pedals, picking the right shoes for indoor cycling is important. Shimano’s IC501 Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoes are a great option. Proper footwear can improve your pedal stroke and overall cycling performance.

For extended and strenuous workouts or Zwift racing, it’s a good idea to have energy bars, gels, or drinks readily available, especially when using direct drive trainers for a more realistic experience. These will help you maintain your energy levels and performance throughout your training session.

Popular Indoor Cycling Apps and Platforms

A variety of popular indoor cycling apps and platforms, such as Zwift, Wahoo SYSTM, and TrainerRoad, can enhance your indoor riding experience. These apps offer a variety of features, including virtual worlds, structured workouts, and community engagement, making indoor cycling more enjoyable and effective.

Many of these popular apps, including:

They are compatible with smart trainers, allowing you to automatically control resistance and immerse yourself in your indoor cycling sessions. If you’re using a smart trainer, exploring these apps can help you find the one that best suits your training goals and preferences.

In addition to the popular apps mentioned above, there are other options worth exploring. For example, the Zwift Hub is a platform designed to provide an immersive Zwift experience at a lower cost, allowing you to follow a training plan and improve your cycling performance. The Kinetics of Kinetics. Fit training app is another comprehensive training application that comes with a complimentary one-month subscription with the Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2 trainer.

Structured Workouts and Training Plans

You can achieve better results and reach your fitness goals more effectively by incorporating structured workouts and training plans into your indoor cycling routine. These plans typically include fitness tests and power or heart rate zones, which are used to set up personalized training zones and monitor your progress during indoor cycling sessions.

Maintaining and improving your fitness level requires at least three 30 to 40-minute indoor cycling sessions per week. By following a structured plan, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and ensure you’re consistently progressing toward your goals.

An indoor cycling plan can bolster motivation and provide guidance for workouts, aiding in maintaining focus on fitness goals. With the variety of training apps and platforms available, you’ll have no shortage of options for finding indoor cycling classes that suit your needs and preferences on a stationary bike.


In conclusion, indoor cycling offers a convenient and effective way to achieve your fitness goals, regardless of the weather or other external factors. By setting up a dedicated space, choosing the right equipment, and incorporating popular apps and structured training plans, you can create an enjoyable and efficient indoor cycling experience tailored to your needs. So gear up and get ready to ride your way to better health and fitness!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you lose weight by cycling indoors?

Indoor cycling is an effective exercise to help burn calories and lose weight. Depending on your intensity and body weight, you can burn 400 to 600 calories per hour.

Additionally, it helps rev up your metabolism and strengthens the muscles in your legs, glutes, and core. Burning more calories than you consume is key to successfully losing weight.

Is indoor cycling actually a good workout?

Indoor cycling is an effective and efficient way to burn calories, build muscle and boost your heart health. It puts less stress on your joints than other forms of cardio and provides an excellent aerobic workout.

Plus, by the end of class, you’ll have a steady stream of feel-good endorphins. Overall, indoor cycling is a great workout.

What does 30 minutes of indoor cycling do?

Just 30 minutes of indoor cycling can help reduce belly fat and burn calories, with a 125-pound person burning up to 210 calories.

With the right diet, this exercise can be very beneficial.

Can indoor cycling reduce belly fat?

Yes, indoor cycling can reduce belly fat. Riding regularly on a stationary bike can help burn up to 300 calories per session and, over time, lead to a noticeable decrease in belly fat.

Additionally, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like cycling are effective for overall fat loss, helping you reach your weight loss goal.

What is the difference between smart trainers and non-smart trainers?

Smart trainers offer interactive features such as app communication and automatic resistance adjustment, while non-smart trainers only provide power data.

Reading next

Finding the Best Wireless Phone Charger for Bikepacking in 2023
Indoor cycling class

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.