By Robbie Ferri
Personal Trainer & Cycling Instructor
Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.
Indoor cycling is a lot of fun. Once you get a few sessions under your belt and find your momentum, it easily becomes a good habit. One thing many people who get excellent results do is combine it with other activities for extra benefit.
One of the most popular is yoga. We feel indoor cycling and yoga it’s the perfect combination. In this article, we’ll discuss why they pair together so well and how you can incorporate yoga into your indoor cycling routine.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that originated in India. It is used as an exercise to improve your health and well-being. It has a huge amount of benefits and is one of the most popular forms of exercise currently.
Yoga is practiced with a variety of different techniques, including pranayama, which is breathing exercises, and asanas which are different poses. It is all about bringing together the mind, body, and spirit.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga has a huge amount of benefits. Most people think it’s just about stretching, but there’s so much more to it. Here are our favorite Yoga benefits.
The first thing to mention is flexibility. Yoga is best known for helping you stretch those muscles out and heavily improve your flexibility. Better flexibility gives you better mobility and can make day to day tasks much easier, such as picking heavy objects off the floor.
Yoga heavily promotes balance, all the awkward positions you need to go into really help the body control its own balance. Balance is something that many people struggle with in daily life, and better balance can help you stay planted to the floor.
Yoga is amazing to help you build strength. Although it may look like just stretching, the positions are not easy to hold, and the body has to become stronger to adapt to them. Over time you will see a great increase in your strength.
Breathing for us comes very naturally, and it’s something we don’t often think about doing. With yoga, we learn to control our breathing and use different methods. These can teach your body to improve how it takes in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
One thing many people struggle with in modern times is stress. A great way to reduce stress is to do some yoga. It’s why a lot of people turn to it. The peace and quiet and the endorphins they get afterward go a long way in reducing stress.
Concentration and Focus
My personal favorite thing about yoga is the ability it gives you to focus. When you’re doing a yoga session, you have to learn how to concentrate. This process not only gives you the ability to clearly think when doing yoga but also when you’re not.
What is Spinning?
In case you need clarification on what spinning is, here’s a rundown. Spinning is what many people use when they refer to indoor cycling. It’s using a stationary bike to pedal inside. In the past decade, it has become very popular, and not only are there classes held everywhere, but you can do it at home on bikes such as the Peloton, MYX Bike, or NordicTrack.
What are the benefits of spinning?
Spinning comes with some amazing benefits that attract many people to it. Here are our favorite benefits.
An excellent cardiovascular workout
The first thing to mention is spinning is an incredible cardiovascular workout. It gets the blood pumping, the heart rate high and can challenge anyone from a beginner to a seasoned professional. There’s nothing like a session on a spinning
It’s easy to do
Spinning is a very easy form of exercise to pick up. Unlike other exercises, such as football, or swimming which take time to build technique, indoor cycling is as easy as riding a
Great for building strength
Indoor cycling is an amazing workout. Although a cardiovascular workout, you build a lot of strength from it, especially in the legs and core. This strength can help with running, working out in the gym, and sports like football.
Incredible calorie burn
The reason many people turn to spin is to burn some calories. Burning calories helps with losing weight and diet management. You can burn between 300 to 800 calories an hour hitting those pedals.
One amazing thing about cycling is that it is a very low impact exercise. This means you can do it more often without feeling uncomfortable and needing a huge amount of recovery. Unlike running or strength training, you can cycle daily. We recommend taking rest though as every day would be a bit extreme.
How can yoga improve my cycling?
Yoga and cycling you typically would put together when it comes to training, but why not. They heavily complement each other, and here’s why;
Stop you from getting tight
Indoor cycling really only has two positions, a seated climb, and a standing climb. Compared to other sports, you tend to move around very little. If you do a lot of indoor cycling, your flexibility will decrease. If your body doesn’t need to go into a certain position and doesn’t often, then it won’t make it easy for you.
Help breathing control
I noticed when I started doing yoga that I could control my breathing much better. When I took to the
Yoga is a great way not just to improve flexibility but also strength. Holding yoga poses can build your whole body up and give those muscles some extra kick. This extra strength is going to transfer over to your cycling. Stronger legs will be extra watts while seated, and stronger arms will help you while standing.
Builds you a strong core
You might not think you use your core much when it comes to indoor cycling, but you do. Core strength is vital for keeping you balanced in the right position and supporting your lower back. It’s also vital when it comes to standing climbs and flat out sprints. Yoga is amazing for core strength, and you will notice the difference quickly when you bring it into your routine.
Less risk of injury
When you do yoga, your body changes. You become more flexible, stronger, and your movement becomes much more efficient. This means you are at less risk of injuring yourself. Many people pull muscles because they are tight or struggle to be in certain positions. Yoga can fix this.
Better cycling posture
Yoga is great for improving your posture. It helps you stay straighter and is great for people sitting at a desk all day or spending a lot of time in a car. One thing you will find when you start doing yoga is you start to get better cycling posture and sit in a better position. This is going to make your riding not just more efficient but also much more comfortable.
Yoga isn’t just about flexibility and strength. It is about concentration and focus as well. Many indoor cyclists find that they have much better concentration when they start incorporating yoga. They don’t focus on the clock as much and can get into the moment much more.
Should I do yoga before or after spinning?
As you can see, yoga offers huge benefits, but when should you be doing it? Next, we’ll discuss the benefits you will get from doing it before an indoor session, after an indoor session, or completely separately.
Yoga is an excellent way to warm up for an indoor cycling session. It warms the muscles, increases flexibility, and slowly increases your heart rate. This gets you heavily prepped for the session, both physically and mentally.
Many indoor cyclists say they perform much better when yoga is done beforehand as they feel much more ready. The biggest benefit though is that it heavily reduces the risk of getting an injury, and it’s much less of a shock to the system.
Let’s say you fancy doing your yoga after your indoor cycling session. Well, you get some excellent benefits from this. Firstly, it can help cool down the muscles properly and effectively remove lactic acid from the system.
The next benefit is the recovery advantages of stretching afterward. Releasing the muscles properly and stopping them from tightening up also brings fresh blood into them. It’s a great way to relax and let your body calm down properly after a session.
Separate from the session
When we say separate from the session, what we mean is a reasonable time outside of it, for example, yoga in the morning and cycling in the evening. This is a great way of going about it, and many people get a lot of benefits from separating it completely.
Separating means you can give even more time and energy to the yoga session. You will go through the yoga process easier, and it’s not a huge load on the body like doing it back to back with a spin session.
Recommended Yoga Poses
Here are our recommended Yoga poses for cyclists. If you are unsure of what to do, we recommend either checking out a video on Youtube or heading to your local yoga studio.
The Cat Cow is one of the most popular poses in yoga, and we can see why. It’s great for your hips, neck, back, core, and shoulders. It is a very easy move to do. We recommend starting with this to loosen up and ease your body into the session.
You will first want to get yourself on all fours, knees, and hands. Bring your back high into the air while staring down at the floor. Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds. Then drop the belly down to the floor, bring the head up, and hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Next is the child pose. This is excellent for the hips and stretching the shoulders and back. This is a common movement for people who lack mobility and can promote good posture.
While on your knees, fully bring your chest down to the floor while stretching forward. Then hold the stretch there for about 20 seconds and return back to where you started, and repeat 3-5 times. To advance this movement you can spread your knees to drop the chest further.
Lunge with heel return
The lunge with a heel return is a great way to open up the hips and also pull through the quads. It’s a great movement for cyclists as it will feel fairly natural. This is a fairly advanced movement and, for some, might take a few sessions to get right.
Go into a lunge position with your knee on the ground. Lean forward and find a place where you feel fairly balanced. You should hold on to something to start with. Then reach back, hold the heel of the back leg and pull it forward.
The glute bridge is a great way to fire up those hamstrings, which easily get neglected when indoor cycling. It’s an easy movement and also great for core strength.
Lying on your back, bring your knees up with heels by your bum. Start putting pressure on your heels and raise your bum in the air with your hands supporting yourself on the ground. Hold at the top for 10 seconds, then return to the floor and repeat this 3-5 times.
The Frogs Pose is great for your hips and releases a lot of tension on the chest, shoulders, and back. It’s easy to do and can be held for a long time without feeling too strenuous.
Lay flat on your back then you are going to want to spread your knees open and bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall to the side and hold them as wide as you can. You can hold this pose for 3-5 minutes while breathing deeply.
When you cycle a lot, you will find that you spend a lot of time leaning forward. The Cobra Pose is an excellent movement to counter this unnatural position on the back.
Laying face down on the floor, you are going to want to bring your hands in front of you and push up while keeping your hips on the floor. Keep your head nice and high, and feel the stretch on your hips and back.
When learning yoga, we recommend following some online tutorials to ensure you are doing the poses with the correct form and get an idea of how long you should hold each pose. Youtube is a great place to start videos such as https://youtu.be/YWzRE1BiAvw
What will you need to do Yoga?
When it comes to yoga, there’s not a vast amount of things you’ll need. We can highly recommend getting yourself a decent mat. Here are some we highly recommend;
Amazon Basics Mat
You can’t really go wrong with Amazon’s basic range. They are cheap, and they do the job excellently. They come in at less than $20 and in a variety of different colors. It rolls up with a small band and is very easy to clean.
Lifoform Yoga Mat
If you’re looking for one of the best Yoga mats on the market and are willing to invest a little more, consider the Lifoform. It’s a great thick mat at 4.5mm and comes in five different colors. You also get a great design with markings and a warrior grip system. It is made from a biodegradable material which is easy to clean and is made to last.
Yoga and spinning are two forms of exercise that complement each other. If you have the time and the energy, then we recommend having a training routine with both in. We hope you enjoyed our article and are ready to get your poses on.