“To Weight or Not to Weight”? That is the question….

The topic of using weights on an indoor cycling bike surfaces, two perspectives prevail:  the cyclist mindset that believes “if you don’t do it on the road, don’t do it in the studio”  and the pro-weight supporter that loves giving this intense cardio blast a little upper-body time for more of a full body workout.

At SHiFT we are all about the weights, with the caveat that they be used safely.  In fact we have added a class to our lineup that alternates weight tracks!  Combining weights with movement is a core part of gym-based routines like walking lunges with weights or squats with arm presses.  It is no different on the bike.  When executed properly, using light weights tone and build muscular endurance (ultimately increasing the calorie burn!).

Can it be done unsafely?  Absolutely.  Anything can be a problem if not done correctly – running, stretching, lifting and just plain cycling…. However, safety is our focus. With 30+ years of experience in fitness; numerous certifications that relate to fitness, cycling and nutrition; and a focus on the study of bio mechanics and the body, I would be the first person to say something isn’t appropriate!  My primary role at SHiFT is to ensure our classes are safe and that our instructors execute our programming flawlessness and a way that motivates our clients.

Here are my 10 thoughts about using weights at SHiFT:

  1. Creates a total body workout, engaging the upper body
  2. Essential to have a safe and controlled posture
  3. Use 2-5 lb. dumbbells (not 1 lb. flung around without out control like at other cycling studios)
  4. Must be properly programmed into the ride (taking into account cadence of legs and speed of repetitions) with an eye for perfect execution
  5. It is similar to other  gym-based fitness modalities that incorporate weights (kickboxing, weighted low impact training…walking lunges or squats with arm presses…)
  6. The benefit is increased muscular and cardiovascular endurance
  7. The goal is not strength training to build muscle mass (that requires more focus on weightlifting)
  8. Adds variation to the class
  9. Imperative to maintain a safe and efficient rpm
  10. The best part, it increases the caloric burn for an already intense workout!

So to answer our question…. “to weight or not to weight”, we say “bring it on”.

Remember, you create you ride, so always say modify if it doesn’t feel comfortable… for whatever reason!

Blog written by SHiFT Director of Rockstars and Personal Trainer, Heidi Shepherd.