What is a bicycle and how is it different from a bicycle?

Cycling and cycling. You would think that these are synonymous words that mean the same thing: cardio training on an exercise bike, bike station or bike ride. However, no, they are not synonyms, and in the article we will explain the difference between these types of physical activity.

What is cycling

The word “cycling” comes from English. bike – bike. This type uses an exercise bike and the movements we perform when we ride a bike, spin an exercise bike, or train at a bike station. Only if we pedal calmly and relaxed on a bicycle or exercise bike, then during a cycling lesson in a fitness center, the trainer will not allow you to pedal with your feet and scroll through the Instagram feed with your hands.

What is the bicycle and can it replace the bicycle?

Cycling is a high-intensity interval group workout on a stationary bike, which takes place in the studio with incendiary music and trainer controls. Students not only put all their energy into the pedals, but also manage to do push-ups from the wheel, perform dance moves, twists and more, which not only pumps the lower body, but also the high.

How cycling appeared

The 80s of the last century are the time when cycling was born. It all started with the fact that the New Zealand trainer, founder of the Les Mills fitness club, Philip Mills, had the idea of ​​​​combining cycling with choreographic movements and strength exercises.

The author of the Spinning fitness program, which has spread around the world, was South African cyclist and triathlete John Goldberg. In 1987, in preparation for The Race Across America, a 3,100-mile race from Los Angeles to New York, he redesigned Mills’ drills to make cycling technically easier.

The story is simple: one night during training, Goldberg almost injured himself, after which he decided to give up night training and started training indoors. But cycling for the upper body was developed only in 2006. This program in the original language is called Kranking – it was she who came and spread throughout our country.

Types of bike

Cycling workouts differ from each other in intensity and a set of additional exercises.

  • Gentle rhythm. Such training is no different from riding an exercise bike.
  • Driving with frequent pedalling. The session mimics the descent of the mountain at an accelerated pace, performed in a seated position.

  • Horseback riding with frequent standing pedaling, aimed at the qualitative study of the muscles of the lower body.

  • Change in sitting/standing position and torso level. The trainer sets certain intervals during which the group adopts one position or another, while maintaining the driving rhythm – slow with high resistance or fast with optimal resistance.

  • Uphill climbing simulation. In this case, the trainer can require the students to slow down the standing/sitting rhythm and to increase the standing/sitting rhythm.

  • Sprints. You have to pedal quickly in a seated or standing position and give the maximum for short periods.

  • Bodybuilding. It can be a special vest worn or dumbbells in hand.

Benefits of cycling

Cycling is cardio training, which means that this type of load trains the cardiovascular system, makes a person more resilient. There is no big difference with the same running or cycling. But the great advantage of cycling is that not only the legs are stressed during the session, but also the upper body. Do not crave to train in the gym with iron, but do you want to have a strong body? Sign up for a cycling studio!

By following a healthy diet, you can quickly get rid of excess weight thanks to cycling training – such a heavy load burns from 500 kcal in half an hour, but there is always an afterburn of calories! However, you will need to study in the studio at least twice a week, and preferably 3-4 times.

If weight loss is secondary and the goal of training is to strengthen the body and increase endurance, trainers recommend exercising 2-3 times a week.

Disadvantages and contraindications

As in all other sports with a high cardiac load, cycling is not recommended for those who have problems with the cardiovascular system and the joints.

Cycling involves high-intensity work and is not suitable for people with hypertension, in which the heart works with increased stress, as well as with varicose veins, since the blood during such explosive exercise will be conducted at high speed in your veins.

To train in a cycling studio, you need to prepare your body: you should not sign up for such intensive training directly from the sofa, otherwise your heart could be very damaged. Turn the slow volume on an exercise bike or bicycle, making your heart more enduring.

What is the bicycle and can it replace the bicycle?

With bad technique or a bad landing, cycling can hurt your knees, so listen and follow all the coach’s recommendations.

What muscles work on a bike

On a bike, you mainly pedal, but thanks to the insertions of different types of exercises, you work all the muscle groups. Of course, the quadriceps, butt, hips and calf muscles are more stressed than others, but if the trainer includes a block of push-ups from the flywheel in the workout, then this is the load on the muscles hands. Push-ups on one arm will allow you to load the side muscles of the press, and push-ups with elbows abducted to the side – back muscles.

In cycling, participants alternately take two positions: seated and standing. When a person rises from the saddle, more muscles are involved. For the best effect, some exercises are performed using dumbbells.

The difference between cycling and training on an exercise bike

It must be said right away that the device that is in the cycling studios does not look like a traditional exercise bike. It is also called spin bike from the name of the simulator developed by John Goldberg – spinning.

The first thing that catches the eye is the absence of a large display on the spin bike, where the user sees various data about his training: speed, mileage, condition of his body.

Landing an athlete on a spin bike is different from landing on an exercise bike. If the exercise bike traditionally has a steering wheel higher than the seat, which is why a person sits almost like in a chair, then in cycling the landing is very close to the way people sit on sports bikes: the steering wheel and the saddle of a spin bike are almost at the same level.

You’ve probably seen the sweeping motions people make when riding a bike. How are they not afraid to turn over on their bike? The fact is that the bike, unlike an exercise bike, is fixed to the ground, so doing the exercises is absolutely safe, but it is better not to try this on an exercise bike.

Read more: Cycling cadence: what it should be and how to train it

Can the bicycle replace the bicycle?

Out of season, some triathletes and cyclists do this if they don’t have a bike rack because, as we wrote above, landing on a spin bike is very similar to landing on a road bike.

Cycling will pump the respiratory and cardiovascular systems equally, strengthen the joints and keep the main working muscles necessary for cycling in good shape. Training in the cycling studio will allow you to work your upper body muscles. Thus, the athlete “at zero” will not lose his sporting form.


For cycling, you can wear a regular t-shirt and shorts, as well as cycling gear: jersey and shorts with a bike layer. Do not use loose pants as they can get caught in the pedals.

Classic sneakers with hard soles or cycling shoes – the choice of shoes will depend on the level of the studio where you train. Some clubs use trainers with contact pedals, while others use standard pedals.

Water and a towel on the bike are as important as having shoes on your feet. With such training, seven sweats will escape from you, and without replenishing the lost fluid, you simply cannot complete the session and harm your body.

Cycling exercises

The classic duration of a studio session is 45 minutes, but in a group of beginners it can be reduced to half an hour, as in a group of experienced cyclists a “marathon” of 90 minutes can be organized. It takes 10 minutes to warm up, 30 minutes – the main lesson, 5 minutes – a hitch and stretching.


  • Movements of dance choreography
  • One and two hand push-ups
  • Abduction of the pelvis
  • Alternate standing/sitting positions

Other moves can be seen in the video:

rookie mistakes

  • The pursuit of results. In training, do not chase those who have more experience than you. Increase the load gradually.

  • A hearty meal before class. If food does not interfere with a calm ride, then in high-intensity training it will cause you discomfort. Finish your meal one and a half to two hours before class starts.

  • Cycling at home. Don’t blame YouTube if you’ve never ridden a bike. Take a few group classes under the supervision of a trainer who will help you set up the simulator correctly for yourself and teach you how to perform exercises without harming the body.

  • Ignore the stretch. Stretching is very important because it will help the muscles recover faster and prevent delayed pain syndrome, when one or another part of the body hurts on the second day after a hard workout.

Read more: Top 10 Cycling Apps