Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Apple Fitness+ Cycling and Standing

No I haven't overdone the sessions and I am now struggling to stand but instead want to post about how I'm building up the length of the standing sessions on the bike. The disclaimer before I start this post is that I'm not a fitness instructor but saving these thoughts more for myself as I talk to people about my experiences. I hope the post can help encourage people to build up more confidence standing during the Fitness+ cycle sessions as each session I have done encourages (but not forces) standing.  

I have been going to spin classes for years and one aspect I still fear to this day is long periods of standing on the bike with high revolutions per minute (RPM) rates. This is probably as I'm heavy so my body is having to put in more work to spin the pedals underneath me whilst I support my weight. The Fitness+ instructors are great at reminding you to stand if that's where you feel the most comfortable but who doesn't enjoy challenging themselves more and more?

Over the last couple of weeks I have done a number of sessions where I have come across a series of sessions that I am using to build up my standing stamina in both RPM and length of standing sessions. Fitness+ doesn't have the functionality of picking sessions that work certain body parts or focus on certain muscle groups. Hence I thought this little playlist would be the best way to record this:

Building comfort standing on the bike

I've never been the most confident balancing when being clipped onto a bike. It's taken years of riding many thousands of kilometres to relax when doing so. I built a lot of that comfort on my turbo trainer so I know I might be starting at a different place to a lot of new people to spin / cycle sessions. The turbo trainer is pretty stable but I've had a couple of moments as I have on a spin bike. Wheeling a few kilogram spin bike takes some effort but is possible (although I wouldn't recommend it). Practicing the transitions when not tired during the middle of the session is a nice way to go but once you are comfortable with the basics, it's time to use those techniques in a session. One session I completed with Tyrell was a perfect way to start to build confidence whilst standing during a session. 

Tyrell's 30 minute Pure Dance session that was originally released on 21st December 2020 is a perfect way to start getting comfortable pushing the pedals whilst standing. 

After a solid warm-up, there are a number of low RPM standing pushes that feel controlled as there is high resistance at the point you go for them. The standing sections aren't excessively long so all of the sessions involve a quick stand and you'll be back in the saddle before you know it. I would have loved this session to follow when I first started spin sessions at home.

Building standing stamina

If I told you I have found a great session to build standing stamina you might at first laugh but one of Kym's 10 minute sessions are a great way to go. Originally released on 14th December, Kym's 10 minute Everything Rock session has a long, almost relentless stand in it. My legs were screaming towards the end of the stand but I'm really feeling the improvements. 

I have completed this session twice and plan going back for more to continue to build more stamina. The long, continuous standing section with higher RPM encouraged at parts of the stand really feels beneficial to building more stamina to apply to other classes (and outdoor riding once the weather improves).

Standing Test

So you've followed the two sessions above and you are now ready to test how much you've improved? Another session from Kym will do exactly that. 

I was taking this 45 minute, Pure Dance session with Kym when I realised how much I need to go back and build up more standing stamina. It's not coincidence that in this session I burned more active calories than any of the other 28 sessions I have taken so far. One word: brutal. Yes, Kym is an amazing trainer who inspired me to go further but the standing sections sent my heart rate high. Hitting a heart rate of 178 bpm is really hard for me on the bike but this session got there a couple of times for me. The sessions were long and fast. The toughest combination for me. 

Maybe it's my competitiveness but I love following the sessions to the full set of instructions given. I don't want that fear and loathing of standing sections become a mental blocker when I'm on the bike so I know I need to work at it. Hopefully these three sessions aid your development in this space too or test how you are getting on. 

Time for session 30 I suppose... 


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