Pilates doesn’t appear to have a lot in common with spinning, so you might be surprised to learn that it’s one of the most effective ways to cross-train to enhance your performance on the bike. Not only are many devoted Fuse students also avid cyclists, some of our instructors also lend their skills to lead spin sessions at studios across town.
The students and teachers in this crossover crowd report that Pilates training has improved their performance in and enjoyment of spin classes. Here are the top ways you can benefit from Pilates cross-training for indoor or outdoor cycling:
• A Strong Core
One of the central benefits of Pilates is that it builds a strong core, and that will improve your posture and form on the bike. The ability to hold the rounded forward position without pain in your shoulders or back can be tricky, and Pilates will help you gain the understanding and ability to properly engage your core in this position to help give you a boost.
• Better Balance
Biking with a balanced body means you won’t have to rely on one side more than the other to power through intense sessions, and moving efficiently will decrease fatigue and risk of injury, too.
• Better Breathing
When you’re pushed to your max, it’s really easy to let your upper body slouch and rib cage collapse, but that inhibits your breathing and won’t do you any favors when you’re trying to push through an intense burst. In Pilates, you will work to strengthen your upper back and practice back extension. This will enable you to keep your chest open and shoulders back to allow deep inhales and exhales and keep oxygen flowing to your muscles even during the hardest parts of the workout.
• Stronger Legs
Lower body exercises like bridges, leg lifts, side kicks, and the famous Fuse Pilates micro-bends will help you build long, lean quadriceps and hamstrings, the muscles that are used most in spinning. Strong leg muscles power the sprints and climbs that are part of every spin class, and solid quads and hamstrings help to protect your knee joints, too. And don’t forget about the importance of stretching! There are tons of Pilates exercises and stretches that are specifically designed to address tightness through your hips and legs, and they will feel oh-so-good after a session in the saddle.
• Increased Strength
If you’ve been spinning for a while, you might notice that you hit a plateau after several months on the bike despite plenty of intense cardio sessions every week. This article gives a good explanation about the importance of mixing in strength training (and yes, Pilates counts!) to get strong and lean. Variety is the spice of life, so mix up your routine to get all the fun and full benefits of your favorite workouts.
Ready to start cross-training with Pilates? Here’s what you should request in class to get the most benefits:
• Quad and hip opening + strengthening
• Inner and outer thigh exercises
• Glute exercises
• Transverse abdominals & oblique exercises
• Chest opening and shoulder strengthening
• IT Band, glute, and hip stretches
Sign up for a class for your next class and don’t miss Rumer’s Pilates for Spinner workshop on Saturday, January 28th!
Post contributors: Kara Reinsel, Rumer Richardson