The technology behind the RealRyder high, as described by the Spa Junkie

First up: the Hover. Lifting low off of the seat, our cores engage as we push down into the pedals and gradually go up gradients. This position is working our glutes as we maintain high speed. It feels like we’re pushing up a never-ending hill of endurance; I can feel my face turning three shades of red as I will-power myself into staying lifted off the seat.

Next is Synchronising. This is the most fun, as it involves rocking the handle bars from side to side in time with the music. Being able to swing the bars freely makes it feel as if I’m on an actual bike; this sway motion means that I no longer have to imagine quite so forcefully that I am really cycling, which in turn tricks my body into moving as if I really were thundering around a velodrome. The rhythm and the music also make it seem a bit like I’m dancing, as my outstretched bottom sways from side to side. This technique is all about finding your inner beat, so if you can’t cut it on the dance floor you may struggle a bit in the beginning here. Thankfully, the BF and I are dab hands, and we feel like we’re back at Le Baron – which handily we visited just the night before (a nicely timed pre-workout workout). If my Saturday Night Fever had been lacking, James tells me he can help me find it; and in actual fact, a lack of natural rhythm will increase the intensity of the workout, as the body needs to go the extra mile – work harder – to find its groove. This position is perfect for building balance and strengthening the thighs and core.

Next it’s Turning. Seated now, and keeping up our speed, we lean and steer to the right as if we are taking a bend. The handlebars are heavy and the turn requires strength in our arms to push and hold while our legs spin against the high gear. This sounds much easier than it is, and within 30 seconds I, and my oblique muscles, are longing to return to centre. My arms ache and my stomach muscles are completely tensed while my legs continue sprinting. I feel like my whole body is working in this one pose – my quads, calves, core and triceps are intensely engaged. When I think I can’t take another second we correct to the centre for a moment, before we start over again on the left. I glance up at James, who is sweating as much as the BF and I are. At least we’re all in this together.

Finally, the fourth one: Stabilising. We’re up off our seats and pedalling hard, but this time we must keep the bars still and centred in order to work on our balance and core. It takes supreme concentration to keep the bike from swaying at all. Without being able to use the handlebars to counter the movement of my legs, I feel like I am on a workout tightrope. Absolute focus, while my legs, glutes and arms feel the burn.

We continue switching from technique to technique in circuit style, with short pedal breaks in-between to swig our water and calm our twitching muscles. This is serious total-body conditioning: cardio, core, upper body, endurance and, of course, legs. When James eventually calls time, I have never felt a stronger post-workout euphoria.

Can Indoor Cycling Complement Functional Fitness?

by John Agoglia
There are members who cycle, and members who do functional training. Sometimes these groups overlap, but rarely are cycles thought to be an essential element to a functional fitness regimen. But does that have to be the case?

"Functional training is all about teaching individuals safe and efficient movement patterns to better execute the activities they perform in their daily lives," Jackie Mendes, NASM­CPT, ACE­Group Fitness Instructor, and Director of RealRyder International. "Indoor Cycling on traditional static equipment (i.e. stationary indoor bikes) has been struggling to establish a viable foothold within this functional fitness trend for years."
While indoor cycling companies continue to offer additional functional training eq
uipment, and yoga/cycling combination studios are gaining traction, there still hasn't been a happy marriage of cycling and functional fitness. But companies such as RealRyder are beginning to help change that, producing bikes that mimic the natural, functional patterns of outdoor cycling.
"By offering a more effective functional training tool, we hope to continue to see less repetitive stress in the indoor cycling room, less movements on a fixed bike that don't make scientific sense, less sheer boredom," says Mendes. "We've also opened up the world of i
The RealRyder cycle mimics the functional movements of cycling outdoors.
ndoor cycling to those who've been against the limitations of traditional 'fixed' stationary bikes, such as physical therapists, personal trainers, as well as yoga and Pilates instructors."
One yoga instructor and runner,  Sarah Sturges, founder of Sarah Sturges Yoga, has incorporated cycling into her own regimen to improve her personal fitness. "The most evident benefit that indoor cycling has on functional training is that you are able to incorporate a mid to high intensity cardiovascular workout, without the rigors of impact exercise such as running," she says. 
Fred Capo, a personal trainer who has ­utilized functional training for clients in combination with high-­intensity training for a long time, is excited by the prospect of more functionally­-efficient indoor cycling options. 
"Although many of my clients enjoy taking a cycling class and do get cardiovascular benefits, along with the mental advantage of working out in a group environment, being able to get a good core and functional workout without getting off of the bike would be great," he says. "I believe in efficiency and getting the most out of every workout, and this combination could really catch on." Mendes says that the new breed of indoor cycling equipment is poised to take its efficiency to the next level.
"While outdoor cycling, our bodies move through a variety of planes of motion naturally. Our balance and coordination is challenged and rewarded constantly. We use our core musculature cohesively with our arms and legs, hands and feet, to develop and maintain power, control, and stability." she says. "Today's indoor group cycling classes should support the body's natural movement patterns and provide functional training benefits."