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."