What is indoor cycling?

Indoor cycling is typically taught in classes of perhaps up to 20 people. The classes are almost always set to music and are a proper cardio workout, while also strengthening the lower body and shoulders in particular. While neither rhythmical nor particularly complex in the movements, participants will be standing, sprinting, and sitting on the bike at various times, and altering their speed accordingly. For effective and continued weight loss, increasing resistance – weight in the pedals – will be needed. Classes typically last 30-60 minutes.

It’s good for all ages because the participants can set their own pace, and the low-impact nature of the movements allows people with joint degeneration/arthritis/injury to take part. For that reason, interest in these classes is growing – and from the instructor’s point of view this makes it a good way to bring in clients and increase income.

How to become an indoor cycling instructor: necessary traits

A love of cycling

Your classes will not take you through beautiful countryside and attractive city views like a normal cycle ride, but you’ve still really got to love cycling to stand at the front of a class and watch people on bikes all day. Not only should you like cycling, but it helps if you’ve got a good cycling technique as well – and clearly the fitness to back it up.

Personality

As an instructor, you’re inspiring people to push themselves when their lungs are hurting and their legs feel like they’re falling off. You’ll be speaking to a wide variety of people; those who are just starting on the road back to good health, and those who are in the peak of physical fitness. They won’t be talking much to the people around them; they’ll be intent on the music and you. Not only do you have to motivate them while they’re peddling, but also encourage them to want to come back again.

A love of music

A love of music is necessary – the playlist will somewhat depends on the make-up of the class because you’re unlikely to find many 60-year-olds who like the latest summer songs from Miami and Ibiza, or many 18-year-olds content with a line-up of just 80s songs – as it will be a key component of your classes. Mashups, variation and diversity are key to keeping everyone happy, so be ready to change things if needs be.

students taking a spinning teaching course at a premier training venue

Knowledge of other fitness techniques and nutrition

While your forte might be indoor cycling classes, remember that those attending may be looking for a whole range of lifestyle fitness choices to complement them. So ensure you know of the benefits of yoga, boxercise, tennis and other fitness choices, and how they will each play their part in an overall programme. Similarly, knowing the best nutritional choices for those looking to add muscle, lose fat, or maintain their present body shape but get fitter, is a useful skillset.

How to become a certified indoor cycling instructor

Most courses will require you to already be working in the personal trainer/fitness industry. Therefore you’ll might have your Level 2 Fitness Instructor certificate in place, and probably your Level 3 Personal Trainer course as well. An alternative is an Exercise to Music qualification, which will give you the practical skills and confidence allied to choreography skills you need. Some courses also expect that you’ll have done some teaching in a fitness environment.

The Premier Global NASM site offers a studio cycle instructor course that will certify you to teach your own group studio cycle classes that will increase your clients’ CV fitness, lung capacity, and boost their energy levels and increase metabolism. Although it is not essential, it’s beneficial to have some experience in participating in circuit training/group fitness training before taking this course.  

A typical indoor cycling instructor course might cover:

  • bike setup, maintenance, repairs and safety
  • planning a session
  • cycling biomechanics
  • coaching and motivational skills
  • heart rate training
  • correct posture
  • music
  • setting up a room safely.

Many fitness organisations promote courses with similar titles to ‘indoor group cycling’. You may be able to take the course online from your own home, or instead attend a venue nearby. Some courses are a blend of the two – several hours online learning and one day of practical work. Each course comes with a set number of reps points and assessment is generally completed via a portfolio of evidence and a practical demonstration.

How can I learn more?

One of the best ways to see how instructors work is, unsurprisingly, YouTube. A search for the phrase ‘indoor cycling’ returns more than 465,000 results, and allows you to see:

  • how the instructor is set up, technically. Do they have a microphone, or a headset? Do they have a laptop nearby? Are they even on a bike themselves?
  • the ‘effort levels’ throughout a typical session – how quickly do they start, and at which point do they hit the toughest parts?
  • potential music choices and set lists.

What other courses can I do?

Other relevant courses from Premier Global NASM might include:

  • Nutritional courses such as Online Nutrition course for Physical Activity and advanced nutrition for Physical Performance
  • Specialist equipment courses, such as Medicine Ball Training Online or Kettlebell/master kettlebell instructor training courses

Courses relating to rehabilitation/pain/post-injury issues, such as NASM Corrective exercise specialist