Indoor cycling classes add top spin and soul

Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:23pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Indoor cyclists routinely sweat a real river pedaling down an imaginary road, but SoulCycle classes add upper body work, and a touch of the spiritual, to their metaphorical journey.

"We do push-ups on the bike, crunches on the bike, work our obliques on the bike," said Julie Rice, who co-founded the multitasking method with Elizabeth Cutler in 2006.

"You're burning between 500 and 700 calories in 45 minutes," she said, "and we've added a toning component to the cardio by adding different types of exercises on the bike."

Rice said indoor cycling had not been updated since fitness expert Johnny G created his trademarked Spinning classes some 20 years ago.

"(SoulCycle) is an entirely different workout," she said from her New York office. "We had the idea that you can actually work your entire body on the bike."

Rice said all rides are carefully charted so with the first song you are warming up and there's a stretch and cool down at the end.

Through it all the rider, music in the ear and black-and-white photograph of a road at the back, is clipped into the bike and pedaling relentlessly, even while working the arms with one-pound weights or resistance bands hung from the ceiling.

On the "Soul" side, classes are candlelit and led by instructors Rice describes as "more motivational speaker than drill sergeant."   Continued...

<p>The wheels of an indoor bicycle are seen spinning at a SoulCycle class at their Union Square location in New York April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>