What is aqua cycling? We try spinning in the pool

Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
19 January 2017

There’s no denying it, 2017 is officially in full swing. This year, we’re seeing if you can boost your motivation to get moving by trying out some pretty ‘out there’ fitness classes. This week we take an aqua cycling fitness class.

If you missed out on last week’s classes, check out our review of barre and aerial slings now.

Diving board at the edge of a swimming pool

What is aqua cycling?

Forget traditional aqua aerobics or lapping the pool for hours, now you can take your spinning class underwater. Aqua cycling (also known as hydro cycling) is a cycling class performed in a pool. Bikes are submerged whilst you sit waist-deep and peddle against the resistance of the water.

The water workout benefits your cardiovascular health in the same way that regular cycling or swimming does. And at the same time, the buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on your muscles and joints.

Exercise bikes under water  

The class – here’s how it went

While we kitted ourselves out with rubber shoes and inflatable dumbbells, our bikes were submerged in a row along on the shallow side of the pool. The water came no higher than waist-height as the bikes stuck to the pool floor using suction. The music began to signal the start of the class.

To begin the class, our instructor guided us through a warm–up. This helped us get used to peddling against the resistance of the water at whatever we each perceived to be 50% of our maximum capability.

Throughout the class, every angle of our bike was used. We sat, stood and lowered down in-between the handlebars and seat, all the while keeping our legs moving. The dumbbells were added for a shoulder and arm workout, using the water for extra resistance.

We then moved onto a core session. Rotating our body from one side of the bike to the other and hooking our feet around the handlebars for sit-ups. The seat was used as a support for a round of push-ups as our lower bodies floated alongside our bikes.

To make it more challenging, we were instructed to take the intensity of our cycling up in stages. This meant cycling at 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90% of our maximum effort. After an hour of making waves, we cooled down with some stretches, using even more angles of the bike you didn’t know existed.

The verdict

Although not an intense cardiovascular workout as expected, this class could still be good for anyone looking for a low-impact, beginner’s class.

Class review and score chart for aqua cycling

Coming up next week, we’re getting in touch with our inner child and giving Hula hooping a go.

Hannah Zreik
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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