In our weekly series, brave members of the USC team try out some of the weird and wonderful sports we have on offer so that you know exactly what to expect. Up this week is the full body cycle workout that’s taking Berlin by storm…
What is full body cycling?
The concept was popularized with the birth of SoulCycle in the US. The idea is to combine a cycle class with an upper body workout – add to that a pumping playlist, world-class instructors and a dance club atmosphere and you’ve got the recipe for full body cycling.
Ride.Bln was founded in 2016 by childhood friends Till and Kirill after they fell in love with the full body cycling workout that was trending in the US. Their philosophy is to make working out as fun as it is effective.
What can you expect?
The Ride.bln studio I visited is in Berlin’s Mitte district. Located on the ground floor, the sleek design makes it stand out as more than your regular fitness studio. Before signing up I gave details of my height and shoe size so the bike could be set up before I arrive – they’re big on time-efficiency here.
I was greeted by a friendly member of staff who gave me spin shoes and directed me to the changing rooms. Ride.Bln knows how to do luxury – the changing rooms are glossy and spa-like and stocked full of anything I might need.
After this I was directed to the bike studio itself – a room which felt intimate but was able to hold about 25 bikes. The studio was candlelit which was good news; no one would be able to see my gaunt, sweating face as I try to get through the work out. Instructors were on hand to help us slot our shoes into the bike peddles, which was more difficult than it looked. I spotted two ominous-looking hand weights attached to the bike.
How was the workout?
I’d signed up to the Beginners Class to get a full understanding of how the concept works (and I assumed it would be easier than a regular class. Wrong.) Our instructor, Alex, talked us through the bikes functions and the key components of the session – resistance training, mountain climbs, sprints and jumps. Alex clearly knew her stuff.
After the warm-up the real workout began. Paced to the tune of hip-hop and dance tracks Alex led us through a grueling mountain climb and then on to ‘jumps’, which involve sitting down and standing up repeatedly on a very high resistance. This hurt, but not as much as ‘standing sprints’ – where you peddle as fast as humanly possible without sitting down. After a five minute combination of jumps and sprints my quads were on fire. I was thankful for the dim lighting at that moment.
The sound-system was state-of-the-art and the playlist was seamlessly timed to our workout. Alex encouraged us to take a rest whenever we wanted, but I found the pumping tunes, dim lighting and night club atmosphere kept me motivated throughout.
Ride.Bln is all about the full-body workout, so throughout all of this we were performing push-ups on the bike. Towards the end of the class Alex instructed us to put the brakes on the bike and grab our weights. We then did a 3 minute tricep, bicep and shoulder workout that I am still feeling at time of writing.
How did I feel after?
Wobbly yet jubilant. The combination of interval training, ambient lighting and the super loud sound-system made me feel like I’d had a night out and a work out all in one. After a refreshing stretch we dismounted our bikes and a member of the Ride.Bln team handed out cold, scented towels to bathe our faces – it was pure joy.
The next day my body felt sore in a good way and I was in an amazing mood for the entire day. I also added a few Ride.Bln-inspired tracks to my current playlist.
Health benefits of full body cycle workouts
Increased cardiovascular fitness is crucial to a healthy lifestyle – it boosts your metabolism and your energy levels
The combination of cardio and upper body work means you get your full body workout all in one session
The studio is designed to be as stress-free as possible, so you can disengage from every day life and simply enjoy your work out
Any kind of spin or bike workout improves posture and coordination
It’s excellent preparation for summer when it’s time to get back on your real bike…
Don’t forget to bring…
Don’t worry about a thing! Ride.Bln has it covered – shoes, towels, water and playlist. Just bring your exercise clothes and your game face and don’t forget to book online beforehand – the classes can fill up fast.
Pay a visit to Ride.Bln’s Mitte or Charlottenberg studios for a high-energy, hip-hop infused cycle session. Oh, and keine Angst – full body cycle workouts aren’t limited to Berlin – you can find similar workouts with Urban Sports Club cycle partners across Germany and France.