SoulCycle is known for its full-body workouts, all timed to the rhythm of some of the newest hits. But senior instructor and certified conditioning specialist Charlee Atkins shows us that finding the perfect songs to match your indoor cycling workout doesn’t have to be the most challenging part of your day. Instead, just cue up the quickie playlist—and the corresponding workout—she developed based on songs currently sitting pretty on the Top 40 list on iTunes.
The full-body workout couples cardio with toning exercises—the cycling component will challenge your cardiovascular system (making your heart nice and strong!) while the toning exercises will work the legs, glutes, core, arms and shoulders to help you get firm all over. Now get that playlist started, because it's time to ride.
"This Is What You Came For (ft. Rihanna)" by Calvin Harris: Seated
Starting with moderate resistance on the bike, begin your sweat session seated, rolling the legs out and working to time the pedal strokes to match the beat of the music
- Extra Credit: Using the beat to guide you, add "rhythm presses," or tricep dips, to fire up the arms.
"No Money" by Galantis: Side to Side
Add more resistance (roughly double to what you started with) and rise up out of the saddle to perform a "side to side," where you shift your bodyweight back and forth across the bike. Slow the legs down to match the beat so that you are marching along with the music.
- Extra Credit: Stop the side to side and "travel" with the music moving two counts backward—pushing your butt to the back of the saddle—then coming back to start for two counts before repeating.
"Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony: Seated Hill
Add more resistance (about another double dose) and slow down your tempo even more. Return to the saddle for a "seated hill climb" to strengthen the legs.
- Extra Credit: Do “pushes” against resistance, which are quick 10-second drives where you ride faster than the beat of the music.
"Into You" by Ariana Grade: Seated
Reduce the resistance so it's close to what you originally started at. Your legs should move quickly and match the beat of the music. Remain seated, adding small amounts of resistance 3 to 5 times throughout the song while still sticking to the pace.
Tip for adding resistance: Commit to the amount of resistance you add, and the second you feel yourself become accustomed to the current resistance, use that moment to challenge yourself and add just a bit more. At SoulCycle we like to say "TURN IT UP."
"Can’t Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake: Arms
It's time to transition into a quick arm workout. Increase the resistance so that legs move fast enough for you to stay in sync with the song, but slow enough that you need to keep your core tight to power those legs. (It's safer to have more resistance than not enough—you don't want your legs spinning wildly.) Moving with the beat, start at the bottom of your range of motion with these arm exercises and move upward through the motions to create a choreographed arm series. Perform 8 reps of each, and keep repeating the circuit until the song is finished.
- Bicep curls
- Shoulder presses
- Triceps presses
"Controlla" by Drake: Cool-Down
Let your legs roll out and do these 11 stretches off the bike to targeting the quads, hamstrings, hips and shoulders.