The better workout you need to know: Indoor cycling VS outdoor cycling

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Almost every cyclist face the same question as the temperature drops-the choice to brave the cold and endure the salt-filled spray of the open road and cycle outside or switch to the lounge with a stationary bike and a techno playlist. In fact, there are many avid spinners attending their indoor cycling courses well into the warm days, staying cool and dry while paying a premium for the privilege. However, when it comes to the benefits of each form of workout, which is better- indoor or outdoor cycling? There are plenty of factors to take into consideration when deciding who to side with. This post I will reveal the best of both worlds and give you some tips to choose the workout that fits you best.indoor cycling VS outdoor cycling


Indoor cycling: If you have been to an indoor cycling class, you will notice that your heart rate skyrocket through the workout. According to a study, a typical cycling class keeps you at around 75 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate which is pretty good. The fitness benefits can be obvious by the amount of your sweat. With the fast pace, loud music, the peer pressure of cycling classmates and the motivation of an instructor barking orders on your face, your body will push itself to the limit. Because of this, your heart rate will achieve 75-95% of its maximum consistently and get a very good cardiovascular response throughout the workout. However, indoor bikes are totally different from the normal bikes and these bikes usually have a fly wheel which is a 30 to a 40-pound wheel to provide the resistance as you pedal. When you stop pedaling, the pedals on these bikes still keep moving. As a result, it requires your hamstrings to work harder to slow down the pedals when they come around. Thus you will get fewer overall calories burned than outdoor cycling unless you pedal at a faster pace and a higher intensity.

Outdoor cycling: of course, you will not achieve the maximum heart rate on your daily commute, and even though serious cyclists and pros can often intensify their workouts to get their heart rate as higher as those in a cycling class, most beginners tend to focus on balance and avoiding traffic to ensure safety. It’s also hard for cyclists to pedal as fast as indoor while balancing the bike, navigating and not having the motivation of the peer competition and an instructor. Unlike indoor cycling, you use your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, and calves more when you are cycling outdoor. So you will get a much more whole body workout and achieve a higher muscular fitness if you don’t spend most of your time cruising. But remember you need to be practice more to make your body adapt to different pace, terrains, and surroundings when you are on a bike outside.

Summary: indoor cycling is more suitable for average people, and for those who love outdoor cycling, riding a bike get a better fitness.


Indoor cycling: when you are riding a stationary bike, you will use the same muscles over and over again without ascents and descents will get you bored fast and make it seem more difficult than outdoor cycling. If you are cycling alone in the gym, you will easily get fed up and call it a indoor cyclingday. This kind of boredom will easily lead to complacency which means you stop to push yourself. However, the pounding music, group atmosphere, and instructor motivation can improve this monotony.

Outdoor cycling: generally speaking, outdoor cycling feels much easier from an effort standpoint. But even if you commute by bike, you will experience a variety of surroundings and terrains. The challenges from wind resistance and uneven terrain sometimes mean more difficult than indoor cycling. Besides, if you want to improve your skill level, there are plenty of technical skills required that can quickly make outdoor cycling become more difficult than sitting alone pedaling along.

Summary: Generally speaking, indoor sports become more difficult just because of the boredom component.


Indoor cycling: there is no doubt that indoor cycling is much easier to manage and convenience is one of the biggest advantages of indoor cycling. What you need to do is just simply to get on the bike or show up to class and go. For many of us, the most convenient part is getting to the gym. However, the discipline needed to get yourself to the gym including dressing for the gym, driving to your course, doing the workout and going home can get boring fast.

Outdoor cycling: we can’t deny that lugging your bike around, dressing appropriately for the journey and taking spare clothes for the rough weather, dealing with the dull and frustrating traffic when you get into a routine can be logistically messy and a pain. Besides, you have got very tired after the whole day of work and it’s much harder for you to get on your bike if it’s the only way you can get home.

Summary: There is no doubt that indoor cycling is more convenient especially in inclement weather.


Indoor cycling: it’s obvious that indoor cycling is much safer than outdoor cycling. The well-lit environment you are in can certainly ensure your safety because it will not be affected by the time of day. Thus, indoor cycling can be better for an average person.

Outdoor cycling: cycling outside need to pay extra attention to traffic, pedestrians, route changes and hidden obstacles. Outdoor cycling can be more challenging and enjoyable for dedicated cyclists.

summary: it's a toss up and indoor cycling is much safer than outdoor cycling.


Indoor cycling: as I have mentioned before, indoor cycling can be a little boring, but you can listen to music and enjoy your favorite beauty of outdoor cyclingpodcast. In this kind of environment, it’s just a matter of preference.

Outdoor cycling: most people love riding outside just because every ride can bring something new around the corner. When you are going riding outside, you can enjoy different kinds of beautiful scenery, bird song, kids laughing and secret waterfall along the way and connect with nature. Besides, you can meet some interesting people which can add more fun to your riding.

summary: yes, it's all a matter of preference and both have each beauty.

Indoor cycling VS outdoor cycling conclusion

Both indoor and outdoor cycling will help you get a great workout. It’s just a matter of preference as I have mentioned before. If you are not an outdoor sports fan and have trouble dealing with the traffic, then indoor cycling is better for you. If you are knee to become a technical cyclist and passionate about nature and outside world, outdoor cycling gets you better results and experience.