Are Those Push Ups In My Indoor Cycling Class Actually Doing Anything?

Recently, indoor cycling has become a huge trend, and it’s understandable why people are gravitating towards it. For one, you can set the vibe – everything from the music to the mood – that you want to workout in. 

Secondly, you can choose the intensity of the workout. Since it’s indoors, you have more control over the exercises. While everything else about indoor cycling seems to make sense, one thing that’s seemingly useless is bike push-ups. 

Basically, you put your hands on the bike’s handlebars, bend your elbows, and bring your torso towards the front of the bike. You continue doing this while you’re pedaling with your legs.

These push-ups are common in cycling studios, such as Purvelo and SoulCycle. However, most people want to know: do pushups at indoor cycling do anything? In fact, do push-ups do anything at all when coupled with cycling, whether indoors or outdoors? 

Below, we discuss the insight from three cycling instructors about this indoor cycling workout. 

Bike Push Ups Can Affect Your Cycling Form 

Darci Kruse, the direction of education at the National Exercise Trainer Association, says that on-bike push-ups are contraindicated movements. To put it simply, the workout is not something that should be taught. 

One of the main reasons for this is that indoor cycling work out can mess up your cycling form. When you’re cycling, your body’s focus should be on the pedals. The stroking rhythm is broken by the addition of upper-body movement. 

Kruse further says that push-ups are a repetitive movement. So, they increase the tension in your upper body. One of the important rules of cycling is to relax the shoulders to release the upper-body tension. 

Therefore, combining push-ups with indoor cycling goes against the basic principles of cycling. 

Plus, it may result in a disjointed motion. More importantly, push-ups need a certain degree of coordination. When you’re distracted in a push-up, you might not be able to pedal as powerfully as you should. 

Mark-Anthony Sachnzes, a USA Cycling Level 3 coach, says that push-ups can distract you from cycling. 

Furthermore, Nate Dunn, USA Cycling Level 1 coach, says that he would never combine push-ups with cycling. Doing both workouts together reduces the quality and effectiveness of each. 

It May Be A Safety Issue 

Push up in indoor cycling is not always a safety risk, but it can be. Experts say that if you have a back problem, doing push-ups while cycling will be uncomfortable for you as it disrupts your range of motion. 

Dunn further says that this indoor cycling workout might even be painful. 

Meanwhile, Sanchez says that pain and discomfort are more likely if you’re on a bike that’s not suited for your body or the handlebars are not aligned properly. 

If you’re new to indoor cycling, you should ask an instructor to shift the seat for you. Otherwise, the misplacement of the handlebars or the seat could trigger shock, leading to back or neck pain. 

Kruse explains that doing push-ups while cycling can also make you lose balance as there isn’t considerable surface to perform a push-up. Bikes are too narrow for you to maintain your balance while doing a push-up, especially if you’re a newbie. 

She further says that if you don’t have core stability to support yourself in a push-up in such a narrow place, your hand may slip. 

As a result, you might fall on the side or forward towards the handlebars. 

Push-Ups Only Add An Interest Factor 

Looking at the cycling routines of most indoor cycling studios, it seems that push-ups have only been incorporated in the workout to make the process more interesting. Cycling for an hour straight can be quite boring. 

So, adding push-ups makes the workout a bit interesting. Moreover, Sanchez says that it may even improve coordination since different parts of your body are working in tandem. 

Likewise, Kruse says that she understands why people do push-ups on indoor cycling bikes. It’s interesting and brings in the excitement factor. However, other than that, push-ups do not have any strengthening benefits. 

The primary reason for this is the lack of effort from your side. Most of your weight is being supported by the bike, so you’re not working against much resistance. 

if you were to do the same push-up on the floor, you’d actually be challenging your body and strengthening your muscles. 

Separate Indoor Cycling From Push-Ups

Do push-ups do anything? Yes, they increase your strength, but only if you are doing them off the bicycle. 

Do pushups at indoor cycling do anything? Seemingly not. Instead, you should do cycling and push-ups separately to get the benefits of both workouts. 

Kruse advises against combining these exercises because of the narrow surface area provided by the bike’s seat. Owing to this, you might end up toppling off the bike unless you have considerable core strength. 

Dunn, however, feels there’s not much risk associated with cycling and doing push-ups together. He says that you should separate strength movements from cycling as it will allow you to focus on your proper cycling form rather than struggling with balancing yourself on a bike. 

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Instead, you can perform other upper-body movements on the bike, such as front raises and bent-over-rows. 


If you were wondering: do push-ups at indoor cycling do anything, you now have your answer. It seems like push-up in indoor cycling isn’t something beneficial for strength-building as it’s merely there for the excitement factor. 

If you still want to do an upper-body workout while cycling, there are some other options to try out. Ask your cycling instructor for an alternative.

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