Air cycling is a fun lower-body exercise that you can perform without any equipment. If you enjoy cycling exercises but want to try something different, you can position yourself on your back on the gym floor, raise your legs, and move them as though you're pedaling a bike. You'll often see people at the gym performing this exercise, which increases your heart rate and can often be a good warmup exercise for more strenuous activities. Conventional air cycling can take a while to get used to, but if you eventually want to change the exercise a bit, there are numerous variations that you can try. Here are three ideas.
If you want to push your legs a little harder during your air cycling workout, you might decide to pedal faster. This is one option, but there's another variation that you can explore. Strapping a pair of ankle weights to your ankles will add resistance to the pedaling motion. You should immediately notice a difference in how much more effort is required to pedal. The key to using ankle weights is to start with a slight amount of weight and then increase the weight gradually. You want to feel the resistance but not experience aches in your hips or knees.
When you perform standard air cycling, your backside rests on the floor. If you want to boost the challenge of this exercise, position yourself so that you're holding your backside in an elevated manner with the help of your hands and arms. Doing so engages a lot more muscle groups throughout your body, including those in your back, core, and backside itself. There's a good chance that you'll only be able to perform this variation for short periods at first. Over time, you may find that it's easier to keep your backside elevated as you pedal.
While air pedaling is a good exercise for your lower body, you might want to get your upper body involved in some way, too. There are various strength training exercises that you can perform as you pedal with your legs. One option is dumbbell flys, in which you hold a light dumbbell in each hand, raise the weights directly over your chest with your arms straight, and then slowly lower the weights to each side of your body. People perform dumbbell flys in all sorts of positions, but this exercise is suitable to perform while you're air cycling.
If you are looking for a new lower-body exercise routine, try air cycling next time you visit the gym!