Just When You Thought Cycling Was A Brutal Workout, They Created Aqua Cycle...

Walking into the AQUA Studio, a feeling of zen came over me. It’s totally peaceful, quiet, and not full of overzealous workout fanatics. A single class is $40, but your first trial class is $34. You also pay $2 for a pair of water shoes (like see-through slip-on flats). The pool is 4 feet deep, with lit candles seen throughout the space, and only 15 participants are allowed, which makes the whole affair a lot more intimate (and lot less scary). For now AQUA Studio is only open to women (due to the singular locker room). However, the studio will be introducing men’s classes this month with one or two days for men only. (You hear that, Jake?)

Now in the pool, we began getting warmed up as Anne made sure we’re all in the proper riding position. I notice my legs begin to jerk and pause with each cycle movement, as if my mind thinks this is a typical bike, in a typical spin setting. Anne reminds the class to not pause but rather glide through each movement. So I begin to flow through each cycle, as if I were swimming on a bike.

Emmanuelle Galland, AQUA Cycle Master Instructor and Holistic coach says this underwater workout targets cardiovascular endurance training, strength training, intense core training, and flexibility training.

“Aqua cycling increases joints range of motion as well as mind-body connection, think of it as a workout for your nervous system, as pedaling in water requires a new wiring of your brain to pedal effectively and there is some coordination challenges,” Galland says.

Indeed there were some challenges. Some of movements were completely new to me, and ones that you could definitely not do in a regular spin class. Picture this: Cycling from behind the seat, arms outstretched, grasping the seat with both hands. We were then instructed to let go with one hand and do various swimming strokes, then by the end we had completely let go of the seat, all the while still cycling and freestyling. The way to balance and to keep from going under is to depend on your abs to stay afloat with the belly button against the seat so you’re head is above water. Mind you, I couldn’t do it very well (it was my first time!) but it was such a thrill attempting this balancing act. And the way to keep the arms moving, while cycling, is by engaging the core. So you’re working various muscles and remembering to breathe properly. 

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