I love what biking does for my butt and thighs, so I was curious to see what Kranking® would do for my upper body. The workout, designed by Johnny G, who founded the Spinning® indoor cycling program, is best described as cycling for your arms and it's being rolled out at gyms across the country.
I arrived at the 30-minute class at Reebok Sports Club/NY to find a room of curious-looking "bikes" that have hand-pedals where you would normally find handlebars. They power a suspended flywheel, much like you find on a group cycling bike—except these are much curvier and fun looking. Our instructor, Avery Washington, introduced us to the Krankcycle® . You "pedal" with your arms, turning the two rotating handles separately or together while your legs remain still. We started in the saddle, turning the left handle, followed by the right, then synching them together. It seemed pretty easy, but then I turned up the resistance and could feel the burn in my arms.
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to break a sweat, but after a few minutes of Kranking at a rapid pace, my face began to glisten and my heart rate shot up. We continued working our arms as we stood up, bouncing our hips side to side. To mix it up, we came around to the front of the bike and pedaled; however, the movement was the same and I would've liked more varied action. Exhilarating music pumped up the energy, but the workout wasn't as intense as a traditional cycling class. While I missed the legwork involved, it's an excellent alternative for anyone with lower-body injuries—and it's a good way to give your legs a break without taking a day off from cardio.
It may not challenge your legs, but it does work your arms, shoulders, chest, back and core. "It's designed for people who want to tone their upper body without jumping from weight machine to weight machine," says Washington.
While I don't see Kranking becoming as huge as the group cycling craze, it's certainly a beneficial way to cross-train. If you're looking to shape those arms, I recommend integrating the class into your cardio routine.
Where you can try it: Reebok Sports Club/NY in New York City, The Sports Club/LA in Boston, Club One Fitness in Northern California and Frog's Fitness in Southern California. Coming soon to additional gyms, including Crunch in Miami and New York City. For more information, go to krankcycle.com.