Although spinning or indoor cycling seems like a newly established fitness trend, spinning has been around since the 18th century. In 1796, Francis Lowndes invented the first form of a stationary bike: The Gymnasticon. But obviously, spinning has come a long way since then.
So what is a spin class exactly? A spin class consists of a room set up with several stationary bikes and an instructor to guide you throughout the training session. Read further to learn more about spinning and if it’s the right form of exercise for you.
What to expect at a spin class?
Attending your first indoor cycling class can be an intimidating experience. But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you think.
First, decide which class and studio you’d like to attend. Check the studio website on what attire you should wear, what to bring and how early to show up to the class. I urge you to bring a water bottle to the session because you need to stay hydrated. And, try to wear light layers of clothing that can be easily removed.
You can book rides ahead of time and reserve a bike. If you’re lucky, bikes could be available the same day. If it’s your first indoor cycling class, try to book a bike in a spot that’s comfortable for you. I suggest somewhere in the middle of the room so that you’re not right at the front, but you can still watch the instructor and everyone else. Different studios have different set ups for the stationary bikes but usually, they’re all facing towards the instructor. Some rooms have mirrors which are helpful to make sure you maintain proper posture. And, some instructors are propped up on a stage.
When you get to the gym, the staff are really great at guiding you on where to go and what to do. Once the room opens and you find your bike, make sure you adjust the seat and handlebar height and tension. The seat height should be the same height as your hip bone while the handlebar height should allow you to have a neutral spine, with a slight bend in your elbows. To determine the ideal distance between the handlebars and the seat, make a loose fist and place your elbow between the two. The distance should span the length of your elbow to your fist.
The staff may give you a set of indoor cycling shoes that attach to the pedals of the bike. The tricky part is getting your shoes attached to the pedals. Just place your feet on the pedals and push down until you hear a click. Rest assured, your feet won’t come off the pedals during the class so, don’t be afraid you’ll fly off the bike. If you have any problems, ask for help. The other riders and instructors are always eager to help you get settled on your bike.
Spin classes range from 30-45 minutes in length but there are some studios that offer longer classes. The instructor has a headset microphone and they often pump some awesome and motivating music the whole ride. To begin, you start off with a warm up, then the instructor picks up the pace with interval training. During that time, they may ask you to use some hand weights, do some seat and standing work and change the tension. Do whatever feels right for your body. Take as many breaks as you like, there’s no judgement. At the end of the intense period, there’s a cool down and stretching portion. Finally, to get off the bike, you wiggle your heels back and forth until the shoes detach from the pedals.
Can beginners go to a spin class?
Absolutely. There are a variety of spin classes appropriate for all fitness levels. Whatever class you choose, go at your own pace. You’ll become more confident in the process, what to expect and will build those muscles specific to riding. Once you get fitter, it should get easier.
Benefits of indoor cycling
Contrary to popular belief, when you’re spinning, you’re actually engaging your whole body. It’s more than just a leg and glute workout. Throughout the session, your core muscles will be used for stability. Especially when you’re instructed to stand up and down on the bike.
While using your core muscles, you’re also improving your balance on the bike. During interval training, as you sit up and down on the bike, you’ll gain better control of your body positions.
Spinning is a low impact workout so it’s much easier on your joints than your traditional cardiovascular exercises. However, you’re still getting the health benefits of increasing your heart rate, stamina, endurance and blood flow, all while losing weight.
In addition to health benefits, going to a spin class is convenient. Everything is set up for you and you can avoid any unexpected weather events. Plus, the music and lights make it such an enjoyable experience. A lot of studios have theme classes like rock or 90’s boy band music.
How to find spin classes near me?
Every city or town has their own version of spin classes, you just need to look around. Talk to your colleagues, family or friends for recommendations. Then google “spin classes near me” and check out reviews. There are so many options for everyone. Make sure to find out the breakdown of each class. Moreover, many studios offer affordable memberships, promotions, packages and free trials.
Whether you’re an experienced athlete or new to exercising, you should try indoor cycling. The camaraderie of the supportive spinning community is a welcome change from the gym. Take the risk and get out of your comfort zone. I guarantee you, you’ll love it.