Tired of running for your main form of cardio? It might be time to try out a spin class, or indoor cycling class as they are sometimes called. Don’t be shy about the group fitness element of them either, you don’t have to interact with anyone in there but the energy of a group class can really elevate the intensity of your workout. That, and having an instructor motivating you of course.
Spin classes are of course taught on a stationary bicycle, which has clips for attaching spin shoes. Some places will rent shoes out if you don’t have them, while other places will have cages that you can attach to use with your running shoes, although the workout is not going to be as good. If you try spin and enjoy it, investing in spin shoes will increase the safety and efficiency of your classes.
Spin classes are extremely high energy and when taught well can burn upwards of a 1,000 calories, pending that your effort matches what is asked of you. The instructors have a good view of the class so they will often correct your form and cheer you on if you need it.
The keys to spin class are keeping up with the pace, and properly using your resistance. The bike resistance is changed by a knob that tightens or loosens the slack on the wheel. When you put more resistance on it simulates going up a hill and therefore requires more work from your legs to get around. Teachers will have different ways of letting you know how much resistance to put on, it might be a number of turns, or asking you to guess a certain percentage with 100 percent being that your legs aren’t moving at all.
This will change from song to song and sometimes throughout a song as well. It’s important to use the amount of resistance suggested. If you don’t have enough resistance on, a slower pace won’t work you out enough. If you have too much resistance on then you won’t be able to run. It’s crucial to pay attention to what the teacher is suggesting.
A lot of people worry about the part of spin that involves sitting on a bike seat, but in actuality most of spin classes you spend “standing” on the bike where you’re not touching the seat at all.
Adopting the proper form is important in a spin class to get the best full body workout and also to protect your knees and lower back. Keep in mind that the pedaling motion should not be just a striking down motion, but also requires a pulling up motion to engage the muscles in both sides of the legs. It’s also important to keep your abs engaged, and to keep your weight back in the body so that you aren’t leaning forward on the handle bars. In fact when you’re in the proper form you should be able to wiggle your fingers or lift them off the bars entirely without losing balance.
Setting the bike to the proper settings for your height is also important, so if it’s your first time at a new place be sure and ask someone to confirm that you’re setting up the bike right. In general the seat should be lined up with your hip.
Your workout can change a lot based on who’s teaching and whether the class is at a normal gym or a speciality one, so don’t give up if you don’t like the first one. And don’t forget the water, spin and indoor cycling are high intensity cardiovascular workouts that generally last between 45 minutes and an hour.