Class Basics: Spinning
Spinning is a cycling inspired cardio workout set to music and led by an instructor.
During a spinning class, the instructor will guide you through a simulated road cycling routine. He or she may tell you to increase the tension on your pedals, but ultimately you determine how little or how much to increase. It is important to remember that you are always in control, that you determine the amount of effort it takes to pedal. Listen to your body, and just get into the music and have fun.
Typical Class Routine
1. Bike set up
Before class begins, you will adjust the bike’s seat height. Adjusting the bike properly is important to both your comfort on the bike and the effectiveness of your workout. The instructor can help you determine the correct settings for your body.
2. Warm up
You will begin on the bike by spinning with low resistance for a few minutes. During this time, the instructor will ask you to position the tension of the pedals to just where you start to feel pressure. This is called the base or recovery position. You will return to this position for rest throughout the workout.
3. Bike Challenge
This is the core of the group exercise class, and it will vary considerably based on the instructor. He or she will guide you through a series of increases and decreases in pedal resistance and speed to make you feel like you’re riding your bike outside.
4. Cool down
You will end the workout with stretching to help your body recover.
Common Spinning Movements
The spinning program focuses on three hand positions and five core movements.
During class, spin instructors will call out numbers for hand positions, which correspond with where you are supposed to grip the handlebars.
Hands placed in the center of the handles. This is typically used for warming up, cooling down, or recovering from a fast interval.
Hands are just inside the upward curve on the handle bars.
Hands are on the top of the handles. This is typically used for a standing climb.
You will use different hand positions as you transition through the five core movements of the spinning program. These include:
1. Seated Flat
The most basic movement in the Spinning program, this position simulates riding on a flat road. It develops pedal stroke technique, and builds strength and stamina.
2. Seated Climb
This position simulates riding on a slight incline. It challenges the lower body, targeting the gluteals and hamstrings for strength, toning and definition.
3. Standing Flat
This position is an upright, standing run performed with light to moderate resistance. Running uses core muscle groups to stabilize the lower body and improve leg speed and endurance.
4. Standing Climb
This position simulates riding on a steep incline. It is an out-of-the-saddle climb that strengthens and defines the leg muscles.
Jumps are performed by transitioning in and out of the saddle with smooth, controlled movements. Jumps develop overall strength, timing and balance.
Proper Spinning Form
Keep your back straight, and use a pelvic tilt to increase leg speed. Your knees should move in a straight line as close together as possible. Try to pedal in circles with flat feet instead of pointing your toes down.
Most important, remember to rest when you need to. Turn the resistance on your bike to the recovery position any time, regardless of what the instructor or the rest of the class is doing.
What to Bring to Spinning
Always bring a water bottle. You will sweat a lot during a spinning class, so try to drink 8 oz. of water within 30 minutes before class, 24 oz. during class, and another 8 oz. after class. It might also be a good idea to bring a sweat towel.
What to Wear to Spinning
Always wear tight fitting clothing – never wear long baggy pants that could get caught in the pedals. While you do not need them to join the class, moisture-wicking clothes, padded cycling shorts, and proper cycling shoes are ideal for comfort.