Must-Know Beginner Spinning Tips
Spin classes can be one of the more intimidating group fitness experiences. It takes time to become familiar with the bike and the more often you attend class, the easier things will get. Don’t let intimidation stop you from adding spin classes to your fitness routine. I’ve got 5 beginner spinning tips that I wish I would’ve known before starting. You’ll be more comfortable and ready to sweat when you know what to expect!
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5 Beginner Spinning Tips You Should Know Before Starting
Not All Spinning Classes Are Alike
There are so many variations of indoor cycling classes. Technically, the one common thread of a “spinning class” is the bike’s upright design. This is totally different than a recumbent bike that you can find on the cardio floor of any gym. It’s comparable to actually being on a real road.
In the last decade, spin boutique studios have opened their doors and have grown in popularity. SoulCycle is known for high-energy classes that offer a small upper body weight workout as well. FlyWheel channels your inner competitive side by displaying all of your stats (like how fast you’re going) on a digital screen that the whole class, and teacher, can see. CycleBar combines the popular moves of a barre class with spinning.
I take Les Mills spinning classes at Gold’s Gym. Many gyms offer spin classes as the endurance workout is quite popular. At my Gold’s Gym location, it costs $1 per class or $10 for unlimited spin classes – on top of my monthly membership fees.
I’ve taken classes at several spin studios to compare it to my gym classes. In the end, I think as long as your instructor has high energy and motivates you – that’s all you need. Focus on the instructions, don’t cheat yourself and you’ll be burning 400+ calories per class.
Set Yourself Up For Success With Every Spin Class
First off, you’ll want to be prepared for your class. Bring a water bottle and small towel to wipe your sweat. You’ll definitely feel the humidity of everyone sweating around you.
Secondly, fitting yourself to a spin bike is crucial for success. Of all my beginner spinning tips, this is one that you might need help with. Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor for help. Your seat height should allow your legs to almost extend to a soft knee position, which places your bike seat around hip height. Your legs should not be full extended at the bottom of the pedals.
The handlebar height is more about comfort. If you’re pregnant (of course – consult your physician before starting a workout), carry more belly fat, or have back issues, you’ll want a higher handlebar setting. I find it’s more comfortable.
Pro Tip: Once you find a bike setting that you like, write it down and memorize it for every class! My current setting it P-9. You can also bring in your own bike seat if you need more cushion.
All About Locking In With Spin Shoes
When you go to class, you’ll notice other spinners might have special shoes that allow them to lock into the bike pedals. These spinning shoes can be purchased from Zappos.com or any fitness store. They remove any hot spots and eliminate pressure in certain spots on your foot.
However, they are not necessary for a good workout. You can use any sneaker and buckle into the pedals. The buckle runs across the top of your shoe and I prefer to keep mine on the tighter side.
After a few months, if you’re attending class regularly, it might be time to consider the investment of spin shoes. Three months into classes and I’m about to purchase my first pair (Pearl Izumi brand). Many of the spin studios supply members with spinning shoes, as part of their cost.
Spin Class Terms You Should Know
Of course, as in any group fitness class, you just want to follow the instructor! They’ll guide you through the workout. To make things harder, you’ll work through a series of combinations that include: adding resistance, “climbing” in a standing position or adding speed.
- Sprints: pedaling as fast as you can to the beat of the music
- Hill Climbs: increasing resistance to feel like you’re “climbing a hill”
- Gear Up: Add resistance
- Saddle: Bike’s seat
- Jump: Standing up, out of the saddle, while pedaling
- RPM: Revolutions per minute
- Resistance or Tension: Most indoor bikes have a knob or leverage that controls the bike’s resistance. It’s usually found at the base of the handlebars. Turn the knob to the right to add resistance, which will make pedaling harder. Turn the knob to the left to lighten the load, which will make pedaling easier.
Indoor Cycling Classes Increase Your Endurance
Spinning classes are an intense cardiovascular workout. You’re heart rate will increase and you’ll be burning up to 675 calories per hour class (I usually burn around 450). Many time, beginner students get frustrated about their experience and they give up.
Initially, the saddle can feel uncomfortable. Many women complain about a “numbing” sensation felt in their groin area. That could mean your bike is not set up appropriately for your frame. Don’t be shy about asking an instructor if you feel uncomfortable.
The more you go, the more you’ll feel comfortable and your endurance will increase. When my stamina increased, my enjoyment also increased. I can attend class without having to make adjustments to my bike and I can focus on the ride.