By David Fiedler, Guide

The Bottom Line
Spinning classes can be a great way to get in a vigorous workout -- burning calories and keeping your muscles in shape -- especially during the off-season. But you have to have a high tolerance for exercise bikes and being cooped up inside with a bunch of other sweaty people for this to be a satisfying alternative to the real thing.

An effective workout
Allows you to train in the offseason
Varied routines keep things fresh
Great for all ability levels
You don't have to wear your helmet :-)


You're not on a real bike
Classes can become monotonous
You have to push yourself for maximum effect


Spinning classes are done in a fitness studio, with various light and music settings to create an energized atmosphere.
Instructors guide participants through workout phases. Warm-up, steady uptempo cadences, sprints, climbs, cool-downs, etc.
You control resistance on your bike to make the pedaling as easy or difficult as you choose. Constant adjustment is normal.
All you'll need is workout clothes, a towel (to wipe your face) and a water bottle.
Spinning bikes have toe clips so you can wear tennis shoes. But many pedals also work with Shimano-style SPD cleats.

Guide Review - What Happens in a Spinning Class?

Imagine a whole bunch of exercise bikes lined up inside a health club studio. Riders are on each one, spinning the pedals at a rapid pace. The lights are turned down, pumped up music fills the air and an instructor with a headset sits atop a lead bike, calling out commands.

"Climb out of the saddle," she barks at the class. "Big hill coming!"

The riders rise as one, pedals spinning faster as they grimace with exertion, sweat dripping off their bodies.

What you're witnessing is a spinning class, a workout option available at fitness clubs everywhere. Spinning is a relatively recent phenomenon, where participants take part in a group workout on exercise bikes that typically lasts anywhere from 30-75 minutes. The classes are lead by instructors who normally guide participants through a series of phases, from warm-up to more challenging phases, to a period of peak effort followed by a cool down.

In spinning classes, the intensity of the workout is influenced by a couple of things:

cadence, or pedal rate
resistance of the bike's flywheel, which can be continually adjusted throughout the class to make pedaling easier or more difficult
by the rider's body position, as they either pedal from a seated position or rise from the saddle.

Ultimately participants determine their own levels of exertion, something that works better for some folks than others. For instance, I personally find myself slacking from time to time in a spinning class if I don't stay focused. I know that I do better when I'm being pushed, like when riding a real bike and the only option to hustling on a group ride is being dropped.

But a good instructor can certainly encourage and motivate you to push yourself, and you'll most likely find spinning to be a vigorous workout. It's a decent way to stay in shape when you can't get outside on the bike.

Good spinning class article.

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Replies to This Discussion

The better option for cyclists is to find a spin class at a bike shop.  In most of those, you bring your own bike and trainer.  The workouts are also tuned specifically for cyclists.  When I was in Austin, Bicycle Sport shop downtown had them for cheap. 

Scott -- I will try them. I need to buy a better racing bike and I think I'll look into their classes as well. Thanks!

As long as you have slicks for tires, you can get on a trainer now.  The fluid trainers are the most popular.  I have a Cyclops.

OH cool -- thanks!

And you can even do it with knobby tires on most trainers but everything within 20 ft will vibrate!  Goog luck.





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