Anatomy of Spinning ClassesSpinning or Power Pacing is an indoor cycling class led by trained instructors. Workouts are conducted on specially designed stationary bikes that feature a weighted flywheel, a front wheel, plus adjustable seats and handlebars. Spin-type bikes also come equipped with a gear knob, which allows you to modify the intensity of your workout.
Spinning classes typically consist of 15 to 20 people and last about 60 minutes. In addition to the bikes, another key component of spinning classes is music. Many gyms have special spinning rooms which feature disco lights and loud music. However, don’t let the party-like environment fool you; spinning classes offer intense workouts designed to benefit you both physically and mentally.
The Many Benefits of Spinning
If you are not convinced that spinning is right for you, consider the following benefits:
Burns FatDozens of medical studies have been conducted to research the benefits of spinning. During the course of one study, experts found that the average spinner can increase his or her heart rate to 80 percent, which is considered “excellent” when it comes to burning fat. This is especially significant given that the majority of fat burning occurs when a person’s heart rate is at approximately 65 to 75 percent of maximum capacity. Many gyms equip their spinning bikes with heart rate monitors so riders can check their pace and adjust their cycling habits to optimize fat burning. In addition to reducing fat, spinning is also a great way to burn calories. By participating in a 60-minute spinning class, you have the potential to burn upwards of 1,200 calories.
Increases Leg StrengthCycling utilizes the body’s largest muscle groups: glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. By participating in a spinning class, you are able to target the aforementioned muscle groups and improve blood flow to each. In addition, spinning helps tone your calf muscles and strengthens your tendons, which improves overall leg strength.
Aids Cardiovascular SystemSpinning is an ideal exercise to improve your cardiovascular system. Your heart and lungs make up your cardiovascular system, and the fitter you become, the more efficiently they work. Consistent cycling improves blood flow throughout your body and increases the speed by which oxygen is distributed. Over time, spinning will help improve heart and lung performance and increase your overall fitness level.
Improves PostureIn addition to improving your cardiovascular system, spinning also encourages the use of stabilizer muscles found in your trunk, hips and shoulders. Improvement of these muscles helps to enhance body alignment and posture.
Reduces Risk of InjurySpinning is considered a non-load bearing exercise, which means your body does not have to bear the burden of supporting all your weight throughout your workout. Since the majority of spinning exercises are done while sitting, the pressure is taken off your joints and you reduce your risk of injury. This is something that is not accomplished when participating in other cardio activities such as running.
Miscellaneous BenefitsOther benefits of spinning include:
- Not having to worry about poor weather conditions
- Not having to purchase expensive workout equipment
- Having an instructor on hand to provide extra motivation
- Learning in a group environment
- Controlling your own aerobic output
Ways to Maximize Spinning BenefitsTo maximize the benefits achieved by spinning, consider these five tips:
- Adjust your bike according to your height. Set the saddle to your hip level to ensure your knees are not bent or locked straight when peddling.
- Choose proper fitting shoes. Experts recommend stiff-soled fitness shoes rather than soft running sneakers. If you find that you enjoy spinning, you might consider investing in special cycling shoes that clip on to the bike’s pedals.
- Bring a bottle of water. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of water to class and take frequent drinks while you ride. Spinning offers a high intensity workout and most participants sweat profusely during class. Having water on hand will help you remain hydrated.
- Bring a towel. You will need it to wipe sweat from your body and the bike handles during your workout.
- Don’t force yourself. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the class and ride beyond your fitness level. Doing so may cause painful injuries.