Another take on Spinning

A really good blog post about spinning, for those of you who don’t participate in it.


Spinning is a form of exercise that focuses on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity (race days) and recovery. It  involves a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting. The features of the stationary bicycle include a mechanical device to modify the difficulty of pedaling, specially shaped handlebars, and multiple adjustment points to fit the bicycle to a range of riders. Many exercise bicycles have a weighted flywheel which simulate the effects of inertia and momentum when riding a real bicycle. The pedals are equipped with toe clips which allow for one foot to pull up while the other is pushing down. Some exercise bikes have clip-less receptacles for use with cleated cycling shoes.

A spinning class involves a single instructor at the front of the class who leads the participants through routines designed to simulate terrain and various outdoor riding situations. Some of the movements…

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3 thoughts on “Another take on Spinning

  1. I think some aspects don’t reflect a typical ride. For example, the routine I often see used of “jumping” from seating to standing. The other main difference is that there are two standing positions used in spin and on my road bike, being out of the saddle gives me only one option. My point is that I think spin class does more than being on a real bike and it also allows me to push myself in a way that I cannot match on the road. For example, I would not want to push full out on a long hill and not have the energy to make it all the way up when it’s a real hill, but I can do just that in a spin class.

    As a rider outside the spin class, I would like to know how spin class might help keep a good balance between the various leg muscle groups.

    The story talks about keeping good posture. I know what good posture looks like on the road, but in a spin class there is no wind to be sliced through. Sitting up more allows the lungs to work better. Wouldn’t good posture in a spin class be different than good posture on the road?


    1. Starting with your last question, the recommended posture in spin class is indeed more upright. However, and experienced outdoor rider might prefer to stick with an outdoor posture in order to refrain from practicing an “incorrect” position. Most spinning participants to not, in fact, ride outdoors and have no intention to, so their posture is upright.

      Current spinning literature includes both postures, as the philosophical emphasis has shifted and now actively encourages more people taking classes to make the jump to outside riding.

      As for your other points. Depending on the riding you’re doing, and the terrain you’re on, it is quite possible to use both standing positions in certain circumstances. No one would ever repeatedly jump up and down 30 time in 4 minutes, but the point is to get the rider used to high level effort so when it occurs in real life it’s as easy as possible (SAID principle).

      As for the sprints up a hill, the same SAID principle applies. The end of each one corresponds to reaching the top, followed by a short recovery before you do it again. The next time you only have to do it once, you will be mentally and physically prepared to push that extra 3-5% most humans will never voluntarily go to. Success!!!!

  2. Thanks. You’re right about the two positions. I was thinking of my road bike, but mountain bikes and other types of bikes do employ more standing straight up.


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