5 ways to get more out of your spin class

spin bike resistance knob

Hello hello!

How was your weekend? Mine was supremely relaxing – a great run, a long overdue haircut, two tea dates with some of my girlfriends, and a nap pretty much sums it up. ‘Twas lovely!

I know I’ve said it over and over that summer is my favourite season, but there are a couple of things that I look forward to during the fall:

  • Our condo association removes the speed bumps in our complex (to make it easier to clear the snow when it comes)
  • Pumpkin, butternut squash, and apples… ’nuff said
  • More participants in my spin classes!!

That’s right – the weather is getting cooler and this means more people are back to the gym. This is especially exciting for me because I love when my classes are packed with sweaty cycling enthusiasts at 6am! If you’re thinking about hopping back on the bike (or on for the first time) this fall, here are my top 5 tips for getting more out of each class.

Before RPM at Can Fit Pro 2012

1. Wear the right gear.

When it comes to a spin class, there’s not a whole lot of specialized equipment required. However, a few little tweaks to your workout gear can make all the difference. Here are a few of my essentials:

  • Cycling shorts – or at least shorts that come to mid-thigh, preferably made of spandex (or Lycra, which is actually just a brand name for spandex, sort of like Kleenex is a brand name of tissues). It only takes one class riding in too-short shorts to teach you never to make the same mistake again. I alternate between non-padded cycle shorts (usually the Lululemon Reverse Groove Shorts, which are a perfect length) and padded ones (the Sugoi Neo Pro short) depending on how many classes I have to teach. The key thing is to have as little chafing as possible, and both pairs of these shorts have been serving me well for a solid year. I’m told that pros and avid cyclists go commando with the padded shorts because undies actually increase the likelihood of chafing….. I’ll leave that decision up to you. πŸ˜‰
Source: Lululemon
  • Cycling shoes – Ok, these aren’t mandatory but they make a WORLD of difference. If you’re curious about the different types, be sure to check out my Cues and Shoes post, which details the types of clips and shoe styles. Since I do all of my riding indoors on a bike, I’ve got road bike style shoes, which are super light and have a very stiff sole. The type of clip is an SPD cleat, and this is a pretty common one across most spin bike manufacturers. Specialized shoes will help to keep your feet secure on the pedals. This means you can take that energy you would have been using to keep your feet in the pedal cages and using it to exert more power and increase leg speed instead. In short, they make you a more efficient rider, which is a great thing!

Spin class gear

  • Breathable shirts – Short sleeved or sans-sleeves, it’s up to you. Heavy cotton is the devil when it comes to sweat, so if you can get a light sweat-wicking or Dry-Fit material, that’s ideal. About 95% of the shirts I use to work out in are made of luon or luxtreme, which makes them super stretchy, soft, and light. Trust me, you’ll work up enough of a sweat in the class that you won’t want long sleevesΒ  or heavy fabrics to keep you warm!
  • A towel and waterbottle – This is probably a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often people forget. It’s important to drink water all throughout your class, and a towel will be your best friend once the sweat starts dripping.

2. Show up early.

As an instructor, I LOVE it when my new participants make an effort to arrive a little early. This gives me time to help them set up their bikes properly, which is crucial to a good ride. A lot of participants come in 2 seconds before class is about to begin, tuck in at the back of the room, and ride with their seats waaay too low. There’s no real danger to riding with the seat too high (other than obvious discomfort), but if it’s too low, watch out. Your knees will definitely feel this over time if you do it for a while, and not in a good way!

It’s not just newbies that benefit from turning up early. Even if you’re a very seasoned indoor cyclist, arriving early means you’ve got first pick at where you sit in the room and which bike you ride. You can move around until you find one that feels best to you, or ensure that you get “your usual spot” before anyone else.

5 ways to get more out of your spin class

3. Use proper resistance.

You wouldn’t go to the gym just to look at the equipment, right? And you wouldn’t go outside and get on your bike if it didn’t have a chain on it, right? A bike without a chain isn’t going to get you anywhere, and simply looking at gym equipment rather than actually using it isn’t going to get you any results. The same is true with resistance on an indoor cycling bike. If you don’t turn the dial up a bit, your muscles will be less engaged throughout your workout and as a result, you won’t get as much out of your class.

Depending on the type of cycling class you’re doing, the instructor will use different cues to indicate how much resistance to use. I teach Les Mills RPM and freestyle spin, and the RPM ‘way’ of cueing load is to refer to base resistance and working resistance. The base is the absolute minimum you want to have on the bike at all times. This helps to ensure that injuries are prevented and that the legs are in control of the pedals, not the other way around. Every road (even a flat one) has a little bit of resistance, and the same should be true any time you’re sitting on a spin bike.

spin bike resistance knob

Working resistance is typically cued with reference to the beat of the music, but the feeling you’re aiming for is a more noticeable pull in the hamstring. It’s a resistance you should find more challenging, but you should be able to accelerate and race with this load. It’s the one you’d be using on ‘racing’ portions of the workout, and is the fastest your legs will go during the class. If you feel that you’re bouncing around in the saddle when you race or sprint, chances are you haven’t got your working resistance on. Turn the dial up a bit more, engage through your core, and that should solve the problem! If you’re looking for more detail about how to do each of the RPM riding positions properly, check out this breakdown of all the moves on LesMills.com.

4. Trust the instructor.

If the person teaching your class has a good amount of experience, they should be cueing and coaching you throughout so that you:

  • know what to expect
  • have confidence that you’re riding correctly and safely, with the right resistance and leg speed
  • can anticipate what’s coming up next
  • can make it to the end of the class without feeling too exhausted to carry on

Giving participants a general idea of what the workout is going to look like and when the big efforts are coming is something I always aim to communicate. I know how annoying it is to be suddenly told to “SPRIIIIIINT!!!” with no indication of how long to do it for. When this happens, it’s only natural to hold back a bit. However, if your instructor tells you that you’ll be sprinting 4 times for 30s each, with 30s breaks in between, it allows you to go all-out on those efforts because you know a recovery is coming.

spin bike handlebars

You’ll probably have to attend the same class a few times before you feel you can trust the person teaching it to give you these cues, but when the trust is established, you’ll feel more comfortable with giving your all and making the most of each hard work phase. For RPM specifically, you shouldn’t be able to make it to the end of the class without hitting the ‘breathless’ point at least a few times. Your instructor will let you know when these opportunities are coming, so make sure you grab ’em and ride like you stole something! πŸ˜‰

5. Stay for the cool-down.

I know you’ve got places to go and things to do, but if you can stay to cool down at the end of the class, your body will thank you! It’s really important to make sure your heart rate a chance to come back down and to flush the lactic acid out of your legs before hopping off the bike. Not only does this prevent post-workout dizziness, but it will also help you to ride stronger next time. The stretches at the end of class will aid in your recovery too, and prevent post-workout stiffness. If you really, really have to leave early, at least promise me you’ll do a few hip flexor stretches before you go. One of my favourites is pictured below:

(Source)

The hip is one of the tightest joints in both cyclists and runners, so give it a little TLC!

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So tell me…

  • If you’re an instructor, do you have any other tips to add to my list?
  • If you’re a participant, what is your #1 spin class pet peeve? I want to know so that I can make sure I don’t do it!!

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76 thoughts on “5 ways to get more out of your spin class

      1. I’m trying spin class for the first time this week. Day 1 I threw up on the floor & felt like I had virtigo after I got off of my bike … Day 2 (diff instructor) I did better, but my pet peeve is that she told me “listen to your body” but then halfway into class came over & told me repeatedly to raise my toms NOW!!!! Hello, I’m listening to my body & trying to throw up this time, can you leave me alone? So, I think the instructor should also trust the participants…..

        1. I went to my first spin class last week, needless to say it was hard. I noticed that a girl on the next bike was wearing some workout shorts with the name Trimbo. I spoke to her after the spin class and she told me that they harness her body heat and make her sweat around her hips waist and bottom, resulting in inch loss and weight loss over several weeks, plus she said it helped reduce cellulite.
          I was going to buy a pair but they’re quite expensive, Has anyone else used these shorts, and were they any good? Thanks April.

  1. These tips are so good! You must notice a lot around the room being an instructor. I will definitely try to be early the next time I go for a spin class! πŸ™‚

  2. great review, angela! your tips are informative and helpful!
    i haven’t done spin in ages…but did enjoy it. to me, an enthusiastic, experienced instructor makes a world of difference.
    pet peeves: people who smell (nothing to do with instructor), unmotivating music (we all have our preferences!).
    glad you had a fun weekend!

  3. I absolutely love spin! I’m not an instructor, so as a participant I can say my biggest pet peeve is loud music. I love high-energy beats, but sometimes I think the instructor is trying to bust my eardrums! It can be motivating without being painful. haha

  4. I used to spin quite a bit but wasn’t a fan of some of the instructors at the studio. One of them was terrible! He never used to ride his bike (he was always walking around) which to me doesn’t feel overly motivating. He would ALWAYS yell at spinners in the class and try to get people “motivated” in his own way? He would basically stand in front of your bike and turn up the resistance and/or tell you to go faster. I wasn’t a fan!

  5. I absolutely love all of these tips! Staying for the cool down is so key. It always surprises me when people leave during this part in any group ex class.

    I want to eventually start instructing so this post was great motivation to keep working on my technique and to do the cert! Also, that ecard make me laugh out loud. That’s totally how I feel when I don’t get MY bike πŸ˜‰

  6. Nothing beats a good haircut!! I’m glad you had such a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚ And I loooove this post!! I’m a huge spin fan (though lately I haven’t been making time for it :[ ) and think these tips are REALLY helpful! I think my biggest pet peeve with spin is when the instructor screams at you the whole time and you can’t get into a groove. I also really hate it when instructors keep you “in the saddle” the whole time and don’t do anything where you’re “standing up” in the bike with your rear off the seat. I prefer a good balance of the two!

  7. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I just went to my first spin class last week and I loved it. I have a daily yoga practice, which I am very very happy with, but I was looking for something additional to give me a bit more of a cardio/aerobic workout. Spinning is definitely that. My bum was a tad bit sore the next day, but otherwise no worse for the wear. I cannot wait to go back this week.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself Beth! Don’t worry – a lot of my first time participants say their butts are sore after class, but after you’ve attended a few more, you probably won’t notice any more. Spinning is such a great complement to a yoga routine so that’s great that you’re doing both!

  8. This is great!! I just did my first RPM Class last week, and am getting myself pumped up for my second this week. Thanks for these tips! Great for an inexperienced beginner like myself! πŸ™‚

    1. That’s fantastic Lindsey!! Keep at it – I won’t say that they get easier (because they’re not supposed to!) but after a few classes I’m willing to bet you’ll find that you can better manage more resistance, and you’ll feel a lot stronger too. Have fun!

  9. As a spin instructor, I absolutely can’t stand when people don’t use their resistance to it’s extent. Like you mentioned- If you are bouncing out of the saddle, clearly, you aren’t working at a heavy enough resistance.A tip that I always tell my new students is to pedal as if they are scraping mud off the bottom of their shoes: this prevents toe pointing, which can make your feet fly out of the cages and cause major calf crampage!!

  10. Great tips Angela! My spin class pet peeve is when the instructor is deceitful and says something is the last ( sprint, set etc) or that you only have x seconds left and then adds on more sets or time. I like to give it my all in class so I find it hard to keep going when that happens.

  11. I think music is definitely the biggest thing, so if it’s bad, un-motivating music, then i am not going to push as hard. I used to take a class where the instructor would bring orange slices for everyone when they were done. I loved this, it was very refreshing and a nice treat while strecthing!

  12. My biggest issue is when an instructor has us using too light resistance and pedaling too fast, or spends too much of the class up in second running quickly. I hate to be the rude student who is doing my own thing, but I also hate not to get a decent workout in. We have Keiser bike with watts, RPMs, gears, all displayed on the computer screen and 95% of instructors don’t use it to teach because they don’t understand it! But if you watch the watts (which shows how hard you’re working) you can easily see that spending the whole class in second position is not giving you as hard a workout as spending time in the saddle with some decent resistance. I understand people find that boring, but there are ways to make it fun with intervals, climbs, drills, etc.

    I tend to be pretty picky about whose class I go to for these reasons, but it’s a bummer not to be able to just drop into any class that fits my schedule.

    1. Oh you are SO lucky to have the power meters on the bikes! In the summer when I go to the Can Fit Pro fitness conference in Toronto, i LOVE riding the Schwinn bikes that have the meters on them because there’s so much you can do to incorporate the numbers into your class. As you mentioned, wattage is key! I think a lot of beginners are misled and think that high RPMs mean a better workout… in reality, high RPMs can mean very low wattage which is NOT the point!) Thanks for the great comment!

  13. I tried my first spin class today and knew I had to seek out your blog for posts for first-timers. HOLY COW. Angela. I got my butt thoroughly kicked. the class was 6 hours ago but I am so sore. I struggled SO much with the standing part. Sitting, I was totally fine, but standing was just a struggle like no other. A few times I had to sit back down for a few seconds and it was mortifying. Now I’m thinking I might have had such a hard time standing because I lowered my resistance for the standing parts (despite instructor saying otherwise. i don’t know why, i guess i thought it would make it easier?) & made sure to really get it going for the sitting.

    Then the instructor had us get down on the floor for a 5 minute strength circuit (I forget what she actually called it) in the middle of the class and when I went down to do a squat, I nearly fell over as my legs almost just gave out. Oh my goodness, haha, what a class! I’ll give it a few more classes!

    1. Hi Caitlyn!

      Your comment made me smile (not because you’re in pain!) because it’s something I hear from many first time spin participants. So many find the first ride really difficult, particularly the standing part. You’ve already identified one of the reasons, which is the resistance. Intuitively, you’d think that taking the resistance down would make it easier, right? But actually, having more load there helps to balance your bodyweight and can make you feel more stable when you’re out of the saddle. It’s also really important in order to protect your knees – not enough can be dangerous and I don’t want you to injure yourself!

      The other thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of first time class participants put a lot of weight in their upper bodies when they come out of the seat, so if your arms got really tired, chances are you may have been doing this. Next time you go, try using a bit more resistance when you stand, and see if you can focus on keeping more of your bodyweight in your lower body. It might feel a little awkward at first but it’s safer, and you’ll be saving your energy for your legs where it’s needed, rather than wasting it by getting really tense in your arms.

      Regarding the strength workout in the middle of class, I know this is popular with some instructors but I’d recommend just being aware of the fact that it might make you feel a bit dizzy. Typically, I like to save on-the-floor exercises for after class because going from an upright position to one where your head is below your heart, then back again, can make people feel quite nauseous. If it was just squats and lunges etc, I think you’re probably fine, but if the instructor is having you get down into push-ups or planks, then get back up again, take it slow just to ensure your head is ok with that!

      Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS on your first class!! I know it probably feels like you had your butt kicked, but I really hope you’ll try again because I promise the 2nd class is never as scary as the 1st! Let me know how you do and have a good stretch tonight!

  14. #1 pet peeve, well there are several, perhaps a short list:

    1. Teaching points totally out of sync with the music, for example, being asked to sprint just as a track is winding down.

    2. Instructors that are less fit / able than the class they are trying to teach, this can be demotivating and frustrating.

    3. Use of far too many breaks, having travelled to the gym for a good workout it helps if the instructor has taken the time to have some professional training such as RPM.

    4. Echo the point above, instructors that do not cycle, the combination of loud music and an instructor wandering about is very irritating.

    5. Instructors that turn up at the last minute, fail to notice / welcome new participants and do not provide help on cycle position and posture to the less able.

    Run well, spin is an excellent fitness class. Clubs should take great care of the good instructors and re-train / remove poor instructors. Many of the best instructors I’ve seen often attend other instructors classes – this can be fun for all, giving a good riding partner and spreading best practice in the club.

    Happy cycling

  15. Hi Angela! I enjoyed reading this post and comments of others. I am starting my 3rd week of spin…I am enjoying it. I plan to purchase some cycling shoes soon. Here are my questions:(1) How many times a week do you recommend spinning? I have been spinning 4x/wk on MWF & Saturday. Is this too much? I also do Zumba and a general conditioning weight training program. (2) What results can I expect to see (I know everyone is different) and how long will it take to see physical results. I can already feel my endurance building a little.

    1. Hi Christina! That’s great to hear you’ve been getting into spinning and enjoying yourself so much! To answer your first question, I find that spinning 2-4 times per week is fine, but it totally depends on your fitness goals. There’s no harm in doing it frequently (as in 4 times per week) but be sure to mix up your workouts so that it’s not just those same muscles that you’re working. Specifically with cycling, it’s important to do other activities that help you to stretch your hip flexors, which become tight after lots of constant pedaling. Perhaps try trading one of your sessions for some sort of other cross training, or yoga to work on your hip flexibility. Results-wise, I’d expect your cardiovascular endurance to improve, and your V02 max, which is just a fancy term for your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently. Spinning is a great calorie burner, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you leaned out a bit too!

  16. I agree with Matt’s comments above, especially the first one. At my gym there is an instructor who asks us to sprint or stand just as a track is winding down, and also has us slow down and sit during the climax of songs. I find this frustrating and demotivating. When I told the instructor I had a problem with this, she said she has 30 years experience and feels no need to change how she does things. Needless to say, I do not go to that instructor’s class.
    I also dislike excessive use of “speed-bumps” or what I call up-downs. Another instructor in my gym uses them in almost every song, and even though he changes the count, it gets boring.

    1. OMG – I have to agree with you on the ‘speed bumps’! I’m not a fan either and use them a maximum of one time each class – sometimes not at all. If they’re not done properly (ie simply dropping down on the seat and not using enough resistance), they can be super dangerous and I think a lot of instructors don’t realize that. Thanks for commenting!

  17. I have done over 300 spin classes in the last 2 years. You know what you are doing! Thanks for all the reinforcement. πŸ™‚

  18. I have been going to spin classes for about 2 years at various gyms and love it most of the time!

    I think it is interesting that you mention trust, because I think trusting your instructor is super important and can make or break a spin class. It is sometimes hard enough to get up in the morning for a workout without the added factor of knowing the instructor that fits with your schedule for that day is one you don’t trust. My pet peeves, which affect my trust, are:

    1) I agree with the comment about instructors not timing their routines to the music. I had one instructor that used to have us spin to really slow acoustic guitar music, which might be fine for some but personally I find it easier if there is a strong beat to follow.

    2) Cheesy motivational comments for example “The only power that is worth anything is the power that comes from within” or “Life is a journey…not a destination”, I find this cringe worthy and a bit patronising really.

    3) When instructors rush through stretching at the end of a class. I have found that a lot of instructors are guilty of this. There is one instructor at my current gym that holds stretches for about 2 seconds max. I called him out on this once and he has now started saying to the class that they “should not follow him but take their own time”. Which doesn’t work as people still follow him. I think it is sets a bad example especially to beginners who may be more susceptible to injury.

    4) Lastly, it is shouting instructors. This is less of a peeve and more of a really bad example as I have only had one cover instructor that did this but it was mentioned earlier so I thought I would share. This guy literally shouted a word for every count in each one of his tracks. He would shout a combination of things like “faster”, “stronger”, “push it” etc every second or so, it got so annoying and monotonous that others using the gym around our class complained. I think it is the most bizarre class I have ever attended!

  19. Hi, Angela! I just started spinning this week and I’m loving it! However, i have a question that I simply could not find anywhere around the internet – what’s better, to ride sitting on the saddle or standing up?
    Loved your post and tips, have a great day!

  20. I have no idea why I just found this post but I love it. I love spin…I do 4-5 classes a week since I can’t run as much as I used to. It definitely builds the leg muscles! I have become much stronger!! My gym does RPM, free cycle classes, and just started MOi. I am obsessed with MOi. I love that it’s a much higher intensity and longer class times. The new RPM releases have been great also–so much harder than the old ones! I am pretty picky with the free cycle classes. There are only 3 instructors I’ll do free cycle with. I can’t stand the choreography of the others–too much monotony! I want to be pushed through my workout…that is what I am there for! I hate sprints so I do love when the instructor tells us how long they are so I know I can really push myself for that amount of time. I definitely sprint harder knowing how long they will be!

    1. Hi Ashley!
      Thanks so much for stopping by! That’s awesome to hear that you’re loving your spin classes, and I agree, I’m picky about freestyle classes too! I know it’s very much dependent on the instructor’s style and I think mine incorporates more strength work (as in, climbing efforts) rather than sprints because I find a lot of participants never have enough resistance on, and as a result, bounce all over the place which isn’t safe. I haven’t even heard of MOi before (maybe I’m living under a rock?!) but I’m curious now! Off to investigate! πŸ™‚

  21. I have been spinning for a couple years now and we just got a new instructor. My question is, she likes to go heavy heavy hills. I was told never make you knees work that hard and yes my knees did hurt afterwards. I was also told never to go below 60, as it is to hard on your knees and back. What do you think of this.

    1. Hi Ann,
      Great question! I used to be a fan of really heavy hill drills a long time ago but have since become a lot more wise and knowledgeable about cycling efficiency. Firstly, if you think about being outside on a real bike, if you were to come up to a big hill, you wouldn’t keep your bike in a really heavy gear – you’d use a smaller gear so that you can keep your feet moving, right?

      Generally, I’ve been coached (and like to coach my students) to focus more on maintaining a good cadence before playing with the gears. This means somewhere between 80 and 100 (maybe even 110) on a flat, and between 70-90rpm. The way to tell whether you’re making progress isn’t to measure how big a gear you can manage to push around, but your ability to maintain your cadence (RPM) as that gear rises.

      When we try to push huge gears and pedal super slowly, it’s not very energy efficient and we don’t exert as much power as we would if the gear were a little lower and cadence is in the right range. And yes, as you correctly mentioned, ‘mashing’ the pedals repeatedly can certainly cause injury, especially if your bike hasn’t been adjusted to fit your body. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  22. I am back to spinning and RPM and I’m finding myself really getting into it. I never realized how much trust played a role, but now that I have found a fantastic instructor I find myself pushing myself harder while knowing what’s still healthy.
    Pet peeves: music that hurts my ear drums (as a professional musician, I’ve thought about bringing ear plugs a few times – would the instructor be insulted?) and people who are on their phone during the workout or do their own routine during RPM, it kills the group feeling.

    1. Hi Pauline! That’s great that you’re getting back into spinning and RPM! Regarding the earplugs, I don’t think an instructor would be offended by that. I’ve actually been in meetings where other instructors have talked about participants wanting the volume to be lower, but then there’s conflict because others want it to remain as-is. One of the suggestions that always comes up is to recommend that riders who want it quieter bring their own earplugs, so I don’t think your intructor(s) would be offended at all. πŸ™‚

  23. I have been to three classes at a studio near me. The first two were about a week apart and then I was training for a 5k so today was the first time I’ve been back in 5 months. I don’t think it’s a “spinning” studio specifically but something similar. I just bought a group of classes, but I’ll have to reevaluate when I’m done with those whether this is the right studio for me.

    The workout was tough for sure, but the music was so loud that my ears are still ringing even when I used earplugs. Also, the instructor was very difficult to understand. I suppose it is difficult to yell over the music and enunciate while pedaling, but most of the time I had no idea what she was saying and just tried to follow the other riders. I couldn’t tell whether she was telling me to turn up the intensity or turn up the resistance. There were a lot of cues for side-to-side motion and counted out left-right motions that I had a hard time getting in sync with. She did ask about anyone new as the class was starting but the music was already so loud and the room so dark I couldn’t get her attention.

    I will probably try a few more classes to finish out the package of 5 that I just bought, but if I can’t deal with the music volume/understanding issue I will probably try to find a different studio, which is a shame because this one is literally across the street from my apartment.

  24. This was such a great read!
    I have gone to 3 spinning classes so far and still don’t know how to set up my bike or clip in to the seats and I feel so embarrassed to ask for help every time I show up twenty minutes early but since there is a class before my class I don’t exactly have a long time to get help with my bike.
    I even bought a comfy seat to put on my bike so I wouldn’t be sore on the saddle!
    Looking forward to more of your posts!!

    1. Hi Diandra!
      Good for you for being so committed to your spin classes so far! It can definitely be a little intimidating as a beginner, but I encourage you to stick with it because it will eventually start to feel less awkward! Since there’s not a lot of time before class, perhaps you could ask your instructor to walk you through how to set up your bike on your own at the end? A proper bike fit is totally key in whether or not you enjoy the ride, but I’m sure with a little bit of practice you’ll know exactly what to do. I’m happy to try to answer any questions you might have – not quite as handy as being there in person but I’ll try! Thanks so much for your comment!

  25. Great article!

    I do a lot of outdoor biking in the summer and I just started spin classes at my gym, they have them available at the perfect times for me everyday. My question is, how often should you go to a class? After two days of classes my muscles are a bit sore, I would like to continue to do a Monday – Friday class and then rest up with light runs and yoga on the weekends, but I keep hearing that 5 days a week is way too many, is that true?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah! That’s great that you’re so into your spin classes! To be honest, I think what’s considered ‘too many’ depends on the individual. I also think that the best type of exercise is the kind you love to do, so if that’s cycling, then go for it! The key is variety – both for injury prevention and if you want to continue experiencing great results. Some people (myself included) have a tendency to want to go hard all the time with high intensity classes/workouts, so just be sure to make those yoga classes or lighter sessions truly light, and don’t forget to stretch those hip flexors!

  26. I just started teaching spin and I’m trying to find my “style”. I’m a reserved person so I’m not the one who would scream the entire time. In do call out cues and count down when we are sprinting but I still feel that I’m missing something. Students have complained that it is too hard so I’ve eased up a bit. I want to be my true genuine self and motivating as well. Also, I’m newly pregnant with my 3rd child and I want to keep instructing but I don’t want to be perceived as unfit/ unmotivating during my current state ( at 10 weeks I just look chunky).

  27. Hello…
    Just went to my first spinning class. I don’t even know what to say. I was excited to go as I have bad knees, and fairly comfortable after meeting the instructor. I did my best to keep up with the class but standing up was horrible. My legs were so wobbly. I would only last fora few seconds and then would sit down. I ended up sitting down most of the time. About 30 minutes into the class I decided to (extra) push myself and could stand for 20+ seconds even though I felt wobbly and weak. The next time I tried it I collapsed, literally! My legs gave out. I tried to pick myself up but couldn’t. My legs felt like rubber. The instructor had to come and pick me up herself. I was horrified, embarrassed, felt sick, nauseous… I got off the bike and sat down in the floor as she rubbed cold water on my back, neck… Thank God I didn’t throw up!
    As she finished the class (and I sat on the floor) I began to feel better. I got up but still felt wobbly…
    I don’t know what to do now. Maybe this isn’t for me? Maybe I did too much the first time? Is it common not to be able to stand in the beginning?
    Any input would be helpful. I feel ok now just bruised a bit from the fall.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Enna,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear that your first class wasn’t quite what you expected. I think sometimes people go into spin classes thinking that they’re going to walk out with an amazing endorphin high like so many regular class attendees do, but it’s important to remember that just like anything else that’s new – whether it’s a workout or otherwise – you might not pick it up on your first try.

      A lot of people tell me that standing is the thing they have the most trouble with, so don’t feel bad – you are definitely not alone! One of the things you can do to help with this, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, is turn up the resistance. By doing this, you’ll have to decrease your cadence (the speed at which you’re turning the pedals) but the resistance will help to counterbalance your weight. This will help to take the pressure off of your knees. Positioning your hips so that you feel the nose of the seat grazing your thighs with every standing pedal stroke will also do the same. Often, beginners will be too far forward when standing up on the bike, and this puts a lot of pressure in the quads and knees. By positioning yourself back a bit, your weight will be a bit more evenly distributed.

      It sounds like you had some expectations for yourself and were discouraged when you didn’t meet them. As annoying as this sounds, I would encourage you to go again, with zero expectations. You don’t even have to do the standing portions if you don’t want to, and don’t feel that you have to push really hard (even if the instructor is telling the class to do so, a good instructor will understand and encourage you to go at your own pace as a beginner.) Be sure to drink water regularly throughout the class (in between songs is a good way to make sure you’re doing this), and don’t worry if you walk out feeling like you haven’t totally drenched yourself in sweat. I’d say a good goal is to finish a class feeling more comfortable on the bike – there’s plenty of time to work on intensity later.

      I hope that helps, and let me know if you give it another go!

  28. I went to my third spin class today. The first time I went (last week) was total hell for me. I couldn’t really stand up with my butt off the chair during the class. My goal that class was just to keep pedaling the whole time. I didn’t think spinning was for me. I decided to give it a second chance.

    My second class was WAY more rewarding. I actually had a pair of padded shorts on so I think that helped a lot. It was actually kind of an emotional experience for me during the 2nd class because I couldn’t believe how much I could get my butt off the seat and how much I could push myself compared to my first class. Plus during the class the instructor was telling us how all of the hard work we were doing was for us, it wasn’t for her or anyone else. And how if we were cheating or weren’t pushing ourselves that we were just cheating ourselves. She also said we should make the best of our workout because we were already here. I really liked that because it made me try harder.

    My third class was at 5:30 this morning. It was with a different instructor. I was expecting loud motivating upbeat music with shouting from the instructor. It was kind of a let down because there wasn’t much of any of that. She did teach us about the little screens on the bikes and how to track our heart rates before and after short hard intervals, which was a nice touch.

    All together, I’m starting to really see why people love spinning. My only question is about the spinning shoes. Is it worth it to invest in a pair if you’re planning on spinning a couple of times a week?

    Thanks for the info! I loved this blog!

  29. Hello Angela! I enjoyed your writing. I absolutely love spinning class. Although I am not a pro spinner so as a newbie I have learned new tips on resistance. These tips are very useful for me and I have already bookmark this page. Staying for the cool down is really important. Wish you good luck.

    Cheers,
    Maria

  30. Hi Angela,

    Thanks for those amazing tips. Its a few weeks since ive started spinning but ive realized now that its becoming more difficult for me to ride or push my legs hurt and i feel like i cant push but ive not given up i stick through the class. Any advice

    Cheers

  31. Hi. Your post was well done and makes good sense. LOL re favourite bikes. I wonder where you get your music. I spend a tone of time on Spotify and iTunes and still want better music and need some help.

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  36. I wear Trimbo workout shorts for women as they create heat around the waist hips ass thighs generating heavy sweating and weight loss, ideal for spin class and cross trainer.

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this useful information! I am visiting spinning classes 2 times per week, but when the weather is enjoyable there is nothing better than riding a bike in the park.

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