Strictly speaking spinning is not cycling as it is more about aerobics and range of motion rather than specific cycle fitness such as turbo training. Indoor spinning bikes were designed for fitness classes rather than to replicate real world riding, however as classes have become more popular the equipment and sessions have improved to the point where they can become a very useful addition to your cycling.
To help you find the right class suitable for a cyclist rather than someone looking for, say, weight loss, we have put together our seven-point guide. Think about a regular spin class as part of your training rather than replacing winter riding all together. Indoor spinning cannot totally replace endurance riding and doing interval sessions on your bike in the fresh air.
- Thoroughly check out the class before signing up and make sure it is led by an instructor who is a cyclist rather than a fitness instructor. Ask if the classes are designed to support cyclists and cycle training programmes.
- Spin bikes are not the same as bicycles and need to be carefully set up, so make sure you arrive early to adjust the saddle height and reach properly (measure your own bike first and take those numbers with you). Don’t be afraid to be fussy about spin bike fit as training hard on a poorly adjusted bike might lead to pain and even injury if repeated enough.
- Always use a HR monitor or power meter in a spin class so you can work in the right training zone or you will be wasting your time. Some spinning systems like Spivi will help you as it shows (and shares) your data on screen during the class, so you will be able to find out your functional training power (FTP) figure.
- Clip-in if you can (if that’s how you ride on the road). Even if you are using pedals with straps and wearing trainers make sure your foot is secure as you’ll be pushing maximum power through your feet.
- Make sure you understand how the gearing works on your spin bike before the session starts, as all too often people fail to use the right resistance settings.
- Take in lots of hydration during the session and for recovery immediately afterwards. Spinning indoors will make you perspire more than you normally do on a bike, so wear layers you can take off as you warm up.
- Once you have got into the swing of spinning try back2back sessions to boost your training. One particular benefit of spinning is that part of the session can involve strength work with a high resistance, which is much better done on a static bike.