Spin Class
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I’ve wanted to try a spin class for some time because I knew it would be a good cardio workout. So, when a CrossFit buddy asked me to join her in a class she takes at a local gym, I jumped at the chance. In a spin class, you’re given verbal cues to add or decrease resistance to your stationary bike; how fast to pedal and whether to stand, sit or sprint. Your heart will get a great workout, and your legs may feel like rubber after your first class.

If this is your first time spinning, you’ll want to arrive early so the instructor can fit you to your bike. There are several key measurements that need to be set: seat height, seat distance to the handlebars and handlebar height. Making sure these dimensions are right for you will ensure you have a more comfortable and pain-free ride.

Spin Class 2

Danette Watt rests after her first spin class. Spinning offers a low impact but high-intensity cardio workout.

You’ll also learn how to regulate the tension of your gears to adjust the difficulty of your work out. If I were to continue spin classes, I’d learn how much turn of the dial gave me the appropriate tension in my bike. It seemed like I was constantly fussing with the dial because it always felt too easy or too hard.

One important point of comfort is the seat. From the few road rides I’d done in the past, I knew my saddle was going to be sore. To help with that, you can buy a gel seat to use during your class or ride, or you can buy bike shorts with chamois sewn into the seat. Luckily, I’d bought a pair earlier in the year. They helped a little, but according to my friend, only time in the seat will work.

Just as important as comfort is maintaining good riding form to minimize injury. Lisa, our instructor, told us several times to make sure our knees were aligned over the pedals and keep our elbows tucked in.

Many people don’t realize that riding a bike is more than pushing down on the pedals; it’s also about pulling up on them and that’s where clip-in shoes help. Some gyms require them, and if you don’t have any, you must buy or rent them.

Music and riding to the beat is a key part of the workout, but I couldn’t always feel it. Lisa used terms specific to cycling that I had to learn, but I couldn’t always hear her over the music or didn’t know what she meant, so I’d sneak a glance at my neighbors to see what they were doing. I learned “attack” meant stand up and ride while shifting my body from side to side. I also learned not to “bounce” in my seat when riding.

I enjoyed the classes. If I could swing an extra gym membership, I would just to continue spinning.

This article originally ran on communityhealthmagazine.com.

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