While outdoor cycling may be your jam, indoor cycling can provide you practice and a great workout in bad weather. While spin classes are great for all, you need to make sure that you are ready beforehand – and that you have picked the right class for you. There are many things to consider before you jump on the spin bike.
The bike you’re going to spend the next 40-60 minutes on is crucial to your enjoyment, so get there early and make sure you have time to set the saddle and handlebars up to suit you. If you’re feeling super geeky, you could measure your own bike and set the spin bike up to match, but otherwise, sit on the saddle, and place the ball of your foot on the pedal – there should be a very slight bend. Alternatively, jump off the bike, and set the saddle height to match your hip bone.The handlebars should be level with the saddle – this will force you to engage your core, without putting stress on your lower back.
Tap It Back
You need to know what a Tap Back is before you enter the class. A Tap Back is when you come out of the saddle, and then almost seat yourself before lifting up again. This activates your glutes and really uses your quads and core muscles. It can be tempting, especially when you’re tired, to use your arms as a bit of a ‘hinge’ during this movement. This will stress your shoulders, and not your glutes, as it should.
You’ll be in control of the resistance throughout your session. Some people find themselves tempted to overdo it, whilst others are more inclined to under-do it. Using too much resistance will feel like riding through concrete, and it won’t result in legs of steel. Instead, you’ll begin to recruit weaker muscles, as opposed to the glutes, quads, hamstrings and core that you should be maximizing. If you feel like every pedal stroke is a conscious effort that travels into your ankles and lower back, then back off the resistance dial. At the other end of the scale, if your spinning is super quick and feels almost out of control, you’ll find your lower back wiggling as you pedal, and your bum shifting in the saddle. This will do you no good, and can result in some mega saddle discomfort.
You’re pedaling as hard as you can, the music is pumping, the air around you is hot and sweaty… but you do still need to breathe. Spinning can be a bit of an explosion to the senses, but don’t get so carried away with the experience that you forget the basics of, you know, survival. Your muscles need oxygen to work, so take good, deep breaths.