Spinning for Dummies

If your anything like me, you get on the bike, hit “manual workout”, find a level that makes you work (but not too hard) and go for however long you planned on. No resistance changes; no speed changes. And if you are really like me, you are probably reading a magazine. For whatever reason I have never treated biking as a “real” workout; it’s always a recovery day for me.

That changed when I took up a weekly spinning class and totally got my butt kicked. I’ve learned so much and I can see big improvements not only in my body, but also in my running. Who knew I could actually be fast?!? It helps that I have a great instructor. Every class starts with “it’s a party in Saratoga!”.

I did snap this picture before class. Not sure why. It looks super helpful.


Always have some resistance on the wheel. You always want to feel the “road” under you. This will prevent injuries as the flywheel is heavy.
Don’t ever stop pedaling when you have resistance on the wheel.
Core is always engaged
Keep your feet flat
Always have a slight bend in your knees

Hand Positions

First: hands on center of bars touching one another. Spine is straight.

Second: hands on straight part of bars with bend elbows.

Don’t mind the creepy picture.

Third:  hands on far ends of the bars with upper body parallel to the ground.

It’s finally over position.

Common movements

Seated Flat. Light resistance and steady cadence.
Hands: first or second position
Simulates: flat road
Good For: warm up and cool down
Target Cadence: 80 – 110 RPM (rotations per minute)

Standing Flat/Standing Jog. Fast legs with upright posture.
Hands: second position
Simulate: uphill climb
Key: no weight on hands, no leaning forward
Target Cadence: 80 – 110 RPM

Jumps. Lift out the saddle for brief periods of time. I like to use 8-counts (4-counts, etc) so there is still a routine. For example, UP 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 DOWN 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 UP 1,2,3,4…
Hands: second position
Good For: cardiovascular challenge and explosive strength
Target Cadence: 80-110 RPM

Seated Climb. Increase the tension on the wheel while staying in the saddle. It is very important to remember to always keep the feet moving.
Hands: second position
Target Cadence: 60-80 RPM

Standing Climb. Same as seated climb, just out of the saddle.
Hands: third position
Target Cadence: 60-80 RPM

Sprints. Accelerating the pedals for a set amount of time. Think intervals.
Hands: second
Good For: cardiovascular system
Key: No accelerating without resistance so you do not lose control of the flywheel.

And if you are really good, give this a shot:

This is probably not a good idea.

What to wear/bring

Spandex work best, but stick to longer shorts or capris. Shorts without lining tend to ride up and might cause a peep show. Padded bike shorts are awesome too since the seats might at well be bricks. Expect to leave with “biker butt”.
Tennis shoes
Water bottle. Most bikes have a holder so your bottle is easy to reach. I like to use my camelback water bottle so I can keep moving and don’t have to worry about missing my mouth.
Towel. I like to use a hand towel so it is large enough to stay on my bike, but small enough to stay out-of-the-way.

Descriptions and Definitions by Chris Kostman

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s