How to Achieve Better Results with Spinning

How to Achieve Better Results with Spinning
Spinning is extremely popular and it’s a great way to train your endurance in the winter season. Here are some simple tips that will increase your gains from spinning:

1. Warm up before spinning

Spinning lessons have a normal length of around 50 minutes. For trained cyclists this is a very short amount of time, when this time includes both warm up, intervals and cool down.

Remember that most spinning lessons are made for people who are not very familiar with cycling training. Therefore, I suggest you do a quick warm-up before you enter the spinning room in order to get more training time.

2. Drink water with electrolytes and carbohydrates

Spinning rooms have a very high temperature and high humidity. Therefore, it is quite normal to sweat much more than you are used to.

Some people believe that they sweat more at spinning lessons because they work harder. That is not true.

They sweat more because of the climate, not because they work harder than normally. I will recommend you to drink water with electrolytes and carbohydrates to maintain a high level of performance during the whole session.

3. Choose intervals carefully

Spinning instructors plan their lesson to be interesting and challenging for a wide range of riders. Most of them train spinning only 2 to 3 times week, so they can use all their effort in this short period.

If you do not like the program made of the instructor, consider to use your own program or one of the indoor cycling programs here on Training4cyclists.com.

It is possible to ride one of these programs without telling the instructor. Just remember to stand up and sit down when the instructor tells you to (and ignore his commands about pacing strategy).

4. Remember rest days

You can’t do intervals every single day. Some days should be easy days. If you go for a ride in the spinning class on one of these days, please remember your goal with the training.

38 comments… add one

  • Great post Jesper. Plenty of suggestions I can use right away. I spin 3 days a week and trail run 2 times. I’m going to let my 3 instructors know about your site too!

  • I’ve never tried spinning. My new gym does not offer classes, and I never got around to going to one at my old gym.

  • I’ve neer done spinning, though it looks like fun.
    I hopped over from problogger.

  • Came across this article while searching on ‘spinning’.

    I have my first class last wk n I enjoyed it. Will try to incorporate tips here :)

  • Marissa

    Thanks for the tips. I had my second spin glass today and can’t wait for the next. I’m really big into yoga, but after listening to all my friends rave about the great workout from spinning I had to try it for myself. It was a great workout and I can’t even remember the last time breaking a sweat was so intense.

  • Helen Stacey

    Tried my first spin class yesterday, was hard work but really enjoyed it! Liked the variety of sprinting, climbing hills and doing squats on the bike. Am sure this will help me get in shape and lose weight..
    I would recommend it if you need to get fit

  • Hi, I am training to become a spinning instructor, I am doing the maddog atheletics workshop. Unfortunately, I am not really good at sprinting can you give me some suggestions. How often should I spin, I only do it 4 times, 2hr class, 2 one hour class but afterwards I am exhausted, and sometimes can’t do everything they ask. I think I am pushing myself to hard but I don’t know how to not push myself. Any suggestions?

  • dave

    Annika’s question about sprinting raises a question in my mind: is it neccessarily a good thing for everyone? I can’t do it for long, and I worry about my knees…

    As a guy with heavier muscles, I find fast spinning too difficult and hard on my knees — much as with running, i found I had more endurance than speed, and spinning too fast is not appealing to me. I try for 30 secs a few times, but beyond that I go at a slower pace with higher resistance.

    Any comments?

  • Since my post I have educated myself alittle on Sprinting and discover that anything over 30 seconds is not recommended. I actually got hired the other day so. I am now wondering, What is the best profile for creating a 1 hrs cycling friendly class. Any Stretching suggestions for the lower body for those that are not as fit or in shape that can not pull their heel to their butt. I’d like to know a back stretch exercise too. Thanks for your response.

  • Rick

    There are many instructors leading classes that don’t have a clue what they are doing. I have been told of,read about and experienced first hand things that in no way will improve a participant’s fitness,just accelerate the chances of an injury.A squat on a bike is a massive no-no-heck,it’s hard enough to execute a squat 100% properly,for most people,on the flat ground.As for “sprinting”,with al due respect to anyone that thinks they sprint (and can do them well),a true sprint (or High Performance Effort) should be no more than a maximum of 20 seconds,which will consist of 10 seconds loading resistance and coming out of the saddle and 8-10 seconds maintaining the pace,resistance & relaxed posture whilst returning to the saddle.

    Annika,if you are able to do a 2 hour spin ride,be happy because that is tough work.Work your heart rate within the suggested guidelines for the ride and maintain a good technique and posture – your fitness will improve soon enough.

    Dave,a sprint which should be executed as above,should never go above speeds of 110rpm as it is unsafe.There are issues of control of the bike,increased chances of injury and also insufficient effort being applied by the rider.Having said that,there are many many road riders that will be able to hold a cadence higher than 110rpm comfortably,but for the sake of safety the Spinning program does not recommend it.

    I hope this helps and if you want any more help check out http://www.pedal-on.com

  • Sandra

    Hello, I have been spinning for a little while now and am interested in buying the proper shoes so I can have a better ride. Do you have any recommendations as far as selecting the right shoe?

    Thank you

  • Rick

    Hey Sandra,the only recommendation I can give you is to go down to your local cycle shop and try on whatever they have.If you find something that’s comfortable (and you like the look too ;-} ) then buy them. So long as you like them,that’s pretty much all there is to it.The shop will have the relevant pedals to go with them.

  • Sandra

    Thank you

  • Gemma

    hey, my first spin class was the other night..i really enjoyed it. i am going on a trip next year to costa rica ..is spinning a good healthy excercise to get me into better shape by march?

  • Kathy Clark-Klein

    I tried spinning yesterday and enjoyed it. I was unable to stand on the bike. It was really hard for me to endure the standing part. I kick box on a regular basis and I weight lift as well, so I don’t think my issues are being ‘out of shape’, but maybe something else?
    Maybe my legs are not strong enough?
    Can most beginners stand on the bike right away or is that something you lead up too?
    Thanks,
    Kathy

  • Kathy,
    Spinning classes are for everybody of all fitness capabilities.Having said that,there some elements which may be too challenging,for a variety of reasons,for a new rider.This may not neccessarily be a fitness issue but more a situation where more time on the bike is required in order to be able to feel the pedal stroke and the resistance consistently through a complete 360 degree turn of the pedals. This comes with time,when you get it,you can ride standing as comfortably (both on a standing flat & on a standing climb) as you can ride seated.It’s also very important that your posture is good – body weight over the crank and a light but firm grip on the handles with shoulders and elbows softly relaxed.

    Glad you like Spinning,it’s a cool ride. :-)

  • lola

    i went to my first spin class today and liked it. but im not sure i will go back. the seat hurt my “down there” . it was poking me the whole time. and now afterwards, im hurting. im worried that i may get some type of infection from all the poking, moving around and sweat for about and hour. the instructor did not introduce the bike or any of the parts to me. she did not explain ANYTHING to me. Even after she asked who was new. i tried asking a few things before, but i guess everyone was ready to start. I would really like to go back tomorrow, so are there any suggestions on how to make my ride painless???

    thanks!!
    ivonne

  • Ivonne,

    In a Spinning class,the instructor will only start the ride when everybody is ready -that includes you – and they will always explain how to use the Spinner bike safely,effectively and comfortably.If they don’t,they are not doing their job properly.If the bike is set up correctly,which takes under 1 minute to do properly,you will feel just fine.Where abouts are you? Can I suggest you go to Spinning.com and use the search engine at the top left of the page to find an Official Spinning Centre in your area? Get there 10-15 minutes prior to the class starting and tell the instructor about your previous experiences.If you are unable to find an official spinning centre near to you,reply back here with a rough location of where you are and I will find a good place for you to go.

    Rick

  • Matt

    Jesper- do you seriously think that the sweat is because of the climate in the classroom? You think that every spin class has the same climate? You are a douche bag and obviously haven’t been spinning your self.

  • @Matt
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been to several spinning lessons, but i’s clear that I haven’t visitied every spinning room in the world, so there might be some rooms with low temperatures, air condition etc.

    I believe the cooling at a spinning lesson is much less than during regular road cycling mostly because of different wind conditions. High humidity and temperature are also important factors since both will make you sweat more.

    Thus, if you sweat a lot during a spinning lesson, please keep in mind that there may be other reasons than due to high intensity.

    Jesper

  • Tan

    @Matt

    A douche bag is someone who take information and twists it into a reason to criticize unfairly and use unnecessary curses. I’d call u a few myself but I’m sure I don’t need to. Anyone reading ur comment will likely have the same disgusted reaction to you.

  • Jaasmine

    i really enjoy spinning, i am a little over waight and just wont to loose a few pounds and tone up if i eat sensibly and do spin three times a week is this anough or should i be doing more?

  • Hi – looking to spin. I currently use my road bike on a trainer but it is too load for the apartment. Any recommendations for a brand name of Spinning bike or at least what I should be looking for?

  • Paige

    I am nursing a foot injury from running, and my doctor has recommended spinning to help me keep up my cardio and endurance while I am supposed to be resting my foot (I am training for a half marathon, and was diagnosed with a metatarsal infarction. I need to be off my feet for 6 weeks). My dr suggested that I keep my weight in my heel while cycling – can you give me any advice on proper form? It’s been about 10 years since I’ve taken a spin class. I am sure standing is going to be challenging considering my foot…

  • http://www.spinning.com have exceptional directions and pictures that demonstrate form.
    Remember these cues:
    Drop your heel put weight in your heel. Pull navel to spin to create slope and not hunch in back. Align your head with your spin. Take deep breathes throw noise out mouth. Don’t forget to have the instructor set you up on the bike.

  • Kelly

    I just started spinning classes this week and decided to attend a class for 30 days. My goal is adapt, get use to a new work out and develop discipline. I can’t begin to tell you how my legs after 15years already are showing muscle form where I thought it was lost. Does your muscle remember after so many years of not cycling 16 miles a day.
    Bottom line I love cycling and can’t believe I ever stopped…there is not turning back now.I hope to transition to outdoor cycling by the summer and hope you can recommend how and were to start.

    Many thanks for the website…most helpful.

    Kelly

  • Alex

    Hi, im 18 years old i have been doing the spinning bike now for 2 years i have lost 50 pounds and getting in great shape. The only thing i wanted to know is i do the bile 7 days a week but for only 40 minutes a ride. So do you think that is is ok doing every day plus i do a little bit of weight lifting and the total gym Thanks.

  • Hi , everyone I am a very experienced road biker I train on a spin bike 15 hours a week plus workout and run . my advice to anyone wanting to get into cycling is take the time to make sure whatever training bike you are using fits you well , if your not comfortable or you have leg&knee ,hip or back pain for riding the trainer STOP make changes
    get comfortable . I work with two different groups of riders and everyone can ride 2 hours once you find your settings on the trainer .
    lastly riding should be fun and a good workout ,

  • LL

    Always great training ideas thank you. But….as a Spinning instructor I have to disagree on this one. If you don’t want to ride the ride the instructor suggests you probably should be doing your workout on your trainer at home. Spin is a group exercise class. I

  • gerry

    I’m a female 58 years old. I do spin classes on Monday Wednesday and Friday for 105 minutes. that is two classes one after the other. Then on Tuesday, and thursday and Saturday I do one class each day that equals out to 60 minutes a class. do you think I am doing to many spin classes. I also ocationally workout on the elippticalse and treadmill. when weather permits I ride at least 15 miles everytime I go out for a ride. Should I start doing other things besides mainly riding?

  • Ron

    @gerry becareful and listen to your body. 105 minutes is a really long time. That’s an whole hour and 40 minutes!

    I’d be concerned about your recovery time.

    I’m 29, hitting 45 minutes a day. I burn 350Kcal + a day. I control my diet, exercise 4 hours before bedtime to maximise my recovery period.

    I really listen to my body and take at least 1 to 3 rest day’s whenever I want. Which to be honest is not that often now that my body has adapted.

    Over a period of six months I have lost a roughly a stone in weight. I weigh exactly 10 stones now.

    It all depends on what you do on the bike. If most of it is in the saddle and at an easy pace with little resistance and you feel good, then do what feels good and motivates you.

    But if your thrashing it the whole time then I’d have serious concerns. By thrashing, I mean working really hard at the deep end of your zone. 220-58-10 = 152BPM estimated maximum. That means your feel good factor would be around 110-120BPM. The value of 10 is a default I put in because so many different ways of calculating Maximum heart rates exist. To hit 120BPM you would be burning fat at healthy rate, trust me.

    Beleive it or not I never let my heart rate go over 160 BPM even though my maximum for my age is apparently a 191 Bpm. At 150 BPM I feel like I’ve hit my threshold: a bar I deliberately set low and I will explain why: If I’m on the bike and suddenly the door bell rings or I get called to an emergency, my heart needs room to react. I workout only to the degree that I can hold a conversation, no stiff jaws or numbness.

    Having said all this my workout is visually fairly intense. I stand for alot of it, and I keep the resistance so high that you can actually hear the friction from the brake pads. I am a natural sprinter but it’s something that I have to control. When I first started out I would literally sprint flat out for 5-10 minutes at a time. No joke… My heart rate would hit 185BPM. Sometime ago, around when I was 18, I’d see my HRM often hit 210BPM. This is something you usually see when someone has a heart attack. After years of over training about a year ago I actually almost died. It took several cold hard instances to realise the error of my ways even after ending up in an ambulance. I’d say pretty much over the course of a year, I have forcibly cancelled out my ego, because all those skipped beats do not equal a long life. Now I have a resting pulse rate of 34BPM. My zone is kept in the 120-160BPM which some people think is over-sensible but they don’t realise why I need this barrier. My attitude has changed dramatically, over the past year. Things just seem so much more reasonable and sane now.

    Spinning is my only form of exercise and I have given up weights also because to add excessive muscle tissue is counter productive to achieving proper natural form whilst cycling. My upper body gets a good workout by alternating my routine, e.g. in-the-saddle, standing, one handed (close to the stem) anything to keep the blood circulating.

    On food, I take no Vitamin Supplements whatsoever, I use to cocktail on this and that. Vitamin B complexes caused me real toxicity at one point. I don’t even drink energy drinks anymore. Just water, bananas, before exercise and a good diet of natural proteins afterwards. I stay away from greasy foods as often as I can and do not use Ionised Salt. I only use Sea Salt. I also use a variety of monitors, but not compulsively as to create anxiety. You need to also calculate how many calories you burn a day while not working out, simply to make sure you are not starving yourself of something.

    Take care and make sure you consult a physio whenever possible.

  • Rachel B

    Hello! I’m a 21 year old college student who works full time and basically has no time for a gym! Normal workouts really bore me. I really love mountain biking but I live in Kansas so as it gets colder that’s not really an option for exercising. I was thinking of getting into cycling and was wondering if anyone had any advice on cycling at home? I have a mountain bike and would like to know if putting it on a trainer and cycling at home would work. Is there a specific kind of a bike, not including a stationary spin bike, that would work best? I’m kind of a newb so I’ll take all the help I can get!

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  • Lynn Stine

    I did my first spinning class in years. I really enjoyed the workout. I had talked with the instructor and advised that I had not done spinning in a long time and that I am in physical therapy for a partial tear in ACL and a torn menacutis (spelling) from a head on crash about 3 months ago. She advised me do what I could. The standing hurt the knee some, but at the end I stood up with the class. I will try to get a couple classes in a week. I hope to lose weight and help strengthen my bad knee.

  • Steve

    You should NEVER push yourself if you can not stand up so be it.
    Only do this if you are more than capable .
    Your instructor SHOULD of told you this, if you push the limits and you are not ready you WILL injure yourself.

    Do what you can and get an instructor that has the ego but knows who to push and who not to push. ( Trainers love to push further than they should with no medical experience )
    (Hard to find a trainer that knows all the necessary stuff to avoid hurting people )

    OR buy a bike yourself a spinner and get yourself up to it before you go to a class that makes you look a genital.

    hope this helps a bit !

  • Talia

    Hello!! Spinning is the most awsome excersise anyone can do.. I must admit it is very challenging, but once u get the hang of it an see how ur body starts molding (especially ur ass) u get adicted :) GO FOR IT!!!!!!

  • Herb

    Started spinning “back in the day” with instruction that included some pedaling
    backwards. When I asked why, answer was basketball and hockey players go in reverse and it was good cross training. Some suggested it was not good for the Lemond bikes used then, so I contacted their bio/mechanical expert who said while it won’t hurt the bikes, he couldn’t confirm it’s value. Just checked with an experienced exercise equipment repairman who also said he could see no problem for the equipment he handles. So what is your opinion?

  • Claudia

    Hi I have been practicing spinning since march this year 2 times a week. 2 weeks ago a heat about spinning competition and I decided to sing up. Well I did it and I made it to the semi finals. The semi finals and the finals is going to be at the same day. I am thinking to practice everyday an 2 times a day if it possible. This spinning is more challenging that the gym I use to go so I am training at the same gym. Some times I do very good but some times I just tired and my performance is poor. I want to do better withy performance. What I should eat drink before the competition and how to do better with my performance. My poorest performance is tension and spinning fast at the same time for a long period my muscles get extremely tires. I will appreciate any tip or recommendations. Thanks. Kind regards. Claudia

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