Indoor cycling is a fun, challenging and invigorating form of exercise, but there are quite a few things you should keep in mind in order to maximize your ride. Below are some handy tips to help you get the most out of your spinning workout.
1. Most spinning classes move along at a pace determined by the instructor, but it is well understood that participants can adjust their own cadence to accommodate their personal fitness level. It doesn't do you any good to push yourself so hard that you can't even get out of bed the next morning; instead, try choosing a level of intensity that is challenging enough to give you a good workout, but still moderately comfortable.
2. Be mindful to maintain good posture and alignment throughout your workout. When you're spinning away on the stationary bike, it's all too easy to begin crouching forward and putting undue pressure on your hands and wrists, instead of keeping the majority of your weight stationed in your legs where it belongs. Try to keep pressure off of your back, wrists and knees, and avoid rounding out your back or shoulders. In addition, avoid leaning into your handlebars during standing positions, especially when you're pedaling without any saddle support. If necessary, take a quick couple of seconds to rest back in the saddle long enough to recalibrate, and then go at it again.
3. Try to arrive early to the class, so that you can properly adjust your bike and get mentally prepared for the spinning workout. If your bike is not properly set up, not only will you be uncomfortable throughout the workout, but you could also increase your risk of injury. If you need some help getting the bike adjusted to the proper settings, don't hesitate to ask the instructor.
4. Somewhat akin to the previous point, avoid the temptation to cut out early and skip the cool-down phase of the workout! There's a reason why every spinning workout has a cool-down segment – it's an important step to help your body get readjusted to "normal life" again, and it can help prevent injury as well.
5. Even if you start out with what seems like the right bike settings, you might discover something still isn't quite right once you're in the heat of the workout. If this is the case, don't torture yourself by trying to just push through the workout without making any adjustments to the seat, handlebars, etc. – instead, just take a quick pause and adjust your bike as needed so that you can focus on getting the most out of your workout.
6. Avoid the tendency to "white-knuckle" the handlebars. If you hold the handlebars too tight, it can put excess strain on your hands, wrists and shoulders, which can diminish performance and lead to injury.
7. When pedaling, keep your feet as parallel to the floor as possible, and avoid pointing your toes down on the downstroke. This will help you avoid early fatigue in those foot and ankle muscles.
8. During standing run segments, try not to put too much emphasis on speed, as this can lead to excessive bouncing up and down. Instead, focus on maintaining a stable core throughout the movement, being mindful to put equal emphasis on pulling up and pushing down with your pedal strokes.
9. Remember to bring your water and your towel! If you don't, you will soon regret it.
10. Invest in some good cleats or cycling shoes. This can do wonders for helping your endurance, and they'll save you a lot of aggravation as well. A good pair of cycling shoes/cleats will have a solid, rigid bottom that doesn't allow much flexing, which is ideal for helping your feet push down into those pedals without putting too much strain on your arches. In addition, cycling shoes will clip firmly into the pedals, so that your feet won't slip or slide around during your workout.
If you've been thinking about trying a spinning workout, Five Seasons is a great place to start! We offer high-energy spinning classes taught by qualified instructors every week, so be sure to contact us for more details. We hope to see you in spinning class soon!