Spinning is indoor cycling. Led most often by a certified spinning instructor, spinning classes occur in a group setting. The instructor varies the intensity of the class through a routine that is set to music. In order to reap the benefits of taking spinning classes, you should follow a few pieces of advice pertaining to equipment and execution.
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What You'll Need
Water is key to a safe and enjoyable spinning experience. The official Spinning website, Spinning.com, run by the group that trains and certifies spinning instructors, suggests you drink 1,182ml of water before, during and after a 40-minute spinning class. You'll need comfortable workout clothes as well. The Spinning.com suggests moisture-wicking tops, since you'll sweat a lot, and padded cycling shorts (yes, the kind they wear in the Tour de France) to make the ride more comfortable. You won't need a portable music player, though, since your instructor preselects tunes to motivate riders and control the pace of the class.
Before You Spin
If you have never taken a spinning class before, let the instructor know beforehand. Bike fit is key. Your instructor can help you make the proper adjustments. Spinning.com suggests keeping the seat at a height that allows for a slight bend of your knee at the bottom of a pedal stroke. Make sure your elbows bend slightly as your grip the handlebars.
Tips While Riding
Tuck your shoelaces in and ensure that your feet are secure in the pedals. Ride with the ball of your foot over the centre of the pedal. In order to stop the pedals from moving on a spinning bike you need to either resist forward movement or pull up on the resistance knob, as you clear your feet from the moving pedals. Spinning.com points out that spinning classes are not races. Move at a pace you can handle, regardless of the rest of the class. If you feel faint or dizzy, stop spinning, carefully get off of the bike and ask the instructor for assistance.
Without cycling shoes, you wear regular athletic shoes for a spinning class. You place your feet inside toe cages with straps to keep them on the pedals. Cycling shoes take spinning to a higher level. Cycling shoes, just like the ones used on outdoor bicycles, attach to cleats, which clip into special pedals on the spinning bike. With your feet clipped in, you can pull up and push down with greater force since your feet do not come off of the pedals. This allows you to work harder. When you buy cycling shoes, make sure you know the pedal system that is installed on the spinning bikes you ride. As Spinning.com notes, you need to make sure the shoes and cleats you buy are compatible with the pedals you will use.
As with any athletic endeavour, a heart rate monitor enhances the spinning experience. Spinning.com explains that heart rate monitors aid your weight loss and other fitness goals. At different points of your workout (e.g., warm-up, recovery) and for different objectives (e.g., strength, endurance, interval training), you should work at varying percentages of your maximum heart rate. A monitor takes care of the calculations and records your heart rate statistics as you spin.
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