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  1. #1
    seehunt
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    Spinning Classes bad for Knees???

    My preferred excercise is, of course, riding my bikes. During the colder NY months I have taken to going to the gym a few times each week to try to stay in shape. I tried a spinning class once and loved it!
    Got a great workout and was soaking wet by the end. But afterwards my knee felt "loose"
    ( I have totally torn medial meniscus in both knees - surgeons are drooling, but they only hurt sometimes and cycling is mostly fine with them ) and took over a week to feel right again. I suspect it was the exceptionally high cadence the class seems to push for that caused this feeling. I keep telling myself that I should try it again, and just keep my personal cadence below 100 rpm, but I fear the music and prodding of the class leader will keep me from maintaining this reasonable cadence and I will once again do some damage to my knees. There are no instruments in the class to help monitor cadence as there are on the outside bikes. Any suggestions? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    My wife and I spin when we can't do it in the real world (like now). My suggestions are centered around proper fit and social pressure. Make sure everything is set up properly on your spinning bike. It's not necessary that you push it to the limit in terms of spinning speed and resistance, just getting on the bike and keeping in reasonable shape is really what matters. I know, there's pressure to keep up with the 23 year olds, but be reasonable, make sure your spinning bike is set up correctly, and you shouldn't have any more problems than you do with your real world bike. OHB

  3. #3
    On the road again
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    I agree with Old Hammer, make sure the bike is set up correctly for your leg length. One thing I've seen that can happen in a spinning class is not putting enough resistance on the wheel and you let the bike "get away" from you when you are pedaling at a high cadence, I actually had my knees feel worse from that until I realized what was happening. The one thing I've liked about spinning over just regualr indoor exercise bikes is the resistance that can be added that better mimics the real feel of an outdoor ride. The other thing I've done in these classes is maintain my own natural and normal pace and work more at adding resistance to get the heart rate up.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    If you think you are spinning too fast, then slow down. Hard to do with the music, but is worth an attempt. The other thing is leg and foot fit. Saddle position is easy to set up for the legs, but the toe in or out-- Should be toe in really- is very difficult to adjust for. I have the straps on this really tight so that my feet do not pull off of the pedals, and this makes me realise why I have SPD's. I have a fair amount of toe in on my bike, and can never get it right on the spinner bikes.

    The other thing is to see if the instructor can do the majority of a class as if going uphill. Lower cadence and more pressure on the wheel. My instructor worked that one on us last year, and we found who the hill climbers are. He kept putting the pressure on and at one point made us get off the bike and stretch. He then checked the pressure on the wheel to see if anyone was cheating- Luckily none were.
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  5. #5
    beginner budster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seehunt
    There are no instruments in the class to help monitor cadence as there are on the outside bikes. Any suggestions? Has anyone else had a similar experience?
    I haven't yet done a spinning class (no need here, since this 'winter' has been a joke so far), but I believe the indoor bikes have timers? Just count your pedal strokes for 15 sec and multiply by 4. That'll give you your cadence (+/- 4 strokes). Every time your left foot bottoms out is a pedal stroke. Or whatever part of the cycle is easiest. This is what I do when I'm on the road. It might be a little harder with the music going...
    Path of Abundance: Be Kind, be Generous, be Content, be Honest and be Aware.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Raketmensch's Avatar
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    I'm also in New York (upstate) and like you I'm slogging through another sloppy winter. I've never tried a spinning class, but something you might try if you're worried about the effects of spinning is mounting your trusty bike on a good fluid trainer. I've got one (a Kurt Kinetic), and I love it. When the weather's just too awful to take the bike outside, I can get a great workout indoors that is (from a purely physical, rather than pyschological perspective) almost indistinguishable from being outdoors on the bike.

    A lot of people complain that they don't like trainers, and I guess I can understand that. But I enjoy mine. I put on some loud music, I put my head down, and I crank. The scenery never changes, and I guess that bothers some people. But in terms of getting the physiological response you want (with no adverse side effects you wouldn't experience on the road), it's hard to beat.

  7. #7
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    It's always been my experience that mashing the gears with too much resistence is much harder on the knees than a high cadence. Makes sure your legs stay in alignment with the pedals and you're not flopping around,be as smooth as butter

  8. #8
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    I agree with Gene, it's not the cadence that's hurting your knees, it's excessive pressure you may put on them by using too much resistance.

    Another concern, is one of my biggest objections to spinning classes are the way they want you to keep doing jumps every couple of counts, i.e. stand and spin, then sit and spin. That's really hand on the knees.

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raketmensch
    I'm also in New York (upstate) and like you I'm slogging through another sloppy winter. I've never tried a spinning class, but something you might try if you're worried about the effects of spinning is mounting your trusty bike on a good fluid trainer. I've got one (a Kurt Kinetic), and I love it. When the weather's just too awful to take the bike outside, I can get a great workout indoors that is (from a purely physical, rather than pyschological perspective) almost indistinguishable from being outdoors on the bike.

    A lot of people complain that they don't like trainers, and I guess I can understand that. But I enjoy mine. I put on some loud music, I put my head down, and I crank. The scenery never changes, and I guess that bothers some people. But in terms of getting the physiological response you want (with no adverse side effects you wouldn't experience on the road), it's hard to beat.
    You might consider one of the training tapes. They help a lot. There is an Indoor Trainer Support Group.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
    Member pkgman's Avatar
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    I've been doin spin for about 4 years....started at 50. It's a heck of a workout. I agree with all of the above comments regarding having the bike set up properly and having the resistance adjusted properly. A good instructor will notice poor set-ups and suggest improvements. I too have a torn meniscus and find that spinning doesn't bother it because there is very little lateral movement required. As for not having a cadence meter, speedometer, or odometer....I have a pretty good heart rate monitor that also records effort expended. I recommend having one. Afterall, it's really all about aerobic conditioning and heart beat rates. Most of us in the class have HRM's and track our history. Hope this helps.
    Gary

  11. #11
    Senior Member marmotte's Avatar
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    I agree with the others above, there is one more thing left: make sure, that your seating position is not too deep or too high. Sometimes a half centimeter decides whether it does pain to your knee or not.

  12. #12
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    I go to spin classes 5-6 times a week. I go very hard. I got a HR monitor at the beginning and didn't like being so aware of my HR. I know by now how hard I am working. Comes with experience. Same thing for the road bike. I find if I follow the instructor (assuming they are good) and keep up with them then I am usually in the desired zones.

    Great workout in a short period of time. I am in better condition when I road ride, but spinning gets me through the winter. I spin in the summer too if the weather is crappy for a few days in a row.

    Last summer I didn't go much, we had good weather, or the rainy days corresponded with an off day that I wanted.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dagna's Avatar
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    I don't even know why they call it spinning at my gym...it should be called mashing. That's all they do: rachet the tension up enough to stand, and stand and mash at low revs for song after song after song,constantly increasing the tension until they're 'spinning' about 20 rpm...

    Yeah, it made my knees hurt. It made everything hurt. I expect it's good as a once-in-while thing, but I'd never do it as my regular bike ride.

    I'll go back to this gym's 'spinning' classes when I'm ready to train for L'Alpe d'Huez.

    DAgna

  14. #14
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ... My instructor worked that one on us last year, and we found who the hill climbers are. He kept putting the pressure on and at one point made us get off the bike and stretch. He then checked the pressure on the wheel to see if anyone was cheating- Luckily none were.
    my drill seargent was like that...

  15. #15
    aspiringb+
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    I am 59 and have been spinning for about 2 years now. Spinning got me into shape -i lost weight and built up lower body strength - and the experience convinced me to take up cycling (which i hadn't done since childhood). it's important to wear a heart rate monitor - determine your proper range and don't work beyond where you should be -- you'll enjoy it a lot more. i have also purchased a kurt kinetic trainer - i use it when i'm not able to get to spin - this trainer ( and an Ipod blasting disco in my earfones) can get my heart rate up to 80% in a hurry!

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