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Old 11-26-07, 05:34 AM   #1
hankbrandenburg
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Spin Classes?

I typically commute 36 miles RT to work by bicycle three days a week, and usually take a weekend ride for fun of about 40-50 miles. I assumed I was a pretty strong rider.

My wife recently started taking spin classes at the local gym and I decided to accompany her this weekend.
I was shocked at how difficult I found the class! The stand up and pedal position caused a killer burn in my thighs, and overall the cardio workout was quite robust. I am really surprised at how different these classes are than my riding style; I guess having all those gears and a properly adjusted bike frame have spoiled me.

Does anyone else out there have thoughts on spin classes?
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Old 11-26-07, 06:18 AM   #2
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That is not surprising. You are basically condensing your workout with a higher intensity. No coasting and what not.
I get the same effect riding my trainer. Besides who wants to ride a bike indoors for hours.
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Old 11-26-07, 07:22 AM   #3
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Like datajunkie said, there is no coasting or what not. The no coasting is hard enough.... but the what not.... that's the killer.


You've got to really hydrate. There is little air circulation in these classes, and you've got to water up. There is also a propensity to think it is so easy that you spin yourself tired earlier and don't pace your hour.

And lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves.... there is inadequate warm up. Many times the instructors have you up and out of the saddle too early and ramp up your heart rate much too early. You've got to take charge and make sure you are warmed.
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Old 11-26-07, 09:27 AM   #4
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Spinning is not bicycling.
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Old 11-26-07, 02:26 PM   #5
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Spinning is not bicycling
Bicycling is not spinning!
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Old 11-27-07, 12:55 PM   #6
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Same thing happend to me, the first time I was in a spinning class, standing and spinning was humbling, much different than being on a real bike. It did help a great deal with smoothing out my pedal stroke.
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Old 11-27-07, 03:05 PM   #7
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And lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves.... there is inadequate warm up. Many times the instructors have you up and out of the saddle too early and ramp up your heart rate much too early. You've got to take charge and make sure you are warmed.
The two places I've done classes at give good instructions in their descriptions that you should be warmed up in advance of the class starting. Unfortunately, only one of them allowed you on the spin machines prior to the class (the other had some other class in the same room).

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Spinning is not bicycling
Bicycling is not spinning!
Both statements are true. But both activities have their benefits.

I just joined a new gym and while I haven't been to one of their spinning classes yet, I did get on one of the machines for a bit. I found that the pedals were farther out from the center-line than on either my road or mountain bike. Seemed like it would put extra strain on the knee joints.
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Old 11-27-07, 03:16 PM   #8
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Spin classes were good for me, but mostly for the workout. The workout is what you make it, but I always found it easier than cycling. Ain't got no 50-lbs freewheel on my bike...

I went 1-3 times a week for a few years, off and on. When they still use the same songs/music in '06 that they used in '04, one tends to burn out.

Now I'm no longer taking spin classes, but I'm riding a lot more than before.




EDIT: I agree that you have to hydrate more, and the warmup is not all that grat (usually one 3-minute song), but it's geared more toward fitness than cycling. TO each his own I guess.
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Old 11-27-07, 06:32 PM   #9
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The spin classes I went to helped me get more strength in my pedaling. I stand and mash up hills now instead of sitting and, well, spinning. The spin part of the class was then followed up with conditioning exercises. Brutal workout.
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Old 11-12-09, 01:24 AM   #10
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I decided to take a spinning class tonight and I have to say that it is rather good. I did notice that I had to keep hydrated by eating "block" and lots of water. I am wondering if a spinning class could make you a better / stronger rider?
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Old 11-12-09, 07:43 AM   #11
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I decided to take a spinning class tonight and I have to say that it is rather good. I did notice that I had to keep hydrated by eating "block" and lots of water. I am wondering if a spinning class could make you a better / stronger rider?
You live in Florida. Riding your bike with the intent to make gains will make you a better/stronger cyclist. Get out there and enjoy the warmth!
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Old 11-12-09, 07:45 AM   #12
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true, its supposed to be cold today and my schedule is a little crazy. But you are correct nothing compared to the real thing.
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Old 11-12-09, 07:57 AM   #13
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Spinning helps me survive a Canadian winter when I find it too damn cold to get out on the bike. And it stops me losing cycling strength over that winter.

It is not biking, but it's a damn sight better than nothing.
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Old 11-12-09, 08:10 AM   #14
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Spinning helps me survive a Canadian winter when I find it too damn cold to get out on the bike. And it stops me losing cycling strength over that winter.

It is not biking, but it's a damn sight better than nothing.
Same here, i take spin classes over the winter in place of cycling in my Triathlon training. I see no reason to be out in the miserable freezing cold and dark cycling, thats not a workout motivator. After my last winter of spin classes I got back out on my bike and was noticeably better at everything, especially climbing.
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Old 11-12-09, 01:19 PM   #15
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I'm a recently returned (four yrs outta the saddle!), fair weather cyclist. Not having a winter bike I've just taken up spinning and while I eased back into road cycling with relative ease, I found spining way more intense than I expected. As the contributors above have stated the minutes outta the saddle are tough. Thankfully plenty of water helps.
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Old 11-12-09, 02:35 PM   #16
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Spinning is not bicycling.

True


It takes about 6 lessons before you get into the routine of spinning classes. Then you realise that it teaches you some skills that are not that good for cycling. How often do you mash up a hill seated on your bike when you still have 26 gears left?

It does give you a good workout and providing you follow the instructions correct- they will strengthen muscles. I had one evening where it was Hill climbing in and out of the saddle and in between- wind on half a turn. But as I found out- My half turn is not the same as others half turn.

But whatever you do- do not ask others in the class out for a ride. They rarely accept and although they can spin- they probably do not even own a bike. And 10 miles on a trail will finish them off.
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Old 11-12-09, 03:44 PM   #17
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Well I think the intensity thing is a matter of how much one gets caught up in the vibe of a spin class. Now they are essentially fixed gear bikes, so there is no coasting per se, but you can still slacken off and let the free wheel push you along.

I find that I can actually get a more intense work out on my own on a spin bike than I can in a class. I think it all depends on how much one gets into the group dynamic. I find it a bit distracting.
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Old 11-14-09, 09:36 AM   #18
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I used to do spin classes at the local YMCA, until the Y banned blacks.
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Old 11-14-09, 10:18 AM   #19
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I find that I can actually get a more intense work out on my own on a spin bike than I can in a class. I think it all depends on how much one gets into the group dynamic. I find it a bit distracting.
+1. Even in the winter, I will take the cold over indoor spinning but when the weather is too ugly, I will train on my trainer, rollers or a spin bike, but not in a class. I like to control my warm up time, interval and ride lengths .
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Old 11-14-09, 12:12 PM   #20
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Well i took the class and I did whatever I wanted. I didn't follow along much and the instructors left me alone. I made it clear by talking to someone else (who also rides) I am rider so they just let me be.
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Old 11-14-09, 04:47 PM   #21
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I used to do spin classes at the local YMCA, until the Y banned blacks.
Um, what?!? When did this happen?
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Old 11-14-09, 10:35 PM   #22
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I found that the first few spinning classes were very strenuous and standing was extremely difficult. Now I find that while spinning raises a sweat it doesn't compare with actual riding. Just the fact that you can close your eyes and "go to another place" without worrying about balancing makes the spinning workout much less strenuous than riding. Still, its better than nothing when it's dark, raining, snowing or just plain freezing.
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Old 11-15-09, 12:48 AM   #23
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I teach spin classes and I also cycle outdoors. The two are not equivalent.

In spin class hills are simulated by adding resistance to the bike, which means mashing in a higher gear. On the road I'd be using a smaller gear and higher cadence to go uphill.

Still, spin classes are convenient in that you can get on a bike and not need to worry about cars, weather, or stopping for red lights. I do a lot of interval training on spin bikes because it's harder to do it out on the road.
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Old 11-15-09, 08:00 AM   #24
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The last time I was in a spin class, it was because I was already doing my own spinning and didn't know one was going to start.

I had done about 45 minutes of moderate-to-difficult noodling around when people started showing up, getting their spin bikes ready and warming up. I asked the woman next to me if it was a class, which she confirmed.

I ended up spinning twice as long as I had planned, which was a total of either one or two hours -- I forget now (I do remember that it turned out to be about as long as my typical rides, so I'd guess two hours). I had generated a couple puddles of sweat on the floor, while the woman next to me and her friend were barely glistening -- so I figured that, like any other exercise, you get out of it what you put into it.

I'd really like to see what resistance settings other spinners use, but I suppose that's one of the secrets of spinning. It's not like pushing weights, where everyone can see what you're lifting -- if you work out enough, you don't care what anyone sees you doing, but self-conscious types can get embarrassed. On a spin bike, though, if you're keeping your resistance low, it's just between you and your bike.

Speaking of resistance, I'd like to see a setup that changes resistance as quickly and consistently as changing gear on a regular bike. Changing gears on a trainer works really well, but I use it less than I planned because my downstairs neighbor wonders what's going on (maybe I should take it to the roof deck ).
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Old 11-15-09, 04:17 PM   #25
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Um, what?!? When did this happen?
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