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Spinning Class

Old 12-25-06, 09:32 AM
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Spinning Class

So I am in Atlanta for the holidays, and even more dreaded than 2 weeks with the in-laws is 2 weeks without a bike. And despite my best efforts, I failed to come up with a suitable road bike to use while here. So, I decided to go to my first-ever spinning class. It's no substitute for a 5-hour ride with the club, but not a bad workout in a pinch. I know a lot of you go to spinning class regularly, and I'd be interested in your perspectives. My first impression:

Pros:
  • Very efficient. A solid hour of high-intensity work and you're done. No coasting, no breathers, no downhills, no 20 minute stops at the bagel shop.
  • Lets you isolate/concentrate on particular aspects of your biking (faster spinning, sprinting, etc.).
  • Music. I never wear headphones on the road, so the jamming beats in class are a welcome motivator.

Cons:
  • The saddles suck. Big soft cushy pillows. I could not find a suitable position on it.
  • Instructor spent too much time out of the saddle. I don't stand much on the road bike, so I just worked on my spinning, even when the class was standing.
  • I think spitting and snot rockets are frowned upon.
  • Hotter than Death Valley. They had fans, but didn't turn them on. Strange.
  • I was going to say cost, but in the long run I guess it is not any more expensive than riding.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with my spin class experience. I could envision adding one day per week in spin class to save a little a time and add some variety... especially since my wife already goes.

I finally got so desperate for some road time that I took out my father-in-law's Specialized Crossroads for a spin:



I only mention this, because I don't have any tennis shoes with me here... so it was quite funny putting my speedplay pedals on this 35-lb behmoth. At least I wasn't in full Disco or T-mobile kit.

Happy Holidays everyone!
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Old 12-25-06, 09:39 AM
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I've never done a spin class but do have a trainer and my wife and I use Spinervals tapes/DVD's. Coach Troy really works us well and there is plenty of sweat to be had!

While I agree that it's not the same as riding outdoors, I can assure you that as a workout, I have no complaints whatsoever. No downhills to rest on, decent music and the joy of watching the rain fall outside the window while I still get some bike time.

Sheldon
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Old 12-25-06, 09:52 AM
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I have enjoyed spinning. It seems to help me recover quicker when Im on the bike. It has also improved my out of the saddle riding. Spin classes do alot of things we may not actually do while really riding, but it is a great cross training method. Ive only been doing spin classes for a month and have already noticed a difference.
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Old 12-25-06, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by nesdog
I've never done a spin class but do have a trainer and my wife and I use Spinervals tapes/DVD's. Coach Troy really works us well and there is plenty of sweat to be had!

While I agree that it's not the same as riding outdoors, I can assure you that as a workout, I have no complaints whatsoever. No downhills to rest on, decent music and the joy of watching the rain fall outside the window while I still get some bike time.

Sheldon
Spinervals/Carmichael training DVD's vs. spin class. I'll take Coach Troy or Chris Carmichael any day over a spin class. First of all you are riding on your bike that is set up for you. Secondly, the workouts are specific to certain goals (climbing, tempo, sprinting, etc.), there is adequate recovery between sets. Compared to spin class, I feel I have accomplished more with my training after doing one of these DVD workouts. Plus I don't have to drive to the gym. By the time you drive, get to the class so you can get a bike and drive home, you wasted an additional 1/2 hour to hour.

Spin class is dependent on the instructor, their music, etc. It is amazing how many spin instructors don't own a bike. The ones that are cyclists, seem to have better spin workouts. Still a spin class workout is better than no workout.
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Old 12-25-06, 10:20 AM
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Why don't you bring that Crossroads home and ride it on the club rides? Maybe then I could keep you in sight.
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Old 12-25-06, 12:01 PM
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Since I only ride once a week at the most, spin classes are how I get most of my "mileage". Luckily, I have good classes/instructors.
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Old 12-25-06, 12:24 PM
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I've never really considered doing spin classes before. Do you need to belong to a gym?
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Old 12-25-06, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Vancemac
I know a lot of you go to spinning class regularly, and I'd be interested in your perspectives. My first impression:

Pros:
  • Very efficient. A solid hour of high-intensity work and you're done. No coasting, no breathers, no downhills, no 20 minute stops at the bagel shop.
  • Lets you isolate/concentrate on particular aspects of your biking (faster spinning, sprinting, etc.).
  • Music. I never wear headphones on the road, so the jamming beats in class are a welcome motivator.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my spin class experience. I could envision adding one day per week in spin class to save a little a time and add some variety... especially since my wife already goes.
I agree with your 'pros' list.... the high intensity of the class and isolations are definite pluses. I started out spinning, sometimes up to 5 days/week, before having a road bike. I believe it gave me an advantage when I first started riding... there's no way I could've ridden more than just a few miles my first time out!

It's a great workout... if you have the right instructor/profile/playlist, otherwise it can be a pretty boring/unfulfilling experience!
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Old 12-25-06, 06:34 PM
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I go to spin class(es) if the weather is bad. When I set up, I lower the 'handlebars' as low as they'll go, strap on a rolled-up towel on which to rest my forearms and get as aero as possible. I try to keep my spin bike as square to the mirrors as possible, so I can keep checking my form.

I find the instructors at my gym put way too much emphasis on heavy resistance - bad for the knees as spin bikes cannot not fitted perfectly. When the instructor calls for climbing, I just don't push the resistance any harder than I would if I were on my road bike. (I see how hard others are spinning/mashing, as well as the angle of their knees, and can see joint pain in their future.)

That said, I think spin classes are a great break from the norm, and for the music/company. If I start warming up at 5:30am, I can take the 6am class, spin for a free hour and then take the 8am class. It's not a bad workout and a good way to burn up 1800-2000 calories. Plus, no helmet hair.
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Old 12-25-06, 07:12 PM
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Prior to moving to SF Bay, my wife and I lived in Los Angeles (Mountaingate / Brentwood. We do spin class and stationary biking in the gym to supplement our road cycling. First, not all gyms, spin class bikes or classes are created equal. We belonged to Sports Club LA and the spin bikes were Lemond (I think??) with okay saddles and either Look or spd cleats. The bars and the seat position were very adjustable. I usually rode on one of the bikes in the gym (not the room) and used my Ipod. The classes featured different music and objectives. This was a very nice club and we miss it.

Where we live now, we belong to Equinox Gym. They have similar bikes to SCLA and I go to classes (for the fans) and use the bikes in the gym. The spin class room at Equinox is very cool (temperature) and the fans work well. The instructors are marginal and the music varies. I do what I want to do in class and I always wear a heart rate monitor. As a courtesy, I tell the instructor that this is a recovery day or I just need some saddle time so that he does not think I am blowing off his program. I usually use spin class for active recovery or intervals. I agree that there is too much standing and at Equinox the instructor has no idea where each participant is with respect to aerobic output. They will say add another gear, which means increase the tension but one could already be out of target zone. But it is better than no riding. We have a friend that is a spin instructor in Bend, OR and he strongly recommends HRMs in his class.

My wife and I are doing the Solvang Century March 10, 2007 on our tandem so we have to stay in shape NOW to be ready in March which means some time spinning in the gym.
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Old 12-25-06, 11:25 PM
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I started back into cycling this year after a few years off the bike. I went from painful 10 mile rides to painful 40 miles in about 4 weeks thanks to 2 intense spin classes weekly. No doubt they work. However, I strained my knee in the class due to the high resistance and poor fit on the spin bikes. Now when I go, I'm so paranoid of aggrivating the knee, I don't get much of a workout according to my heart rate monitor. It's too bad, cause I REALLY improve when I can work hard in those classes. Now I go for recovery type rides. If I could get the bike to fit better, I'd definitely go harder.

lordoftherings, I'll be at the Solvang ride, so I'm gearing up for that one myself.
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Old 12-26-06, 01:11 AM
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Spinning is what got me to road cycling. I was lucky to have had good instructors that were cyclists with about half the class riding road bikes as well. That was in Houston, where it is either too hot, too cold or too rainy to go for a decent ride.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Why don't you bring that Crossroads home and ride it on the club rides? Maybe then I could keep you in sight.
No worries, Large John... no SFVBC in over a week has me feeling like I'll be starting from scratch when I finally get back on the 4th!
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