Indoor cycling, also known as “spin,” simply means the act of cycling on an indoor stationary bike as opposed to out on the open road. This type of workout has grown in popularity over the years through studio classes like SoulCycle and at-home workouts like Peloton.
Trying a new style of workout can be intimidating, but there’s nothing to fear. Indoor cycling is great for beginners and requires very little knowledge or equipment to get started. If you’re wondering what all the hype is about, read on to discover the unique benefits of indoor cycling and what you can expect at your first indoor cycling class.
What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling?
Indoor cycling offers numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Medium to high-intensity cardio exercises like indoor cycling are extremely beneficial for cardiovascular health as they help to increase the output capacity of your heart as well as your VO2 max—the ability of your heart and lungs to consume oxygen.
Indoor cycling helps to build and strengthen many of the largest muscle groups in your lower body, such as your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. It also helps strengthen your core, which acts as a stabilizer throughout the workout.
Indoor cycling classes are often known for their feel-good, endorphin-pumping atmosphere. And because indoor cycling is low impact, you can expect fewer injuries and quicker recovery times than other cardio activities, like HIIT style workouts or running.
Do You Need Special Equipment for Indoor Cycling?
When it comes to clothing, your typical workout apparel is just fine for an indoor cycling class—whether it’s bike shorts, leggings, or anything in between, wear what makes you feel most confident and comfortable.
Some indoor cycling gyms or studios may require cycling-specific shoes that clip into the pedals of the stationary bike, but most have bikes that are equipped with an option for regular shoes as well. It’s always best to check beforehand.
While not totally necessary, cycling shoes have many benefits: they ensure that your bodyweight is distributed evenly across your feet, increase your stability on the bike, help you exert more power with every stroke, and decrease risk of injury. Bikes equipped for regular tennis shoes will often have adjustable toe cages and straps to ensure a secure and comfortable fit—but if you’re not clipped in, you may find that your feet slip out of the pedals more frequently.
What to Expect at Your First Indoor Cycling Class
Indoor cycling classes typically range from 30 minutes, to 45 minutes, to a full hour. If you’re new to indoor cycling, plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before class so that your instructor can help you get settled in. Indoor cycling bikes have adjustment options for height, seat, and handlebar placement, so don’t hesitate to ask your instructor to help you find the perfect fit on your bike.
Your indoor cycling class will start with an easy song or two to warm up your legs. Your instructor should walk you through the various settings on your bike and explain how to adjust your resistance up and down. From there, you can expect a rotation of focus on speed work, resistance work, and overall endurance. Classes typically keep the energy high with loud music and lights, and many instructors plan your workout to match the tempo of the song (beats per minute) to the speed of your legs (rotations per minute).
At certain points in the workout, your instructor may indicate to “come out of the saddle,” which means to move to a standing position. Your instructor may also incorporate arm work into your class through hand weights, a weighted bar, or push ups on the handlebars of your bike. As you near the end of your class, you’ll slow things down and stretch before dismounting the bike.
If it seems overwhelming, know that your instructor will talk you through the whole experience. Don’t hesitate to tone down your speed or resistance, or take a short break, when needed.
With every indoor cycling class you take, you’ll walk away with more strength, more stamina, and more confidence. So what are you waiting for? Schedule your first indoor cycling class at YogaFever today.