If you have never taken an online spin class before then the prospect might seem a bit daunting. However, there is nothing to worry about. In this post, we are going to explain the setup of a standard spin class and answer some FAQs to put your mind at rest.
What to expect in an online spin class
Spin classes are done on stationary bikes
Most bikes will have an electronic tracker that will collect and show you data about your workout. There are two important numbers in spin class: the cadence (how fast you are going) and the gear (how high the resistance is). Some of the more upmarket studios will offer other bike features, such as heart rate monitoring, and will email you a report of your class afterwards.
An instructor will call out a target cadence and gear range for you to work towards. It is up to you to control how fast you go and at what gear, the bike does not change settings by itself.
The atmosphere of a spin class is usually energetic and upbeat. There is a lot of emphasis on music too, a good instructor will sync the rhythm of the pedalling to the beat of a song.
Classes are usually structured as HIIT sessions, although some try to mimic endurance style cycling. It is a good idea to experiment with a few different class styles so that you can discover what works for you.
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1) Spin classes are a great cardio workout
A spin class offers a cardio workout that will get your heart pumping and sweat dripping! It is a form of endurance training that will improve your cardiovascular stamina and help to protect against a range of serious illnesses, including heart disease and stroke.
Spinning also builds tone and definition in the core and lower body muscles. It is not strength training though, so while you will gain some muscle it is not a substitute for lifting weights.
2) Online spinning is great for beginners
Some people are nervous about joining a class if they are beginners because they fear that they will not be able to make it through until the end. It is important to remember that you retain 100% control over the intensity of a spin class.
You can choose a gear that suits your ability and change it at any point, and you can even drop your gears and take a break without even getting off the bike, so there is no need to worry. Another common concern is whether you can leave once a class has started. Yes, of course, if you feel unwell or uncomfortable you are free to leave. No one will stop you or call attention to it.
3) They’re a great way to lose weight
The fat-busting effects of spin class are impressive. In 30 minutes of intense spinning (which is easy to do when you get caught up in a particularly good class), a 125lb person burns around 315 calories, a 155lb person burns 391, and a 185lb person burns 466. You can also track your progress with a cadence sensor. The biggest two are Wahoo and Garmin.
4) Spinning tones your bum
Spinner’s bum is real! Your glutes are engaged throughout a spin class, no matter what position you are in. In a 45-minute class that is 45 minutes of bum toning…and the results soon show! You can expect a tighter perkier bottom to show off to the rider behind you.
5) Online classes keep you motivated
The enjoyability of your spin class very much depends on your instructor and the quality of the studio. Higher-end studios tend to make spinning a sensory experience by incorporating music and flashing lights that can be synced to the rhythm of the cadence, and screens with visual effects.
Cheaper studios cut out the frills, making a spin class as enjoyable as any other guided exercise class. The personality of the instructor is really what really makes a session though.
6) You can go at your own pace
In a normal spin class, no one can see the cadence or gear settings but you. However, some classes will use a live board to show each bike’s cadence; this is why a lot of people think that spinning is competitive.
The number on the screen is only half the story though because cadence is affected by the gear, which only the individual rider can see. A lower gear makes pedalling at faster speeds easier, so no one can tell how ‘good’ someone is at spinning from the number on the board. It is all about syncing the speed of the class.
7) Video spin classes are great for seniors
Not only is a spin class suitable for seniors, but it is also one of the best exercises for older people because it is so low impact. Bodyweight is supported by the bike and the movement of the pedals disperses pressure in a way that is safe for the joints. Spinning is a good option for anyone who suffers from knee problems too because the movement helps to reduce stiffness in the joints.
8) You can do spinning when you’re pregnant
Exercise during pregnancy is good for both baby and mum because it promotes blood flow, delivering oxygen-rich blood right where it is needed most.
It can also reduce some of the back and hip pain that is common in the later stages of pregnancy and it is good for mental health too. Low impact exercises like spinning are the key to working out while pregnant because they remove a lot of the risk of injury.
9) You can start spinning online for free
As well as paid services like iFit, there are an absolute plethora of awesome spin video classes waiting on youtube for you to cycle away to. And if you’ve not delved into what they have on there, you’ll quickly be able to find some high quality ones you can pedal along with.
10) You can pause or leave the online spin class when you want
You just thought you’d log on and do a quick 25-minute fat burner? The kids are playing nicely in the front room. And then up goes the cry, “the paint’s gone everywhere!” (or any one of another cry for help parents are all-too-familiar with. No biggie. You’re not at a gym, you’re at home. This is your world and you get to control it. After you’ve cleaned up god knows what awaits in the front room, you can carry on where you left off.
Got any questions about taking an online spin class?
If you have any other questions about spinning drop us a line and we will do our best to answer them.
References & Further Reading
- What are the best Air Bikes in the UK today?
- Harvard Study: Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights
- Observer – Bros on Bikes: What’s the Manliest Spin Class?
- NCBI – Effects of stationary cycling exercise on the balance & gait
- Harvard – Spinning: Good for the heart and muscles, gentle on joints