Trying a new Group Exercise class can be intimidating. Read on to learn what to expect from this cardio blasting activity and about the Spin Revolution that is sweeping through YEG.
The whole workout takes place on a stationary bike that has varying tension levels. Indoor cycling is becoming more and more popular with a number of private ‘Spin Boutiques’ popping up in Edmonton and the surrounding area. Large health clubs and city facilities also offer Spin but the classes can be large and intimidating to newcomers. Private studios also offer a more intimate approach to remain client focused. That is why the private Spin (or Indoor Cycling) Boutiques are becoming seemingly more popular among YEG fitness newbies and experienced riders alike. Each studio offers it’s very own ‘Spin’ on the cardio torching workout.
Spin is an excellent way to relieve stress, build muscle tone and increase cardio endurance. During a session there will be continuous resistance on the large muscle groups of the lower body. This stress results in a greater increase in aerobic capacity (Ratamess, N. (2012). Modes of Aeorbic Exercise. In ACSM’s foundations of strength training and conditioning (p. 410). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). A 45 minutes class can burn approximately 400 to 500 calories (Darling, A. “Be Fit: The Science of Health: Part 2: Exercise: Feel the burn.” Guardian, The. 2005, January 15: 28). Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes and Hips will all be engaged and burning through the resistance during class. Some instructors will have clients using core muscles and upper body during periods of climbing and racing so this really is a total body toning workout. Spin is exceptional for increasing cardio endurance as the heart rate stays elevated throughout the class with cadence usually changing up to the beat of the music. Injury risk is low due to the stationary bike and less impact on the joints. Resistance is set by each client so they can push as hard or as little as they want which makes this appealing when first starting to Spin. Some clients experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS a day or 2 after their first spin class. Your lower might not be used to the stress of the load that occurs during spin. If this happens, simply ease up on the resistance for your next session.
Why your legs will hate to love spin:
The lower body muscles feel most of the workout and make the ‘magic’ happen during a Spin class. Cycling can cause a substantial amount of lower body fatigue (Ratamess, N. (2012). Aerobic Training. In ACSM’s foundations of strength training and conditioning (p. 411). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) Indoor cycling is a huge challenge for your lower body and here is why: The primary muscle used during spin class would be the Quadriceps. As your leg pushes down against the resistance on the pedal to straighten out, your Quadriceps will be engaged and that is where most clients ‘feel the burn’. The Hamstrings are located on the back of the thigh and are also engaged during the cycling motion by helping to lift the pedal back up during revolutions. If you would like to strengthen these muscles before heading to a spin class try jogging, squats or lunges to gauge where your strength level is. Some of the supporting muscles that are engaged during spin are the Gluteus Maximus and Medius. This powerful group pushes forward on the pedal at the peak of the revolution during cycling. The Calf muscles also support the force from the Quadriceps down to the feet. If you plan on making Spin part of your weekly routine, strengthening these muscles can greatly improve muscular endurance and muscle tone.
What to wear:
During class be prepared to drip sweat. Make sure to wear clothing that is breathable and lightweight. Bike shorts are recommended. Try to avoid lose fitting pants as you don’t want to run the risk of having a wardrobe malfunction when your bike decides to eat your pants. Many clients take heart rate monitors with them in order to stay in a specific ‘Target Zone’. You can wear lightweight, supportive sneakers or Spin Bike boots that clip into the pedals of the stationary bikes. Be sure to bring a water bottle or two as hydration is absolutely necessary.
Go get sweaty!
Spin is an exhilarating and challenging experience. Group classes are great for having clients ‘Ride Together’. There is a certain energy in the Spin room that motivates riders to push it to the limit. If you are looking to try something new, lose some weight or just have fun challenging yourself – Give Spin a try. Now that you know what to expect in a session, go for a ride!
By: Courtney Theroux
1.) Ratamess, N. (2012). Modes of Aeorbic Exercise. In ACSM’s foundations of strength training and conditioning (p. 410). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
2.) Darling, A. “Be Fit: The Science of Health: Part 2: Exercise: Feel the burn.” Guardian, The. 2005, January 15: 28
3.) Ratamess, N. (2012). Aerobic Training. In ACSM’s foundations of strength training and conditioning (p. 411). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins