Indoor cycling, as an organized activity, is a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity (race days) and recovery, and involves using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting. It is commonly called spinning.
A typical class involves a single instructor at the front of the class who leads the participants through routines that are designed to simulate terrain and situations similar to riding a bike outdoors. Some of the movements and positions include hill climbs, sprints and interval training. A well-trained instructor uses music, motivation, visualization and enthusiastic coaching to lead students through a ride that best suits their fitness level and goals. Most instructors will lead what is called an interval ride, where students will sprint, run, climb, and jump all in the same ride, but there will not be definable pattern to the exercises.
One of the major advantages of indoor cycling is that each participant can exactly control his/her level of intensity to suit ability or fitness level but still remain as a group together. The classes can therefore be heterogeneous. As an alternative, participants can judge their level of exertion relative to a perceived exertion scale. The instructor should advise a recommended exertion scale from 1 (no exertion at all) to 10 (maximum exertion). Each rider is permitted to dictate how hard he/she chooses to work with the instructor providing active and dynamic encouragement together with technical and practical advice throughout the class.
Besides burning between 400-1000 kcal in 45 minutes, indoor cycling also strengthens the muscles of the lower body. It tones the quadriceps and hamstrings, along with working the back and hips.
In spin class, you have a lot of friends. You can look at and watch them suffer and sweat.
- Alex Howes
Team Garmin Sharp