Back to Basics: All About Spin

Terrific Tips For Getting Back To Basics on Your Spin Bike

It’s almost impossible not to have seen a video of your friend riding on a bike in a cycling studio in Singapore and executing dance-like choreography. The spin hype is all around and you really wouldn’t want to be left out – who doesn’t like a high energy, exhilarating exercise that involves electrifying music, sleek movements, and glamorous lighting? 

Indoor cycling, or what is commonly known as spin classes, has become a popular sport with its major calorie-burning benefits. In an instructor-led group setting, participants will be taken on a “hilly” ride with changes in resistance and intensity. It is a low-impact exercise that will certainly improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your lower body, but that is only if one knows what to expect and do in a spin class. 

Here’s what you should know to gear up for your first spin class:

What To Expect

A regular spin class comprises a 45minutes-workout routine on the bike: warm-up, hills, fast jogs, sprints, weights, and cool-down. The instructor will curate their playlist and pace the workout accordingly, which is why every spin class is unique. The set will also incorporate movements like tap-backs, crunches, pushes, and jumps that are synced to the beat of the music. 

Here are some basic cues you need to know to attain the most benefits out of your spin class:

Double Time

Double-time

Double-time is a cue for riding on the double beat of the music. You will hear this often in sprints – expect your legs to move twice as fast. 

Tap Backs

Tap-backs

From a standing position, hinge at the hips and tap your booty towards the back of the saddle. Engage your lower abdominals and glutes. 

Crunches

Crunches

Crunches utilize your core to move your upper body towards the bike. While your elbows will bend as you crunch, your movement should come from engaging your abdominals instead of your elbows. 

Pushes

Pushes

Imitate a push-up on the handlebar with your elbows pointing outwards, allowing your bodyweight to give yourself something to push from. Keep your chest open and shoulders down. 

Bike Set-up

For spin class beginners, riding on the wrong setup can ruin their entire experience regardless of how good the class is. There are two main things to look out for: the horizontal and vertical position of your saddle and handlebar. 

Saddle Height (Vertical)

Saddle Height - VerticalSaddle Height - Vertical

Adjust your saddle height so that the saddle surface is aligned with the tip of your hip bone. To check that it’s the correct height, clip in and extend one leg in the 6 o’clock position – your knee should have a slight bend.

Saddle and Handlebar position (Horizontal)

Saddle And Handlebar Position - HorizontalSaddle And Handlebar Position - Horizontal

With the shoes clipped in and one foot in the 3 o’clock position, your saddle position should allow your knee cap to be aligned with the centre of the pedal. Adjust your saddle horizontally until you achieve that.

For your comfortable handlebar position, place your elbow on the tip of the saddle and adjust your handlebar horizontally until your fingertips touch the base of the handlebar. 

Handlebar height (Vertical)

Handlebar Height - VerticalHandlebar Height - Vertical

Adjust handlebar height until it is in line or slightly higher than saddle height. For beginners, raise handlebar slightly higher to minimize strain and discomfort. 

Form Check

We can’t stress enough how critical your form is in ensuring that you reap those spin class benefits. Also, to reduce risks of injury while on the bike!

Seated

Adjust handlebar height until it is in line or slightly higher than saddle height. For beginners, raise handlebar slightly higher to minimize strain and discomfort. 

Standing

As you stand, stay close to the tip of the saddle and engage your abdominal muscles and glutes. Hands should be placed lightly on the handlebar and maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Keep your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and chest open. 

3 Common Mistakes Newbies Make

1. Pedal Stroke

It is a mistake to point your toes downwards as you pedal – this might increase chances of injury! Think instead about driving the pedal down from your heel. Also, don’t just focus on the downstroke – remember to pull up with power coming from your hamstrings.

2. Poor Riding Form

It is common to see beginners neglect their form when they get tired. They start to lean too far forward or slouch, putting additional tension and pressure on their joints. Focus on aligning your upper body properly – don’t feel pressured to follow the class and take it at your own pace. 

3. Excessive Movement

Cycling relies on your hip, knees, and ankles – these joints have a limited range of motion and over-the-top movements can increase risks of injury. Keep your movements controlled, and if you’re bouncing on the saddle, increase your resistance to ground yourself. 

For beginners, it is always recommended that you attend beginner and foundation classes first – most spin studios have created these classes to focus on basics and proper form.

Now that you’re ready to punch the pedals indoors, make sure you know what to wear to a spin class. As you’ll be jumping in and out of the saddle and peddling fast, a set of good workout gear is absolutely necessary to stay supported every wear, through thick and thin.

Keep Dry & Cool Throughout
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