I can’t believe I only took my first spin class yesterday. Whilst I’ve been a keen cyclist for years, and have wanted to try spinning for months, having heard how tough it is from friends I’ve felt a little bit too intimidated to go by myself. (The woes of joining a different gym…)
The great thing is that it wasn’t intimidating at all. In fact, now that I’ve tried it, I can honestly say that spinning is BRILLIANT! Loud music, a fun instructor, and some challenging intervals (I might have stayed in the saddle for one of the hill climbs…) made it a perfect weekday workout. Though I’d rather have gone to the morning session, as I’m not my best after work!
All that said, there are a few things I wish I’d known beforehand that would have helped me to get a bit more out of the class.
1) POSITION IS KEY.
Try to avoid leaning your weight on the handlebars when out of the saddle. Instead, move back slightly so that your weight is over the saddle, and use your abs to keep yourself upright. The handlebars are really only there for balance – leaning on them too heavily won’t just hurt your wrists and hands, but can also throw your posture off, putting extra pressure on your knees. Let your core and leg muscles do the work.
2) AVOID THE HUNCH.
Following on from the first point, focusing your weight towards the front of the bike can cause you to hunch your shoulders. Relaxing your upper body will make it easier to keep a good posture, protecting your knees and engaging your core.
3) REMEMBER YOUR KNEES.
When settling in for those long, gradual climbs, shift your weight as far back in the saddle as you can. This will take the pressure off your knees, and will get your glutes and legs working. You should also make sure that your knees don’t start to angle out to the side as you get tired – focus on your posture and form, and reduce your resistance or speed if you need to.
4) CHECK YOUR CADENCE.
The instructor will remind you of this during the class, but it’s worth bearing in mind from the start. Stick to the cadence set for each exercise; pedalling too fast will put you at risk of injuries, and won’t offer any additional benefit. It’s far better to increase your resistance, and focus on maintaining a steady rhythm.
5) ENJOY YOURSELF!
This goes without saying, but an exercise class should offer you a good time as well as a good workout! Nobody cares how sweaty you are, how fast (or slow) you’re going, or what your wobbly bits look like in lycra. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the regulars – I sat out one of the hill climbs, and stuck with a comfortably hard cadence and speed for my fitness level. Everybody has to start somewhere! Just enjoy the music, listen to the instructor, and remember to breathe! 😉
Have you tried spinning? What tips and tricks would you add? I’d love to hear!