I’ve just finished teaching my 4th Spin/Indoor Cycling class of the week and would like to take a moment to express my thoughts and views as I see the class as an instructor.
I have many regular people that attend my classes and those that do so listen to my instruction and try there hardest to work to there maximum effort. On the other hand, I see people within the class that potter along without following direction and effectively never reaching the goals they have set themselves.
In a bid to improve the situation I want to first highlight that you are only cheating yourself if the instructor is asking for hard resistance and you are spinning at low to moderate resistance. Spin classes can be taught differently by different people but one thing I have noticed that if the instructor asks for a perceived exertion of level 8 (out of 10) for example, and sees people not following this, they will re-affirm that they want “hard resistance” “firm resistance” or comments of the sort. This is not just because the choreography of the class requires firm resistance but also for health and safety purposes. The wheel of a Spin bike is weighted and if you are standing with light resistance you are at risk of damaging your knees as the wheel will pull your leg round and if you are out of alignment through your joints or unbalanced, this can lead to muscle damage or worse.
Within a Spin class, you will experience various elements that will challenge different muscle fibers and different parts of your fitness.
1. Sprints, are performed on a low to moderate resistance, seated. You will pedal as fast as you possibly can for short bursts followed by an some active recovery.
2. Hill Climbs, are performed on gradually increasing and decreasing resistence, seated or standing. The intention being to replicate a real hill in the outside world.
3. Intervals, can be performed using resistance; speed or isolations. Resistance intervals require you to maintain the same pace throughout but have a moderate resistance as your active rest and a hard resistance as your maximum work phase. Speed intervals will maintain the same resistance usually fairly firm but by changing from a steady pace to a pace as hard as you can push. Isolations are performed standing but with your bottom pushed back and low above the saddle. You must have a fairly firm resistance at least applied to your bike to prevent injury. Your abs puled in very tight to stabilise your torso whilst your legs are taking the pressure and doing all the work. This is hard and you will feel the burn as you are not able to use your body weight to turn the pedals.
What I am hoping to achieve from this is for Spin class participants to understand that they will only continue to improve their fitness, stamina and endurance by constantly and consistently pushing themselves to their maximum throughout the entire class and every class they attend. The fitter you become and the stronger your legs become the harder you will inevitably be able to push yourselves. For those participants that are looking to improve their fitness, this may come slightly easier than to those that want to lose weight and burn calories. But, just remember no one that is trying to lose weight ever found it easy and anything worth doing is worth doing properly.
Enjoy your future Spin Classes!