Spinning classes – normality?

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  • Spinning classes – normality?
  • Premier Icon lerk

    Just back from my first attempt at a spinning class (because I’ve done my share of rule 9 so far this week!) utterly drained…
    I took my spds and shorts and set the bike up as I would a road bike, warming up I wound on the resistance until the point where I could feel the brake contacting the flywheel then another turn, this allowed me to spin at around 80rpm with a soft pedal just to get the legs moving. More than soft pedalling allowed the flywheel to run away.

    As the class started I turned back the resistance to the point of contact not knowing how far the instructor would push the class (figuring I could always turn it up more later)

    After around a minute of seated spinning with initial resistance, we were instructed to turn on one whole turn of resistance, after another minute another full turn. The next minute was spent in ‘semi seated’ position, which given my setup was akin to a sprint on the drops – not something that I’m unable to do on the road, but with little resistance the position was more like holding a stress position. Then we were instructed to move into a ‘running’ position, basically standing upright, all I could do was to move my hands onto the tops and straighten my arms out.

    The class continued along the lines of 50% semi seated with 25% each of seated and running, adding a full turn of resistance every third minute, even when most of the class were virtually stalling even when standing on the pedals… I however stuck to seated and just used the instructions as a timer for my own intervals whilst keeping to a minimum cadence of 60rpmish.

    By the end of the class I was absolutely soaking to the point where I could actually wring out my towel and had a good puddle under the bike.

    Have I got the wrong end of the stick regarding ‘spinning’? the name sort of suggests high cadence workout and maybe a short sprint or three. I really wasn’t expecting to on sit down for 10 minutes of a 45 minute class and be expected to run as strength training.

    Or have I just found a dud class?


    No that sounds about right to me, its just a sufferfest really. That said dont feel pressured to turn up the resistance as instructed, just do what you feel. Most spinning class instructors get a bit over excited, but are unlikely to wait with you in A+E while you get your consciousness back after one of their sessions 🙂

    Premier Icon firestarter

    My classes are like that. 40 mins and I’m wrecked

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Spinning and the like are devised by people who don’t actually ride bikes. It’s an exercise class that uses something that looks like a bike nothing more.


    Some of the guys that run the spin classes at my gym ride bikes so I find their classes are generally more suited to folk that ride bikes also…

    I really find standing sprints pedalling like a loon quite difficult..

    At least half of the classes I go on probably aren’t pushing themselves to the limit, the instructors know this and the “full turn up” is usually aimed at them to get them to try harder..

    It takes a few weeks to get the resistance levels right and unfortunately they’ll probably vary a bit from bike to bike. The instructor will probably follow a fairly well rehearsed pattern so once you’ve done the class a few times you’ll know that they’ll do 6 increases for a given set and you can gauge your resistance accordingly. I used to keep mine quite high most of the time but only do half turns instead of full ones. Just takes getting used to.

    Your description of the class sounds similar to one of the classes I used to do. Where I used to go they did lots of classes with freelance instructors and each did the class a bit different. One class was much like you describe, another was more high cadence spinning focusing very much on sticking to a given leg speed and very much for the regular cyclists the third was all about short interval sprints. It meant that you could do 3 or 4 classes a week without too much repetition.

    It all comes down to the instructor, try different classes ’till you find one you like.


    Yep, it’s a beasting. Does take some getting used to – things like sprinting while out of the saddle feels wrong to begin with. My real bike fitness had improved significantly since I’ve started spinning.

    In our class you set your cadence in time to the music and the resistance to suit the cadence – obviously the highest resistance you can while maintaining the cadence.


    One of my riding buddies is a spin instructor.

    I’ve only managed to break him once. On a trip to Iceland he ended up sprawled out on the side of the road refusing to pedal one more stroke after about 20km of constant uphill into the wind grind to the trail head….

    … in fairness it’s only because I have a higher cycling while hungover tolerance than him, Reykjavik is quite a night out 😉

    Premier Icon njee20

    How do you sprint in the saddle?!

    IMO spinning classes vary – some are decent cycling specific sessions, others are exercise classes using bike like things – instructors getting you doing press ups on the bars and what not. Very odd.

    If possible I’d try a different instructor, see how they run their class.

    I always found I was an absolute dripping, grunting mess by the end, whilst everyone else was looking on with a slight sheen and a solitary bead of sweat on their head!

    Rob Hilton

    its just a sufferfest really

    If you enjoy spinning you’re doing it wrong. :mrgreen:

    I’d agree with all of the above, and add that I find it quite like singlespeeding – you’re never in quite the right gear and you have to really push yourself to get anything out of it.


    Njee…sprinting in the saddle….(sorry can’t embed)

    Omar Little

    Spin classes are so dependent on who the instructor is.

    Some of them will tailor the class directly to cycling and those end up like a group cycling interval session – whereas some will have you doing pressups on the bars and back pedalling and all sorts of nonsense.


    depends on the person running the class…

    I do two or three classes a week & my on-bike performance has improved significantly since I started at easter

    45 min sessions, first couple of minutes are generally a warm up, resistance increasing but keeping the cadence in time with the music (as much as you can). Then it varies from “standing” climb, “seated” climb (both with resistance increasing as the song goes on); “sprints” which can be seated or standing; “hover” or “squats” and any mix of the above.
    Over a 45 minute session my HRM shows an average HR of around 160, max around 180-185.


    Yep, spin classes are insane. Not unusual to have a puddle on the floor.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    By the end of the class I was absolutely soaking

    I find that any amount of effort on the turbo trainer has this effect on me. I had to buy a large industrial workshop type fan to keep me cool and even then I was sweating buckets. Doing similar effort in a gym with 20 other people would have me drenched I’m sure.

    Premier Icon JoeG

    Which Rule 9?

    Velominati Rule #9 If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period


    Urbandictionary Rule 9 Always carry a knife

    Rob Hilton

    My favourite part of spinning classes is when the instructor tells you to use the aero-bars to make yourself aerodynamic :mrgreen:

    Ignoring the instructor and making up your own routine as you go along is also fun

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