A Guide to Spinning Classes

A Spin Class is a cardiovascular, butt-kicking workout that takes us on a stationary but sweaty ride of your life.    In a spin class, remember it is your workout.  You control everything from your speed and resistance to your intensity level, so it can be as easy as you like or as challenging as you want it to be.  Its an ideal class for cyclists especially during the winter months when the daylight is short and the conditions are harsh outside.

What is Spinning?

Spinning is a specific format of indoor cycling, taught by only qualified instructors.  It is a cardio (aerobic) workout set to music lasting from 40 minutes to 60 minutes depending on whether it is a beginners class or more advanced class..

Whom it’s for:

Spinning is great for people who want a motivating workout that they can control at their own pace. Even if you’re not into choreography-based fitness classes, you can still enjoy Spinning because it involves neither rhythm nor complex moves. It’s low-impact, so it’s very suitable for people who want to balance out higher-impact exercises (like running) or for people who have some joint problems.  Because it is low impact, there is no loading of the joints so a fantastic workout if you are returning from injury or on a weight loss programme.

What to expect:

Try to think of your instructor as a guide—he or she should give you general guidelines about how much resistance to add, how fast to pedal, how hard you should be working, and when to do certain movements (like standing, sitting, sprinting, etc.). Using these cues as guidelines, it’s up to you to work out at your own level and pay attention to how you feel. You can recover, go slower, use less resistance, or vice versa depending on how hard you want to work. In a class format, everyone feels a bit of pressure to keep up. However, Spinning is non-competitive. Especially if you’re a beginner, remember that it will take a few weeks to build up your fitness level to be able to work hard for the whole class. It’s important to listen to your body and work at a lower intensity as you get the hang of it.

You can also expect to feel fatigue throughout your leg muscles when you’re newer to Spinning—even if you’re used to working out in general. But no matter what, don’t stop pedalling. At the very least, keep those legs moving slowly. Suddenly stopping any exercise has risks (like passing out and lightheadedness), so if you get tired, simply reduce your resistance and slow down to catch your breath.

You will also feel some saddle soreness from the seat, and that’s very normal. After coming to class regularly, that soreness will go away for most people. If it helps, stand up out of the seat a little bit when you need a break. You can also adjust your position in the saddle and take “posture breaks,” where you stop reaching forward to the handlebars to sit upright in your seat.

Alternatively, investing in a pair of cycle shorts or a padded gel seat will help keep you more comfortable during your ride.  Making sure your bike is set up correctly is also vital for remaining comfortable and injury free and a good certified instructor will be able to guide you through this.  If you are not sure, arrive a good 10 minutes before the class commences and the instructor will help you set up your bike to suit you.

What to wear:

Workout clothes (but no long/baggy pants, because those can get caught in the pedals/wheels) and flat-soled workout shoes are a must. If you have them  cycling shoes with cleats (that clip into the bike pedals) can make your workout more effective. But cycling shorts and shoes are not necessary, especially not for beginners.

What to bring:

At least one water bottle (trust me, you’ll need it!) and a towel for all that sweat.. If you have one, a heart rate monitor is an awesome fitness tool that instructors and students alike typically use to measure exercise intensity during spinning classes.  A heart rate monitor is not a must as often modern bikes will be equipped with this sort of information already built in but if you are the type of person who likes to record these stats, then a heart rate monitor is useful.  It can also tell you whether you are over working or under working at any given time.

Joining a spin class has many benefits as it allows you to continue training regardless of the weather or time of year.  Training with others is also great fun and can often push you further than if you always trained by yourself.  The music and the instructor are great motivators so the time goes quickly and is far less boring than sitting on a turbo trainer in a room by yourself.   A spin class helps you to burn plenty of calories and together with a healthy lifestyle will help you lose weight.


If you are a beginner to a spin class arrive early to get help with setting up on your bike to make your ride as comfortable and as safe as possible.

Let the instructor know beforehand of any illness or injury you may have so they can offer an easier ride.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after a class as you will sweat and dehydrate, so in order to get the best performance continue to drink throughout.

If you feel unwell, slow down, drop your resistance but do not come to a complete stop too soon.  Allow your heart rate to return to normal by just going slower.

If you unsure, speak to other class members they are always more than willing to share their experiences and expertise to make you feel welcome.