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Spin Class- Great way to improve fitness

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Spin Class- Great way to improve fitness

Old 05-09-19, 08:52 PM
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tobey
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Spin Class- Great way to improve fitness

I thought I would alter my training over the winter an spring months so I started taking spin classes 1-2 per week. For an hour you never stop pedaling and my cadence was higher then when I ride outdoors or riding in doors on my training bike. Much to my surprise two things have happened. First, since spinning includes a significant amount standing (60-80%) I've found I can stand when riding outdoors far longer then I could before. Great for steep hills or just to use some different muscles and rest others. Second, I have been able to maintain a high cadence much longer then before. What's great is other riders who I ride with have noticed how much stronger I am then last season. Also noticed a significant increase in the percentage of male riders taking spinning classes at my gym. On average about 40% now.

So now that I'm riding outdoors I've decided to still take an occasional spin class during the riding season.
Interested in other riders experience with spin classes. (by the way I'm 67 and ride about 2,500 miles/yr).

Last edited by tobey; 05-09-19 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 05-12-19, 12:31 AM
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No spin classes. I'd consider a spin class if the bikes included full data -- power, heart rate, etc. -- and was run by an experienced cycling trainer. Unfortunately the only such place near me closed down shop last year. All the other spin classes I've checked into are more oriented toward generalized fitness with way too much sugary cheerleader stuff from trainers.

But I'm a pretty diligent self-starter with exercise. I did begin using a Cycleops trainer last summer after a car hit me, breaking and dislocating my shoulder. Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Between the two I did very little outdoor cycling for about half of 2018. But using the indoor trainer and following along with some training videos helped me set some patterns for training that I still follow.

But I grew bored with training videos and switched to binge watching TV series. I set my phone app to use a timer to notify me of timing for interval training, mixing seated and standing efforts.

It kept my fitness up remarkably well. Probably within 75-85% of my personal best just before the injury and illness. By the time I resumed cycling outdoors the main challenge was regaining my balance, bike handling, and aero position. I'd been accustomed to sitting up on the indoor trainer, so it took awhile to get accustomed to the drops again. But the spin training helped improve my short duration high cadence in real road cycling, so I feel more confident up to 130 rpm for 15-30 second bursts. Before using the trainer I tended to bounce in the saddle too much at high cadence.

And I'm back in physical therapy for the shoulder, neck and back issues. It's helping.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:02 AM
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I've done a spin class two times. Both times I got really annoyed with all of the random standing for zero apparent reason, so I just stopped following what the instructor said and just spun. And then never went back.

I'm sure some are better than others. The two I went to were more akin to spastic aerobics classes than actual cycling, though.
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Old 05-12-19, 03:52 PM
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I've never done spin class but do use a spin bike in the winter to work on smoothing out and increasing my cadence.
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Old 05-13-19, 12:31 PM
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Over the years, I have done a few classes. It seems like the experience is a function of expectations going in and the instructor. I have found that many instructors treat the spin bike as an exercise vehicle versus a bicycle and try to exercise all the muscles including arms and etc. I find the standing to be too much.

For me, a lot depends on the spin bike. I really like the Stages spin bike that has a power meter and the saddle is good and the bike adjustable such that I can get a pretty close fit to my road bike. At our gym, we have Stages bikes on the gym floor and I use those for warmup and recovery.

The spin class world in San Diego is very solid. We have a lot of spin studios and the larger gyms offer classes and the classes are usually full with a reservation required.

A number of years ago, I did the aerobic step classes. I thought those were fun and a great workout but had nothing to do with cycling. If I were not doing competitive cycling, I would consider a spin class at our gym on the Stages or a combination step / strength class.

It’s all good.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:37 PM
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My wife and I did spin classes for a few years with excellent instructors: a female TT specialist and a Cat 1 trackie of some sort. He could hit 200 no problem. We enjoyed the classes very much, made friends with other attendees, but eventually decided that we need to do our indoor bike training at home so we could periodize our workouts and do exactly what we needed to do.

The other minor issue with spin bikes is that they are fixed gear bikes and thus are much too easy to pedal. One's pedal stroke gets all weird and doesn't translate well to a road bike.
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Old 05-22-19, 03:46 AM
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I did spin classes for several years. A friend and former local racer was the instructor. He geared everything to actual road riding as much as possible. Great music too. I found that it helped to keep my spin and cardio over the winter. OTOH, it's not cycling on the road and I was always surprised to find that once back on the road it was still arduous to get into shape. Things like pushing the air and actual climbs.
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Old 05-22-19, 07:48 AM
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It's all in what you put into it.

If you're smart about it, you can get in a legit session. I think too many people go too moderate the entire time instead of meting out some pain and rest.

If it's go time, make yourself want to chew bar tape to cope with the pain. If it's recover time, keep the cadence up and back the resistance off.

There wasn't a meter on the thing, but based on RPE I'd guess the drop-in I did on a business trip I got in probably 12min of 1 min each hits at 400w+. It was a class where it was about 1 minute efforts a few times during a song. So, maybe two one minute hits per song and two rests. Then songs for rest between "sets".

I treated it as doing 1min/1min VO2 efforts.

I got something out of it.
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Old 05-23-19, 08:27 AM
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I used to stand for big minutes during the class, like 5 minute repeats. It very much improved by ability to do long pulls up hills and dance on the pedals, just like....

If the spin instructor is big on cycling these classes can be a hoot. If they are aerobic instructors, not so much.
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