I spent 3 years fighting the idea of taking a spin/cycle/RPM class. I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of being on an uncomfortable seat, increasing the pain (I mean, “resistance”), and standing up and sitting over and over again for an hour. Next to other sweaty people.
Why? Why would I do this?!
Then I moved to Florida, and discovered I hate humid heat. That I was going to have to suck it up from time to time and got into indoor cycling. It quickly became a favorite class of mine to instruct for multiple reasons, and I firmly believe it makes for better athletes.
Why? Let us count the ways!
1. It’s great for any kind of training day
YES, that includes rest day. Rest days are best as “active recovery” and a spin class can be just that. Leave the resistance off, and let the legs spin on your base resistance. It’ll feel great on tired or sore legs, help kick out the lactic acid, and make you stay focused on your active lifestyle.
2. It’s about YOU, but you’ll become a family
All my years of instructing, and my cycle classes are something special. The mindset and
community it brings is unlike any other group fitness class.
It never fails that there becomes a set crew of die-hards in each particular time slot. If you’re new, they’ll welcome you, instantly learn your name (and never forget it), and genuinely hope you come back. If you are a regular and miss a day, that family will hold you accountable, most likely via jest.
3. It’s for everyone. Really.
Because of its self-controlled and low-impact ways, it can be the most diverse class of participants. I’ve had a 90-year-old woman in a class (she didn’t get out of the seat for climbing and gets resistance low), several people that were also undergoing chemo and were particular about their heart rates to make sure it stayed within certain zones. I’ve known instructors and participants that instructed up to the day they gave birth, worked through injuries, and had broken limbs in casts (probably should weight it out if it’s a foot cast, though). Not every fitness class is for everyone; but cycle is.
4. Building Stronger Hamstrings
LISTEN UP, WOMEN!
Triathletes and Runners have a tendency to be imbalanced in their hamstring / quadriceps muscles, with much stronger quads. Cycle class allows you to focus on the “pull” movement in a more controlled environment than a road or trail. This means you can give the quads a bit of a break while you work on building up that hamstring strength. Women over men, generally have a bigger imbalance to work on. An imbalance here can cause problems like pulled groins. Even out!
5. Focus on Habits
Running and cycling are easy sports to lose technique in as we tire. Having an instructor to constantly remind you to FIX YOUR FORM (hopefully with proper coaching and cuing) in a classroom will translate into you being better about those form slips on the road/trail. You might even learn some proper form aspects you didn’t know before.
HAVE I CONVINCED YOU?!
“But there are so many TYPES of classes, PPA! RPM, spin, spinning, cycle, wegofastonwheelsomuchwow, etc. What class should I look for?”
I’m so glad you asked. They can GREATLY vary in style depending on the instructor and brand name. Look out for my next cycle post about the pros and cons of different indoor cycling classes!