10 PT-Approved Ways To Maximise Your Next Spin Class
10 PT-Approved Ways To Maximise Your Next Spin Class

10 PT-Approved Ways To Maximise Your Next Spin Class

Technique, posture and the right kit can all affect the efficacy of a workout – no more so than in a spin class. We went to three of London’s leading instructors to find out how to get all three right.
By Tor West

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Set Your Saddle At Hip Height

“Poor bike setup is the start of a poor workout. If you set your saddle height too low, you won’t use the full range of motion and power in your legs, which can lead to strain in the knee tendons. As a general rule, your saddle should be around the height of your hipbone – this is the bone that protrudes forward at the top of your leg. However, this isn’t a perfect science, and should be checked once you are in the saddle. As your foot hits the six o’clock position when you turn your legs, the angle of your knee bend should be 25°-35°. If you’re unsure, get someone in the gym or studio to check this for you. Search for ‘The Holmes Method’ on YouTube for a clearer picture.” – Duncan Leighton, head instructor & head of content at Apex Rides 

Keep It Light

“So many of us tend to grip the handlebars too tightly, which puts too much of our weight forward. There’s no perfect posture, but if you keep your shoulders and neck free of tension, you will grip less. Remember, tight gripping is wasted energy that could be used to move the pedals. Less pressure through the handlebars is also useful if you experience shoulder, elbow, wrist or neck discomfort when riding.” – Duncan 

Think About Your Back

“When it comes to perfecting your spinning form, avoid a rounded and hunched upper back. The simplest way to do this is to slide your shoulder blades down your back then imagine you’re squeezing an orange between your shoulder blades, opening through the front of the chest. When standing in the saddle, try to get your hips further back, hovering just slightly over the saddle. Core and glute engagement is key to ensure you feel strong and lifted, and aren’t sinking weight into your knees.” – Alana Murrin, co-head of ride at Psycle 

Go Heavier Than You Think

“A common mistake is to keep things light in terms of resistance. Remember, you’re in charge of the session and you have your own dial, which you shouldn’t be afraid to use. In fact, keeping the resistance low won’t always make things easier, as you need support from the pedals when standing and cycling at a lower speed. Listen to the instructor – they will provide a rough framework for the class at the beginning of a session so you can map things out in your head and know when to push hard, and when to pull back.” – Duncan 

Spinning provides a FULL-BODY, LOW-IMPACT, HIGH-INTENSITY cardiovascular workout, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Strike A Balance

“Moving your legs very quickly with very low resistance and heavy resistance with no speed are two sides of the same coin – they both have little value. Instead, think more about power output, which is a combination of the two. Having one without the other won’t increase your power. Your instructor will coach you on which element to favour per track or per session. If you think you’re solely a speed person or a strength person, try to shift your mindset – you’ll have a lot more fun if you practise becoming an all-rounder.” – Duncan 

Wear Cleats If You Can

“Any decent studio will use bikes that require cleats – an essential component of a solid spin class as they’ll prevent slipping and give you more power. Plus, wearing cleats means you’ll better be able to balance the push and pull effect with your legs, which will build strength evenly. A common misconception about spinning is that it bulks your legs but this isn’t the case when you’re wearing cleats.” – Alana 

Push Yourself

“A spin class should be challenging. Spinning provides a full-body, low-impact, high-intensity cardiovascular workout, so you get a lot of bang for your buck, and it is a very time efficient way to workout. Your heart will race, your legs will tire and you will get sweaty. A spin class is a challenging and carefully curated workout, designed to push you past your perceived limits. Don’t be afraid to push yourself.” – Alana 

Many people FEAR resistance, but when paired with PROPER form, it can work WONDERS for your abs.

Work Your Core

“Standing up tall when doing a standing climb and pulling your bellybutton in, rather than resting a ton of weight on the handlebars, will strengthen your deep transverse abdominals. Adding more resistance will strengthen the core in ways a sit-up cannot. Many people fear resistance, but when paired with proper form, it can work wonders for your abs.” – Marie Napier, co-head of ride at Psycle 

Fuel Your Body

“How you fuel your body for a spin class depends on the time of day. For example, if I’m doing an early morning session, I often just have a black coffee and then eat afterwards. If it’s a workout later in the day, I’ll eat at least two hours before. Your body needs fuel to work efficiently, but it may take you a few goes to work out what that fuel is and when to fill the tank. Don’t go for either extreme (eating nothing or eating everything) before your first couple of sessions as it won’t feel good.” – Duncan 

Don’t Forget To Stretch

“Taking five minutes post class to stretch will make the world of difference to how you feel the following day. If you do just one stretch, make it a glute medius stretch. Come off the bike and cross your foot over the opposite leg you are standing on and push your bum back into a mid-squat position. If you have more time, a hamstring stretch and a class quad stretch will also help. If you spend a lot of your day sitting at a desk, a chest stretch can also feel good and will counteract the forward position of sitting at a desk and at the bike.” – Duncan  

For more information, visit ApexRides.com & PsycleLondon.com

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