Expert-Approved Ways To Maximise Your Spin Class

Whether you’re a total pro or gearing up for your first ever spin class, there’s more to this endorphin-boosting workout than just burning calories. SL contributor Tor Cardona caught up with two of London’s hottest spin instructors for some insider tips on getting the most out of your session. Thank us later…

Think About Set-Up

“How you set up your bike is key to your workout and results. Your saddle should be around hip height. Once you’re on the bike, your knee should be over the ball of your foot with the pedal at 3 o’clock, and your other knee slightly bent with the pedal at 6 o’clock. Your handle bars should be level with your saddle, especially if you have any back issues. If your set-up is wrong, you won’t be targeting the right muscles.” – Hilary Rowland, Co-Founder of Boom Cycle

Drop The Comparison Game

“Comparison is the devil in a spin class. Remember: it could be your second class and the person next to you might have clocked up 500 sessions. Plus, the instructors might make speed work look easy but they’ve had months of training. Try to tune into yourself; see how your body is feeling and work with that. Trust me, you’ll always see better results this way.” – Marie Napier, Head of Ride at Psycle London

Engage Your Core

“It’s absolutely possible to strengthen your core through a spin class. Resistance is the way to work your abs – the trick is to constantly pull your belly button to your spine. This will also take the pressure off your lower back. Engaging your core does take practice, however, and remember to breathe. So many people instinctively hold their breath when contracting the core, which won’t do you any favours.” – Marie

Refuel In Good Time

“There’s no best way to fuel for a spin class, but we always advise riders to have a snack no later than 30 minutes before they ride, ideally two hours prior. If you need a snack after your class or know your next meal won’t be for a couple of hours, hit the shake bar – protein is the perfect post-ride refuel.” – Hilary

Chat To The Instructor

“One of the most common mistakes I see new riders making is running into the studio at the last minute. This is a huge mistake – not only will their bike set-up likely be wrong, but they’ll struggle to understand the ethos of the class. It’s not about keeping up with everyone, it’s about working out to your ability. If you’re a newbie and don’t have a chance to chat with your instructor before class, you’ll spend far too much time faffing with your bike instead of enjoying your workout.” – Hilary

Remember Your Knees

“So many people come up to me after class complaining that their knees hurt. Sound familiar? You may be sitting too low in your saddle. Lots of people feel more comfortable sat lower down, but you’ll struggle to get full leg rotation this way, putting unnecessary pressure on your knees. You should always have a slight bend in your knee.” – Marie

Keep it Light

“So many of us tend to grip the handlebars too tightly, which puts too much weight forward. If your weight is forward, you’re not utilising your glutes and hamstrings; you’re putting too much pressure on the quads, which can make them feel bulky and heavy. Instead, have your hands lightly on the handlebars, making a concerted effort to keep your weight back.” – Marie

Up The Resistance

“A well-rounded workout consists of both resistance and speed work. However, if you’re looking to see real results, focus on the resistance. Don’t be scared of the resistance dial – if you are struggling you can always dial back.” – Marie 

Don’t Skip The Stretch

“Always hang around for the cool-down, it’s just a few minutes and can make a huge difference to your results. Focus on your hip flexors, calves and hamstrings, but also think about your upper torso to counteract the position you’ve held on the bike. Stretches realistically need to be held for a minimum of two minutes each to have any kind of change. Stay calm, breathe and never force it.” – Hilary 

Nail The Foundations

“When your instructor gives you an option during the class, don’t feel you have to take it. More complicated drills we do at Psycle like the sitting and standing tracks take practice. Nail the foundations, then move on. That’s the key to progress.”

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