Spinning workouts are a gym staple because anyone can do them. All you need to know is how to ride a bike. And just because they’re easy to get the hang of doesn’t mean that they’re not a great workout. Did you know that the average spin class can burn between 400 to 600 calories? Not to mention, you can take what you learn in class and apply it to a stationary bike when your tight schedule doesn’t allow you to make it to class. Whether you’re pedaling on your own or with a group, here are some spinning workouts you need to get the results you want.
Warm-up: Prevent injury
Hold your horses! We know you want to get moving as soon as you hop in the saddle, but your body needs a few minutes to “wake up” to your workout. Spinning is an intense workout, so the best way to prevent injury is to start off slow. The best way to prepare for spin is to arrive to class early and start pedaling away at a very low resistance. Doing this allows your muscles to get familiar with the motion and gives you time to adjust your bike to the right height. Running to the gym straight from work? It’s okay if you don’t have a few minutes to loosen up. If you hop on your bike right as class begins, you’ll be able to warm up during the first track. Most spin classes start out slow to introduce new riders to the positions and techniques used during class.
Intervals: Build endurance
You already know that the secret to getting the best cardio workout is to include intervals. Kick it up a notch with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) during your spin workout. Intervals come in a variety of shapes and sizes during a spin class, playing with resistance and speed for the perfect full body workout. Sometimes intervals come in the form of climbing hills then racing down into the valley; others play with speed to maximize your endurance. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up. Each workout will get progressively easier. The best way to see improvement in your spinning is to practice at least once a week.
Hills: Strengthen muscles
We say hills, but these feel much more like mountains. Spinning is not only a fantastic, calorie-blasting cardio workout, but it’s also perfect for sculpting your lower body. Spinning workouts that include hills help tone your legs and glutes by slowing down the speed and upping the resistance. While you might not be pedaling like your life depends on it, your heart will be pounding as you slowly trek up the hill. Be sure to maintain proper form while you’re trekking up the mountain. Keep your abs tight, arms long, and don’t hunch over your handlebars.
Sprint: Improve cardio health
It’s time to sprint to the finish line! We like to end all of our spin classes with a little sprint workout. Sprints allow you to use up all of your remaining energy and up your heart rate before going into the cool down. This workout has just enough resistance to prevent you from bouncing around in your seat, and focusing solely on speed. While you may be tempted to watch your legs pump wildly to the beat, your best bet is to concentrate on the “road” in front of you. Tilting your head down to watch your feet prevents you from breathing properly, which will affect your performance. Also, don’t forget to breathe! We’re often guilty of focusing so hard on our feet that we forget to breathe.
Stretch: Decreases recovery time
While this may not be specific to spinning, don’t forget to spend a few minutes stretching after every workout. Your muscles just put in a lot of work and need a little TLC afterward. Stretching helps release the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles, allowing your muscles to recover quickly for your next workout. Not to mention, you’ll be a lot less sore tomorrow.