Everything You Need To Know About Spin Bike

What Is A Spin Bike? Everything You Need To Know

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Billy Hughes
August 25, 2021
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If you love riding a bike, you might wonder if spin biking is for you.

A spin bike is a type of stationary bike that you’ll find in gyms. It offers a full body workout and can strengthen your body, particularly your thighs, abs, shoulders, calves, and hips. 

How is a spin bike different from an exercise bike? A spin bike mimics the cycling position of a road bike and has more seat height and handlebar adjustments than an exercise bike. 

Is a spin bike worthy of purchasing? Should you start taking those spinning classes?

Read our guide on spin bikes before you make a decision. 

How Is A Spin Bike Built? 

A spin bike is designed to hold up the rider’s weight.

These bikes are made of strong steel so that they can handle pressure put on them as a result of the rider’s body position changing during a workout. A spin bike has a seat that’s usually smaller than what you’ll find on a regular bike.

The fast cycling motion you experience on a spin bike occurs as a result of specially-designed wheels and the bike’s durable construction. A spin bike has one wheel that’s connected to a weighted flywheel, which has pedals attached to it.

You can adjust the tension on the wheel via a knob located in front of the seat on the frame or in the middle of the handlebar. You’ll notice that the bike’s pedals also have straps to ensure the rider’s feet will remain securely in place.

When using a spin bike, you won’t always remain on the seat. This is why, if you’ve ever attended a spinning class, your instructor will tell you to stand up and cycle for a certain amount of time, and alternate from crouching above the seat to standing, and vice versa. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Spin Bikes? 

benefits and drawbacks

Now that we’ve looked at how spin bikes are built and how to use them, let’s explore their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • You can have an intense workout as soon as you jump onto the spin bike.
  • When you’re riding a bike outdoors, you have to get used to it and be aware of your surroundings, but on a spin bike you don’t have to worry about any of that. You can ride fast and hard with less injury risk, such as falling off the bike.
  • You work out large muscles in your body, especially in your lower body, when using a spin bike. These include the quadriceps and gluteus maximus.
  • You’ll be using a lot of energy when spinning – you can burn around 600 calories or more per hour! That’s why using a spin bike is considered to be one of the best cardio workouts. 
  • Experts have said that what’s so beneficial about spin bikes is that they offer you all the intensity of climbing stairs or using a treadmill without the impact on your joints. 
  • When you think of spin class, chances are you think of strenuous, fast-paced workouts. But spinning is low-impact exercise, which makes it useful for people who are recovering from injuries or getting on a bike for the first time. You can easily adjust the bike’s resistance and go at your own pace.

Cons

  • You won’t get as much of an upper-body workout when you spin, even though your core and upper back will be engaged while you pedal. 
  • Although spinning can be more practical than riding a bike outdoors, it can become a bit repetitive and boring. This could be problematic for you if you’re the type of person who wants to make your workouts different from time to time.
  • You won’t get much strength training. Although spinning will ensure you get a full-body workout if you stand and sit while cycling, it won’t give you much in terms of strength training. So, you’ll have to add some of that to your regular workouts to balance your routine and ensure that your upper body gets developed at the same pace as your lower body. 
  • You can get injured if you use improper form. If you don’t take the time to use the correct form when cycling on a spin bike, this can result in muscle imbalances and possible injury. This is commonly seen in cyclists who ride too hard and fast right away. 
  • You can’t do it every day of the week. Taking spin classes every day is too intense, even if you’re fit. It’s bad for you to spin five to seven days a week or take back-to-back spinning classes. This is because of the strain it puts on your body from head to toe which can result in injuries. 

How Much Weight Can You Lose By Using A Spin Bike? 

overweight man exercising

If you want to lose weight, spinning can be a fantastic workout to help you shed the pounds.

Since you can burn around 400 to 600 calories per spin class, if you choose to spin three times a week, you can burn up to 1,800 calories.

Now, one pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, so you will have to do spinning six times to be able to burn that amount of calories and knock off one pound of fat from your body.

If you take three spinning classes per week, that means you’d have to do two weeks of spinning to reach that goal. 

Spinning Mistakes To Avoid 

If you want to lose weight and get fitter by spinning, you have to ensure that you don’t make some common mistakes. These include the following. 

You don’t pace yourself

dont push yourself too hard

While you might be raring to go, it’s never a good idea to push yourself too hard from the start of your spin session. This is because by the time you reach halfway into the session, you won’t have enough energy to complete the rest of it.

Your shoes aren’t clipped in

Cycling shoes allow you to keep your feet directly connected to the bike’s pedals so you feel stable and can pick up the pace on your bike without worrying about your stability or form.

You’re not using the right form

When your shoes are clipped in, you should take a moment to ensure your cycling form is correct. Your feet must remain flat – don’t point your toes down as this will put strain on your lower back.

Your bike seat is set too low

Have you ever used a spin bike only to find that your hips and knees felt sore? This is probably as a result of your bike seat being too low.

Therefore, you have to ensure you take a few moments to set the seat at the right height for your body. When standing next to the bike, make sure the seat reaches your hip bone.

Test that the seat is correct by sitting on the bike and ensuring that you can reach the bottom of the pedal stroke with a flat foot and slightly bent knee.

Your bike handlebars are at the wrong height

bike handlebars are at the wrong height

It’s not just your spin bike seat that has to be adjusted to ensure you can use the bike comfortably and prevent aches and pains, but also your handlebars.

If they’re set lower than your seat height, this will put lots of pressure on your groin, shoulders, and lower back. Make sure that they feel comfortable so that you don’t have to extend your arms too much to reach them, and that you don’t have to bend your elbows too much when cycling.

Your resistance is too low or high

If you’re on a spin bike in a spin class, you will have an instructor guiding you through the workout so that you know when to crank up and lower the bike’s resistance.

If you’re spinning solo at home, you need to pay attention to the bike’s resistance so that you don’t set it too high or too low. If you use a resistance that’s too low, this will increase the speed of your cadence, which can hurt your joints.

If you find that your cycling feels too loose or you’re bouncing in the bike saddle, those are signs that you need to increase the resistance a bit.

By comparison, you’ll know that your bike’s resistance is too high if you’re feeling too breathless while cycling or it feels impossible to cycle – while spin class is hard, it shouldn’t be that hard! 

Regular Stationary Bike Vs Spin Bike: What Are The Differences? 

Now that we’ve looked at how a spin bike works, as well as its pros and cons, we should see how it differs from other stationary exercise bikes.

This will give you more clarity on spin bikes and if they’re worth purchasing for your fitness needs. There are various types of stationary bikes on the market, so let’s compare spin bikes with upright bikes and recumbent bikes.

Spin Bike Vs Upright Bike

upright bike

An upright bike, as its name suggests, allows you to remain in an upright position when pedaling. This is quite different from the slightly hunched position you’ll use on a spin bike.

Spin bikes require you to put in more effort during your cycling session as compared to an upright bike. This is mainly as a result of their flywheel. A spin bike has a heavier flywheel than one you’ll find on an upright bike.

It requires you to use more effort to turn the pedals, which gives your legs more of a workout. And, when you stop cycling, the pedals will continue moving in a similar way to those of a road bike.

On an upright bike, the flywheel is lighter so you can stop the pedals immediately when you want to stop cycling.

An upright bike has something major going for it: it’s more comfortable. This is as a result of its upright riding position as well as how it has a larger seat. By comparison, a spin bike has a narrower and less comfortable seat.

Which stationary bike is best for you? You should choose a spin bike if you want a harder, more vigorous workout and if you want to use a bike that’s similar in design to your road bike. On the other hand, an upright bike is a good choice for you if you’d rather focus on building endurance instead of having a faster and more vigorous workout.

Spin Bike Vs Recumbent Bike

exercise on recumbent bike

There’s also a recumbent bike to consider. This stationary bike is designed quite differently from a spin bike because it enables you to remain in a reclined position during your cycling session. This makes using a recumbent bike an excellent low-impact exercise as it’s very gentle on the joints.

A spin bike enables you to use fast speed and it’s ideal for HIIT as you’ll be able to make use of explosive bursts of cycling. While you can do that on a recumbent bike, you won’t be able to do it as vigorously.

On a spin bike, you can also cycle while standing, which adds variety to your workout and gives you a tougher cycling session. You can’t do this on a recumbent bike as you’re limited to staying in a seated position, which can become a bit boring after a while.

When it comes to the level of comfort you can expect when using both types of bikes, you’ll get the most comfort from a recumbent bike. This is because it has a larger seat and a backrest.

Which stationary bike is best for you? If you want to get a more intense workout or you cycle regularly and want more variety in your exercise routine, a spin bike is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you want low-impact exercise, such as because you’re recovering from a recent injury, a recumbent bike will ensure a gentler, more comfortable experience while still working out your lower body. 

Spin Bike Vs Air Bike

Spin Bike Vs Air Bike

An air bike is a type of stationary bike that has a fan close to its pedals. This adds resistance to your cycling session while you pedal.

When using an air bike, you’ll find that the harder you pedal, the more resistance will be produced. This is why an air bike is considered to be really tough – some people even refer to it as a misery machine.

On an air bike, the handlebars move so that you can work out your arms and upper-body muscles more than what you’ll achieve on a regular exercise bike. When you pull the handlebars faster, you will be able to increase the speed of your workout.

Which stationary bike is best for you? While both spin and air bikes can give you a good workout and they enable you to incorporate HIIT into your exercise routine, if you want more of an upper-body workout you should choose an air bike. It’s a fantastic bike for full-body workouts.

On the other hand, if you want to mainly focus on your lower body or get a workout without it feeling too intense, a spin bike is a good choice. 

How To Make The Most Of Your Spin Bike Workout

spinning group training

When using a spin bike, you should follow some important tips and tricks to help you get the most benefits from it, whether your goal is to become fitter or lose weight.

Here are some tips to bear in mind the next time you get on your bike.

  • Make sure you warm up. You shouldn’t skip your warm-up session before spinning. This will help you to warm up your muscles so that they’re flexible and ready for the intense cycling workout. It also prevents injury.
  • Stay hydrated. You lose a lot of water during a vigorous spin session, so make sure you drink water before, during, and after your workout to replenish your body’s fluids.
  • Eat carbs before you go. It’s always good to eat a snack that’s got lots of carbs and that’s moderate in protein content before your spin session. Eat this about an hour before your next cycling workout. The carbs will give you energy you need for the intense workout, while the protein will help your body recover afterwards.
  • Use the right form. When you cycle, a good tip is to think of the four main elements of a good pedal stroke: forward, down, back, and up. 
  • Tighten your glutes. When you lift your bottom off the bike saddle during a standing workout, make sure you tighten your muscles. This will give your body more of a workout.
  • Start slowly. Spinning can feel overwhelming if you’re just starting out with it, so you don’t want to rush into it and then leave your spin bike to collect dust in your home because you can’t bear the thought of working out so intensely on it. To help you stay motivated, you should start slowly, such as by committing to 10 or 15 minutes on the bike three times per week. Increase the duration of your exercise as it becomes more comfortable. When you feel good about the workout, you’ll be more likely to want to do it again.
  • Choose the best location for your spin bike. You should ensure that your spin bike is in an area of the home that’s clean, uncluttered, filled with natural light, and motivates you to want to exercise. Your surroundings will influence you, either positively or negatively, so make sure that they do the former! This will make your home workouts so much better. 

Get Your Hands On Spinning Essentials 

spin bike essentials

You’ve got your spin bike, but what other items do you need to make spinning a success? Whether you’re attending spin classes or spinning at home, here are important essentials.

  • Cycling shorts. Make sure you’re equipped with cycling shorts that are made of breathable, moisture-wicking material so that you stay dry and comfortable.
  • Cycling shoes. You will need spin shoes that clip into the pedals so that your feet remain secure during the session.
  • Gloves. Your hands will be gripping the handlebars, which can lead to pain and even nerve compression, causing numbness. Keep all that at bay by investing in spin gloves that are padded for increased comfort.
  • Fan. You’re going to get hot during a spin cycling session, so make sure you invest in a fan you can wrap around the bike’s handlebars to keep you cool.
  • Bike mat. To prevent your spin bike from moving around while you cycle, invest in a bike mat that will keep it securely in place while also protecting your floors at home.

Related Questions 

Does spinning help to reduce belly fat?

Since it helps you torch a large number of calories, spin cycling can lead to overall weight loss, including weight on your belly.

How long will it take you to see results from spinning regularly?

In two or three weeks, you’ll start to see results. This can take the form of increased energy, more strength in your lower-body muscles, and loss of weight. 

Conclusion

What is a spin bike? If you want to start cycling at home, you will need to consider what type of bike to purchase.

In this article, we’ve provided you with lots of information about spin bikes, their pros and cons, and how they compare to other types of stationary bikes.

Sources: 

Billy Hughes

Billy Hughes is a fitness trainer based out of New York. She has registered success in training clients at multiple fitness centers and thus aims to establish her module relevant to the post-pandemic era. Her space, Cerevellum.com, is an attempt towards encouraging and educating more people on the scope of indoor fitness. She believes the power of fitness can transform attitude, personality, and way of living. She also finds it rewarding to help people achieve their goals and make their lives better.