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How to get the most of spin class?(15 posts)

How to get the most of spin class?Psychler
Feb 6, 2003 12:03 PM
I have Johnny G spin class offered 2x week at my local gym. Regular spin instructors...nothing fancy. Just an opportunity to ride for 50 minutes to loud music rather than in the gym itself. What can I do to get the most of these classes? I have a HR monitor. I would like to use this as a way to help set me up for the spring...
pick the bike that faces the biggest cleavage? (sorry couldn't resist!!)lonefrontranger
Feb 6, 2003 12:11 PM
Spin classes can be incredibly intense. Depending on what you want or need to do, this can be a good or bad thing for your training.

If you have a plan, talk to the instructor and see if he'll let you hide in back and stick to your plan. Otherwise get ready to suffer like a dog, at which point my reference to finding something scenic to look at to take your mind off the pain may not be such a bad idea. If you do go at it hard and do lots of sprints and intensity, you should plan to take it easy the day after.

I always find the position on the Spin bikes (I'm too short to get the bars low enough, saddle too wide) kills me if I get too ambitious, at which point I'm pretty useless for a couple days afterward.
Wrong kind of clevage is visible from the back of the class (nm)joekm
Feb 6, 2003 12:18 PM
whoa! party foul! nmJS Haiku Shop
Feb 6, 2003 12:40 PM
Cleavage of the INSTRUCTOR guys! (nm)PaulCL
Feb 6, 2003 12:44 PM
hmm, must depend on studio setup...lonefrontranger
Feb 6, 2003 2:59 PM
The Spinning studio I'm using is kind of long and skinny like a bowling alley. The instructor and one row of bikes are along one wall, with two rows facing them. So there's always SOMETHING to look at for everyone.

Of course, when the weather's bad in Boulder, we get quite a few serious roadies in Spin class, and I've been known to sit behind the resident Cat I boy on purpose, so I'm guessing my overall concept of scenic doesn't quite match the demographic here...
that's my main criteria (cleavage)tarwheel
Feb 6, 2003 12:52 PM
Ditto on what LFR said. The spin classes I attend are like doing intervals for an hour. That's fine if you didn't ride 60 miles the day before (or plan to ride long or hard the day after), but you need to ignore the instructor if the class conflicts with your training plan. I've made the mistake of going hard at a Friday evening spin class and having dead legs the next day for a fast group ride. After a while, you become adept at "faking it," that is, pretending to turn the tension knob while in reality keeping a fairly easy spin going.
you don't have to fake itColnagoFE
Feb 6, 2003 2:26 PM
you can always just tell the instructor you need to do your own thing. at REAL Spin clubs they have different "Energy Zone" classes that are offered that can be Intervals, Recovery, Endurance, Strength (Hills), in other words you don't go to a "Race Day" class when you have a big ride the next day.
WTF you mean "REAL" spin classes?theBreeze
Feb 6, 2003 4:37 PM
Oh Man, another Jonny G snob. Yeah we all know he "invented" Spinning (trademarked), blah, blah blah. Don't get me wrong, my original training was Jonny G, and it was a good start, but there are other equally good programs out there.

Look, I would LOVE to offer specific format focus classes scheduled at different times all during the week. My reality is that I run the indoor cycling program at a local YMCA. We have neither the number of qualified instructors nor the ridership that would make it possible to run three classes a week in each energy zone. My experience is that most people have a specific class time that fits into their schedule. No one wants to always be doing a race classe, or strength class, all the time. I ask and expect my instructors to mix it up. Sometimes it's an all terrain class, sometimes it's more focused to endurance, strength, interval, cadence and so on. I usually tell my classes what I have planned for the coming week, and try to rotate through the different formats regularly. Again my reality is that only about 50% of my participants are "real" (as in outdoor) cyclists. The rest are just average citizens looking for a decent workout. The fact that with cycling I can give them something more organized and focused that a typical aerobics class is an added benfit for them.
just ride your rideColnagoFE
Feb 6, 2003 12:31 PM
whatever you were planning to do down in the gym, just do it there. it might be common coutesy to tell the instructor so they don't think you are just being rude.
re: How to get the most of spin class?PEDDLEFOOT
Feb 6, 2003 12:44 PM
Stay disciplined to your HR monitor and try not to get caught with the rest of the class if it's going to change your target HR zone.If you want to stay in an endurance zone and keep your HR at 65-75% then be disciplined enough to keep it there.If you want to do a little more intense ride then go ahead and put a little more effort into it.Most Spinning programs are organized into different Energy Zones so that you can choose which ride you want to do.If yours isn't and all they offer are All Terrain rides then let the instructor know before class that you want to keep your HR at a certain percentage that ride.A good instructor will understand.They'll probably even be happy that you are concerned where your HR is.Alot of my students aren't very concerned with training in different an instructor it is always nice to have students who are concerned about there training objectives.For now I would keep the intensity and HR low and just try to keep a good endurance base until the weather gets better.Then starting adding some harder intensity to your program.Try to keep your HR around 75% for most of the rides.
riding your ride vs. instructor ledtheBreeze
Feb 6, 2003 1:01 PM
I agree with most of the previous two replies. As an instructor I have mixed feelings about someone coming into one of my classes and "doing their own thing." It's not that I think I can train them "better." If someone has experience with training zones, uses a HR monitor and has a plan, that's great, but what effect does it have on the rest of my class? If the class is large, then yeah, you can "hide" in the back and ride your ride. But mine are small because we only have ten bikes. You may stand out if you are riding noticably harder or easier than the rest of the class. If you are perceived as a "buff" guy, then others in the class may also want to do your thing. In addition, you are taking up a bike that someone who wants or needs the instructor's guidance could have used. Is this fair?

This is a different issue than someone adjusting the difficulty of a drill to their own abilites. That we highly encourage. One real strength of indoor cycling is that people from a wide range of fitness levels can get a good workout in the same class.

Talk to the instructor and use your own good judgement.
Feb 6, 2003 1:49 PM
Why go to an instructor-led class if you're not going to follow the lead of the instructor?

I enjoy 'spin' and have been blessed to have classes that were taught by cyclist for cyclist that happened to fit in well with my training plan. However, when I needed to do something other than what the class offered, I did it on my own at home. The positives of spin, to me, are the motivation of the instrutor, the energy of the class and the intensity. I don't see any benefits to just sitting in and spinning, though.
re: How to get the most of spin class?MrDan
Feb 6, 2003 3:32 PM
Keep up with the instructor- it's their domain, but they all encourage you to vary the tension according to your own needs. I've been taking spin classes twice a week since last July. I'm a fast-twitch trying like hell to switch over to slow twitch for sprint tri's, ans better endurance rides. I've finally found that I can only do this once a week as my interval zone3/4 workout, as twice a week has become detrimental. We all kid each other (when we have the breath) As stated in the other replies work it into your training plan your way. Just be sure to do the jumps and keep time with the class. Have Fun! (I always do!)
As a spin class instructor...PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Feb 6, 2003 5:25 PM
Most of the time people are just coming to get a kick ass workout and stay in shape. Then this is coupled with 2 types of instructors:
1) ones coming from an aerobics background taking heavily from this with jumps and things you'd never do on a ride.
2) coming from a cycling background and putting together a very hard workout based on hillclimbs, sprints,etc.
So the result is a very very hard workout that phsyiologically is far better than doing nothing but that your own program is better than. But if you look around you can find spin class instructors that race and design their programs accordingly with their students both knowing and unknowing. So seriously talk to instructors and ask how they design their classes. I definitely wouldn't be offended by this. Or worst case scenario you could just sit in the back and do your own thing.