Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Spin? (and Barney Butter WINNER!)

Barney Butter Winner:
#15- Rookie on the Run
Sara- I hope this Barney Butter makes you feel better about running injuries :) Please e-mail me at with your address :)

What is Spinning?

Spinning is a class at the gym, in which participants use a stationary bike to get a 45-60 minute workout. Spinning is not simply an indoor bike ride. There are three positions in Spinning:

First Position- Participants sit in their saddle (bike seat) with hands on handle bars.

Second Position- Participants stand up and "run" on their bike. Hands should be very lightly gripping hand bars, they are on their for balance. Participants should stand straight up.

Third Position- Participants are still standing, but they are leaning their upper body forward and lightly gripping the end of the handle bars. Participants should keep their lower body over the saddle.

During a spinning class one instructor will place his bike at the front of the room. The instructor is in charge of the music, which will change every 3-5 minutes. During each song, you will receive different instructions. For example, during the first song you may do a hill in first position, which will mean that you will be pedaling in your saddle and slowing push up the resistance when the instructor says it is time. During the next song, you may do sprints in second position, where you are standing up and the instructor tells you when to push it as fast as you can. On some bikes you can tell the rotations per minute (RPM) on your bike, so the instruction may advise you to be at a 10 on the resistance and moving your bike at 70 RPMs. If your bikes are not this fancy then you will be able to go at your own pace. Often you will move between positions during one song.

Why Should I Try Spinning?

Spinning is a GREAT workout. Although I cannot tell you exactly how many calories you will burn spinning (it depends on your weight, effort, etc), most people burn between 400-600 calories per class!

Spinning does not get boring. Songs change every 3-5 minutes and with that your routine will change. During some songs the instructor will focus on a hill work out, during others you will be sprinting etc.

Spinning works many different muscles, including your quads, glutes and even your core muscles.

Spinning is a low impact exercise so it is great for people who are prone to running injuries like shin splints and knee pain. However, it is possible to get overuse injuries from spinning in your hips, lower backs and knees. Therefore, most trainers recommend 2-3 spin classes per week combined with other exercise routines.

Tips for Spinning
*You do not need any fancy equipment for your first class. You can eventually buy special spinning shoes, but most bikes will have a spot for fancy shoes and a spot for regular sneakers. You will want to bring a water bottle and a towel to any spin class, you will sweat!

*If you are not used to biking, you may have a bit of a sore butt from spinning. Try either wearing padded shorts or bringing a gel seat to your first few spinning classes.

*If you are new to spinning, go to class a few minutes early so the instructor help you set up your bike. You are more likely to get injured if you are in the wrong position.

*Spinning does not work all leg muscles equally. If you plan to make spinning your primary exercise, you should also integrate resistance training workouts to work your hamstring and inner thighs. Pay particular attention to this if you start running, as an imbalance between your outer thigh muscles and inner thigh muscles can cause Patellofemoral Pain syndrome.

Have you ever tried Spinning? What is your favorite thing about Spinning? If not, try it! And let me know what you think!


  1. you should be the spokeswoman for spinning classes :) thanks for the info, girl! xo

  2. I LOVE Spinning!! I haven't gone to a class in pretty much half a year and I miss it SO much! I'll try to go again in January but it may have to wait until February because of my schedule...

    What I love about Spinning is first of all the insane amount of sweat that comes out of it, but also the meditative aspect of it... when we're doing killer hills my mind focuses intensely on the hills, but goes elsewhere as well...

    Bottom line: I love spinning :P

  3. I'm trying my first spin class tonight!!

  4. Oh BOOOOO, I wanted that prize!! I guess I'll have to go out and buy my own...

    I've done one spinning class in my life, and I love/hated it. I think it was not what I was used to, which is why I hated it, but it's SO GOOD to mix up your workout routine, therefore I should try it again. I actually have a spinner at my parents' house and have been thinking about getting a spin DVD to use with it!

  5. That is some wonderful info. Our gym no longer has a spinning class. Tear :(

    Thank you for the info.

  6. I used to do a spinning class in PA when I was in college and I have done a few here and there over the years. I found that I only liked the class if I liked the music. The instructor's choice of tunes had a big impact because good music really helped me get into the groove.

    I always used a padded seat and padded shorts and I always left with a sore backside. Maybe because I never did classes super regularly....

    I also found that I always needed help adjusting the seat no matter how many times I had gone before, so instructors who did not give a hoot about checking in with the class were def not for me.

    The gym I go to now has a spinning class but I haven't tried it. My membership, as of now, does not include the classes because I don't think I am ready for fitness classes in German. When I understand more of the language maybe I will give it a go!

  7. I LOVE spinning! Such an awesome cross-training workout!!!

    Also, interesting fact that I've found to be true for me, my first spinning instructor ever told me that spinning will NEVER make your legs sore the next day and I never have been - even after doing an intense 60 minute class! My butt does get sore from the seat, however!

  8. Thanks so much for all the info! My only experience with spinning has been using the spin bikes at work on my own. Its always such a great workout and I like that there aren't any gadgets telling me my time, distance, calories, etc. Its a nice departure from the usual machines.

  9. YAY!!!! I was SO hoping I'd win the Barney Butter! It looks YUMMY and I can't wait to try it!! Thank you! :D

    I love/hate spinning. I love it because it is a huge calorie burner, it's challenging, and I feel so good afterward. I hate it because it is TOUGH! But it's a good kind of hate. ;D

    I canceled my gym membership so it's been a while since I've taken a class. One of these days I'll have to get back into gym workouts.

  10. Great post! I took a spinning class years ago and remember thinking that it was the hardest workout EVER but I felt like a million bucks afterwards. I pass by the spin studio on the way to my body sculpting class and feel intimidated by the pumping music and hardcore looking people. I need to get over it and just get back into it- thanks for the push!

  11. I want to try spinning and have a date with friends to attend a class this weekend! Thanks for all the info :)

  12. Thanks for posting this! I am actually thinking of taking a spinning class but I was not sure of what to expect!

  13. I took a Spinning class once when I was living on campus and had free access to the gym. My aunt loves spinning class so I decided to try it and MAN, was it HARD! I couldn't keep up the whole time and had to revert back to first position sometimes. But it still gave me a good workout!

    I want to join a gym, solely for the fact of spinning class! Thanks for all this info!

  14. I have a love/hate relationship with spinning. Sometimes I really get into it and crave it, and sometimes I just can't believe I dragged myself there and watch the clock the entire time. Either way, it's definitely a great workout! How are you doing with HBBC?

  15. spinning, you are hard core! congrats meeting your 200 mile goal.


  16. I haven't taken a spinning class in YEARS but maybe I should do it again?!?!...

  17. Spinning is my obsession just short of running!!! I love it! I did spinning up until the day my daughter was born! Its great!