Will I benefit from a spin class? Majed Al Hamad explains

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Spinning is a type of training which just about anyone can benefit from. The indoor bikes enable a variety of different types of training, so you can find a spin class to target your fitness needs and preferences.

You can even train at home by accessing a virtual class, and no special skills are needed, so spinning has something for everyone. 

Spinning is versatile and accessible

The most important advantage of spinning is how easy it is to adapt to your specific needs. You can target aerobic or anaerobic fitness, build strength, rehabilitate from injury or lose weight.

Costs are not high, and many gyms will even offer free taster classes so you can try it before committing. You can even get your own spin bike without forking out crazy amounts of money.

You don’t need to know anything about cycling, or have any other special equipment, although a pair of cycle shorts or leggings can make workouts more comfortable.

The increasing popularity of spin classes was demonstrated by a Sport England survey in 2019, which found the number of people cycling outdoors had dropped but the number doing it indoors had increased dramatically.

Spin classes for aerobic fitness

If you want to improve your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness, then a spin class is perfect.

In a class focusing on aerobic fitness you will be aiming to get your body to rely on the energy systems which require high levels of oxygen. This comes from the air you breathe, then via your bloodstream, so your lungs and heart have to work hard.

Spin classes can be tailored to build up to the level of effort required for this. Doing this also burns a lot of calories, which for a lot of people means burning off unwanted fat, so it’s a win-win.

Spinning for strength and power

Spin classes can help you to build strength and power, especially in your legs and core. This requires a different approach to the longer, slower sessions which focus on aerobic fitness.

Instead, you would do shorter, faster sessions with higher resistance, which may leave your legs feeling like jelly afterwards but rapidly build your strength.

The action of spinning also works the core muscles, as they enable you to remain stable on the bike. You might not notice this benefit immediately, but after a few months you will probably feel stronger through your abdominal region.

Spin in your own world or with others

Perhaps the great advantage of a spin class is the fact that you are training with others, but you are not shackled to their rhythm or pace.

If you are struggling to keep up you can ease off the pace slightly while still working your body. Equally, the camaraderie of a class can inspire you to push yourself harder than you thought possible.

A good spin class instructor will be able to vary the intensity of the class, encourage everyone and also be able to advise you on tips and tricks for getting the most out of a session.

Plug in for a virtual class

One of the great developments for spinning over the past decade has been the boom in virtual training. These on-line sessions enable people to do spin classes or tackle real cycling routes in their own home.

The classes may be live, with other participants connecting to the same session from all over the world, creating online communities who encourage and help each other when the workouts get tough.

Or you can sign up and use pre-recorded sessions, often paired with videos of different cycling routes around the world so you can imagine yourself powering up that beautiful Alpine track or along a famous piece of coastline. The hugely popular Peloton system is probably the best known of these virtual spin providers, and offers thousands of different classes, including live events.

Mental strength

Our bodies and minds are not separate entities, and spinning can be a great way of working out to improve both your mental and physical wellbeing.

For example, many mindfulness techniques revolve around focusing on a specific task or object, and spinning is a perfect physical environment for this sort of mental exercise.

You don’t have to worry about technique or balance, and external factors like traffic or the weather are irrelevant. You can pick out a single part of your spin bike’s display, or even close your eyes and focus entirely on the instructor’s voice.

Aspects of mental strength also come into play, as you push yourself to achieve a set target or feel the surge of pleasure as you slow down and relax during the warm-down.

Reduce the risk of injury

Spinning is one of the great ways of working your way back to fitness after injury, or even if you just haven’t exercised for a long time.

This is because, unlike many forms of exercise, you are not lifting weight or even loading your joints with your body weight. You can exercise as slowly and carefully as you need.

For example, you can exercise an injured leg without the pounding that comes with running. If you have a knee or ankle injury you can adjust the seat to alter the range of motion the joint goes through while pedalling.

If you are trying to lose weight, then a spin class puts less stress on your joints than running and may be more accessible than swimming.

Overall, spin classes can open a world of exercise possibilities for you, helping you to reach your fitness goals while also offering convenience and fun. The virtual classes add a new dimension to your workouts, making them more engaging, fun and effective.

Majed Alhamad is an accomplished personal trainer who inspires his clients to pursue their fitness and health goals. Read more at his blog http://www.majedalhamad.com/.