Let’s be honest, cycling can be a bit intimidating especially during your first class. You probably aren’t quite sure where to sit, how to adjust your bike, and what all the fancy lingo means. It can all be a bit overwhelming.
But even though it looks incredibly intimidating, the truth is anyone can get on the Spin-wagon, with a little bit of preparation. So here are some basic tips and tricks that will help you survive your first spin class.
#1: Pick a Seat
Most cycling studios and gyms allow riders to reserve a bike online before class, so go ahead and choose a spot that makes you feel most comfortable. And if you are new to the class, don’t be afraid to sit in the front! Sitting in the front gives you a better view of how the instructor is moving and may also motivate you to work harder.
Some studios have tiered seating, so people who sit in the back get a 360-degree view of other riders. So if you can, make sure to choose your seat beforehand so you can be better prepared.
#2: Dress For Success
Throw on a moisture-wicking shirt or tank top to stay cool. Three-quarter-length tights are also a good choice—avoid shorts or baggy sweats—or go for comfort with padded bike shorts. Baggy clothing can get caught on the equipment and make for an uncomfortable spin class, so try to stick with more form fitting clothes.
When it comes to kicks, most boutique studios have pedals made for special clip-in bike shoes, and they usually offer them when you purchase a class for free or a small additional fee. Although, any type of running or athletic shoe works fine and can be strapped into the pedals. Really it’s all about what your most comfortable with, so experiment a little.
Just a few small adjustments to your bike can make all the difference in your ride. A simple trick to determine the best seat height: Stand next to your bike and bring the seat to hip height. Then, once you’re
on the bike, your leg should be bent at a 25- to 30-degree angle at the bottom of the pedal stroke. When you pedal, your knees should be aligned over your toes (as if you were in a squat).
To find the right distance between the seat and the handlebars, place your elbow at the tip of the seat and adjust the seat forward or backward so that your fingertips just touch the back of the handlebars. Finally, adjust the handlebar height so it feels comfortable.The lower the handlebars, the more strain you put on your lower back, so if you have back, neck, or shoulder pain, make it a little higher and scoot the seat forward. Follow these steps and your ride should be a lot more comfortable.
#4: The Lingo
For your first class it is usually best to arrive a little bit early, so your instructor can help you get set up. There are also many popular terms you may hear during your spin class, and you may not know what they mean at first. Here are a few of the basic terms you may find yourself hearing:
- Get on Your Flat Road: The flat road is the foundation for your spin class. Basically its the point on your resistance knob that gives you some resistance. It should be a step above no resistance.
- Gear Up: This basically means increase your resistance. Usually this means giving your resistance knob a half turn.
- Intervals: Intervals are usually maximum effort segments with breaks in between. This could mean giving it your all for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds before you repeat. If it is your first time spinning you may need to work up a bit before you can complete the full intervals, so don’t push yourself too hard.
While spinning can be a bit intimidating at first, there are some things that can help you prepare. In the end, just find a seat you are comfortable in and begin enjoying all the amazing benefits of spinning.