It takes more than amp music to make spinning a fun workout without unnecessary aches and pains later. Jessica Bashelor, certified indoor cycling instructor and the owner of The Handle Bar cycling studios in Boston shares five do’s and don’ts to get the most out of spin class.
Tip No. 1: Keep your upper body relaxed.
The more you loosen your shoulders, relax the bend in your elbow, and keep your neck nice and loose, the more you can focus your energy on your lower body and getting the most out of your ride.
It’s very common when the ride gets difficult, for riders to straighten their elbows and raise their shoulders to their ears. They kind of brace themselves in the heat of the moment. If you focus on relaxing those areas, your form isn’t compromised and you remain in control of your body, even at the toughest moments.
Tip No. 2: Keep your hands nice and light
No white knuckles! Having a death grip on the handle bars is waste of energy as well as the beginning of a greater problem–supporting body weight on your hands and wrists. Your hands and wrists should never be sore after a ride. If they are, next time focus on tightening your core and balancing your weight over your mid-section, glutes, and quads.
Do shift positions
Tip No. 3: Change your upper body position when climbing
A great way to get through a tough hill without stopping or slowing down is to adjust your upper body position once or twice during the climb. If you begin the climb with your hands at position 2 (the outside, lower edges of the handle bars), and a nice bend in the hips, try switching it up when you really start to feel the burn.
By bringing your hands to position 1 (the center of the handle bars, closest to you), raising your chest, and lessening the bend in your hips, you’re recruiting those major muscles in a slightly different way. You’ll notice a renewed strength by the subtle change in your torso.
Do push through
Tip No. 4: Pull up on the pedal as hard as you push down.
The pedal stroke does not stop at the bottom of the rotation. Too many riders have the bad habit of hammering on the down stroke and allowing the foot to float back around on the way up. If you focus on eliminating the pause at the bottom of your pedal stroke and really driving your knee up and out to complete your rotation, you’ll find more power with each pedal stroke.
Tip No. 5: Don’t cheat on the resistance.
This is especially important for indoor riders. It’s NEVER good to have no resistance in the saddle. If your hips are bouncing in the seat, it means that you don’t have enough resistance on that flywheel. This mistake can lead to hip and knee problems, not to mention the instructor notices this “cheating’’ from a mile away. Don’t show up for a ride (indoors or out) just to let the bike do the work. Remember, more resistance = more results!