What is a Spin Bike?
A spin bike may seem the same as a regular exercise bike, but differs in a few ways. A spin bike is designed for more intense exercise to boost fitness and burn more calories, the bike tends to have more levels of resistance to create an ever-changing stimulus during your exercise.
One of the biggest ways a spin bike stands out is that they are designed to be more like a true road racing bike that you would see in the Tour de France. This means that you will perform different types of riding such as riding while off the seat which is called a “standing jog,” or hovering while just above the seat. Both of these forms of riding will engage the muscles of the leg much better than if you were in a seated position.
Since a spin bike is designed to copy a road racing bike, it means you are leaning forward over the handles. This will require some more upper body support compared to some exercise bikes where you are in a more upright position. A spin bike tends to have a more traditional seat or “saddle” as opposed to a larger, softer seat. and will also feature more specialised pedals that feature clips that can lock in cycling shoes.
A spin bike is designed to give you the most realistic indoor cycling experience, and a very high intensity form of cycling. Spin bikes also features a larger flywheel than you would find on a regular exercise bike. The size of this flywheel–and it’s weight–makes each revolution longer and harder causing you to work harder and burn more calories.
What are the Benefits of Spinning?
Spinning will provide you with the ultimate cardiovascular workout as your heart and lungs have to drive the exercise. This will boost your heart health and help you to combat different heart-related issues.
Spinning is also a great calorie burner because of the intensities you can exercise at. A good spin bike will feature various levels of resistance meaning you can dial up the intensity for more calorie burning. This makes them a great option for weight loss.
Spinning will provide you with a great lower body workout as the majority of the muscles in the legs are used. During a spin workout you will work:
- Hip flexors
Spinning may also be better than outdoor cycling. When you cycle outdoors, there are a lot of environmental changes that can affect your ride. The level of the terrain is constantly changing making it difficult to go at a consistent pace.
With a spin bike, you can keep your pace through the duration of your workout. This can lead to better physical fitness as a 2017 study showed that indoor cycling was better in that regard compared to outdoor cycling.
How to Use a Spin Bike
When you get on the bike, you want to make sure your feet are securely in the pedals so you don’t slip off when riding. When you start to pedal, you want to begin on the lowest resistance to get used to the motion. Starting with a 5 minute warmup is going to be very important when you start your exercise. This will help to engage the muscles, elevate the heart rate, and get blood flowing to the working muscles.
The dial or knob that controls the resistance should be near the front of the bike. It’s important to start with some resistance as it will make it easier to get on and off the bike without slipping out. After your warmup, you can start to cycle at a faster pace. If your bike has an LCD display, you want to be riding between 80-100 RPM. You can be at various levels of resistance but this is the ideal range to stay in if you want to boost fitness, and improve cardiovascular health. If your bike doesn’t have a display, there are a few signs from your body that will indicate you are in the right training zone:
- You should be able to still carry on a conversation
- You should be slightly hearing yourself breathe
- Skin will get a bit flushed but not necessarily perspiring heavily
- Your lips will tend to get dry causing you to lick them.
If you have access to any spin apps, videos, or programs, you can follow a spin class. These classes will take you through various speeds and intensities and make for a great cardiovascular workout. If you don’t have access to those things, you can always perform some intervals. This is where you would increase the intensity to be able to go at an all-out sprint for 30 seconds. You would then dial down the intensity for a slower-paced recovery portion where you will pedal at a lighter resistance for around 90 seconds. You can perform anywhere from 3-8 rounds of this. Studies show that this form of high-intensity interval training is another ideal way to boost fitness, burn calories, and lose weight more than regular steady state cardio.
How to Adjust Your Spin Bike
You will first want to make sure your spin bike seat is at the right height. When you are standing next to it, adjust the seat to be level with your hip bone. This is the best seat position for optimal comfort.
The handlebar position can be a bit more specific as far as it’s length away from you. To find the ideal position, the distance between the edge of the seat and the handlebar align perfectly based on your forearm length. This is the best position to give you the most efficiency when you pedal. This can involve sliding the seat forward until it’s the length of your forearm away from the bottom of the handlebars. You’ll also want to lower the handlebars if needed to get to this exact position.
Spin bikes can contain a multi-grip handle which will give you different riding position options such as a hook grip, aero grip, overhand grip, or extended grip. (The extended grip is usually for when you’re riding out of the saddle.)
Everyone has a unique body; some have longer arms and shorter torso, or a long torso, short arms, and long legs, etc. The adjustment of the bike may take some trial and error to find the ideal fit, but follow these adjustment tips to get it as comfortable as possible
Are Spin Bikes a Good workout?
Using a spin bike is one of the best workouts you can get. Studies show how cyclists are some of the fittest athletes on earth with amazing cardiovascular health and the ultimate in VO2 max. Their bodies are so efficient at using oxygen and they have low blood pressure and lower resting heart rates.
Spinning is a great way to boost your heart health and combat things like heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and other metabolic conditions. What makes spinning a superior choice over things like running and jogging is the fact that it’s low impact. If you suffer from any joint problems, or bad knees, running can be a nightmare. Most activities are based on running and jumping, and that limits you as far as cardiovascular options. Spinning provides the perfect solution as it will boost your cardiovascular health but protect your joint, tendons, and ligaments.
Spin bikes also allow you to workout for longer compared to other forms of cardio when you would hit muscular fatigue much earlier. This allows you to build longer endurance when you may have hit the wall in other forms of cardio such as running or swimming.
What to Look For in a Home Spin Bike
The first thing is to consider your budget. We have done a comparison of the best spin bikes currrently on the market. There are a wide variety of spin bikes available, so before you look through the many options–decide how much you want to spend. This will help you to narrow down what you are looking at.
The next thing is to decide if you need a lot of features or technology. If you are someone who loves to track your data, you will want a bike that has a good LCD display that gives you all the info you need such as speed, distance, RPM, watts, calories burned and more. If you are the type of person that does better with a set workout, coaching, or intetructions, you may want to opt for a spin bike that comes with apps and programs that you can follow. You do always have the option to follow YouTube videos from your own TV or tablet. In that case, you’ll want to make sure your spin bike has an area that will hold and display your tablet properly.
If you just want to go at your own pace, you can get a simple bike that doesn’t have many features. You’ll still want to select a bike that has different levels of resistance in order to create a more challenging workout as your fitness improves. Most basic bikes have at least 8 levels of different resistance, so make sure that it has at least that.
If you are limited for space, you’ll want to consider a spin bike that can fold. That way it can be moved out of the way and stored when you’re not using it. If you are going to be moving the bike around a lot, you’ll want to make sure that it has wheels for easy transport.