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October 23, 2007

Spinning Classes

By Lori Ryan

The latest fat-burning craze is not a get-skinny-quick pill, nor is it a magical juice that will just peel off the pounds. It is a gut-wrenching but incredibly fun workout called spinning, and it is sweeping the nation.

If you go to a gym regularly and have spotted a bunch of thin exercise bikes in one concentrated area, it’s probably because your gym offers spinning classes. And if you want to burn fat like never before, you should be signing up for spinning classes, and quickly.

What is spinning?

If you’ve ever ridden a bike outdoors and ridden an indoor stationary bike, you’d know that there’s a huge difference between the two, as an outdoor bike will sometimes take you uphill and through bumpy areas.

Well, the bikes used in spinning classes look quite primitive compared to the bikes you usually see in gyms nowadays. Spinning bikes typically have a huge flywheel that looks deceptively harmless, but turning it from side to side is actually quite difficult to do.

The momentum you get from the flywheel allows you to spin the pedals and get a phenomenal workout in the process. As well, you can position the seat and the handlebars any way you see fit to get the most out of your workout.

What to expect at spinning classes

Spinning classes are great for first timers, as well as experts. If it’s your first time, however, tell the instructor and he or she will help you adjust your bike, talk to you about hand movements and fill you in on the five core movements of spinning. They are:

1- Seated flat
While your butt remains on the seat, your hands are in Position 1, which means that they are directly in front of you, palms down, thumbs touching slightly, and holding onto the bar.

This helps build strength and stamina, and allows you to develop a stronger fitness base.

Speed: 80 to 110 rpm

2- Standing flat
A “standing run” of sorts, your butt stays off the seat while your feet pedal away. Your hands are in Position 2; your hands are less than shoulder-width apart and your wrists are in line with your elbows at all times.

Speed: 80 to 110 rpm

3- Jumps
Usually performed by more advanced students, jumping involves periodically sitting and standing, all the while keeping your hands in Position 2 and moving in a fluid motion trying to keep the cadence on your legs the entire time.

Speed: 80 to 110 rpm

4- Seated climb
With the objective of challenging your lower body (glutes , hamstrings, quadriceps), your hands remain in Position 2 and your butt stays on the seat at all times.

Speed: 60 to 80 rpm

5- Standing climb
With your hands in Position 3 (place your hands on the most outward parts of the handlebars with your palms facing each other), keep your butt off the seat and pedal uphill.

Speed: 60 to 80 rpm

There is a lot to that you need to focus on, such as your heart rate, your breathing, your movement, and the instructor’s directions. Keep in mind, however, that if you feel overworked at any point, you should take a minute to regroup.

What do you need to bring to spinning classes?

Although you don’t need anything too complicated when joining spinning classes, there are a few items you may want to get your hands on beforehand.

  • Body-hugging clothing that will not get caught in the bike.
  • Padded cycling shorts or a gel seat cover is a great addition if your butt gets sore on the banana seat.
  • A heart rate monitor is great if you want to maximize the amount of calories you burn.

  • Calories burned in spinning classes

    The best part of spinning classes is how many calories you stand to burn in one 40-minute session - between 400 to 500 calories. That’s a whole lot more than you would burn just walking on a treadmill .

    Not to mention, your legs will become shapelier, thanks to the uphill climbs.

    So if you’re ready to try something new at the gym, consider joining spinning classes and before you know it, you’ll have buns and legs of steel.

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