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Spinning advice?

james22b2james22b2 Posts: 132
edited September 2016 in Health, fitness & training
Joined a gym today and went to a spinning class for the first time ever... And my god it was much more exhausting than I imagined, I had lactic acid in my legs in a way I just don't get so often with my bike.

I guess I was beating myself, because you largely set your own pace in the class, but for me being "encouraged" to pedal standing for long periods on the machine is really tiring and at least initialy unnatural. I can pedal fast seated and I ride at least 100km a week XC so spinning shouldn´t be so hard.. should it?

Everyone else looked used to it and by the end i was the only one in a pool of sweat, struggling to stand (but fine pedalling sitting down). Anyone try these classes and have any advice on how to survive?
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  • If you want to climb while standing then perhaps?!

    It would be interesting to compare your power output / heartrate while seated compared to what they were doing standing.
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    Joined a gym today and went to a spinning class for the first time ever... And my god it was much more exhausting than I imagined, I had lactic acid in my legs in a way I just don't get so often with my bike.

    I guess I was beating myself, because you largely set your own pace in the class, but for me being "encouraged" to pedal standing for long periods on the machine is really tiring and at least initialy unnatural. I can pedal fast seated and I ride at least 100km a week XC so spinning shouldn´t be so hard.. should it?

    Everyone else looked used to it and by the end i was the only one in a pool of sweat, struggling to stand (but fine pedalling sitting down). Anyone try these classes and have any advice on how to survive?

    Peddling standing will make it far more of a whole body work out, that just sitting there with your legs a blur. Which will be why you find it more effort. You have a considerably greater number of muscles employed
  • in spinning resistance is set yourself but generally duration and tempo set by the intructor. Therefore power is unknown to most. However, I am working on setting up a power meter spinning combo that will be really interesting in telling what goes on during spinning efforts. Should be ready in a week or two. Someone probably has this data from Wattbike classes such as here http://rollingdynamics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Indoor_Training.pdf but I havent yet read the actual stats from spinning when properly measured.
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    in spinning resistance is set yourself but generally duration and tempo set by the intructor. Therefore power is unknown to most. However, I am working on setting up a power meter spinning combo that will be really interesting in telling what goes on during spinning efforts. Should be ready in a week or two. Someone probably has this data from Wattbike classes such as here http://rollingdynamics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Indoor_Training.pdf but I havent yet read the actual stats from spinning when properly measured.

    Im not sure in what context it will be really interesting. this experiment has been done and the answer appears to be 400w for an hour, which is I admit mildly interesting in case it comes up in a quiz, but I cant see any real word use unless there are power strikes again

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_power

    Spinning is so far removed from real world cycling that I cant see any cross over of the data being useful in that context, unless you build in a system were a spaniel runs out in front of you, you crash down a pot hole and censored yourself and a someone sneaks up behind you and pours ice cold water down your neck and lashes you bare legs with brambles
  • in spinning resistance is set yourself but generally duration and tempo set by the intructor. Therefore power is unknown to most. However, I am working on setting up a power meter spinning combo that will be really interesting in telling what goes on during spinning efforts. Should be ready in a week or two. Someone probably has this data from Wattbike classes such as here http://rollingdynamics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Indoor_Training.pdf but I havent yet read the actual stats from spinning when properly measured.

    Im not sure in what context it will be really interesting. this experiment has been done and the answer appears to be 400w for an hour, which is I admit mildly interesting in case it comes up in a quiz, but I cant see any real word use unless there are power strikes again

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_power

    Spinning is so far removed from real world cycling that I cant see any cross over of the data being useful in that context, unless you build in a system were a spaniel runs out in front of you, you crash down a pot hole and censored yourself and a someone sneaks up behind you and pours ice cold water down your neck

    Much of that 400W energy will be heat rather than anything useful for forward motion. I'm sure many riders will have a 400W FTP but but that's only trained athletes or very keen amateurs.
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    in spinning resistance is set yourself but generally duration and tempo set by the intructor. Therefore power is unknown to most. However, I am working on setting up a power meter spinning combo that will be really interesting in telling what goes on during spinning efforts. Should be ready in a week or two. Someone probably has this data from Wattbike classes such as here http://rollingdynamics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Indoor_Training.pdf but I havent yet read the actual stats from spinning when properly measured.

    Im not sure in what context it will be really interesting. this experiment has been done and the answer appears to be 400w for an hour, which is I admit mildly interesting in case it comes up in a quiz, but I cant see any real word use unless there are power strikes again

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_power

    Spinning is so far removed from real world cycling that I cant see any cross over of the data being useful in that context, unless you build in a system were a spaniel runs out in front of you, you crash down a pot hole and censored yourself and a someone sneaks up behind you and pours ice cold water down your neck

    Much of that 400W energy will be heat rather than anything useful for forward motion. I'm sure many riders will have a 400W FTP but but that's only trained athletes or very keen amateurs.

    Thats measured output after losses, which in a spin class will be heat developed in the machinery, but your point is good, the losses on a real bicycle will be much greater, from air resistance among many other thing, so if 400ws is close to perfect, the power available for measurable forward motion will be very much reduced, making it far more about riding position and equipment than about the physical prowess of the rider making it even more an academic figure what can be achieved in a gym

    Nb the link gives a range between 150w and 400w

  • Thats measured output after losses, which in a spin class will be heat developed in the machinery, but your point is good, the losses on a real bicycle will be much greater, from air resistance among many other thing, so if 400ws is close to perfect, the power available for measurable forward motion will be very much reduced, making it far more about riding position and equipment than about the physical prowess of the rider making it even more an academic figure what can be achieved in a gym

    Nb the link gives a range between 150w and 400w


    The losses in the equipment probably aren't relevant in this case, 150W-400W is a reasonable range for human FTP.
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330

    T


    The losses in the equipment probably aren't relevant in this case, .

    agreed , so why did you raise the issue then ?

  • T


    The losses in the equipment probably aren't relevant in this case, .

    agreed , so why did you raise the issue then ?

    wtf, nevermind.
  • "this experiment has been done and the answer appears to be 400w for an hour"

    I was not talking about the maximum possible, when 400w might be achievable for pro cyclists, I am asking whether anyone has measured actual power for a amateur cyclist or just a spin class regular using a power meter on a spinning bike. If they have I cant find anything other than Wattbike. As for your 400w figure do you have a source for that, showing someone actually achieved this high figure whilst spinning?
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    "this experiment has been done and the answer appears to be 400w for an hour"

    I was not talking about the maximum possible, when 400w might be achievable for pro cyclists, I am asking whether anyone has measured actual power for a amateur cyclist or just a spin class regular using a power meter on a spinning bike. If they have I cant find anything other than Wattbike. As for your 400w figure do you have a source for that, showing someone actually achieved this high figure whilst spinning?

    well clearly someone has or they wouldn't have a range of figures ? In fact I have vague memories of them doing on blue peter circa 1972 or it might have been magpie ? but anyway, you need an accomplished cyclist to make it worth while. Other wise all you likely to demonstration is unfit,over weight chronic asthmatic with angina could produce 12w for 15 mins before suffering cardiac arrest.

    similar figures are quoted all over the internet, google it ?
  • OP here, I went back to the gym and tried the spinning machines a few more times and found it was perhaps more my original stance that was very bad the first time round, or perhaps the machine was set up wrong for my body. Managed standing up pedalling for 30 mins consistently at about 75 RPM today, so should be able to do the full 45 mins for the class quite soon. No muscle pain or breathing difficulties, but the biggest problem for me now is the heat and sweat.
    Besides that, is spinning actually any good in terms of building strength for MTB and are there any risks? Probably better than doing nothing on a rainy day..?
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    OP here, I went back to the gym and tried the spinning machines a few more times and found it was perhaps more my original stance that was very bad the first time round, or perhaps the machine was set up wrong for my body. Managed standing up pedalling for 30 mins consistently at about 75 RPM today, so should be able to do the full 45 mins for the class quite soon. No muscle pain or breathing difficulties, but the biggest problem for me now is the heat and sweat.
    Besides that, is spinning actually any good in terms of building strength for MTB and are there any risks? Probably better than doing nothing on a rainy day..?

    There is an approximation in the muscles used, it wont harm your MTBing even if it doesn't give any real benefits

    As an example my ex wife trained for 3 months for a 10 mile run, she was to do, on on the running machine at the gym. she could do the distance with little effort in a fairly respectable time.

    When she did the run for real, on the rolling hills of north Yorkshire she got 3 miles and then had to walk the rest. The machine had improved her to be able to do the 3 real miles, but fell a long way short of what she would have achieved if she had been pounding the pavements

    Those machines are great for burning calories, because you don't have to slow down for obstructions and then get going again. but really a poor substitute for actually ridding a MT bike . If ridding a mountain bike well is what you want. then there is no real alternative to getting the bike out and hitting the trails, at least every so often

    You would probably get more benefit if you got the bike out and cycled to the gym and back and saved the money
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I do 5 spin classes a week this time of year, I do two double classes on a monday and saturday. its a lot of fun and can help your cardio fitness. Some instructors understand cycling dynamics more than others, so as long as you have one who isn't getting you to do silly press-ups on the bars etc. it can be good. While it impacts road cycling more than MTB you do have to watch your riding position to make sure you aren't too upright as this weakens the neck muscles.

    Some classes have HR and even power meters on screens so you can see who is working hard, but generally if you are leaving a puddle of sweat and unable to breathe compared to the next person. Its because you worked harder. I use my garmin so that i can at least monitor my zones. It takes a while, but if you are doing a sprint HIIT class you are meant to feel like death at the end
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    I do 5 spin classes a week this time of year, I do two double classes on a monday and saturday. its a lot of fun and can help your cardio fitness. Some instructors understand cycling dynamics more than others, so as long as you have one who isn't getting you to do silly press-ups on the bars etc. it can be good. While it impacts road cycling more than MTB you do have to watch your riding position to make sure you aren't too upright as this weakens the neck muscles.

    Some classes have HR and even power meters on screens so you can see who is working hard, but generally if you are leaving a puddle of sweat and unable to breathe compared to the next person. Its because you worked harder. I use my garmin so that i can at least monitor my zones. It takes a while, but if you are doing a sprint HIIT class you are meant to feel like death at the end

    Its a good way of increasing your heart rate, but then so is carry two very heavy bags of shopping, as fast as you can for 3 miles and thats free
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    Ok - I confess its really to stare at hot, sweaty, fit women's boobs n' arses :D

    Access to classes is normally part of the membership with a gym.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    I spin in the winter when its icy and wet outside. Its a great way to keep everything moving when you might not bother going out. First couple of times was really hard but you develop a rhythm and it gets easier once this becomes natural.

    After my first winter doing it I found that a) I was sooo much better at climbing hills and maintaining out of the saddle riding, carrying over that natural rhythm which means I can climb just about anything I have tried and keep going without getting fatigued and b) I was very good at 45 minute sprints (the length of a spin session) but had lost alot of my endurance (which was regained without too much difficulty but required retraining with that in mind).

    I try to do it through the winter 3 times a week, alternating with upper body work in the gym (upper body gets ignored during the summer when I could be out on the bike instead), so that both aspects have a days rest for recovery after training hard. I find it great for keeping my weight down during winter and adds another dimension to my riding too. I think being able to focus on the physical exertion and technique without having to worry about road conditions, route and obstacles allows you to try different adjustments to see what works for you - you do have to adapt these techniques for the road before you can apply them properly though, because it isnt quite the same.
  • Keep going! I love spin class, I never push that hard on the trails because I don't have an instructor telling me to turn it up.. It has definitely helped my cycling. Just remember everyone has an opinion, no one is right or wrong. Oh and your opinion isn't stronger than another members just because you are good at putting everyone else down. Enjoy your cycling :)
    Stay positive people :)
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    Keep going! I love spin class, I never push that hard on the trails because I don't have an instructor telling me to turn it up.. It has definitely helped my cycling. Just remember everyone has an opinion, no one is right or wrong. Oh and your opinion isn't stronger than another members just because you are good at putting everyone else down. Enjoy your cycling :)

    If you enjoy it thats great, but that doesn't mean that its a good idea for every one or even anyone. No matter what you say , it is not as good at improving your cycling as real cycling is. So its a poor substitute for people who cant be bothered getting the bike out.

    Being pushed by an instructor to go way outside your comfort zone, may be all right if your 24 and in good physical condition, but can be a death sentence to someone in middle age. Andrew Marr had a stroke doing just that on a rowing machine

    Moderate exercise is good for you, pushing way over you zone can be very very bad. A significant number of the instructors taking these classes are clueless and know no other technique than shouting ''go harder''

    Its not even the best way to build fitness, which is going at about 70% of available effort. with only short burst( if any) above that

    All in all not a good way of getting fitter
  • Good points. I suppose that's where the likes of trainer road has defined intervals based on your own FTP so you're not just trying to ride hard for a full hour, there's structure to it.
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    Good points. I suppose that's where the likes of trainer road has defined intervals based on your own FTP so you're not just trying to ride hard for a full hour, there's structure to it.

    Yes, something with a bit of science in it. The only qualification for working in majority of gyms as an instructor- is you look good in a pair of shorts and tight tee shirt
  • BigAlBigAl Posts: 3,122
    OP here, I went back to the gym and tried the spinning machines a few more times and found it was perhaps more my original stance that was very bad the first time round, or perhaps the machine was set up wrong for my body. Managed standing up pedalling for 30 mins consistently at about 75 RPM today, so should be able to do the full 45 mins for the class quite soon. No muscle pain or breathing difficulties, but the biggest problem for me now is the heat and sweat.
    Besides that, is spinning actually any good in terms of building strength for MTB and are there any risks? Probably better than doing nothing on a rainy day..?

    There is an approximation in the muscles used, it wont harm your MTBing even if it doesn't give any real benefits

    As an example my ex wife trained for 3 months for a 10 mile run, she was to do, on on the running machine at the gym. she could do the distance with little effort in a fairly respectable time.

    When she did the run for real, on the rolling hills of north Yorkshire she got 3 miles and then had to walk the rest. The machine had improved her to be able to do the 3 real miles, but fell a long way short of what she would have achieved if she had been pounding the pavements

    Those machines are great for burning calories, because you don't have to slow down for obstructions and then get going again. but really a poor substitute for actually ridding a MT bike . If ridding a mountain bike well is what you want. then there is no real alternative to getting the bike out and hitting the trails, at least every so often

    You would probably get more benefit if you got the bike out and cycled to the gym and back and saved the money

    He shoots, he scores!

    Much as I hate to, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Spinning is a good cardio work-out and I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from good exercise. But it's not the same as actually cycling.

    Oh, and IMHO it is MONUMENTALLY boring
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    OP here, I went back to the gym and tried the spinning machines a few more times and found it was perhaps more my original stance that was very bad the first time round, or perhaps the machine was set up wrong for my body. Managed standing up pedalling for 30 mins consistently at about 75 RPM today, so should be able to do the full 45 mins for the class quite soon. No muscle pain or breathing difficulties, but the biggest problem for me now is the heat and sweat.
    Besides that, is spinning actually any good in terms of building strength for MTB and are there any risks? Probably better than doing nothing on a rainy day..?

    There is an approximation in the muscles used, it wont harm your MTBing even if it doesn't give any real benefits

    As an example my ex wife trained for 3 months for a 10 mile run, she was to do, on on the running machine at the gym. she could do the distance with little effort in a fairly respectable time.

    When she did the run for real, on the rolling hills of north Yorkshire she got 3 miles and then had to walk the rest. The machine had improved her to be able to do the 3 real miles, but fell a long way short of what she would have achieved if she had been pounding the pavements

    Those machines are great for burning calories, because you don't have to slow down for obstructions and then get going again. but really a poor substitute for actually ridding a MT bike . If ridding a mountain bike well is what you want. then there is no real alternative to getting the bike out and hitting the trails, at least every so often

    You would probably get more benefit if you got the bike out and cycled to the gym and back and saved the money

    He shoots, he scores!

    Much as I hate to, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Spinning is a good cardio work-out and I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from good exercise. But it's not the same as actually cycling.

    Oh, and IMHO it is MONUMENTALLY boring

    Cheers

    I find the post modern attitude to exercise to be quite bizarre. In that people work very long hours so that they can spend an enormous % of their income buying labour saving devices, paying people to do things so they get more leisure time. Then because their lack of labour has made them fat/unfit another chunk of income and lesure time to go to a place where they can work like a dog in order that they can be as fit as if they didnt own the labour saving devices ?????????????

    I know people who drive, as they are too ''lazy to walk a quarter of a mile and back to the shop, who then spend 100 quid a month so they can go and walk on a running machine at the gym.

    You really couldn't make it up
  • For someone who advocates freedom of choice Brian, your post has a great deal of judgement in it.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I think you have to understand the fitness industry a bit to understand where they are coming from and why they design classes the way they do and why instructors are often not up to speed on cycling dynamics.

    1. Its all about brand - making my class different to the next means I can trade mark it and make a successful franchise selling it to gyms and gullible instructors who will pay to certify to teach it (around 3-500 a year).

    2. They are competing in a world where its all about calories per min burned. A world full of magic juice diets, pyramid marketed lifestyle plans and amphetamine based fat burner pills. Most of their clients are spinning to lose weight.

    3. It has to be fun - we are not the target demographic. That said there are some talented instructors, it can be a lot of fun and and supplement other training.

    4. Yes doing lots of HIIT is bad - its catatonic, releases stress hormones and can trigger underlying problems etc. etc. - if you regularly exceed VO2Max, zone 5 etc have a think about why. check your HR recovery times etc.

    5. Spin bikes are very difficult to set up like proper bikes, its very easy to give yourself riding position issues with too much spinning. Try to set your bike up to be as real world as possible and ignore any instructor who says "hip height" or set the seat a forearms distance to the bars.

    Get low, keep your eyes up, focus on pedal technique, don't do bouncing, press ups and other silliness and it can seriously help you stretch your engine and up your rev limiter.
  • I guess many people on this forum are semi professional (and some think they are!) so they would train harder/smarter than some full time fitness professionals.

    Many on here are not, including me!

    I have seen how much training and certification instructors need before they can take a class. My spin instructor rides on road (actually all three of them do) and are very good at it. The other two that teach spin are also full time in the fitness industry. I do trust them over my part time cycling knowledge, so for me it works and I love their classes.

    People in gyms are not our enemies because they enjoy different sports. Gyms work for many people. Instructors know about my fat percentage, benchmarked my fitness and tell me about hear rate zones - I would never have been exposed to any of this before I joined. They are trained professional which I value. They have helped me with my fitness goals. I used to think negatively about them in the past. I love the outdoors and after riding bikes for 20 years I never thought I'd ride one in a gym. How surprised I was when I did this year and I am hooked. The majority of my rides are outdoors but I believe Spin class adds to my riding.
    Stay positive people :)
  • brianbeebrianbee Posts: 330
    I
    I have seen how much training and certification instructors need before they can take a class. .

    Well how much is that then ? its a completely unregulated industry Anyone and I mean anyone can call themselves a ''trainer'' and start running fitness classes. A particular gym may have a policy on it, But that is far from a universal requirement.
    A couple of decades ago i did a half day course to ''qualify'' me as a weight training instructor, there was no written exam, just explain a few moves and get a certificate. IF instructors have qualifications, they quite likely only at that level.l I don't know what is more scary, that I am still better qualified than most or that people might put there health in my hands based on a 4 hour course from 20 years ago

    You wouldn't let an novice who had spent two hours reading up on Wikipedia loose on your teeth . but people see no problem in doing so with their long term health
  • JodyPJodyP Posts: 193
    I
    I have seen how much training and certification instructors need before they can take a class. .

    Its a completely unregulated industry Anyone and I mean anyone can call themselves a ''trainer'' and start running fitness classes.

    You wouldn't let an novice who had spent two hours reading up on Wikipedia loose on your teeth . but people see no problem in doing so with their long term health

    I very much doubt that first statement. I know someone who became a spin class instructor and he had to complete courses before he could instruct a class. You couldn't just turn up to a gym and say I want to instruct a spin class.

    As for the second statement. Its basically riding a static bike not root canal :roll: How many long term health implications can you think of?
  • I very much doubt that first statement. I know someone who became a spin class instructor and he had to complete courses before he could instruct a class. You couldn't just turn up to a gym and say I want to instruct a spin class. ?

    Of course you couldn't but that depends on the policies of the gym. If was to rent my own gym space and advertise spin classes with me as the instructor I could do that, even though I have no qualifications at all.
  • JodyPJodyP Posts: 193
    I very much doubt that first statement. I know someone who became a spin class instructor and he had to complete courses before he could instruct a class. You couldn't just turn up to a gym and say I want to instruct a spin class. ?

    Of course you couldn't but that depends on the policies of the gym. If was to rent my own gym space and advertise spin classes with me as the instructor I could do that, even though I have no qualifications at all.

    I know what you're saying but setting up your own gym is a totally different thing. If you go and train with Fred in his shed then you get what you pay for.
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