All The Things You Should Probably Be Doing At Spin, But Probably Aren't

Spinning. Seems pretty simple right?

You hop on the bike, get pedalling for 45 minutes and then emerge from the studio a bit red in the face but feeling pretty pleased with your efforts.

But what if we told you that you might not actually being getting the most out of your class?

ELLE's fit team paired up with Label Online for a masterclass in spinning, taught by ELLE's fitness editor and resident BOOM Cycle instructor, Bangs.

Here, Bangs shares the common mistakes she often sees during spin classes that could be holding you back from reaching your full cycling potential.

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The position of the bike

The position of the bike is vital to forming the correct posture that allows you the full rotation space to work all the muscle groups of your legs.

The best way to gage saddle height is to stand next to it with your leg lifted up to 90 degrees; the saddle should be parallel with the top of your thigh.

When you get on the bike and start pedalling you should have a very slight bend in the knee when your foot is in the lowest part of the pedal stroke.

If you find that your knee is heavily bent in this position, your saddle is too high and you will end up being too quad-heavy during the session, which means that you are neglecting the other muscles in your legs.

Once your seat is set up you should then focus on the positioning of your handlebars.

The handlebars should be parallel with your saddle. For most people this feels like it is too low and that you are hunching forward to reach them but when you start moving in and out of the saddle and doing arm presses on the handlebars, you will find that having them any higher can cause them to get in the way.

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Engage your core

We are always told during exercise to engage our core, but surely spin just involves me working my legs, right? Wrong.

Although your bike is now set up to encourage the correct posture, there is still the temptation to slouch when you when you are moving in and out of the saddle.

When you come out of the saddle you must have a strong core. If you come out of the saddle and don't engage your core you tend to struggle more and therefore compensate by leaning forward and putting all the weight in to your arms.

You may feel like you are getting the benefit of being out of the saddle but actually you are doing more harm than good.

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By engaging your core and keeping your weight over the saddle you are working through the whole leg with each pedal stroke, not just the quads.

As a result, you are getting more from your workout and minimizing any injury – exactly what all spinners should be aiming for.

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Step away from the shorts

Having the right workout gear is equally important for achieving a topnotch workout.

If you are a regular spinner and are particularly keen to show off those sculpted legs, it is recommended not to ride in shorts as this can cause your legs to chafe during the class – not the type of burning you want to be feeling during a workout.

You may also think that riding in your everyday trainers is better than using the clip in shoes that attach your feet to the pedals.

Whilst for some the thought that your legs can't stop moving seems terrifying, clipping in actually enables you to get better momentum and have a smoother ride.

It's also good to wear a breathable Lycra top and a good sports bra. Your T-shirt bra just won't cut it I'm afraid.

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Relax

If you're new to spin or a hardcore dedicated fan, it's really important to focus on you and your body.

Don't pay attention to what everyone else in the room is doing. The time on that bike is a very selfish, self-absorbed moment that you are allowed to have.

It's often common to feel self-conscious or intimidated in group classes but with the low lighting and blaring music of most spin studios you are provided with a safe environment to pedal to the metal and achieve the goals you set for yourself.

No two spin classes are ever the same, so listen to your body and get used to the bike, the resistance and how that feels on your legs.

If you aren't comfortable doing certain moves just keep pedalling. If you don't stop pedalling in a class, it's been a success.

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