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What are Spinning&Reg; Classes?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Spinning® classes are indoor cycling workouts usually performed in a group setting. These instructor-led classes involve a series of motions and postures executed on specially designed stationary bicycles and intended to replicate an outdoor cycling workout. Spinning® has a number of potential benefits: it strengthens the muscles, promotes cardiovascular health, and can be adapted to suit a range of fitness levels.

Generally, Spinning® classes are led by an instructor positioned on a stationary bicycle that faces class participants, allowing them to observe her form as she demonstrates each move. Throughout the class, the instructor gives a series of directions which indicate both the position in which participants should be riding and the intensity for which they should aim. She often uses music to establish a cycling rhythm and motivate the group.

Although Spinning® is a trademarked program, there is no prescribed set of movements for classes. Instead, the instructor dictates a mixture of positions and intensities that imitate the conditions found when cycling outdoors. A typical class can include seated sprints, standing hill climbs, and “jumps,” a move in which cyclists sit and stand in rapid succession. As they progress through these movements, class participants modify the intensity at which they are exercising by adjusting the resistance of their bicycles.

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The stationary bicycle used for Spinning® classes is specially engineered to allow close simulation of outdoor cycling and to fit class participants of all sizes. One of its most significant design features is the flywheel, a device which weights the pedals to create the same properties of resistance and motion experienced on a normal bicycle. Its handlebars are custom shaped to allow a number of postures. It also often features toe caps, which allow the cyclist to move the pedals by pulling up as well as pushing down. Several elements of the bicycle, like the seat height and handlebar angle, can be adjusted to suit the cyclist’s body shape.

Regular participants in Spinning® classes can experience a number of benefits. The program’s movements work the thighs, hips, and back, promoting muscle tone in these areas. Its aerobic nature supports cardiovascular fitness, and a 40-minute class can burn 400 calories or more. Finally, even though the class instructor suggests target intensities, bicycles are individually adjusted, so each cyclist is ultimately in control of the intensity of her own workout. Consequently, Spinning® classes are open to participants of all fitness and experience levels.

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