According to most fitness experts, riding a bike is one of the best forms of muscle endurance and cardiovascular exercises that you can do to lose weight or improve your health. There are three types of indoor exercise bikes that include the spin bike, upright and recumbent exercise bikes. But what is a spin bike?
The spin bike is a newer addition to the indoor cycling bikes that are designed to give you an authentic cycling experience similar to that of riding a bike outdoors. There are a lot of health and fitness benefits that come with riding a spinner bike.
From getting an invigorating experience you get every time you hop on the saddle to the improvements that you can see in the mirror, there are very few things that spinning class will not provide. If you want to use innovative equipment for a challenging workout or a fun experience, the spinning class is the best place to start.
What is a spin bike?
Spin bikes were introduced in the 1980s by Jonathan Goldberg and have now become a popular fitness and training tool in many fitness facilities around the world. The spin bike is a watered-down version of the road bike that gives you the feeling of a conventional bicycle while giving you the convenience of an all-weather, all-season use because of its indoor setup.
Spinning simulates the same amount of bike energy you would get from riding an outdoor bike. Since almost everyone knows how to ride a bike, it’s very easy to learn how to ride a spinner bike after knowing how to ride the bike safely.
What to look for in a spin bike
There are 2 types of drive systems in spin bikes which include the chain-based and belt-based drive systems. The belt drive system is superior in many ways. For one, it doesn’t make any noise, it doesn’t need a lot of maintenance unlike the chain drive system, and you can adjust the belts very easily.
This is the wheel that is at the front of the spin bike and similar to the outdoor bike, it’s what you would use in pedaling your bike. The weight of the flywheel is what will determine how smooth the motion of the bike will be, so the greater the weight, the smoother the motion. Spin bikes for home purposes mostly have a flywheel weight of about 40 lbs, but for commercial purposes, it will be about 50 lbs.
when you’re shopping for a spin bike, avoid getting one that has a flywheel weight of fewer than 35 lbs because it will be too light to give you a smooth and seamless motion. So, try different bikes to feel the different flywheels.
A console display will help you know what you’re doing while riding and this way you can get results. The most basic display system will show you the total speed traveled, heart rate, estimated calories burnt during your workout. Other bikes will have more detailed information like real-time information on your heart rate or help you set goals according to the distance traveled, etc.
Comfort and adjustability
To start with the bike has to be comfortable, but it can take about a month to get comfortable with your bike because it takes a bit of time for your butt to conform to the seat of the bike. So if you ride your bike only 3 times a week, it will take you longer to get comfortable with the seat, that’s why its recommended you buy cycling shorts to provide you with better comfort this way you can spin more.
As for adjustability, most spin bikes have adjustable seats and handles, the only thing that varies is the degree. This feature comes in handy especially if you’re really tall or overweight and you need to adjust your seat. But this is mostly not an issue with most spin bikes as you can adjust the seat vertically or horizontally, and that also goes for the handle.
Frame and legs
You must look at the bike’s frame regardless of the type of bike you’re buying. Get a spin bike with a strong and stable frame with wide legs to provide optimum balance. However, this can be difficult if you’re doing your purchase online, however, most bikes have a solid frame so focus more on getting a bike with wide enough legs that will keep the bike well balanced regardless of what you put it through.
A spin bike has 4 types of resistance mechanisms that include electronic, cable, manual crew, and magnetic and electromagnetic resistance. The manual crew resistance is a simple system that uses a knob and works the same way as the analog system, but it gets the job done. The electronic magnet brakes use a small hydraulic system that moves a magnet that applies resistance to the flywheel.
However, the cable resistance is mostly found on low-end bikes which aren’t recommended because it tends to slip which makes it unreliable. Also, the electromagnetic system is a recent introduction to the spin bikes and is very rare. It doesn’t use moving parts because it uses an electromagnetic field to create resistance.
You will find a toe strap attached in most spin bikes for stability. Some commercial bikes have a special type of strap used on the SPD cleat that is a bit more secure than the toe strap for specially designed cycling shoes.
Spinning can be just as strenuous as outdoor cycling which means you’re going to sweat just like any other form of workout so you need to keep yourself hydrated at all times. Most spin bikes have a water bottle holder while others more high-end bikes have two water bottle holders. The location of the water bottle is important because it can be difficult to reach it when you’re cycling.
It can be quite difficult to transport indoor bikes especially spin bikes because of their heavy flywheel that is attached. That is why you need a transport wheel on your bike if you’re going to be using it in your home where space is limited. This way you can move it easily when you need to use it.
Advantages and disadvantages of spinning
Low impact exercise
Although spinning can be a quite intense workout, it’s a low impact exercise so you’re less likely to suffer injuries during your spinning session and less pressure is applied on your joints. This means even if you get a knee injury, you can still take a spin class without having to worry about making your injury worse.
Spinning helps you to burn calories quickly, but it depends on how you work, which means the more intense your workout is, the more calories you burn. A typical spin class that lasts 45 minutes can help you burn 500 calories per session.
Helps to relieve stress
Any form of exercise is a stress reliever, but spin classes are better because you get to talk to other people in the class and socialize while exercising. Most spin classes include upbeat music that helps you to relax and a motivating instructor who pushes you harder which helps you feel better.
Helps to tone up
Spinning gets most of your body muscles like your arms depending on your workout, core, bum, quads, thighs, and legs to get to work which helps to tone your body. If you increase the intensity on your bike, you get more power to get the toned body that you want especially on your bum and legs. For your arms and abs, you can include weights or sit-ups on the bike.
You can track your progress
Spin bikes have a big advantage over other bikes because you can track your progress which includes the calories you’ve burnt, distance covered, and cycling speed. Your instructor can use this data to set for your goals to reach which makes it easier to track your progress.
Even though spin bikes are great, you tend to hunch your back especially when you reach high speeds and this can be very painful and can cause a lot of strain especially on your lower back. If you get back pains, get your instructor to show you the correct posture and adjust your handles so that you don’t hunch your back too much.
Spinning can be uncomfortable
Spinning isn’t the most comfortable form of workout because many people have complained about sore pelvic bones. After all, the seats aren’t very cushiony. To avoid this, you can adjust the seat to the correct height and the handlebars and buy padded bike shorts if you’re going to be doing this for the long haul.
Ignore the upper body
Spinning mostly helps to work out the lower body and ignore the upper body, so you need to balance things out. You can introduce weights and press-ups during your workout to get a full-body tone.
Now that you know what a spin bike is and what to look for when buying a spin bike, you can now include it in your regular exercise routine. Overall, spinning is a great form of exercise as long as you remember to use the correct posture and include other forms of exercise.