Leave your helmets at home Bikergang, but buckle up because today’s blog is all about safety.
Spinning is a relatively safe form of exercise as it is low impact, linear in its main movement of pedaling, and the chance of falling is pretttttty slim.
That being said, YEG Cycle may have considered the risks of injury in a spin class more than you think. Keep reading to learn the methods behind YEG Cycle’s madness on keeping spin safe, but still super sweaty, and of course: fun.
Let’s start at the beginning. Bike set up. Improper bike set up is going to prevent you from being able to achieve appropriate body positioning throughout the spin class. It will also inhibit you from achieving ideal muscle recruitment for all of that pushing and pulling of pedals you’re about to do. If you’re unsure, ask a staff member or your Motivator for help!
Posture, Posture, Posture. Whether you’re sitting at your desk, driving your car, or walking your dog, having good posture decreases your risk of injury as well as improves your mechanics for whatever it is you’re doing. Spin class is no exception. Your Motivator probably says “chest proud,” “shoulders down,” “light hands,” etc., multiple times throughout the class, and it is for good reason. We cue correct body positioning to help you to avoid injury. If you’re unsure of how to ride properly, listen to these cues, check your sexy-self out in the mirror (that’s what they’re there for), and make the corrections if needed. Again, ask for some help or feedback from your Mo!
Speed limits. That’s right, our Motivators must follow speed restrictions for each type of spin track. Staying on theme, this is all about decreasing the risk of injury (but also just being realistic with what’s necessary). Pedaling too fast while seated just doesn’t feel right- have you ever biked down a big hill in a gear way too low? Trust me, it doesn’t feel right. You become less grounded in your seat and no longer have tension beneath your feet. Pedaling too fast out of the seat (especially for too long) again is unrealistic and poses the potential for improper posture and body mechanics. So ride to the conditions kids, don’t worry, you’ll still arrive at your destination.
I be up in the gym just a workin' on my fitness. To put it simply, if you want to work on the size of your bi’s and tri’s you’ve come to the wrong place. There are two goals of the weights track… #1: get a bit of an upper body muscle burn… Notice how there are no weights beyond 5 lbs? Not a whole lot of gains here folks. If you can’t maintain a flat back and tight core when the weights are out in front of you, go down a size- no shame! And most importantly Reason#2: it’s an opportunity for active recovery. 3-7 minutes of a weights track will allow you to recover slightly, whilst keeping your body working so that you can attack the remaining of the class with more power, energy, and focus than without it. This is the beauty of interval training… IT’S SCIENCE.
Methods to the Madness. Each motivator will put their own spin on the structure of their class. But we always warm-up with that seated race to get the blood flowing and to prepare the muscles for work. The weights track is somewhere in the middle so that it can serve its purpose of an active recovery. And the rest is mostly up to the motivator. It’s advised we use a variety of speeds (and therefore vary in resistances) throughout our playlists. This allows you to train a broader spectrum of components of fitness than with one speed. I could get really technical here but I won’t, just know that this structure allows you to push yourself further and more efficiently!
When I move you move- just like that. At YEG Cycle we like to dance up on that bike. The pumps, dips, crisscrosses etc. are to increase variety, add some coordination into the mix, and to work on core stability. As a bonus, yall know it looks pretty boss when the room is full of perfectly timed spin dance moves. #AllTheFeels. Here are some tips for moving well when up on that bike:
Avoid asymmetry. Asymmetrical movement is one of the top causes of injury- no joke. I promise we will never have you do more work on one side of your body than the other. Try to switch up which foot you lead with. Also, try your best not to put more weight into that lead foot! I am guilty here too, but even it out as best you can and use that mirror!
One hand holds are a great challenge, keep your shoulders level here and your weight centred.
Pumps, dips, and half dips are not push-ups. Keep your shoulders down, squeeze your tummy muscles, and add a bend to the elbows- just enough.
Heels down, toes up. Each leg should always be working! When one leg is pushing down with the glutes and the quads, the other leg should be pulling upwards with those juicy hamstrings and anterior tibialis- a.k.a. the meaty muscle in front of your shin bone. Master this then give that resistance knob another turn.
Hands should be light. Lucky for you, you don’t need to steer or control a spin bike! Keep your weight in your feet and your hands there for support in your posture.
Cyclists often get into a rounded and/or overly flexed back position for the purpose of reducing wind resistance… the only wind you’re getting at YEG Cycle is from a fan, and that will not slow you down! Keep that back flat and avoid irritating that precious back of yours.
Well… I think I have said enough. If you can’t tell, I am extremely passionate about exercise, movement, and the science of it all. I could talk for hours about this topic like it’s my day job…because it literally is. If you have any questions about this blog, or about anything exercise/activity related, you know where to find me.
Kylie Morrison (you can call me Ky)
CSEP & ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, YEG Cycle Motivator, Exercise Nerd Extraordinaire