Indoor Cycling 101: Know this Before Using a Spin Bike

In the not-so-distant past, cycling meant riding outside on roads and against the wind. Today, cycling also means riding indoors within your comfort zone without losing the performance perks of outdoor cycling. That pretty much sums up what indoor cycling is about. Still and all, a proper introduction is in order.

What Exactly is Indoor Cycling?

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Indoor cycling, also called “spinning,” is a term that defines cycling in your home or an enclosed spinning studio on an exercise machine, known as a spin bike. This convenient yet highly effective activity has been in existence since the early 90s and has evolved with the passing years.

Spinning is synonymous with high-performance cardio and strength training workouts. A 60-minute spinning session can translate to about 800+ calorie burn(provided you are doing it right). Mindblowing eh?. Indoor cycling guarantees a pool of sweat and adequately worked calves, quads, hamstrings, core, and glutes. It is also a tested and trusted exercise for weight loss and improved cardiovascular health.

The convenience combined with the excellent benefits makes indoor cycling a quality alternative to outdoor cycling. Why subject yourself to reckless cars, inclement weather conditions and whatnot, when you can achieve the same results from the comfort of your home or a studio!

What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling?

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The advantages of indoor cycling far outweigh its disadvantages. Spinning exercise benefits your body and mind. It helps you shed calories like a shredder shreds papers, improves and strengthens the function of your heart, and amps your muscle endurance to the maximum. What more, a spinning session induces feel-good endorphins in your brain, which are chemicals that liven your mood and make you giddy with excitement. You can’t help but be euphoric after a productive spinning class — leading to improved mental health and a quality lifestyle.

How Does it Work? What to Expect


First off, prepare for an exerting adventure because indoor cycling is pretty intense! It requires grit, determination, and a hunger to succeed against all odds. So if you can’t invest the effort and dedication it demands, you may want to consider other exercises that require minimal effort and commitment.

When spinning, your heart rate typically increases and maintains a high rate for about 45-60 minutes; that is how intense it can get. Expect a total body workout that involves your back, core, upper body, glutes, quadriceps, legs, and hamstrings.

The Muscle Groups Involved

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Your core will provide the stability you need to maintain balance all through a session or class. Your upper body lends much-needed support to help you sit on the spin bike without harming your posture or losing your balance. Your back maintains the posture of your spine.

Your quadriceps will work hand in hand with the pedals, leaving your legs toned and firm. Your glutes will feel the burn, especially when incline and high resistance levels are applied. Your hamstrings will become stronger with each cycle, making your joints happy and stable. Every session ensures your calves are sufficiently worked, which shields your ankles and feet from spinning-related and everyday injuries.

Cycling At Home at Home


One of the many advantages of indoor cycling is that you don’t need a large floor area to house your spin bike or move. You can spin in your home, a gym, or a specialized spinning studio.

If you plan to spin in your home, find a rectangular floor portion to sit your bike. And before buying a spin exercise bike, you should consider the space in your home. If you have ample room to spare and budget is not an issue, then you could purchase just about any spin bike. But if you are short on space and budget, you should consider compact affordable models like the Kouz Live magnetic bike — that fit your space requirements.

Your spinning goals should complement the program and capacity specifications of your spin bike. If you want intensive sessions with high-tech amenities, namely workout programs, automated resistance, indoor cycling apps, customization settings, and entertainment options, choose smart spin bikes that include these specifications. Some good examples include the Echelon EX5s bike and the NordicTrack S22i. However, these types of magnetic spin bikes tend to be expensive. So yes, consider your budget too.

If you want an everyday spinning experience, nothing intense or overly serious, choose entry-level budget spin bikes that are special designed for beginners and offer only the basics, nothing over-the-top. You can start with the Yosuda indoor cycling bike. You can check out indoor cycling bike reviews for the best spinning exercise bikes.

Cycling in Studio

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Most gyms offer spin classes for a fee, and some studios are reserved explicitly for spinning, just like you have Yoga studios. All in all, gym and studio settings take a class-like approach to spinning. So if you plan to join a spin class, make sure it is the right fit for you.

Whether you enjoy a spin class or not depends on the instructor and the class structure. So you want to ensure that you find an instructor and a class orientation that appeals to your needs and goals.

Carry out due diligence by taking different spin classes to get a first-hand feel of how spin classes work. Instructors aside, you should also factor in class population or size. If you love a bubbly atmosphere with many like-minded spin enthusiasts, a large class is the one for you. But if you want immersive sessions with a personalized feel, a small-sized class fits the bill.

Consider the class schedule and program too. Some classes are grouped into speed, power, and endurance. Others combine spinning with other sporty activities like pilates, boxing, gaming, HIIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), etc. Bottom line? Choose the class that best aligns with your personality and targeted goals.

What Should You Wear?

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Where indoor cycling apparel is concerned, the first and most important criteria is; comfort. Moisture-repellent shorts for men and tops that promote breathability are the best choices. Tight-fitting padded lycra shorts for women are a popular option. Shoes-wise, there are a variety of indoor cycling shoes to choose from. Plus, some studios offer these shoes for free or for a fee.

Indoor cycling shoes come with cleats, clip-ins, and enough traction. However, there are different types of cleats or hole systems. There is a two-hole system called the SPD clips, which are comfortable to walk and pedal in. Then, the upgraded three-hole system called Delta cleats has better energy transfer, traction, and durability.

Ps: you can also cycle with a regular gym or athletic shoes, provided your spin bike pedal is cut out for them. However, the standard cleat system remains the better and most recommended indoor cycling shoes.

Final Thoughts

Indoor cycling or spinning is a gratifying activity. The performance, reward value, overall benefits of indoor cycling is hard to find in any other exercise bikes. With a quality spin bike such as Keiser M3i, you can maintain a healthy body mass index, strengthen your muscle endurance and improve your cardiovascular health — all from the comfort of your home or a studio. However, it is essential to know the ins and outs before enrolling for a spin class or buying a home-use spin bike. The knowledge and tips shared in this article promise to make your first spinning session a memorable and fulfilling experience. Additionally, you will avoid all the pitfalls that beginners tend to topple into before getting the hang of the activity. Follow this guide religiously and get off on the right foot with a minimal learning curve.

Robbie Ferri
Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri from “Riding with Robbie” has been cycling for almost ten years. In that time, he has broken World Records, Bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. Robbie picked up a bike and started cycling when he was about 25 years old and said it was the best thing he ever did. The experiences and the fun he’s had have given him a huge passion for helping inspire others to ride further, farther, and get fitter.