In an age when fitness fads come and go, seemingly in the blink of an eye, spinning workouts have endured. Go to any gym, and the class with the most participants will usually be the spin class. The reason for spinning workouts popularity is largely due to them being fun as well as extremely effective.
Targeting and strengthening the core, shoulders, back, quads and hamstrings, doing even just one 40 to 60-minute spinning workout a week will enable you to burn body fat and a stack of calories. When done regularly, spinning will improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and endurance.
If you don’t want to join a gym, the good news is that with the range and quality of spin bikes available for home use these days and with numerous online resources offering free spinning workout routines and tips, you can get a gym quality workout without setting foot outside of your front door.
In this article, we will look at how the idea for the spin bike came to be. We will also discuss the benefits of spinning workouts, along with the drawbacks.
Origins of Spinning Workouts
Created in America in 1989 by South African ex-pat Johnny Goldberg, a fitness trainer who regularly competed in endurance cycling events, the concept of spinning workouts was born from a need for Goldberg to prepare himself better for a challenging bicycle race he’d previously entered and failed to finish.
Realising he needed a competitive edge, he adapted a stationary bike to simulate the feel of a road bike. The resulting bike enabled him to train, regardless of the conditions outside. He subsequently completed the 3000-mile race from Los Angeles to New York in just ten days.
Going by the name of Johnny G, Goldberg later opened a fitness studio in Santa Monica. It was an immediate hit with cyclists, who flocked to his spin classes. His business expanding, by 1991 Johnny had introduced spin classes to Hollywood.
Three years later, Goldberg patented the Spinning logo. He then went on to open the first of many fitness centers, Johnny G’s Spinning Headquarters, in LA. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Spin classes have come a long way since those early days when attendees were happy to cycle to background music. With advances in technology, there are now spin bikes capable of simulating jumps, sprints, hill climbs and downhill freewheeling.
Over the past decade or so, bikes that deliver “terrain-based” conditions, including the feel of wind and resistance, have become hugely popular with both fitness fans and pro-riders who do spin bike workouts as part of their training when weather extremes rule out road training.
Keep reading to find out about some of the main benefits of spinning workouts.
20-Minute Fat Burning Spinning Workout
Benefits of Spinning Workouts
Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness
Spinning delivers a challenging cardiovascular workout that strengthens the heart, lungs, and vascular system, enabling oxygenated blood to be pumped and processed by the body more efficiently. This ultimately results in an increase in energy levels and improved endurance; that will allow you to work out for longer at a higher intensity.
High Fat and Calorie Burn
The average spin class is 40 minutes long, though some go for one hour. Whether you decide to take a class or exercise at home, a 40-minute spinning workout will burn anywhere from 400 to 600 calories.
Spinning for one hour, you can burn 800 calories or more, with some people torching as many as 1,200 calories. With 3,500 calories equal to 1 pound of body fat, doing just two moderately-paced 40-minute spinning workouts a week will enable you to lose over 1 pound a month, without having to cut your food intake.
*The number of calories you burn will be determined by factors including your body weight, the resistance level you work at and the effort you put in.
Strengthens the Legs and Core
Spinning workouts tone and strengthen the leg muscles and core. Start off at a low or moderate pace, increasing the intensity and resistance level of your workouts over time. By working harder at a higher level of resistance, you will burn extra calories, and your muscles will become stronger and tone up faster.
Another significant benefit of spinning workouts is that they place very little pressure on the joints. This makes them suitable for people who are unable to do weight-bearing exercise.
Cycling’s smooth action can strengthen the muscles and joints of the knees and hips and prevent muscles from being over-extended. With stronger joints and muscles, the risk of sprains, tears, joint pain and other stress injuries occurring, decreases.
Low Risk of Injury
As mentioned above, spinning workouts are gentle on the joints. Additionally, the seat and handlebars of a spin bike provide upper and lower body support that is not present in many forms of exercise. This adds protection from common back, foot, knee and shoulder injuries that can occur when doing high-impact workouts.
Suitable for All Fitness Levels
Another of the benefits of spinning workouts is that they can be undertaken by anyone, regardless of their fitness level or age. If you are new to exercise, cycle at a slow pace. When you are fitter, for further gains, cycle faster and increase the resistance level of your workouts.
Drawbacks of Spinning Workouts
While spin bike workouts are a fun and effective way to burn calories, reduce body fat and improve your cardiovascular health, as with most things, along with the good comes the not so good. Having said that, the negative aspects of spinning workouts are quite minor. Read on to find out what they are.
There’s no denying that until you become accustomed to it, you will probably find working out on a stationary bike to be uncomfortable. This is often the case, even with high-end exercise bikes and regular road bikes.
A padded bicycle seat or padded cycling shorts will go a long way towards alleviating the problem. Regardless of whether or not you take this precaution, you can still expect to experience sore buttocks at first. This won’t be a long-term issue, but it is something to keep in mind.
Limited Upper Body Benefits
Spinning workouts are excellent for toning and strengthening the legs and core. They are not, however, as effective for toning the arms, shoulders, upper back or chest. To get a total body workout, you will need to include another form of exercise in your regimen to exercise your upper body.
While there are a number of different spin exercises you can do, and you will be able to vary your workout further by adjusting your bike’s tension, the basic cycling motion you will be doing throughout can become repetitive. Some people thrive on this, while others prefer a lot of variety. If you become bored easily, spinning workouts may not be for you
Most spin bikes come with workout DVDs set to music. By cycling to upbeat music and/or following along with an online class, your sessions will be more enjoyable and the time you spend doing them will seem to pass a lot faster.
A benefit of spinning workouts for anyone living in an area with unpredictable weather is that it is done indoors. This means you can exercise, regardless of the weather. The one possible drawback is that you will miss out on your free dose of Vitamin D, courtesy of the sun. Vitamin D supports and strengthens the bones and teeth and helps to prevent disorders including osteoporosis and rickets.
* Ten minutes of sunshine a day will provide you with enough Vitamin D. With the high incidence of skin cancer, when exercising outdoors, always wear sunscreen.
Cycling outdoors on a push bike improves balance, coordination, and reflexes. Balance is required to keep the bike upright, while coordination and fast reflexes are needed to negotiate corners, bumps in the road and the obstacles that are part and parcel of outdoor cycling. You won’t experience any of these when spinning, so your skills in these areas will not be honed.
For anyone who is unsteady on their feet or worried about exercising on the street, being able to hop on a spin bike in the safety of their home, makes this form of exercise a very appealing option.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Spinning Workouts
While there are some drawbacks to spinning workouts, there are far more benefits. Along with decreasing body fat and burning a lot of calories, spinning will tone your muscles, build your strength and improve your endurance and stamina. Workouts are relatively short, and you won’t need to undertake them daily to get good results.
While the motion of spinning can feel repetitive to some people, others find the time passes very quickly once they get into a rhythm. If you’re a person who likes a lot of variety, you can always add other exercises to your routine. Doing so will decrease the likelihood of you becoming bored, and it will keep you challenged and motivated.
Nowadays, there are some very affordable spin bikes made for home use. One of my favorites is the Sunny SF-B1001. Another excellent option is the Sole SB700, which is gym-quality and great value-for-money. (Click on either of the previous two links to read the relevant review.)
I hope this article helps you decide if spinning workouts are for you. If you’re still in doubt, try a spin class at your local gym. If you enjoy it, buy your own spin bike, and you won’t be restricted to having to work out at a time that may not suit you.