Okay so this is my ode to spinning. There are very few things in life I would consider myself an expert in, but the place I get my yoda on is the spin room. I’ve been spinning for eight years and have been certified to teach spin for the last three years. I love the loud music, the fast pace, the sweat drenched participants. I’m definitely more centered in a hot room with loud music and grunting gym goers than I am on a yoga mat with soothing music and low lighting. Can’t help it, that’s how I am. I must say however that I become a bit of a nosey-nell now that I’m trained to pick up on poor form and injuries waiting to happen. There’s really nothing that bothers me more than being in a class with an instructor that isn’t looking around the room to make sure everyone is safe and in proper form on their spin bike. It’s not just the perfectionist in me; it’s the worrywart. You see, spin is a great calorie burner and lower body sculptor, but if done incorrectly can wreck havoc on your joints and muscles and in some cases cause some serious injuries.
Since I can’t be in everyone’s spin room with them this is my little spin enthusiast public service announcement. If you’ve never taken a spin class please don’t let this list scare you, spinning is a great form of exercise and you control your own resistance and pace so you can make your learning curve as gradual as possible.
7 Spin Digressions:
- Bad bike setup. The basic guide for setting up your bike is to align the seat with your hip bone when you’re standing up next to the bike. Your seat should be an arms length away from your bars and while you’re sitting there should be a slight bend in your knee when your peddle is at it’s lowest point.
- Toes pointed down. Your feet should always be at a right angle with your leg.. You want to be able to press down on your peddles comfortably. Pointing your toes down may make people feel more secure in regard to balance but it causes strain on your ankle joint.
- Never pull up on your peddles. It’s a natural instinct to pull up to slow down when the instructor tells you to slow your cadence but you could dislocate your foot. Pushing down is always the way to go.
- Feet all the way in the stirrup. Everyone has different size feet, so when you cage your foot into the stirrup, you need to be aware of where your foot hits the bar in the peddle. The horizontal bar in the peddle should hit right at the ball of your foot.
- Too much/not enough resistance. You never want to do a standing climb without enough resistance to comfortably hold your body weight on the bike. If you’re bouncing at all, you should raise the resistance. On the other hand sometimes people use way too much resistance. Another way to ease into higher resistance is to pretend there’s a grapefruit between your thighs and try to keep in place. Squeezing your thighs together slightly is a way to increase resistance without ever touching the dial.
- Knees out. I see this a lot and it is so, so, so bad for your knee and hip joints. Your knees should always be facing forward, aligned with your hips when you’re on a bike. Coming from someone who has some serious hip injuries from years of dance, let me plead with you all to take very good care of your hip joints and make sure your knees are facing forward.
- Water. You should be drinking 16oz for every half hour you’re on the bike. I’ve actually seen instructors tell people to get out of class if they don’t bring water. We all think we’re super heroes, but I’ve been in many a class where people have passed out, most often from dehydration.
Okay, so this was more for me than for you. I’m pretty sure if I were taking a class and went around telling everyone how to correct their form I’d piss off a lot of people, but it really bugs me when the instructor isn’t actively making sure their class is safe. So, if you’re a spinner, keep these little tid-bits about proper form in mind. Your ankles will thank me 😉