Why Cyclists Should Learn To Love Spinning

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By Natalie Martin

It’s not uncommon for avid outdoor cyclists to “look down” on stationary bikes and spinning classes. It can be hard for them to understand how pedaling indoors and in place can provide them with an effective cardio workout, let alone be any fun.

While there are differences between these two activities, there are also a few reasons why cyclists might want to learn to love pedaling a spin bike.


Spinning vs. Outdoor Cycling


Many cyclists mistakenly believe that pedaling indoors on a spinning bike is easy, after all you’re not actually going up a hill. The lack of fresh air and changing scenery, are other excuses cyclists use to explain their reluctance to try a spin class. What often surprises them is that using a spinning bike could help make them better cyclists, and the activity comes with plenty of healthy benefits. The first step is to understand the main difference between an outdoor and indoor bike.

Differences in Outdoor and Indoor Bikes

Spinning bikes differ from most outdoor bikes due to the addition of a flywheel. Typically weighing 30 to 40 pounds, it provides resistance when you’re pedaling. The flywheel is what causes you to work your hamstrings and calve muscles. The level of resistance can also be adjusted on some of the best models. On an outdoor bicycle the resistance is supplied by wind or the terrain, and this requires you to use your quadriceps and hips.

Strengthening lower leg muscles will help improve your performance as a cyclist, but you also want to be careful and not let the momentum of the flywheel move the pedals for you. When this happens the bike is doing the hard work instead of you.

Here are a few of the other reasons a cyclist might want to join a spinning class.

Overall Fitness


According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average spinning class will keep your heart rate at 75 to 95 percent of its maximum rate. This is enough to give you a good cardio workout, and improve your level of fitness. Unfortunately, since you are mainly working your hamstring muscles, you might not be burning as many calories as you would biking outside.

Outdoor Cycling:

If you are serious about cycling it is possible to get and keep your heart rate around maximum range, but it is difficult to do for an extended period outside. Instead of having an instructor to guide your pace, you also must concentrate on balance and navigation. You will work more muscles on an outdoor bike, but this is only true if you continuously push yourself.



Even hardcore outdoor cyclists must admit that spinning is more convenient. Since a spinner bike is used indoors, you never have to miss a workout due to bad weather. This means cyclists can stay in shape year-round, and will always be ready to tackle the next challenging bike ride. If getting to the gym isn’t convenient, you can find top rated spin bikes at an affordable price. This way you can workout at home.

Outdoor Cycling:

Biking outdoors is not always convenient, even if adverse weather is rarely a problem. Trying to plan a route that is safe and challenging can be a logistical nightmare, especially if you live in an area with limited bike lanes. Traffic, pedestrians and even the terrain can all make it difficult for you to get the exercise you need.



Sticking with a spinning class can be hard. Indoor cycling can be boring, and this can make many people give up after their first class. Spinning doesn’t have to put you to sleep, and it won’t if you have a good instructor. The best spinning classes won’t leave you with any time or energy to get bored, and these are the ones that can help improve your cycling performance. Classes lead by experienced instructors are energetic. They will also provide motivation to help you stick with the workout program.

Outdoor Cycling:

Chances are you won’t have any difficulties with boredom when you are biking outside. If the views get repetitive you can always change the route. Outdoor bike riding also seems to go by a little faster, and this can make it easier to stick with. However, when it comes to increasing the difficulty of the workout it can be a little harder. On a spinning bike you only need to adjust the resistance, while outdoor cycling requires some technical skills. This can make it difficult for beginners to get the workout they need to improve their overall health.


Cyclists and Spinning


There are advantages to outdoor cycling and spinning that can benefit anyone. Both activities can provide you with a heart pounding cardio workout, and improve your overall health. While your muscular health will benefit more from outdoor cycling, spinning can give you the lower leg strength you need to excel on road, mountain or even racing bikes. Best of all, you can ride a spinner bike in any type of weather so you don’t have an excuse to miss a workout.

The next time you walk by a spinning bike, consider giving one a try. You might surprise yourself and find that it is another way for you to live a healthy and active lifestyle.



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