Everything You Need to Know Before Your First Indoor Cycling Class

At this point, you’ve probably heard of indoor cycling (or Spinning, if you want to use its trademarked name), but that doesn’t mean you’ve made your way to a class yet. We know the whole experience can seem overwhelming from the outside, so here’s what you should know before hitting the studio for the first time.

The Need-to-Know

More intense than riding a stationary bike, most indoor cycling classes last for 30- to 75-minute sessions. The intensity will vary throughout the class thanks to different body positions (i.e., standing versus sitting), pedal speed, and resistance. The instructor will tell you when to change your settings so your ride feels like it would outdoors—complete with hill climbs, sprints, and coasting. In some special classes, the pedaling is even mixed with upper-body workouts, resistant bands, or a themed adventure (Michael Jackson tribute, anyone?).

Spinning is definitely no ride in the park, though. It will amp up VO2 max (the rate oxygen is carried to the muscles), a sign the body is being pushed. Plus, all that pedaling will work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core. Studies have also found that indoor cycling can help shed unwanted pounds and potentially ward off migraines, while keeping impact on your joints to a minimum.

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