Bike setup & riding form tips for Spinning® newbies


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Thinking about taking up Spinning as part of your workout? Great! It’s one of the most effective ways to scorch calories and fat. It’s also great as a cross-training tool for almost any type of sport. Setting up a bike in class can be a little intimidating for a newbie. If not set up properly, your first ride can be uncomfortable and may scare you away from Spinning for good! Josh Taylor, a former pro cyclist and master Spinning instructor, doesn’t want that to happen. Follow his important guidelines for a smooth, comfortable, safe and effective ride:

Getting started

Comfortable workout clothes, proper footwear, a water bottle and a desire to create a unique fitness experience are all that you need to get started. You also need to find yourself an official Spinning class.

Once you find your class, let the instructor know if this is your first time so they can help adjust your bike. Don’t forget to have a towel close at hand and stay well-hydrated while riding — you’ll be sweating a lot!

Wearing cycling shoes with cleats allows riders to get more integration of muscles in the legs, more comfort and more power output, which all equates to burning more calories and an overall better workout. With cycling shoes, feet are connected to the pedals much more securely.

Bike setup

Don’t worry. It’s not as intimidating as it seems! A key to enjoying and getting the most out of a class is to ensure that your bike is correctly set up to suit your body. Proper setup avoids discomfort and injury, so take a few minutes before the class begins to perform the following steps:

  • Stand next to your bike and adjust the seat so that it is approximately hip level. Sit on the bike and push one of the pedals to its lowest position; the knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  • Adjust the seat position back or forward so that your arms are a comfortable distance from the handlebars with elbows slightly bent.
  •  For beginners, start with the handlebars in a relatively high position. As flexibility increases, begin to move the handlebars downward until they are approximately level with the seat.
  • With feet centered on the pedals, tighten the toe straps to hold feet securely in place.
  • Always make sure that the handlebars, seat post and seat slider are securely locked in and that all pop pins are completely engaged.


Riding form

It is important in the Spinning program to work on form and fluidity. Eliminating unnecessary movements will maximize the efficiency of the workout and leave you energized instead of fatigued. The Spinning program focuses on five core positions:

1.  Seated Flat: Sitting down with hands close together on the flat horizontal part of the handlebars;
2.  Seated Climb: Sitting down with hands wide on the horizontal part of the handle bars;
3.  Standing Flat: Standing up with hands wide on the horizontal part of the handle bars;
4.  Standing Climb: Standing up with hands on the vertical part of the handle bars; and
5.  Jumps: Transitions between seated and standing positions while hands remain wide on the horizontal part of the handle bars.

Stay in control, and focus on form and smooth transitions. There should always be some resistance on the pedals. Familiarize with all movements at a moderate pace before attempting to increase speed.

Excessive upper body movements on the bike can be unsafe and should not be used in a class. A few of the movements to watch out for include pushups, twists, crunches, shoulder drops and cornering.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. All certified Spinning instructors will be able to assist in setting your bike up properly and to ensure proper form.

Learn even more about how awesome Spinning is here.