Indoor cycling, or spinning, is a just like riding a bike out on the streets, only you get to do it in the gym or the comfort of your own home. Spinning has all sorts of benefits from cardiovascular to muscular endurance, but the benefits really get kicked up a notch when you take the intensity to another level in a spin class. Having an instructor push you and having others to compete against makes spinning not only fun, but also gives you a greater burn than you would have gotten by yourself.
Your heart is the most important muscle in your body, so giving it the work it needs to stay healthy is vital. Adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which can be broken down into 30 minutes, five days a week. Spin classes make this guideline easy to meet since most classes last an hour. Just three spin classes a week will give your heart the workout it needs to stay fit.
The quadriceps, the primary front muscle on your thighs, are the main muscles used during spinning. Each time you push the pedal down with your foot, your quadriceps muscle is engaged. During an incline hill climb on the bike, your quadriceps are heavily engaged to help you drive through with your legs to pedal.
The hamstrings, the primary muscles on the back of your thighs, are supporting muscle during spin. Hamstrings play the supporting role to the star muscle, the quadriceps. When you push down with each pedal, the hamstring helps to lift it back up so that you are ready to pedal forward again.
The glute muscles are activated almost any time you use your legs to help with hip extension, but with spinning they are specifically targeted when the instructor has you rise up out of the seat. The glutes are engaged even more when the incline or resistance is raised. Your glutes have to work hard to help your leg muscles push through the pedal, which means that greater stress is being put on the glutes. By the end of a well-rounded spin class your glutes should be worn out.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.