Spinning 101 and the Anatomy of a Spin Bike [Infographic]

Sarah Sung
by Sarah Sung
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Spinning 101 and the Anatomy of a Spin Bike [Infographic]

Even though Spinning has been around for decades, new people take the class every day. Usually I have one or two newbies in one of the six classes I teach each week. I vividly remember my first time, so I can still relate to being new. It’s daunting. I tried it way back when people did jumps and dropped the saddle so you never sat. I don’t miss those days. I also tried it after having a burrito for lunch. To this day, I still can’t eat and spin.


In my opinion, it takes about 3–5 classes before the uncomfortable becomes comfortable — or, let’s say, familiar. After about 10 classes, you’re able to assess if Spinning is the right kind of workout for you. My biggest tip is to stick with it. Nobody likes it at first, but many people get seriously hooked. (Myself included.)

If you’re new, here’s some advice:


1. Arrive early and let the instructor know you’re new so they can help you set up your bike and walk you through a few things.

2. Bring a towel and a water bottle. You’ll need both.

3. Try to keep your pedals turning the entire time, but feel free to sit up and get water when you need it.

4. Take it easy and observe, then ramp up the intensity over time.

5. If you must leave early, try not to leave during an interval and be as quick and inconspicuous as possible.

6. No matter when you leave, try to make eye contact with the instructor to let them know you’re OK and to acknowledge them — even if it wasn’t your favorite class. (Instructors have feelings, too.)

7. Keep your phone in the locker room. Out of respect for classmates and the instructor, don’t use your phone in class.

8. Along those lines, paging through magazines or setting up your iPad to watch a movie in class is deeply frowned upon — and might get you kicked out. This is class, dammit!

9. Try different instructors or studios. There are so many approaches — from a dance-party vibe at SoulCycle to outdoor training-inspired rides.


Generally, you want a slight bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Imagine your pedal as a clock hand, at the bottom of your stroke, the pedal is at 6 o’clock and your knee is slightly bent.

When the pedal is at 3 and 9 o’clock, you want your knee to be behind your toes. If an imaginary line dropped from your knee, it would fall in the middle of your foot.

Your upper body should hinge at the hips, supported by a strong core and with a long, neutral spin from the top of your head to your tailbone.


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About the Author

Sarah Sung
Sarah Sung

An avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, yogi and all-around gym rat, Sarah Sung has written lifestyle, health and fitness content for publications including AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonima and UrbanDaddy. Now she manages editorial for MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness. In her spare time she teaches indoor cycling in San Francisco and has raced in triathlons in California and Hawaii. Traveling and checking out the latest dining scene are always high on her to-do list.


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