Guest Post-5 Things to be on the Lookout for in an Indoor Cycling Class

I am still on vacation with my family so please enjoy today’s guest post by my fellow Sweat Pink sister Lena. Lena is a certified Spinning instructor and teaches Cycling at her local YMCA. 

Hi everyone! I’m Lena – the Lena behind the Lean Lena blog – a fitness enthusiast, an aspiring healthy eater and a certified Spinning® instructor.  

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I’m very excited to be here today to talk to you about things to be on the lookout for in an indoor cycling class. With indoor cycling’s booming popularity and studios opening up everywhere offering this wonderful workout, it becomes extremely important to know the things to be on the lookout for in the class that can be potentially dangerous and unsafe.

Have you ever walked out of an indoor cycling class feeling like you just got an awesome workout, and then wondered with time where that back/knee/neck/shoulder pain came from? Or ask yourself how come you’re not seeing the results you want even though you work so hard?

Even though it is your instructor’s responsibility to make sure your workout is safe, I encourage you to educate yourself before starting an indoor cycling exercise program and make sure you are following the safety guidelines. Not following them seems harmless but it sure is dangerous in the long run.

Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for when taking an indoor cycling class.

{ONE} Bike Set-Up

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When you walked into that class for the first time, did your instructor come over to introduce him/her-self and help you set up your bike?

Did he/she ask if there were any students in the class who were completely new to indoor cycling or needed help setting up their bikes?

If yes, you’re good as long as they helped you setup your bike correctly.

If not – you are at risk of setting it up wrong without professional guidance, which can lead to bad riding form and eventually – injuries.

If you’re in a class that uses one of the Spinner® bike models, you can read about proper bike set up here before the class. Otherwise – please, speak up and ask your instructor for help.

Speak up and ask your instructor for help in any case. Don’t be shy!

I find a lot of people forgetting their bike settings after I help them set it up, and then feeling embarrassed to ask for help again. Write down your bike settings for future classes. Even if you didn’t – ask your instructor to help you again – it’s what we’re there for.

{TWO} “Funky” Moves

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So you got your bike set up properly and you’re all ready to go. The music is great, the instructor is “on fire”…Perfect! Here are some “funky” moves you should be on the lookout for and should not do in order to avoid discomfort, pain, and/or injuries:

  • Hovering/Isolation (“Out of the saddle and “freeze” that upper body! Only legs are moving!” might your instructor say)
  • Extending your arms to hand position 3 while seated
  • Using free weights while on the bike
  • Riding with no resistance on the fly wheel
  • Doing squats while on the bike
  • Letting go of handlebars during a standing climb or standing flat/running
  • Pushups (yes, some people actually do that while on the bike)
  • Placing your foot up on the handlebars while stretching at the end of the class

There’s more. The things above are just a few of the most common contraindicated moves. You can read more about contraindications for the Spinning® program and Spinner® bikes here.

The rule of thumb is – Keep It Real! In other words – if you wouldn’t do it on a regular bike, don’t do it on the stationary bike.

Would you ride on the road with free weights in your hands? Exactly!

If the instructor in the class you attend suggests any of the moves above, remember: it is your ride, your body and your health – you decide what to do. You don’t have to do something your instructor tells you that you know is wrong and/or not safe.

{THREE} Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)

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Take a note: does your instructor wear an HRM? Does he/she encourage the class participants to purchase and use one?

Monitoring your heart rate is very important in achieving your fitness goals. Fitness in addition to other things means healthy heart. One of the ways to measure that is by wearing a Heart Rate Monitor.

Consider purchasing a heart rate monitor even if your instructor makes no reference to HR in class; take note of your HR during the ride.

Be smart about your training – read more about effective training based on heart rate and Energy Zones.

{FOUR} Resistance Control


Does your instructor come up to you during the class to adjust the resistance on your bike’s flywheel?

If yes – never come back to that class again.

You are the one in control of your workout. You are the one who decides how hard you can and will work.

If your instructor received proper training, they would have been strongly discouraged to even suggest increasing resistance in any measurable amounts. Suggestions to increase resistance are totally normal and necessary to explain and implement the riding profile for the class, but telling you how much you should add (half turn, full turn, quarter turn) is not. Adjusting resistance FOR you is unacceptable.

{FIVE} Who’s getting a workout?


Ever feel like it is your instructor’s workout not yours?

Does your instructor get off the bike during the class to walk around and help people in the class?

A good instructor does. He/she also remembers that it is not his/her workout, but yours. It surely is inspiring to see your instructor sweating just like you, but things look a little different to the instructor when they get off the bike and walk around to check on their students’ form, heart rates, answer possible questions and help out if somebody needs them.

I hope the tips above can help you in achieving your fitness goals without getting injured – regardless of the level of your instructor’s professionalism. Even though it is your instructor’s job to guide you and keep you safe during the class, remember that you’re in charge of that bike and that puts a lot of responsibility on you, too.

Educate yourself in advance and enjoy the ride!

Big thanks to Lesley for having me today and to you for stopping by to check out my post!



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