10 Most Common Spin Class Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

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By Robbie Ferri CPT

CPT & Indoor Cycling Instructor

Indoor cycling is one of the best forms of exercise. It’s low-impact, incredibly fun, and can be done in your own home or at a studio. In the past decade, it has hugely grown in popularity, and lots of new people have made a hobby and a passion out of it. 

When it comes to indoor cycling, there’s a lot to learn. Although on the surface, it’s a very simple concept, there are a lot of easy mistakes to make, especially when you’re a beginner. As an indoor cycling instructor for many years, I have seen it all and been on many people’s journeys.

Check out my YouTube video on the ten most common spin class mistakes!

In this article, I’m going to run through the most common mistakes indoor cyclists make so you can avoid them and enjoy the spinning experience as much as possible.

1. Not Setting Up the Bike Correctly

The first and most common mistake I see new indoor cyclists make is not setting up the bike correctly. If you want to be comfortable, injury-free, and pedal as efficiently as possible, then you will want to ensure the correct setup.

The points to focus on are the saddle height, handlebar height, and reach. Although this sounds like a lot, once you know how, it’s easy and takes less than 2 minutes. For the full guide, check out the Girl Bike Love how to set up your bike video and article. 

Common Spinning Mistakes about the seat height

2. Not Wearing The Correct Clothing

A good indoor cycling experience requires the correct clothing. You need to be in clothes that give you excellent functionality, comfort and which have the ability to keep you cool. If you plan to wear jeans or a jumper, it won’t be fun.

For a good experience, I highly recommend leggings and sports tops for women and for men shorts and a fitness shirt. If you’re looking for an even better experience, then cycling shorts with a pad will make it even more fun and comfortable.

spin bike flywheel

3. Not Warming Up And Cooling Down

It’s really easy to want to jump on a bike and start pushing hard into the pedals straight away or jump off quickly when the last sprint is done. This isn’t the best way to go. You have more chance of picking up injuries, it’s too much of a shock on the body, and you leave the bike full of build-up lactic acid.

It only takes five minutes to warm up and five minutes to cool down. The benefits of a warm up and a cool down hugely outweigh the time you lose doing it. Any class you go to will feature a good warm-up and cool-down. 

4. You Don’t Work Hard Enough

One of the best features of spinning is you each have your own bike and also have your own resistance dial. You are the master of how hard you work at all times. One thing I see with a lot of riders is they don’t push themselves as hard as they should after a while.

It’s not a comfortable feeling being near your limit, but that’s where you get the most benefit from your training, and the body can make the correct adaptations. Spinning is about challenging yourself, and low resistance isn’t going to do that. If you have the spare breath to talk in the class, then you’re not working hard enough.

Common Spinning Mistakes 1

5. You Work Too Hard

Although there are a lot of people that don’t work hard enough, there’s also a fair amount of people that work too hard. Pushing too much and taking your body past its limits can actually be more detrimental than you might think. You end up needing lots of recovery, and it also makes you want to stop spinning.

I have seen some spinners have to finish sessions early, and some even jump off the bike to throw up. It’s so tempting to want to impress and give your all, but it doesn’t pay off in the end. It’s much better to go in paced and spread your energy across the session.

6. Don’t Utilize All The Positions

When you jump on a spinning bike, it is easy to fall into the habit of just sitting down, enjoying some TV, and not moving much apart from the pedaling. Although there’s nothing wrong with this, you are not getting the most out of the session you’re in.

It’s good to utilize different positions on the bike, such as the standing climb and the aero position. This engages more muscles, helps you work harder, and makes the session much more exciting. 

Common Spinning Mistakes about handlebars

7. Dropping Your Head

Okay, this sounds ridiculous, but it does make a big difference. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is dropping their head while spinning. It’s not going to cause you too much trouble, and your head isn’t going to fall off, but it does have a huge impact on breathing. 

Dropping your head can restrict the airway, meaning you can’t get as much air in as you would if you had your head up. This, in turn, can reduce oxygen intake and also increase heart rate. It’s a quick way to reduce performance. 

8. Not Having Fun

Spinning is a lot of fun, but let’s all get on the same level and agree that it’s not easy if done properly. You have to push your body to its limits, and even when you’re tired at times, keep pushing to become your best self. 

It’s easy for it to become a little bit much and make you feel a bit miserable. It’s important to have fun and enjoy the process. Listen to the music, enjoy the class vibe, and challenge yourself to new heights. 

9. Not Resting Enough

As a personal training and cycling coach, you would think the biggest issue for me would be people not training enough. Actually, the biggest issue I had in my career was people training too much. Overtraining is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to spinning.

Training four or five times a week is ideal, but seven days a week is too much. Without rest and recovery, your body can’t adapt and make the changes it needs to make for you to become stronger and progress to being a stronger, better, more dynamic indoor cyclist.

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10. Don’t Clean The Bike Down

Surprisingly, one of the biggest issues I saw as a spin instructor was people not cleaning their bikes down. There are many reasons this should be done. Firstly, hygiene. The last thing you want is to be on a dirty or a sweaty bike.

The second reason being for the longevity of the bike. When you sweat, you produce salt. This salt, when it gets to unprotected metal, causes rust. Not only can this stop the bike from working properly, but it also makes it look awful and sends the resale value through the floor. 

A Final Note

Although spinning is as simple as riding a bike, there’s a lot to learn, and mistakes can be easy to make. We hope by reading this article, you will have found some mistakes to avoid. Thanks for taking the time to read the article. Make sure to check out the Girl Bike Love YouTube channel for the video.

Robbie Ferri CPT

Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.

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