Have you ever taken a spin (indoor cycle) class?  You might be picturing Bridget Jones sweating her arse off at her favorite Soul Cycle-style class and be thinking “NO WAY!  NOT FOR ME!”.  We wanted to take a deeper dive into what an indoor cycle class is like and how it can suit your fitness needs…regardless of your current fitness level.


There are several styles of indoor cycle.  It is important to know what you are getting into before you get started!


Classic spin classes emulate an outdoor riding experience.  This is touted by companies like Schwinn, for example, who train all their instructors to teach in this style. What that means to you is that you will not be expected to do push-ups on the bike or any other form of upper body work while in class.  The ride will likely include a variety of drills such as hills, sprints and jumps. The particular instructor’s style will determine the type of music played and how the class is formatted.  This is likely to vary week to week…even with the same instructor.


Soul Cycle is a newer form of indoor cycle that has become very popular recently and there are many copycat studios offering this format of spin.  According to their website, Soul Cycle’s premise is “a 45-minute indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training and rhythm-based choreography.”  While that is quite different than the traditional indoor cycle experience, fans of Soul Cycle rave about it and more and more studios like this are popping up everywhere!

Hallie Avolio
Hallie is Schwinn certified and teaches spin twice/week.


We would be remiss in our information if we didn’t talk about one of the hottest trends in spin…Peloton.  This is an at-home option for those who prefer to do your spin class on your own time.  Once you purchase the bike and the app, you have access to 4000+ on-demand rides (virtual classes) of all different lengths, intensities, instructors, etc.  You can also communicate and share stats with fellow riders via the app.


Regardless of what type of class you choose, the beauty of spin is that how hard you work and the intensity of your workout, is entirely up to you!  While the instructor may cue a certain move or gear change (how much resistance is on the bike), how much you turn the dial (harder or easier) is up to you!  If you have issues with your back or knees, you can sit even if the instructor tells you to stand.  If there is a sprint drill and you can only push at 50% effort…that is OK!


Another benefit of spin for any fitness-enthusiast is the community aspect.  Even when you are working out on a Peloton you are in a virtual community!  Many gym-goers don’t push themselves as hard when they work out solo (without a partner).  Research shows that when you are in a group fitness environment, surrounded by others, you are more likely to step up your game and push yourself a little harder [1, 2].  The great thing about a spin class is that you get all the benefit of the group mentality and community, but still the option to workout at your pace, based on your level.


Next time you are at the gym and considering what you should do for your workout that day, consider taking a spin class…even if you never have before!  If nothing else, it will be a lot of fun and sure to get your heart rate up!  You don’t have to be the most in-shape person at your fitness club to benefit from and enjoy an indoor cycle class.



  1. http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2661140

  2. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0670