Its important to note that Spinning® bike, although often thought of as a generic name is actually a trade mark of Mad Dogg Athletics® ( as are Spin®” and “Spinner ®) . It’s similar to the situation where Hoover or Kleenex are brand names that are so strong they have come to represent a physical product in our collective consciousness.
For the purpose of this guide we will use the term indoor studio bike to represent what many people think of as a Spinning® bike.
Indoor studio bikes are a great exercise machine. They have a number of health and fitness benefits and can be used in the convenience of your own home. There are many different ways to work out on one, from steady state cardio to lung busting interval training.
This review covers the best bikes available on the market today and what to consider when choosing one. We will talk about the benefits of training on one regularly, then finish with some workout advice.
What is an indoor studio bike and how does it differ from other exercise bikes?
Studio bike classes have become increasingly popular over recent years. It’s hard to go to a gym and not see either a separate studio or area of the gym floor devoted to studio bikes. The classes are lead by an instructor pumping out fast tempo music and shouting encouragement to riders covered in perspiration. The looks on the faces of the people as they walk out of the gym after a class is one of half exhaustion and half satisfaction. Although it’s tough, they know how much good that workout has done them.
If you can picture in your mind what these cycles look like you will see that there are some obvious differences to other exercise bikes.
An indoor studio bike is more stripped back than other exercise bikes. It is smaller, the flywheel is visible and the seating position and handle bars are much closer to a road cycle. The pedals will often have the option to clip in cleats as on a racing bike.
An upright bike will be larger with a more vertical seating position and enclosed mechanism. This makes it bulkier and heavier, talking up more space.
A recumbent bike positions the rider back from the pedals and handlebars, much closer to a horizontal riding position. It is the largest of all three types, taking up the most floor space.
Advantages of exercising at home
The number one advantage of exercising at home is convenience, closely followed by increased motivation, with saving money another factor.
The convenience of exercising at home on an indoor studio bike is huge. A 30 minute class at the gym also includes travelling, getting ready in the changing room, showering and changing after and then more travelling. Add all of these up and that 30 minute workout probably took up 90 minutes of your time at the least. At home all you have to do is jump in the shower quickly afterwards and you’re golden. A massive time saver! If you can’t make it to the gym because you have responsibilities at home, for example looking after small children, cycling at home once you have put them to bed is a piece of cake. And you can take part in a class online, we’ll show you some YouTube workouts later in this guide.
How often do you think people put off working out because of the inconvenience as mentioned above? Imagine how much more motivating it would be to think you can just jump on a bike at home with minimum fuss? How much more often would you exercise? Plus when the bike is sat in your home it’s hard to walk past it knowing you haven’t used it recently. It’s almost as its presence shames you into training. As you train more often you see greater results more quickly. This is a virtuous circle as the more you benefit, the more you have the motivation to train more often and at greater intensity.
As we mentioned already, training at home can save you money. A gym membership is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £50 to £100 a month. After a spell not paying these fees the bike will have paid for itself, beyond that you’re saving money.
Best spinning bikes UK 2017
|Model||Fit Bike Racer 23||JTX 6 Indoor Bike||Impulse PS300 Exercise Bike|
|Supplier||Amazon UK||JTX Fitness||Fitness Options|
|Check Latest Price||Check Latest Price|
|Average Customer Rating||5/5||5/5||N/A|
Benefits of spinning bikes
Training on an indoor studio bike is a great way to work your heart and lungs, leading to improvements in your cardiovascular health.
High intensity interval training really gets heart rate up and breathing heavier, over time your body adapts to this stimulus and the heart and lungs become more efficient.
A more steady workout is also good for your health. Experts agree that regular (5 times a week) periods of 30 minutes of exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, and staves off many over chronic health problems.
Low impact on joints
Cycling is much better for your joints than jogging or running. There are no jolts to the joints of the legs when you cycle as the motion is smooth. Plus the saddle takes a lot of your weight making is much easier on the knees, hips and ankles. People that have run for many years often end up with joint problems in later years as a result. This low impact also makes cycling a great workout for those with existing joint problems or those recovering from injury.
Calorie burning – weight loss
You can burn a lot of calories on a studio bike, the amount depends on intensity and duration of the session, but the range of 30 mins to 60 mins and low to high intensity will burn between 300 to 1500 calories. Putting that in context, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 for a woman and 2,500 for a man. A session on the bike could equate to a meal or twos worth of calories! You can even increase the rate at which you burn calories after meals by increasing your resting metabolic rate.
Leg muscle endurance
Regularly cycling at a higher resistance is a good way to develop the levels of endurance in your leg muscles. The key is to train with bursts of high intensity and limited recover periods. This makes the muscles more used to relying on internal energy stores rather than burning oxygen through breathing. The more muscles use internal stores the more efficient they become, clearing lactic acid quicker.
At points in a studio bike class you will lift yourself up from the saddle and cycle on just the pedals. When you do this you balance your upper body yourself rather than relying on the saddle. This engages the muscles in your core to stabilise you. Over time cycling like this will improve your core strength and help tighten the muscles around your abdomen.
Exercise, such as 20 minutes or more of cycling, releases hormones known as Endorphins. These make you feel great after exercise, a feeling often described as euphoric. This is why people get a great buzz from working out, in fact the feeling can become almost addictive. This is linked to regular exercise improving your mood and even reducing chance or levels of depression.
Spinning bike features to consider
It is key to be able to vary the level of resistance (the difficulty in pushing the pedals). Having a bike with no resistance settings is pointless. Resistance is used to increase or decrease the toughness of a workout, or toughness throughout the course of a single workout. The mechanism to change resistance varies by model, it is usually either a knob, lever or dial. There is no better or worse mechanism, but the more levels of resistance the better.
The momentum of the flywheel keeps the bike steady and weighted down as it spins during a workout. The heavier the flywheel the more stable and secure the bike will be as you exercise, especially when intensity ramps up. Heavier flywheels make the riding experience closer to that of riding a road bike.
You get more from a studio bike workout when you are comfortable on the machine. Your body movements are also more efficient if it is configured to fit your size and shape properly. The seat should be adjustable in both vertical and horizontal directions, meaning your legs extend to the correct length. The handlebar should move in a similar fashion, adjusting to give the optimum riding position. Training in a position that does not fit you can lead to discomfort and injury.
Not all studio bikes have a computer, they are not essential and you can workout just as well on a bike without one. However a computer allows you to keep track of metrics such as RPM, speed, distance and time. All of these are useful if you want to keep track of how you are performing and progressing. Have a target to aim for, or record to break, can be a great motivation to keep pushing yourself.
Weight limit maximum
The majority of people will fall well within the maximum range that a bike can handle, most bikes will cater for at least +100 kg. It is always worth checking however.
Small little things can make a difference even if they are not essential. A water bottle holder can be usefull for instance so you can refuel while still on the bike. Similarly somewhere to hand a sweat towel is useful, as is somewhere to hold or balance an MP3 player (or similar).
Spinning bike workouts
When you go to a class at the gym it will typically be a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You don’t see people just pedalling away steadily for 30 minutes!
There are a huge number of difference ways to carry out a HIIT workout, the two videos below are great examples. Remember however you workout it is important to warm up beforehand and cool down afterwards.
There are many more videos available on YouTube, check them out by clicking here.