There might be dumbells
If you were to draw a cartoon of a cyclist, you’d probably ham up the bulky quads and calfs, and draw noodley arms and bony shoulders to create the ultimate caricature. We cyclists do have a tendency to focus on our lower body and ignore seemingly unnecessary arm strength. The thing is, strong upper body muscles can be super helpful when climbing out the saddle or riding off-road on rough terrain. So it’s kind of handy that one track during the spin class session required us to pedal gently whilst lifting dumbells. It was also nice to give my legs a rest for one song anyway.
Again, not all spin classes will use weights – some might focus really specifically on cycling only drills. But if yours does add in a little iron pumping, I reckon it can only be healthy (as long as you don’t fall of the bike… not that I felt at risk of that… at all…).
Take a towel, drink lots and recover
I’ve been to Watt bike sessions before where the room starts to feel like the Sahara desert. At BOOM cycle, the air conditioning was really effective, and I could feel cool air flowing around me all session – which is good. However, pedalling hard and fast without the air flow offered by actual movement always gets you hot and bothered so you’ll sweat a lot and should drink plenty to stay hydrated. A towel to place on your handlebars is essential, as is some sort of recovery drink or bite to eat afterwards.
You need good shorts and a sports bra
The key ‘point’ to this exercise was to test out Altura’s women’s Pro Gel waist shorts. At £44.99 I was impressed by the compressive fabric on the legs, high yoga-style waist band and soft 3D molded chamois. At a spin class, you can’t choose your saddle (usually!) and you’re going to be thudding in and out of it – so you do need a quality pair of cycling shorts such as these.
You’re going to get hot, too – so don’t wear a jersey (I took mine off as soon as the lights went down). Personally I complete most indoor sessions in shorts and sport bra. A loose fitting, breathable, wicking fabric vest over the top is a good idea if you feel self conscious – or wear bibs that provide more coverage.
You’ll leave feeling a bit ‘Wooo Girl Power!’
Anyone can go to a spin class – man or woman, young or old – but the clientele is largely female. It was pretty awesome to be smashing it out with a group of awesome girls as the lights flashed and the music boomed around us. Before the final effort, our instructor ran round the entire class, High5ing every rider – and there was an unmistakable vibe of ‘we’re in this together’. I’ll definitely be returning to be in it together once again. As soon as my legs are back to normal.
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