9 Spinning Terms You Need To Know
By Paula C. Heyn
A spinning class instructor will gladly help you if you are a new rider in the class. He/she will probably explain the terminology as well as how to adjust for the various positions on the stationary bike. But just in case, here is a guide to some common spin class terminology.
- Cadence counting: This is an easy one. Choose a leg and every time you make a rotation and your leg comes to the top of the rotation, that’s a count. You can use your hand at first to help you by holding it in just the right position over your leg so it taps the leg when it comes up. The instructor will tell you when to start the count and when to stop. Then you will multiply that count by a number to get your cadence. You want to maintain the same number of counts throughout the time period to keep your cadence steady. The times it goes around is also referred to as an RPM which is “revolutions per minute.”
- Hover: First set enough resistance so you can come out of the saddle and actually “hover” over the saddle. Your legs will do all the work. Keep your upper body very still and stay in a low position over the handlebars.
- Squats: Again, enough resistance will be needed so you aren’t spinning too fast. This is more of an upright position. Hold you upper body still and your legs will be doing the work. This is a hard position to hold, so make the most of it and expect some burn!
- Climbing: Set your resistance high to mimic climbing a steep grade. You may at times get out of the saddle and then sit back in the saddle to grind through the climb.
- Sprints (aka “fast pedal”): You will take the resistance off (and your instructor may give specific directions) and then you will go as fast as you can.
- Intervals: A series of “intervals” might last an entire song and be quite grueling. This is a chance to switch it up and go from climbs to sprints or jumps (standing up for 8-16 counts, then sitting down for 8-16 counts.)
- Spin: You will use your entire leg to turn the pedals, pushing and pulling with equal pressure. Your feet should be turning in perfect circles as opposed to mashing the pedal down and then bouncing back up. The action may feel similar to wiping mud off the soles of your shoes at the bottom of every pedal stroke. It is in spinning you will concentrate on keeping it at a specific RPM, very likely 80-100 RPM.
- Recovery Spinning (aka “soft pedal”) is a recovery spin with little or no effort. Lower the resistance, spin your legs easily, get a drink from your water bottle and take it easy for the time.
- Single leg: you will take one leg off the pedal so you can pedal with just one leg, then you will repeat with the opposite leg. (This ability can come in handy on the road bike when you can’t get the other foot clipped in right away and you need to get going quickly