Week 4: Exploiting The Spin Bike

A couple summers ago I decided to do my first spin class and I loved it. Yes, I almost died, could barely walk the next day and the instructor yelled at me excessively about my form but it was awesome and I kept going back. My crazy cyclist dad went on and on about the ergonomic benefits of using a spin bike over a standard recumbent bike at the gym. So I kept up with a few spin classes and using the spinning bikes at the gym. I left my bike in Vancouver this week as I went home to Portland so I am relying on the spin bikes to get my cycle training in this week.
Spin bikes are great because you can simulate the same position you would be riding in on your road bike but you are inside, warm and dry. In this way they are a great substitute for your real bike when inclement weather stops you from getting out on the road or you are traveling and unable to bring your bike. So, this week I have been hitting the gym and working on my cycle (and run) portions as these are what truly need work for my triathlon. When using the spin bike you need to get a good position set up that will maximize the workout and imitate your position on your regular bike. Make sure that the seat is high (or low) enough and you are close enough to the handlebars.
If you decide to take a spin class (something I haven’t done recently) then get there early, get a good spot and DO NOT forget your water, you’re going to need it! Also, it’s very easy to just cruise and make it look like you’re working super hard so that the instructor doesn’t call you out. But, if you do this then you are only cheating yourself and this is not productive training. Trust me, I know from experience. Make sure to give 110% effort in every training session especially in your long or tough key workouts.
On the flipside, if you are more inclined to just get on the spin bike on your own volition without a crazy, ridiculously athletic spinning instructor this is cool too. Set up the bike how you want it, get some tunes going on your iPod and get pedaling. Always be sure to warm up and cool down sufficiently just as in a bike ride on the road.
Here is an example of some things to try when you are substituting your outdoor rides for indoor spin bike workouts…
Hills: Simulate hills by turning up the resistance on the bike and standing up in the seat. You can do some long hills (2+ minutes) or some hill intervals (1 minute or less of standing climb alternating with sitting easy pace – these will be repeated at least 3 times)
Sprints: Turn up the resistance to a middle resistance and do quick 30 second sprints (get low on the bike and put your arms forward) alternated by slower 30 second portions at the same resistance.
Keep training hard and join our twitter conversation using the #TriHard!

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