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2 Big Mistakes You're Making In Spin Class
Getting the most out of your spin class may be this simple: Spend as little time as possible in the seat, and don't kill yourself on gut-busting sprints. A recent study published in theJournal of Strength and Conditioning Researchsuggests that standing positions and moderate to moderately high efforts can deliver fitness gains faster.
In the study, 11 men and women in their 20s rode for 3 minutes in each of 3 positions—seated, a standing climb in which your butt is out of the seat and you lean forward, and running, when you're standing straight up. They tried each of the positions at 4 different intensities while the researchers measured the demands on riders' leg muscles and oxygen consumption—called VO2—an important indicator of cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
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The demand on muscles was fairly consistent in all positions, says study co-author (and spin instructor) Nicole Rendos, a graduate research assistant at the University of Miami. But oxygen consumption jumped significantly in both the climbing and running positions. Rendos believes your legs and lungs are working harder when you're out of the saddle because you have to support your body weight in addition to spinning the pedals.
The other surprise, says co-author Joseph Signorile, PhD, is that oxygen consumption at moderate-to-high intensities and the highest intensity was about the same. "That means you can get a good workout without trying to go all out," says Signorile. "Especially if you're new to spinning, remaining at a slightly lower intensity—maybe a 7 or 8 out of 10 instead of at 9 or 10—will be just as beneficial, and you'll be able to keep it up the effort much longer." If you're going to spend more time out of the saddle, remember this safety tip: Any time you stand, be sure to keep enough resistance on your wheel; otherwise, you could get a sudden increase in pedal speed that could strain muscles or joints.
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