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Winterize Your Workout With Spinning: Pedaling Tip

One of my favorite indoor Winter workouts is spinning. While nothing beats biking on the open road, spinning for an hour burns a ton of calories, with the extra bonus of getting to rock out in the saddle. Similar to running on a treadmill, spin class is a perfect opportunity to focus on your cycling technique. Since you don't have to watch out for oncoming traffic or steer around obstacles in the road, you can hone your pedaling technique. Yes, I know the expression, "It is just like riding a bike." But you can really maximize your cycling power by working your legs through the entire revolution of the pedal, not just pushing the pedal down. Plus this will work all the parts of your legs not just your quads, which means you are balancing the strength of your legs.

To learn a simple exercise to experiment with this idea


Keep both feet on your pedals, but work one leg at a time while keeping your other foot clipped in to the pedal or in the foot cage/basket. Focus on making a smooth circle with your pedaling foot to keep the momentum going through the entire revolution of the pedal. Feel your hamstring pull your foot backwards, keep working the back of your leg while you engage your hip flexors to pull the pedal up. You might find, after doing this exercise that one of your legs has a difficult time pedaling solo. This would be your weaker leg and chances are high it has just being going along for the ride.

I try to do this single foot pedal technique for at least a minute per foot every time I am on a spin bike. It helps me balance out my legs and my stroke. Try it and see how it feels.


Join The Conversation
HMBowling HMBowling 8 years
Telewyo, I do use regular sneakers, maybe that's my problem. Thanks so much for the advice!
AshleySunshine AshleySunshine 8 years
The gel bike shorts are awesome! I got mine at Sport Chalet for $40 - so worth the money. Your crotch/butt will thank you!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
psterling - I have a gel seat too. I think it was about $12 on, and you can get them in sporting goods stores as well. Like telewyo said, you're still a little sore, but not at the same "omg, I can't sit down or I might scream" level that those awful spin seats seem to inflict.
psterling psterling 8 years
Thanks Telewyo, I never considered getting a seat cover, that's a great idea!
telewyo telewyo 8 years
psterling - I have a gel seat cover that helps a bunch. Some people do the padded bike shorts but I already had workout clothes and didn't want to have to buy multiple pairs of shorts so I got the seat cover. It helps a lot but you are still a little sore the first few times you go...then you'll be used to it and spinning is such awesome exercise! You can get the seat covers at most sporting goods stores. HM - Do you wear bike shoes (the ones that clip in) or just sneakers? I found that when I got bike shoes I would use all my leg muscles more evenly...especially pulling up more, so it was less just pushing down with my thighs and more overall toning for the legs.
psterling psterling 8 years
any advice on taht, btw? I wouldn't mind giving it another shot if I could find some way around that.
psterling psterling 8 years
I tried spinning once and sort of liked it, except my butt was SO SORE from that itty bitty (hard as a rock) seat that I just couldn't go back.
HMBowling HMBowling 8 years
I always feel as though spinning makes my legs bulky. I have an athletic frame and my legs tend to bulk from years as a dancer. Although I like how the bike works my glutes. Does anyone have any tips to keep my legs from bulking on the bike? Should I avoid it all together and stick with intervals on the treadmill?
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