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8 Benefits of Spin Class That’ll Convince You to Finally Try One

One of the many reasons we love cycling is that it allows us to get outside and explore. But with winter at our doorstep, sometimes the weather is just plain awful or there’s just not enough time in the day. The next best option? A Spin class, of course.

Most studios offer a variety of class options—some as short as 20 minutes or as long as 90 minutes—so you’re always able to fit a workout into your schedule. Nowadays, there are even at-home magnetic spinning bike available that stream classes directly into your living room from companies like Peloton, NordicTrack, and Technogym. Peloton’s beginner-friendly classes, for example, teach participants the correct form and technique that will translate to every other level.

Plus, the work you do in a class—whether that’s at home or in a gym—complements your on-the-road training perfectly, according to Peloton instructor Jess King. “It’s an opportunity for you to play around with your training—there’s something for you to hear, learn, and experience that you can take with you back on the road. So why not dip into both worlds?” she says.

Spinning is one of those things that seems a bit intimidating if you’ve never done it before. But as long as you have access to a gym or a bike, you can take classes that range from beginner to expert, King says, each of which helps build the main muscle groups used for cycling and your cardiovascular system.

“We have this unique opportunity to create something for everyone,” King says. But most studios and instructors offer a variety of options that will suit your needs or experience level.

And if you’ve already got the stamina to climb hills and ride long outside, you’re that much more ready to conquer a Spin class. Both studios and at-home options offer longer, more advanced classes as well.

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It goes without saying that taking a Spin class is not the same as riding outside. While you can still experience similar terrain (hills and flat ground), King says in-studio and virtual Spin classes can feel more like a party than a workout.

“There’s music from all different decades—from classic rock to EDM—and we use interval training, tabata training, and heart rate training, so it’s still a great workout,” she says about Peloton, though competitors offer a similar experience.

A lot of times when you’re out on the road, it’s just you and the voice that’s in your head. That can be a good thing when you want to escape to nature and clear your mind, but it can be a bad thing when the voice is telling you to turn home. Being in a class setting changes things up—especially when you have the motivation of an instructor cheering you on. (Because let’s be real, there are times when you just really don’t want to do that interval workout on your own.)

“Spin gives you a new perspective on how to ride, breathe, and think about your body,” King says.

When you take an indoor cycling class, everyone from the instructor to the other participants are there to encourage and support you.

“Everyone is rooting for you—you’re not alone in this experience,” King says. “We’re using the bike as the medium for that connection and energy.”

And Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., former master instructor at SoulCycle and founder of Le Sweat, agrees. “[Everyone] is very supportive—they hold each other accountable and celebrate each other’s wins and losses,” she says. “They oftentimes can become an ‘extended family’ of sorts.”

It can be really tough to be out on your indoor cycle spinning bike alone, struggling to finish a particularly challenging ride. Sometimes your first instinct is to give up. But when there are other people around you, it makes you want to keep going and prove you can finish what you started. That’s exactly what taking a Spin class does. And that mindset can and will benefit you on the road, too.

8. It gives your bike a break.

Switching it up with some Spin classes will also give your commercial spinning bike a break from the elements, not just your body. Rain, dirt, and snow will take their toll on your components over time. Replacing just some of your workouts with Spin classes will give you the opportunity to buy and install new parts, or time to take your bike into the shop for a tuneup.

First, there aren’t many (if any) breaks in spin class. “When you’re biking outside, you have to be aware of road dangers like water and cars, so you have to slow down at times,” says Dr. Maureen Brogan, an assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College who has conducted research into spinning. Especially if you’re a novice road rider, it’s going to take some time before you’re comfortable enough on two wheels to really push yourself hard for long distances. That’s not the case on a spinning bike, where newbies can hop on and ride hard from the start.

“The muscles you use on spinning bikes, the gluteus maximus and the quadriceps, are some of the largest in your body, so you’re using a lot of energy,” Brogan says—600 calories an hour, and sometimes more.

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