T Nation

Spin Class


I work at the YMCA. My boss just asked me to teach a spin class (1 hour of riding a stationary bike) because the other instructor can't do it anymore. I'm doing Westside right now, trying to bulk and get stronger (of course). I havn't really done ANY cardio since I got out of the Marines because I had had such a hard time gaining size/strength running 4-5 days a week while I was in.

Will this intense biking once a week hurt my progress (size OR strength) or am I just being unreasonably paranoid?



hey buddy,

my thoughts: it won't kill you, BUT it is counterproductive considering your goals.

now, here is your chance to shine. go ahead and teach the class, but do it on your own damn terms! turn it into interval training. perhaps a slow ride for 5 minutes and then hammer them with some 1 minute on 1 minute off intervals. i think 30 minutes will be PLENTY. seriously, riding a stationary bike for an hour? how boring.

print some relevant articles from the site. keep them with you for defense when people and your boss start spewing crap.



Cardio once a week?

If that's all the cardio you're doing then it shouldn't hurt your progress as it doesn't seem enough even though it's an hour.


Id say just drink and eat plenty of K/cals to make up for it and look at some nice A$$.


Here's a tip: set the resistance on your bike to very low.

And I don't think one hour of cardio every week will hurt your progress. It will improve your condition and this will improve your stamina for heavy lifting.
In my sportsclub I've seen some muscular guys buckle after a few sets of heavy squats because of shortness of breath.


oh, and don't underestimate 1 hour of spinning on a stationary bike. You might be surprised.


I've got some advice for ya, take it or leave it.... I actually competed in some O-lifting in college, and worked at YMCA , where ironically, I started to teach aerobics (step, spin, the whole gammet)........... you don't even have to really ride the bike, you can just teach the class. Pedaling cadence can "look" fast or slower depending on leg length so mention to the class not to look at someone else's pedal speed to judge how fast they should be pedaling b/c

1) their leg lenth may differ
2) lots of morons who attend spin class have practically no tension and pedal like a bat out of hell, thinking that the faster they pedal the better. I read a Poliquin article that ripped on spinning "what good would it be for your tricep to swat a fly swatter as fast as you can 100 times?" He's got an article on how spinning makes you fat............

3)definitely do intervals! typically people wouldnt' do them on their own so you can use the interval training to take their conditioning to a new level.

4)go www.sfresources.com, register, and go to class desings. There are pre made spin classes, with intervals galore, tells ya exactly what to do.

5)If they are working hard enough, they shouldn't even notice you're not really working out, besides the workout is really for them, not for you right? (and mention that, they will feel that you have their best interest in mind!)

6)not a big fan of spin myself, but it is a class anyone can join without being smacked around if your new as your the one in control.

7) I try to stay away from telling people they should be at 80% or 90% or 50% (etc.) because they don't really know what 80% REALLY means. So I just try to use RPE and let them know they are in the recovery for the next minute,they should feel like they could maintain that level for an hour and their breathing should be more from the belly or they are in a work part and their breathing will become more rapid, from the chest, converstation could be maintained for 2 sentences, etc.

Hope that helps a bit.


Isn't spinning already an interval type form of cardio rather than a steady state type?


it should be, if you read the original post, I believe one question asked if intervals should be performed, hence my suggestion to do them ...............why do so many people have to have a smartass comment for everything?

but go to a spin class and you'll see a bunch of people with no tension (at which point the momentum of the "fly" wheel is doing the majority of the work) on the bike and just pedaling as fast as they can with thier head down, thinking they just got the greatest workout in the world.

Yes, I know, people can do what they want to do, and if hammering it out makes their "wheel" go round, so let them be. I was merely just pointing one of the more common "mistakes." (note, I put that in quotations so as not to offend someone who doesn't think that is a common spin class "mistake."

Having worked in a health club, I know what the "educational" background is of the aerobics instructors who teach spin class........ (I know most of 'em don't read T-Nation, rather shape magazine.

I apoologize for the generalization, I myself teach aerobics classes, and I read T-Nation, so I do realize not all aerobics teachers read shape)..........you'll see them doing push-up on the bike and other ridiculous things, and often don't know what an interval is.

So to fully answer your reply..........
Depends on whose teaching the class, and if the participant can properly apply the workout him/herself, as suggested by the instructor.


Yeah, I figure it will be pretty counterproductive to my squats...And yes, it has to be an hour. Who the FUCK wants to ride a bike for an hour? Sweet babes aparently, but still...And I've been hearing that you are technically supposed to be a "certified spin instructor"...I guess they don't care about that here. But honestly if it doesn't pay enough to buy me an extra jug of Surge a month then I'm declining that shit...


PS Bastard: See? I got an avatar.


LOL, good advice as always...If I end up doing it you better believe I'll have Surge or protein in there with me, and .9 banana, and almonds...But yes, there are plenty of spandex clad young vixens in the class from what I understand.



Thanks to all of you for your advice. If I do this shit I will do the intervals and punish them for spinning and not lifting, the bastards (not you dude)...I like the idea of setting the tension low on the bike too. Great point. Still I'll have to see what they end up offering me. With the Westside template I'm on now I do a max of 5 or MAYBE 10 reps as a WARMUP then it's mostly singles or triples depending on the day (for the main exercise). So I'm not really diggin the whole 1 hour of focused legwork thing. Thanks again guys.



I'm so proud ... you may just make it afterall!


Yeah, but he needs a better avatar now! Like this! :wink:


Looks like a 15 yearold with hyoooge boobs...I'd hit it...



Hit it now, cuz in like 5 years her ass and thighs will catch up.


They teach spin @ my gym. It's also an hr. It went up from 45 minutes. Deffinately do intervals if you're going to do it but it doesn't sound like you should attempt it based on your goals and posts. It's challenging and you need a good instructor to keep it motivated for that time. Not that you're not good, seems you're not interested.


HAHAHAHA!! And those things will be draggin' =O