I go to a gym. It costs me $22.00 a month or about $1.84 an hour if
I go three times a week. That’s a good investment-- I don’t have to fork over hundreds of dollars to buy the most up-to-the-minute exercise equipment only to have it gather dust on the back porch or try the latest work out when I’m bored silly with the one I’m currently doing. Not to mention maintaining my health, learning how to work out and use equipment safely and it's a blast! They had the room lined with blue and green icicle lights. The overhead lights were turned way down with some rawkin’ music and fans everywhere for a nice cool breeze. We imagined ourselves on a long cross country bike ride going up and down hills and passing cars. Because it's mostly flat
I was riding through Kansas this time.
Here’s something you might want to print up and add to your Geek's guide to working out! Every year I like to shake up my exercise routine a little. Last year I added therapy balls to the toning and conditioning I already do. It's lots of reps with light weights. Light weights can range all the way from 1 to 20 pounds. It’s taken me four years but now I work out regularly with eight to ten pounds soon I’ll be ready to move up to 12 and 15. Don’t worry ladies. We don’t have enough testosterone in our bodies to create huge muscle mass. What you end up with is a nice shape and some muscle definition. This year I was looking for something more aerobic to build endurance and help my body do its job more efficiently. Spinning looked like lots of fun. I’m a little sore after the first work out but no more so than a regular work out. The key to getting this kind of result is to know the limits of your body and being patient with getting the elements of the work out in place before moving on to the actual purpose of the exercise. Many times I have gone into a new exercise so excited that I put the cart before the horse and end up moving backwards. In other words I get so sore that it puts me off from working out because I didn’t enjoy it.
Hand Positions and Core Movement
Spinning is a trademark name of Madd Dog Athletics. Basically it’s stationary bike riding, but with a prescribed method. I take it at the gym because there is a trained instructor there who leads us through the various exercises. That’s very motivating for me, plus he or she will keep me on track when it comes to body form so there is less of a chance of injury. My goals are very low to begin with. Starting something new can be very frustrating so having low expectations can alleviate some of that, as matter of fact, I expect to experience some frustration for the first few lessons. However, I didn’t expect to fall off of a stationary bicycle! Nevertheless I did. My foot slipped out of the pedal attachments when I stood up, fortunately my target was simply to pedal the whole hour and not worry about keeping up with the others. Another aim is to simply learn how to adjust the seat, handle bars, and resistance. I was way in the back by the speakers and couldn’t hear a thing. Neither could I see the instructor, but there was another instructor taking the class so I watched her. When I left I felt pretty good about meeting my goals. I did join in on the different exercises when I felt I could and I didn’t really start to wonder about the time until a good forty-five minutes had passed. Maybe it was because I was focused on not falling off that bicycle again.
There are several hand positions and core movements be aware of when it comes to spinning. Position one is with both hands in the center of the handlebars and is used with the most basic form of spinning done while seated flat. Sounds simple but does a lot for the bod. Over time it helps develop stamina, mind and body strength. A good cadence to set ranges from 80 to 110 RPMs. To “climb” one increases the resistance on the wheel and changes the hands to the position two where they are on the handle bar grips about shoulder width apart. The buttocks automatically shift to the back of the saddle and an optimum cadence that’s recommended is 60 to 80 RPMs.
Standing flat would be comparable to running. With your hands in position two your weight should be balanced in the lower half of your body and your buttocks barely touching the nose of the saddle. With each down stroke move your upper body a little from side to side setting a cadence between 80 to 110 RPMs. Because it’s slow and strenuous, climbing while standing should be introduced gradually to avoid too much stress too soon on the Achilles' tendons, knees, hips, and lower back. The hands are in position three, shoulder width apart and grasping the forward most part of the handlebars. Set your cadence between 60 and 70 RPMs.
Jumping is done in intervals by lifting out of the saddle in an even and fluid manner for the entire duration of the jump. The hands are in position two for this exercise and the challenge is to maintain a steady cadence on your legs, between 80 and 110 is recommended and keep the body weight centered in your lower torso. Since I joined the "Beginning to spin" class we didn't try jumping.
Wearing a heart rate monitor is strongly recommended and is a great asset for safety as well as seeing some results. Endurance training is the primary objective for spinning. It can build an aerobic foundation. By increasing aerobic capacity your body has to expend less energy at any intensity. The goal is to maintain 65 –75% of your maximum heart rate with a light to moderate resistance at a cadence of 80 –110 RPMs. A good plan is to perform a cadence check to get an idea of leg speed. Work on building your endurance two to three times a week.
Establishing a good aerobic base is critical for improving heart and lung capacity. Without it you will be deficient in the stamina needed to exercise for long periods of time and boost intensity. Aerobic capacity affects the body’s ability to store and transport oxygen and nutrients and produce energy. High aerobic capacity also means faster recovery between workouts.
Another added benefit is the metabolizing of fats by increasing the enzyme activity in the working muscles. Your body increases its ability to use fat as an energy source. As you improve you speed up the rate that fat is burned at and you may see your hips, thighs, arms and abdomen shrinking.
Protection against heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases in another benefit. The muscle of the heart increases in size as a result of proper endurance training and the volume of blood it pumps with each contraction increases the blood flow to nourish those working muscles. The normal heart rate at rest for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. My resting heart rate is 67 BPM, but this is after four years of regular walks and working out. So I’m only expecting a small decrease. I am looking for better endurance. If you are just beginning though you may notice your resting heart rate decreasing as much as 1 beat per minute each week during the first month of aerobic base building. This shows you that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the same amount of blood as it did before the endurance training.
Oxygen consumption improves too. This means that your body utilizes oxygen during maximal exercise. The more oxygen your body can take in and put to work the more efficient you are.
After aerobic endurance building interval training is integral to any program that’s designed for performance and competition. It’s important to spend at least two months building endurance so that the body gains efficiency with storing, transporting and producing energy or you may find yourself lacking the stamina required for the intensity of the interval work outs.
Interval training can increase aerobic and anaerobic capacity. By exposing active muscles to high intensity exercise repeatedly the body improves its resistance to fatigue. Endurance increases as a result and riders will be able to sustain a given exercise intensity of a longer period of time. It also teaches the body to recover quickly after a challenging work out. Research tells us that this is important because the primary stimulus for cardiovascular improvement occurs during the recovery phase of the interval.
Do’s and Don’ts
Keeping your muscles relaxed during all core movements is so important. Not only does it allow for more blood to get to the muscles which brings oxygen and more energy, it reduces strained muscles and soreness. Here are several more helpful ideas to get you started.
- Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Bring a water bottle or two filled with cool water.
- Wear breathable clothing so your body cools more efficiently.
- Stiff-soled shoes are important. They are more effective at pedaling. That’s why I fell of. Mine are over six months olds and too soft from walking and other work outs.
- Bring a towel to wipe off excess sweat.
- Get there early to set up your bike.
- Ask the instructor to check your bike set up.
- Make sure he or she knows about and chronic injures you have.
- Wear a heart rate monitor to monitor the intensity of the work out and prevent over training.
- Be gentle with yourself. Pacing is important. Refrain from taking your heart rate out of your chosen training range.
- Focus on using your diaphragm to breath. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Not only is it more efficient, it’s relaxing!
- Relax and allow your body to move without tension.
- Skip meals during the day and then decide to ride at high intensities. The better fuel you have on board the better your engine will run. Did you knw that skipping breakfast throws the body into a fasting mode? Ack! It thinks there's no food available so it starts storing fats.
Isn't science amazing?
- Ride with tense muscles. Get in the habit of checking yourself for signs of tensing up. Some of the signs can be noticing your shoulders up around your ears, hands gripping the handlebars too tightly and holding your breath.
- Worry about “keeping up with the group”. Be a rebel with a cause and follow your own fitness goals- even if it means sitting down when everyone else is standing up.
- Ignore the instructors attempts to show you the correct hand positions and riding form. Performing the movements incorrectly can lead to bad habits and serious injury.
- Ride with no resistance on the flywheel, except when it’s a warm up or cool down portion of the ride.
- ”Keep quiet.” If you have questions about spinning ask the instructor for assistance.
Avoid over training
No matter how careful I am with form and paying attention to my body I always manage to over train one part or another and a few times end up having some physical therapy to help me work through it, strengthen the part I strained and how to head it off at the pass if I feel the same symptoms coming on again. Physical therapy is so far advanced today that recovery is usually brief for people who maintain a healthy weight and exercise program. Recently I came across some ways to recognize over training hopefully so I can prevent it. What follows is a list of your body’s warning signs.
- Elevated morning heart rate: Your morning heart rate should be recorded before getting out of bed for three mornings in a row and then averaged to determine your normal waking heart rate. If your normal waking heart rate is 10% above normal, your training that day should be recovery or rest. More than 10% requires a total rest period until your heart returns to normal.
- Lack of motivation: You might attribute this to being lazy, but physical fatigue will cause mental burnout. If you think it’s laziness, try a 10 to 15 minute warm up at a heart rate of 50-65% of maximum. If you don’t feel normal after that stop your work out and go home.
- Emotional factors: Stress will wreck havoc with your normal emotional balance. If you’re unusually cranky or moody, have trouble concentrating, feel depressed regularly, fly off the handle at the drop of a pin, your body is telling you it needs a break from your stressful routine.
- Physical factors: Insomnia, lowered appetite, lowered sex drive, irregular digestive and blood sugars, persistent muscle soreness, joint stiffness, (especially in the lower back and knees). If any of these symptoms are present, you have to reduce your normal training.
- Health factors:A sore throat is the first indicator of a more serious illness. Once you have a full-blown cold it takes two weeks to completely clear out of your system. If you have any signs of even less than perfect health, do not exercise at all. Resume your training when the symptoms are gone.
There are two hormones secreted by the adrenal glands that are very important in endurance training, cortical and aldosterone. Both are vital to many body functions as well as performance. Did you know that the previously mentions symptoms of over training are the result of the diminished function of the adrenal glands? This happens when the body is over stressed and researchers have discovered that the majority of the population in the western world suffers from adrenal dysfunction because of hectic lifestyles.
My sources say that the spinning program is one of the safest activities for people of all fitness levels to become fit and healthy. Any time you surprise your body with a new exercise routine aches and pains can crop up. Here are some more common complaints and a few suggestions on how to deal with them.
Why is my derrière so sore?
It can take a few weeks to get used to the saddle. Wearing a pair of good quality padded bike shorts with smooth stitching will help. I wanted more padding and found out I could buy a gel seat cover. As your legs get stronger, you won’t “sink” into the saddle as much and the soreness should disappear.
My shoulder and neck muscles ache after riding.
Leaning forward on the bike handles puts stress on the upper body and muscles work larder to support the extra weight of the torso. Taking breaks by sitting up and holding your arms down by your side can lessen the tension. Neck and shoulder rolls will loosen them up. You can strengthen these muscles by doing back and abdominal exercises outside of class.
My knees are sore.
Mine too. Sometimes, the experts say, different areas of your knees will ache during or after cycling. There are several reasons. If the pain is in the front or back of your knees the seat could be too high. Ask the instructor to check the saddle position. The pedal clips that hold your shoe could be another cause for sore knees. Make sure the cleat is positioned on your shoe correctly. A cleat that forces your foot to pedal unnaturally can cause knee problems.
My legs get so tired I can’t do the jumps.
Most new riders experience soreness in their thighs as the body works to stabilize itself during the movement from seated to standing. It takes some time for the leg muscles to get stronger to accommodate this transfer of weight. Taking your time to perform jumps gradually is the best approach. Begin by transitioning out of the saddle to a walking pace take a few pedal strokes and then transition back into he saddle. After a few classes the out of the saddle movements will become much easier.
My feet are numb or cramping up.
Mine did too at first. I had to get off the bike and walk it off. Running and aerobic shoes are too soft and allow the foot to “bend” over the pedal. Cycling shoes are expensive so my instructor recommended that I try cross trainers or tennis court shoes because they have a stiffer sole. When she came over to see why I was walking off a cramp one of the first things she did when I was ready to ride again was make sure the toe strap around my shoe was snug, but not too tight. That could cause numbness. She had me place the ball of my foot over the center of the pedal saying that riding on the soft tissues of the arches can cause discomfort.
My fingers are going numb.
Too much pressure onto the plams of the hands can cause tingling or numbness in the hands. Remember to relax your shoulders and elbows so that the hands are lightly resting on the handle.Look in the mirror while you are working out. If you notice your shoulders shrugging up towards your ears loosen them down ward. Rotating your wrists so that the remaining weight is supported by the outside of the palm of your hands, below your pinkie fingers and away from nerve endings will help. Take frequent breaks by sitting up in the saddle, and keep your hands down by your side. As your torso muscles get stronger, you’ll be able to ride with less weight on the handlebars.
To alleviate soreness make sure to stretch your muscles gently several times a day and drink plenty of water. Lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissues to protect it from damage. As the fibers swell with this acid it causes that sore feeling. Stretching releases the lactic acid and the water flushes it out of your system. If you’re overly sore ice the area right after the work out for 20 minutes. If the soreness requires anti-inflammatory medicine like aspirin or ibuprophen know that you might have over done it. Try again when you feel rested and be patient with yourself.
I really didn’t appreciate being able to exercise until there was the possibility of that being taken away from me. I had spent nearly a decade of working out until illness stuck and it took all my energy just to live each moment at a time. That lasted for three years. Today I love the feel of my body as it moves through the air and while spinning may be the latest exercise craze it’s a joy and oh so exciting!
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Bompa, Tudor, Ph.D.;Periodization, Theory and Methodology of Training
Friel, Joe. The Cyclist’s Training Bible.
G, Johnny. Spinning Instructor Manual.
Karp, Jason R. MS. Strength and Conditioning JournalInterval Training for Fitness, August 2000.
Maffetome, Phil. In Fitness and In Health.
Spinning, The Ultimate Ride for Body and Mind:
Wiltmore and Costill. Physiology of Sport and Exercise Science.