View Full Version : 1st spinning class + 1 week of agony!?

12-04-2007, 05:26 PM
I bought a road bike this summer rode at least 3 days per week. Most rigorous rides were approx 35 miles with 2500 ft elevation. When it got too dark/cold to ride outdoors, I joined a gym and tried a spinning class so I wouldn't lose my conditioning.

I went early and met with instructor-told here i never stand when I bike- I always sit, even when climbing hills. She said just go at own pace, but then she would stand in front of each of us and count while we did whatever the exercise was and would even turn the resistance up or down for us. I could feel my thighs ache as soon as I started standing and biking but figured that was normal. Then we did an exercise that required us to bike standing up then sitting down in rapid succession. Even though I felt like I might collapse at any moment, I pushed and lasted the entire hour. My legs felt like rubber and i could hardly walk home.

I thought - So far, so good:) After all I knew it was going to be hard!

The next day I could barely walk- I am not talking muscle ache here - I am talking BARELY FUNCTIONAL. I thought a hot bath would help but no way I could get into or out of the tub. This lasted for an entire week. (I couldn't even lower or raise myself from a toilet seat without assistance.) It was 10 days before I was pain free and able to even WALK at a normal pace again.

I haven't heard anyone else report being anywhere near this incapacitated. Did I do something wrong? Is there something I need to do to LEARN -like HOW to stand while biking - or some sort of stretches- before I try again. Its been 18 days now, but even though I finally recovered and have no residual pain, right now I'm scared to ever go back!:confused:

12-04-2007, 05:44 PM
That instructor should never touch your resistance, only you are in charge of that- it's your ride not hers.

In real life situations I never stand when climbing either but I do in spin class. Spinning is a little different, you'll improve but you just overdid it this first time.

The standing/sitting/standing sequences are called "jumps". Do what you can but never feel you must do what the rest of the class is doing. If you need time to recover, take it.

And try another instructor too. Each one is different.

12-04-2007, 05:53 PM
I've never done a spin class, but I've done lots of other group classes.

What Zen said was right on. Only you know what you're capable of. If you don't want to stand, don't stand. If she turns the resistance back up, turn it back down. Don't let her bully or shame you.

They want you to come back, or else they wouldn't have a job. Make it an experience you want to go back to. Modify modify modify to fit your particular goals and needs. Don't let them tell you what you "should" be able to do. Only you know that. Be true to yourself.

Good luck, and do go for another try, with a different instructor.


12-04-2007, 07:01 PM
I had quite a bit of pain from spinning classes in the past and realized several things. I can adjust my road bike down to the smallest increment and the spin bikes that I have ridden do not allow for that. Also, when in the standing position when riding outside my posture is very different than when I am on the spin bike. I took a tape measure in to spin class and attempted to make the measurements as similar as possible as my road bike and that helped some. The best thing though has been to stand when I want to stand and to raise and lower the tension based upon how it feels for me. I took a class as a visitor at another gym with a friend where the instructor attempted to change the tension on the bike I was on and I told him it was my ride, not his. Your body knows what is best for it. Spinning classes have made me stronger on the mountain and road bike and running; but I am in charge of the ride and the best instructors I have had make that very clear. I hope you get an opportunity to try another instructor.

12-04-2007, 08:35 PM
My instructor will change my resistance sometimes but she knows me pretty well. She's very outspoken about not doing anything that'll cause injury but she also likes to push us. When she changes it, it is never by much and it's just enough to push me over the edge.

That all being said, I know she'd respect someone who didn't want her to do that. Also (like I said), she knows me. If I'm sick, recovering from a hard workout, or otherwise compromised, she leaves me alone. She is the most inspirational and interactive of all the spin instructors at this gym and her classes always have a waiting list.

My disclaimer would be each time you do something new, hold back a bit. You never know how your body's going to react to it :D

12-05-2007, 04:35 AM
Spin instructors should NOT touch your tension control, especially if they don't know you that well. If I've been in a class for a while, this probably wouldn't be an issue, but if I'm new, back off Jack!

On the otherhand, waving my albuterol inhalor at them usually backs them off anyway. Instructors generally don't like it when you push yourself to an asthma attack. :rolleyes: Just because I was able to ride hard last time doesn't mean I can today - the "good day / bad day" breathing thing.

Where I'm going is that an instructor generally isn't privy to reasons why you may be backing off. Considering the fact that most members of industrialized nations don't get enough exercise, and that you're going to a class, they should want you to come back. Giving you verbal encouragement, cheering, to increase tension, push yourself harder, should be enough. If it was me, I'd probably swat the hand of the instructor if they tried that on me.

12-05-2007, 04:45 AM
-like HOW to stand while biking - or some sort of stretches- before I try again. Its been 18 days now, but even though I finally recovered and have no residual pain, right now I'm scared to ever go back!:confused:

How to stand - you need to have enough sufficient tension/resistance to allow you to stand. So really crank it down to stand up, with you feet still able to move, then ease back on the tension as soon as you sit down. It's been my experience that the instructor has you crank the tension (harder) while your sitting, then have you stand for a bit, then sit back down - stand, sit, stand, sit without changing the tension. But for me I need more tension to stand, compared to where I have it to ride at a certain cadence without my heart pounding out of control. Maybe I'm not pushing myself hard enough, but I've also pushed myself to having serious breathing issues. Unlike riding roads, on a spin bike, you CAN make the hill "go away" if you can't tolerate it anymore.

I admit I'm a hill weenie :D

12-05-2007, 06:28 AM
Although my first spin experience does not compare to yours, i was destroyed that first day. Amazingly, i did better on the next visit and continue to.
My instructor has never touched my bike's controls. That seems out of line. What I have noticed is that they really don't know much about bicycling. So take what you can from the class, and modify what you are told.. it's your body, it's your ride. And yes, try standing, with A LOT of resistance.

good luck.

12-05-2007, 06:53 AM
the pain in your quads sounds a lot like how i felt the first week after i started working with a trainer who really worked my legs. and i usually walk/run and spin a good bit. but this worked my quads in a way that was not usual. i too could barely walk and had to ease myself down into a chair (toilet seat included) :) it was painful and embarrassing but i took it to be very normal for working very hard on muscles that i didn't work before. so i don't think i'd panic about the pain you were in. but like everyone else, i'd be very annoyed at an instructor who tried to adjust my tension for me, that is not something i've ever experienced in spinning.

hope your quads are feeling better real soon!

12-05-2007, 07:26 AM
I am designing a new kind of spinning bike. i have been in the fitness industry for 30 years and am checking out comments on the net to see what people are experiencing and any problems they have from taking spinning classes. i have been working on this project for 3 years and will introduce the product to the market in march at a trade show called IHRSA. This is not a commercial message i just want to make disclosure so no one misunderstands.

i think you pain was caused not only from the intensity of the ride, because you would have recovered quicker than you did, but instead from the biomechanics of the normal spinning bike. your real road bike moves under you and allows your body to follow natural paths, but the spinning bike stays still and forces your body into unnatural positions. if you spin enough your body will adapt, but it still isn't good. Check out a cyclist while he or she is riding:eek: and then look at a person taking a spinning class. the two bodies will move much differently.

12-05-2007, 07:40 AM
I tend to agree with RealRyder. Sure, I tend to use spin classes as interval workouts, because it's easier for me to push myself in intervals inside than on the road. Even so, and while I attempt to get a spin bike to feel as close to my road bike as possible with the position, I still find that spin classes overload my quads. Standing is more quad intensive than remaining seated on any bike, but spinning in general (I do not stand much even indoors) really pumps up my quads. It just seems harder to engage the hams, glutes, and even calves the same way as on a road bike. Maybe some of that has to do with the enormously wide spin saddles or maybe it's a larger biomechanical issue with spin bikes...I'm not sure.

12-05-2007, 07:59 AM
RealRyder, thanks for posting, and I look forward to seeing some improvement in
spin bikes. The one I use doesn't even begin to simulate rolling on the road.
I can get the bike to spin madly with little force, it has so much momentum!
On a real bike i WISH I got that kind of momentum.
The teacher is always saying, "go up a gear" well, there are no gears. Each bike is different. How far up should i go? who knows!

12-05-2007, 05:10 PM
I've been doing the Spinervals DVDs at home and I started with one of the "base building" (easy?) ones where you're supposed to stay 10 bpms under your lactate threshold. Well, it was easy-ish, except for the standing. The first time I did it I couldn't stand for longer then 15 seconds, much less pop up and down. My legs were so sore the next day and well into the next week too. It hurt to climb up and down steps and it even hurt to make a controlled landing on the couch. It took about a month before I stopped getting sore each time and now I have the strength to make it through all of the standing bits.

12-06-2007, 12:29 PM
I was a spinner first, then the road bike came later. I have also been certified to teach spinning, but not in practice yet. I have asthma like the other gal in this thread, and can totally relate to the good and bad days. I have an old knee injury that bothers me on and off. One of the teachers does this bit of getting off and checking your spin bike computers, and changing resistence knobs. I modify due to the asthma and knee. She cranked my dial on a day when my knee was bothering me, and I had my eyes closed just enjoying the music. Didn't see her coming until it was too late. I swear, she made me limp for week with this stupidity. Lucky she moved onto someone else's bike, or I might have choked her. Completely contraindicated. I've told her this before, but she never seems to remember. Maybe I need to tape my asthma inhailer to my forehead. Teaching off the bike is suppose to have it's values they train you. But besides the knee story, I just personally do not like it. Yes, motivation is good. Students safety is very important if someone appears in distress. But, one of the fundatmental cores of spinning, is that "it's your ride". So, modification is completely appropriate.

12-06-2007, 02:52 PM
I had one instructor who never rode a bike during class unless he wanted to demonstrate something. He was a roadie, and he walked around to check on everyone. He'd look at people's form, make suggestions, whatever. He never touched anyone's bike. That is completely uncalled for. Luckily, I've never had an instructor who would come over and start messing with the resistance. It's a good thing I can quickly bring that flywheel to a halt without using the break, because I'd probably do so and then smack him/her. Asthma, (preexisting) injuries, or not, that is not ok.

12-06-2007, 04:32 PM
Thanks to everyone for all of your advice and for the encouragement.

I haven't tried another spinning class YET, but I have been back on the treadmill and the regular exercise bike at the gym. I am hoping to try spining again this weekend.

Since I don't usually bike while standing I'm not sure I even know how to:o

Should I be rocking up and down/sort of side to side over the bike or should I try to hold my upper body still and more or less "run in place"? Or doesn't it matter?

12-06-2007, 04:51 PM
Get to class early and try it. See what it feels like when you do it different ways. Tune in to what muscles you're using when you do it differently.

12-06-2007, 06:20 PM
We do it both ways. If you are doing heavy resistance, it's more of a rocking back and forth thing. If we're isolating certain muscles, we keep our upper body very still and hover over the saddle. That is difficult. Jumps still throw me but then again I'm not the most graceful of people.

It takes a while. If you have questions, ask your instructor. He/she might explain better what type of muscle group you're trying to work or what is trying to be accomplished by whatever move they're doing.

I remember my first spin class way back when. I had been doing a LOT of cycling at the time and even with that, I thought that spin class was the most difficult thing I had ever done. It just takes time to get used to it :D

12-06-2007, 06:59 PM
I think I shouldn't be here and I apologize. I just realized this is a womans message board and I'm the other kind.

I feel like my first day in the executive club at the YMCA in West LA. They had a sauna. steam and jacuzzi for men, but none for women's except for 2 hours twice a week. I was maybe 25 years old. There was a door between the spa and the mens shower that lead to the spa area. i went through the door and sat in the steam room while the steam was so thick you couldn't see even one foot in front of your face. All of a sudden the thermostat turned the steam off and I was sitting in the middle of a room full of nude women. I almost fainted and the first women who saw me screamed and then the other women screamed there's a man in here. I jumped about 3 feet in the air and ran out of the room back through the door that i later found out should have been locked and was breathing so hard and my heart was beating so fast i really could have fainted. I could hear all of the women on the other side of the door looking for the man who was in the steam room. I never admitted it was me and of cource never made the mistake again.

Anyway sorry for invading your space.


12-07-2007, 01:53 AM
It took me 4-5 months of being a spinner before I realized how to master the standing position. One day in my regular teacher's class, she cued it different. "Pelvic tilt" were the words that came out of her mouth. I thought "Ahhh!". Once you find the right pelvic position, you're golden.

Trying to think how to describe it. I guess it's the reverse concept of doing standing squats with weights. If you do a squat, you tuck your pelvis inward, or forward slightly to protect your lower back. On the bike standing, you slightly shift your pelvis weight back towards the saddle. It's a very sublte rotation of the pelvis girdle in a different center of gravity over the bike, vs thrusting your whole posture backwards. This takes some of the work weight off your quads, and engages the hip flexors and glutes more I feel. It's a matter of learning a different feel for balance. Just like the first time you rode you bike outside as a kid without the training wheels. At first, it had some crashes, and felt very awkward. Then, after a while, your body knew exactly what to do:) .

I love spinning so much. It is such a great activitiy. I was frustrated with learning the tehcniques for a while, but knew I enjoyed it on the whole right off the bat. And, btw, I did feel like I might die after my first class. Glad you are going back for another try!

12-07-2007, 02:03 AM
Well, RealRyder, don't know if you will come back to read this or not, but all I can say is... OH MY! That is quite a story about the steam room! You're lucky the ladies didn't have their handbags in there with them, or they might have beat you to death in fear. I'm sorry, I know it's not funny. I have accidently gotten myself in a men's room before, and well, it's funny now, but not at the time. You are so lucky they couldn't ID you to save some dignity. On the being here as a man, you would have to just ask some of the other ladies. Or, ask the TE Forum Adminstrator about it. Don't know what the rules say off hand. There are a couple guys on here that I know of. Or where at some point. Good luck with your efforts in spinning.

12-07-2007, 08:13 AM
I recently started spinning class when it got too dark to ride outside in the evenings. The first class was really tough - I could hardly do the standing at all even though I do stand on my bike. After a few times, I felt a lot stronger and standing was not a problem. I never experienced any muscle soreness at all. I am lucky that we have two really good spin instructors. They are really encouraging and very "up" type individuals. They never interfere with our bikes or "our" rides. With the new people, they just make sure the bikes are set up correctly. Although I haven't had a chance to get out on my bike much lately, when I have, I have really noticed a difference in my strength. I just love spinning and I really look forward to the classes.

12-07-2007, 08:34 AM
your real road bike moves under you and allows your body to follow natural paths, but the spinning bike stays still and forces your body into unnatural positions. if you spin enough your body will adapt, but it still isn't good. Check out a cyclist while he or she is riding:eek: and then look at a person taking a spinning class. the two bodies will move much differently.

Ah... I had not thought of this before, Ryder!
That will possibly be why, in winter, I have more back and arm discomfort after a few days on the spin bike than I ever do after hours and hours in the saddle on the road...
Thanks :) and welcome to the board...
Hope you stay around, if you design bike-stuff, then you probably have some interesting insites to offer

12-07-2007, 10:16 AM
I have never seen an instructor touch the resistance on anyone's bike! As a former aerobics instructor, it seems like a highly contraindicated move. And embarrassing for the spinner.
I had a lot of trouble standing when I first started spinning. I had only been riding a short time (the fall) when i started going to class when it got too cold out. I just could not get myself up! I also had a lot of trouble standing on the road and although I can now, I rarely do. It just hurts my knees too much. I do stand in class now, but I never do jumps. In fact, a lot of the time I do seated climbs, even when everyone else is standing.
It's your ride....

12-09-2007, 07:35 PM
one of the reasons i came to this site is to get a womans perspective on spinning, because as a man i am limited in my thinking. Most exercise equipment is designed by men, but there are more women members of health clubs than men. I have been lucky that in my 30 years in the fitness business that i have had many very exercise savvy women working for me like Kathy Smith and I have learned a lot from them. i hope to learn a lot from team estrogen.

12-10-2007, 04:28 PM
Took it slow and easy - although it was still plenty hard (my heart rate was140 - 160.) I did most of the class seated and with low resistance, but tried standing a few times. I was so afraid I would pull something again.

I am pleased to report that I had no pain whatsoever during or after the class, so now next time I won't be so worried and can keep pushing a little harder each time.

Thanks again to everyone who responded to my post.:)

12-10-2007, 04:59 PM
one of the reasons i came to this site is to get a womans perspective on spinning, because as a man i am limited in my thinking.

I'm not touching that one...;)

04-07-2008, 11:38 PM
Your instructor should NOT have touched your resistance. I agree with everyone ese who has commented that is your to control and only yours to control. You go at the resistance level that you can handle. Also, there is another post on here called "spinning no nos" with good info about what can actually injure you - for example high resistance hurting your knees.

As far as recovery, here are my thoughts. If you felt pain during the class, well that was just plain bad. You should feel the burn, but not pain. Are you sure you didnt pull or tear a muscle? OK, lets just say it was some burning. I find that if I work out hard either spinning or weightlifting and I feel sore, the last thing I want to do is rest the next day. I always go for a nice walk outdoors (slow but steady) rather than do nothing. Some yoga or pilates moves and stretches help too. I find this helps me recover faster, and though I stay somewhat sore, it is not as pronounced as it would have been had I just rested.

There is a supplement called Glutamine, they sell it at nutrition stores, and its also in many protein shake mixes (ie MyoPlex) that supposedly helps you repair and recover after a tough workout. I take some of this every night after I come home from the gym. Look it up - its called L-Glutamine.

And please tell the instructor to BACK OFF! Wow, I think I wouldve slapped her.

Good luck. I started 2 months ago, and I love spinning.