Pretty much every spin class in the country uses fixed gear spin bikes. This means that the flywheel is literally flinging your feet around in a circle the entire class, throwing energy into your knees and stealing your workout from you.
This ‘flinging’ effect, momentum, means you aren’t really engaging all the muscles of your legs for a cycling workout. It’s really that simple. Therefore you aren’t burning all the calories you could in a class, you aren’t toning the muscles as effectively as is really possible with cycling, you aren’t getting the full effect of the cardio workout.
In fact, at the super high pedaling speeds typical in a ‘spin’ class, you can literally be doing less than nothing as the flywheel moves your legs around and puts energy back into your body!
At Revocycle we are leading the nation in introducing freewheel indoor cycling. Our bikes have the standard big metal flywheel, but it attached with a freewheel that allows the flywheel to spin freely- just like the bike you learned to ride as a kid. The flywheel doesn’t control your legs, you control the flywheel with all the muscles in your legs, around the full circle. If you ‘stomp’ on the pedals and wait for the flywheel effect to bring your legs around your feet will stop and the flywheel will continue spinning!
We still use resistance to make turning the flywheel with our legs harder for sprints, climbing etc, but at no time do you get that momentum effect…you are always making beautiful full circles with your legs even at the lowest resistance.
As you can imagine, the difference in the workout is ENORMOUS. You’ll burn many more calories and work the hamstrings and glutes like you never thought possible. And of course all those muscles asking for oxygen will cause you to really elevate your heart rate.
As a recent Soul Cycler said “OMG….I had no idea how much I was cheating in spin class!”
The difference is really that dramatic!