Is Spin Class Good Training For Cycling?

In recent years, we’ve seen the rise in popularity amongst indoor cycling. At home spin bikes and spin classes have become a fad within the fitness industry and taken it by storm. Loud music, fun lights, and an encouraging voice guiding you through your workout is exciting and intriguing.

In circumstances of unfortunate weather, they are a great option for a quick cardio routine. Indoor cycling and spin class make it much easier for people to get their everyday workout in, and also provide a safer alternative to outdoor riding.


But one question remains, can spin class actually help you train and improve your outdoor cycling?

In this article we’ll explore the differences between the two and the overall benefits to spinning to answer this question. 

The Differences Between Spin and Outdoor Cycling

First off, it’s important to note that a spin bike and a road bike are set up differently, so if you’re making the switch, prepare for a bit of a learning curve. A spin bike generally has its handle bars positioned higher than a road bike, making for a lower-body focused workout. Outdoor road bikes have drop bars, putting the rider in a much different position from a spin bike, therefore providing a more full-body workout. 

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One of the main differences between spinning and outdoor cycling is the setting. While both can be enjoyed in group settings and provide a community for riders, there is a huge contrast between an indoor studio and the outdoors. Spin bikes allow a rider to change the resistance at any time, while outdoor cycling deals with changing terrain and challenges the rider to be more reactive and dynamic. 

Outdoor cycling poses more risks than spin class does. You have to be far more attentive to a variety of conditions, cars on the road, pedestrians, and more. According to the San Diego bike accident lawyers at Haffner & Morgan LLP, one of the most common accidents they see from cyclists are door accidents; when a driver opens their car door unknowingly in front of oncoming cyclists.

You don’t run these risks while in spin class. Spinning, on the other hand, does not require a rider to be constantly checking their surroundings, as they have total control on a stationary bike. 

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The Benefits of Spin Class 

If you’re looking for a way to get active on a bike this winter, but weather conditions hardly allow it, spinning is a great solution. Spin class can help with outdoor cycling and has numerous benefits: 

  • Spin bikes were created in the 1980’s to mimic an outdoor bike, and they focus on working the same muscle groups as an outdoor ride would; mainly quads, hamstrings, and glutes. 
  • The ability to alter resistance at any time allows you to train for either heavy hills or fast sprints. 
  • The group setting often pushes riders to up the intensity of their workout. 
  • Coordinated moves and choreography in spin class helps with maintaining core strength while in the saddle. This also challenges a rider’s coordination and synchronization of pedal strokes, both indoors and outdoors. 
  • Spin class provides a high intensity cardio session. With most classes ranging from 40-60 minutes, it challenges your cardiovascular fitness. 
  • Without changing scenery outdoors, spin class can pose a mental challenge for riders and improve focus. 
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Spin Class Useful for Outdoor Cycling?

Yes, spin class can be an effective supplement to outdoor cycling. The stationary bike can help you focus on the same muscle groups while also providing a high intensity cardio session and mental challenge.

Can I Do Spin Class Without an Instructor?

Yes, you can do spin class without an instructor. Many at-home spin bikes come with their own programs and applications, allowing you to customize your workout. You can also find many pre-recorded spin classes online that provide instruction without needing an instructor in the room.

What Kind of Results Can I Expect From Spin Class?

Spin class can help improve strength, coordination, synchronization of pedal strokes, and cardiovascular fitness. After a few classes, you’ll start to notice that your legs are getting stronger and you can ride for longer distances with ease.

Can I Lose Weight Doing Spin Class?

Yes, spin class can be an effective way to lose weight. You’ll need to incorporate healthy eating habits as well, but spin class is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories. With regular classes, you can expect to see results in no time.

Is Spin Class Safe?

Yes, spin class is generally safe. It’s important that you are aware of what kind of resistance levels you’re at and that you don’t overexert yourself. If you need to take a break, listen to your body and don’t push too hard beyond what you can handle.


Both spin class and outdoor cycling provide a great workout, and generally work the same muscle groups. However, outdoor cycling can produce a more full-body workout due to your upper-body working to dodge obstacles, turn, etc. Although spinning is an effective and fun cardiovascular endeavor, it cannot fully replace outdoor rides, nor does it replicate your routine indoor bike training sessions. 

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Spin class can most definitely prove to be a beneficial addition to your training regime, especially if your goals are heart-rate and high intensity focused. The freedom to adjust resistance allows you to customize your ride to your specific goals. Spin class is also a great option if your outdoor conditions are not consistently cooperative. 

Overall, no matter your skill level, spin class is a great way to stay active and motivated in your training. If you choose to incorporate spin class into your routine, you can enjoy the advantages of both spinning and outdoor cycling.


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By Marco

Marco is an avid cyclist and passionate blogger. He takes great pride in sharing his insights and experiences with the cycling community, hoping to inspire others to take up the sport and enjoy its many benefits. His words are an ode to the joys of cycling, and the exhilaration it brings.

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