FAQs & Spinning Notes

Below are some quick notes that further explain some of the routines I reference in the main blog posts, such as Power 10 sprints, stair climbing exercises, and speed bumps.

1) For the Spinning newbie, you may want to check out this short article, which explains that when it comes to indoor cycling, there is nothing to fear but padded Lycra shorts. I also recommend the four-part spinning tutorial authored by Dave Draper. Part 1 provides a introduction to spin training, part 2 explains the basic components and characteristics of a spin bike, part 3 offers tips for using the spin bike as a training tool, and part 4 explains some advanced spin techniques.

2) General spinning form:

  • Keep your head up, looking about 10-20 yards on the “road” ahead.
  • Breathe deep and slow—in through your nose, filling your lungs completely, and out through your mouth. (You may find that your “default” breathing technique, especially when sprinting, is quick and shallow. This is what we want to avoid.) No matter how fast your legs are pumping, try to keep your breathing steady and under-control.
  • Keep your shoulders, arms, and hands loose and relaxed. Spinning is a leg and lung workout—if you feel sore in the forearms or are tight in the triceps, you are probably leaning too far forward over the handlebars and using your upper-body to support your weight. The handlebar is there simply to help with balance—it is not a stress ball that you should be squeezing. I like to tap my fingers and move my hands in different positions every few songs to make sure I’m not white-knuckling throughout class.
  • Try to keep your abs tight: suck in your belly, pulling your navel to your back. This will strengthen your core and keeps your hips in the proper position over the pedals.
  • When spinning with heavy tension or doing some seated climbs, I usually scoot back on the saddle a bit. For the sprints, I move up a bit more on the nose of the saddle.
  • Pull UP with your legs. Too many riders think only of hammering down on the pedals, which is inefficient form. I try to lift my knees to chest with every pedal stroke.
  • Keep your knees bent every so slightly inwards, towards the center of the bike. (A lot of new cyclists will ride with flared legs, their knees angled out. This will cause undue stress on your joints and is inefficient riding form.)
  • Try to kick your butt with your heels. This will improve the power and speed of your leg turnover.
  • Dance on the toes. As soon as your forefoot “touches the ground,” push off as if going into a running spring, try to kick your butt with you heel, and pull your knee to your chest. Think of running over hot coals—light, quick, fast feet!
  • And again, breathe deep and slow.

3) Power 10 and Power 20 sprints

These are double time, all out, everything you’ve got, warp speed sprints! Increase the resistance/tension on our bike just a notch or two before starting each set, and then hammer!

For Power 10s, I count down real slow from 10 to 0 (usually taking 15-20 seconds to do so). For Power 20s, I count up to 10, then back down to 0 (usually taking 30-40 seconds).

Even though your cadence and wattage output during the Power Sprints may be off the chart, try to keep your breathing slow and focused—take deep breaths, filling your entire lungs with fresh air. In a complete Power 10 circuit, I often only take 1-3 breaths.

Note that the Power Sprints can be done on the flats, while doing a seated climb, or out of the saddle up a steep mountain.

4) Out of saddle/climbing sprints

In addition to the notes above, keep this in mind:

  • If you are starting from a seated position, add some resistance/tension before standing up. This will help you maintain balance when you transition to a position out of the saddle.
  • Keep your hips and butt thrust back so that you are supporting yourself entirely with your legs. Remember, your arms should be loose and relaxed, with your hands just barely resting on the handlebars to provide a bit of balance. When you do the standing sprints properly, you will notice your quads, hamstrings, and glutes engaging with the climb. If, however, you notice that you’re a bit sore or tight throughout your shoulders and arms, make an adjustment—thrust the hips back so that your butt is only 1-2 inches about the nose of your saddle.
  • Try to stay as “quiet” with your upper body as possible—you should not be swinging side to side, nor should you be doing any kind of bouncing on the pedals. If you find yourself swinging and bouncing a bit, try a couple of things to get your upper body in control: thrust your hips backwards, slow down and focus on your breathing, add a bit of tension, and ease up on your cadence so that you isolate the muscles in your legs and core.

5) Stair climbing exercise

As the name implies, this is a modified climb position that will tax your lower legs, especially your calves and quads right above the knees. To do it properly, first add lots of resistance/tension to your bike, then stand-up. Now imagine yourself on the stair climbing machine in the gym—rather than thrust your hips backwards, as you would do in a regular climb, stand tall and erect. Keep your fingers gently resting on the handlebars, your head and chin up a bit, and then dance on your toes—light, quick feet. Picture yourself running stadiums or racing a friend of yours to the top of stairwell in a high-rise hotel (last one to get to the top has to buy room service). This can be an exhausting set, especially after a minute or two, but stay strong to get strong!

6) High tension sprints

If all you have is five minutes a day to workout, this is the best exercise you can do—it spikes one’s heart rate like nothing else!

I usually do three high tension sprints throughout a song. Here are some cues to follow: (a) before you start sprinting, add as much tension/resistance to your bike as you can muster—3, 4, 5 complete turns, maybe, as if you were riding up Everest; (b) stay seated and take a deep breath; (c) pound on those pedals!

There will be so much tension/resistance on your bike that you are going to want to stand up, but don’t give into this impulse. Stay seated and hammer out the sprints. It may feel a bit weird, a bit like running through quicksand or waist-high wet cement—considering how hard you are working, your legs should barely be able to turnover the pedals.

The first two high tension sprints in a songs should be around 15 seconds in length. For the third and last, push through a 30 second set.

7) Speed bumps

I was a bit skeptical about the value of speed bumps the first time I did them in a spin class, in part because its a routine one would never do on a real road or mountain bike. But 30 seconds into the set—whoa! Rarely had my core and cardiovascular system been so quickly taxed.

To do them, find a song with a consistently high number of beats per minute—many dance, trance, and electronica songs work well. Add a bit of tension/resistance to your bike, and for the first 30, 60 or 90 seconds, on counts of four—”up, two, three, four, down, two, three, four”—stand up and then sit down, out of the saddle and then back in the saddle, over and over again.

Again, it is worth reminding riders that this is a leg workout—many of them will want to push off their handlebars as momentum when standing and sitting. Your arms are only to gently be rested on the handlebars for balance. If you feel sore anywhere in your upper body when doing speed bumps, you are not using your legs properly.

For the second half of the song, try double time speed bumps: “Up, two, down, two, up, two, down, two…”

8) Random other thoughts and ideas

  • As mentioned throughout the page already, indoor cycling is a workout for the legs, lungs, and core—if you want to do curls or other arm exercises, do so before or after class.
  • The louder the music, the better. Usually.
  • During the warm-up of each class, I ask riders to introduce themselves to their neighbors. This establishes a collegial and team-like atmosphere in the very beginning of class. “If you’re going to be sweating next to someone for an hour, you might as well get their name.”
  • Other questions or concerns? Let me know and I’ll address them here.

J.R. Atwood


122 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dionne Foster  |  November 9, 2007 at 7:58 pm


    Love your profiles. Just started teaching in February, but spinning for 9 years. I put you on one of my favorites. Do you have any advise about hands going numb on the bike???

    Spinning in Santa Rosa!!

  • 2. J.R. Atwood  |  November 9, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Dionne,

    Thanks for checking out this blog — glad it’s been helpful.

    And yes, numb hands seem to be a pretty common problem in spin class. I had some students today who were complaining of hand pain.

    Here’s my thoughts: Scoot back in the saddle a bit. When I do an in-seat climb, sometimes I put my hands behind my back. This forces me to use my legs, and my legs only, when climbing. Have your students do this for a few minutes throughout class. Then when you crank-up the tension, tell your students to gently — gently! — rest their hands on the handlebars. The only reason the hands are even on the bike are for balance.

    I do a lot of slow, focused, breathing exercises. Remind people to keep their shoulders relaxed and loose. During sprints, we tend to tighten our upper-body and sometimes forget to breathe. Tell the class to focus on breathing when sprinting: slow, quiet, still upper-body. Fast feet!

    Also, the handlebars on most spin bikes are pretty large. Move your hands around during each song — sometimes off to the side, sometimes tight and towards the front.

    When climbing, you should be able to let go of our handlebars for a brief second. If you can’t do this, thrust your hips back. This requires you to engage your quads and hamstrings a bit more than otherwise while relieving the tension in your shoulders and hands.

    In sum: Keep your hands loose. Rest them on different hand-positions throughout class. Focus on stabilizing and quieting the upper-body. Breathe deeply, slowly, and with focus. Scoot back in the saddle a bit. Relax the shoulders! Try climbing hands-free.

    Hope this helps!

    Happy spinning!

  • 3. Melinda Armani  |  December 29, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    First, thank you so much for posting all this information here. It has really helped me to increase the intensity of my classes and everyone appreciates it. What are “speed bumps” and how would you do them? Thanks.

  • 4. J.R. Atwood  |  December 31, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Hi Melinda,

    Glad you find this blog useful. I added an explanation of the Speed Bumps exercise to this section. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Happy spinning!

  • 5. Sean  |  January 14, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Great blog; I use your material all the time!! What sort of resistance are speed bumps performed at? I’m assuming moderate?


  • 6. J.R. Atwood  |  January 15, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for checking out my blog! And yes, you are correct that the speed bump exercise should be done at moderate tension/resistance. If there isn’t enough, then you will be off-balance when standing up. Too much, and your legs will not be able to spin a full revolution or two when seated. Error on the side of having too much, rather than too little resistance. This should be a real quad-buster of a workout. If done right, you’ll feel it about 45 seconds into the song. Push through and let the music carry you to the finish. :)

    Happy spinning!

  • 7. dee dwyer  |  January 19, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    can anyone describe the posture/position during isolation while standing?

  • 8. J.R. Atwood  |  January 19, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Howdy Dee,

    When climbing, make sure to have a good amount of tension/resistance on your bike. Keep you hips thrust back so that your butt is just one to three inches above the nose of the saddle. All the weight of your body should be supported by your legs. You should be able to lift your hands off the handlebars for a few seconds. If you can’t do this, you are leaning too far forward and using your arms and shoulders to support your weight. Keep that butt back! Your shoulders should be relaxed, your arms loose, your head up — looking five to ten yards ahead of where you’re “riding.” Concentrate on lifting your knees to your chest. (Don’t worry about pushing down with your legs.) Your upper body should be quiet and still — no bouncing around! All the work is in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

    Hope this helps!

    Happy spinning!

  • 9. Dee  |  March 13, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Dumb question, all but one of the steps include how may turns to use. I understand that it’s by what you can handle, however one would need to know what your working toward. Please inform the turn amounts in the steps. I’m not a trainer, however I’ve taken many spinn classes and this helps if I had what level (turn) I need to utlize.

  • 10. J.R. Atwood  |  March 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Not a dumb question at all… I don’t specify the tension/resistance level for a couple of reason. First, every model of spin/indoor cycling bike is a bit different — in some gyms the bikes can be adjusted based on a number of clicks along a scale from 1-10; other bikes use a simple turn-of-the-knob to tighten a belt along the flywheel, thus adjusting the resistance. And even among bikes that are of the same model, the tension/resistance level can be calibrated differently so that one bikes “level five” feels like a “level three” on a neighboring bike or a “level seven” on yet another.

    Additionally, and most importantly, I approach my spinning classes as more of an art rather than a science. There is a very wide range of abilities and effort-level in my classes; I don’t think it is good to offer a “level eight” on a particular song to everyone in the class. Some can hit that level hard; others can barely turn the pedals with that much resistance. Instead, I have people tap into their own want and ability to work… Sometimes I’ll offer, “Two turns to the right! If that’s too much for you, try one turn.” And then at whatever level people start at, we all add “half-a-turn to the right every 45 seconds,” for example, such that we are all increasing tension/resistance and effort, but at a level that is appropriate.

    So much depends on the mood and atmosphere of the class, too. And the music. Sometimes we’re just hammering and I have the music cranked extra-loud and we’ll do extended sprints, or increase the tension level even harder than I had originally planned. Other days, it takes effort to get to that energy levels.

    As another short example, instead of using levels/turns as an indicator of tension/resistance, I’ll paint an effort-picture with my words: “I want this climb to be as steep as any you’ve ever climbed. We’ve been doing driveways and hills up till now… This is Everest, baby! Make… it… hurt. Long, slow, deep burn.” Or, “On a scale from 1-10 — one being uber-easy and flat with no effort needed to pedal, and 10 being absolutely impossible to even turn the pedals — settle into a level four or five. This should require just enough effort that you are unable to sustain a conversation while riding. Rolling hills; bumps-and-runs… Picture yourself in the foothills of [insert your local mountain here].”

    Hope this helps. Post more questions and comments and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

    Happy spinning!

  • 11. liz  |  March 18, 2008 at 12:31 am

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!! thank you for all of your info, i have been at my computer ALL day googleing different spinning techniques and routines—i wanted new material for my class-i teach Marines for thier p.t. sessions & i really like bringing it hard on them :0)
    i have found the best info from you and can’t wait to try some out with the guys!

  • 12. J.R. Atwood  |  March 18, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Liz! YOU are awesome! You lead Marines in spinning sessions — how cool is that?! Glad you’ve found this site useful. I should have another mix posted in the next few days. Work ’em, baby!

    Happy spinning!

  • 13. Christine  |  April 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Hi J.R.~

    Christine from Milwaukee again checking out your fantastic profiles. Really love your stuff – and so do my classes!

    Question for you – do you ever do any isolations or upper arm movements during class? I’ve heard mixed things about them so right now I’m not doing them in my classes but wanted to know your thoughts. By upper arm movements I mean tricep work done on the handle bars etc.

    What are your thoughts?

    Hope all is well – oh and I did complete and LOVED the NW San Francisco marathon! You are so lucky to live out there!


  • 14. J.R. Atwood  |  April 2, 2008 at 3:39 am


    Glad you enjoyed our fine city of San Francisco. It’s a tough place to beat. :)

    As for isolations or upper arm movements in class… No, I don’t do any. Most of the people that come to my classes are there for a low-impact, high-energy aerobic workout . I also have a large number of hard-core roadies that use my class for conditioning. Our goals are to get an aerobic workout and to get faster on the bike.

    I feel doing arm exercises can be dangerous on spinning… You need your hands free to balance on the bike. If you are able to do weights, even light weights, with your arms while riding, you probably aren’t spinning hard/fast enough.

    A lot of my students hit the weight room before and after class. That way they can really focus on building strength and toning muscle with weights, and really focus on exhausting their legs and lungs in spinning.

    Doing arms and legs in spinning… It seems like something will get cheated — either your aerobic workout or your muscle workout. Rather, take 15 mins before or after class to hit the weights.

    If people are looking for a good upper-body and lower-body workout, that taxes the aerobic system while also building muscle, I suggest they give the erg machine a try. Indoor rowing is one of the best overall workouts possible.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other thoughts, comments, or questions.

    Happy spinning!

  • 15. AJ  |  June 20, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Hey there! Thanks for all the great tips. I spin a few times a week and my feet go numb every time. I wear bike shoes and I just got my bike settings rechecked, and my spin teachers say my form is good, but my feet are still falling asleep, especially (but not exclusively) when I’m standing. Any thoughts on the problem/solution?

  • 16. J.R. Atwood  |  June 23, 2008 at 4:54 am

    Hi AJ!

    Sorry for the tardy response… I’ve been on vacation the last few days and without internet service.

    First, I’m glad you’ve found this lil’ blog useful.

    Second, I feel for you, man — numb feet while riding is no fun!

    Here are my thoughts/comments/supposings…

    I wonder if it is as simple as your shoes being a bit tight? At what point do your feet begin to fall asleep? As soon as you put your shoes on, or part-way through the ride? Have your tried loosening the straps on your shoes a bit? You don’t want to constrict blood flow to your feet. Do your feet go numb if, instead of wearing bike shoes, you wear regular sneakers and use the toe cage?

    Also, try experimenting with different types of socks. I used to sport extra-thick socks, thinking this would give my feet a bit of cushioning in my bike shoes. Instead, all it did was make them sweat a lot, leading to blisters. Then I went too far the other way, wearing no socks or uber-thin moisture wicking socks. This helped with the blisters, but just didn’t feel as comfortable. Now I ride with mid-weight wool moisture-wicking socks. Perfect for me!

    I used to get excruciating “hot spots” about 40 miles into long road rides. Adjusting my shoes, socks… Nothing helped or worked. A buddy suggested that I try a different cleat/pedal system. I was using SPD shoes, cleats, and pedals and once I switched to a Look cleat/pedal, PRESTO! — I could ride for 150 miles without developing any hot spots.

    Most spinning bikes use SPD pedals, and I still use SPD shoes on my SPD pedal equipped spin bike. I wouldn’t think that you could develop hot spots during a 45-60 minute spinning class. But if you also ride on the road and your feet go numb, try experimenting with different pedal/cleat combos (e.g., SPD, Look, Time, Egg Beaters, etc.)

    How old are you bike shoes? Did you get them properly fitted? I remember my first pair of “real” bike shoes… I bought them like I did running shoes, with just about a thumb’s worth of room in the toe box. Big mistake. Bike shoes are supposed to fit snug and tight with no real room for wiggle. I used to have my fair share of foot and even lower-leg problems (hot spots, cramps, budding stress fractures, curled toes, blisters, muscle strains) with my old pair of too-big shoes, but once I bought bike-fitting shoes, everything went away. (Find a good local bike store and pick the brains of their employees, all of whom should be riders!)

    Let me know if any of this is useful. If, after trying different socks, loosening your shoe straps, and even trying new shoes your feet continue to go numb, talk with the staff of your local bike store (and maybe even a doctor who is a cyclist him/herself).

    Good luck, AJ!

    Happy spinning!

  • 17. Deb  |  July 14, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Just discovered your site and bookmarked it immediately. Your style/routines are very similar to what I do. We love fun, loud music…have flashing lights, some that look like snow, etc. The trouble I have is feeling like I am not doing the same thing. Class never seems bored but, I struggle with feeling like I am giving enough variety. Your site will be used and very appreciated!

  • 18. Nat  |  July 16, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Hey there JR all the way from little New Zealand.

    I am also a Spin Instructor but always looking for music so thanks for that!!!

    Have a great couple of profiles as well if you are interested???

    Your story on the marathon was great wish I could do that but get numb feet (not from cycling but running!!!)

    Please keep adding your music profiles…


  • 19. J.R. Atwood  |  July 16, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Nat! Thanks so much for the kind words. Glad you’ve found this site useful and fun — and yes! Definitely share some of your profiles/music and workout mixes. I am always looking for some new tunes and routines.

    Happy spinning!
    J. R.

  • 20. Deb  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I hope you did not misunderstand me, I find your site very refreshing and appreciate any newness. Love getting my hands on any mixes, music, or ideas that are out there. I admire the extra work you put in to the workout with your site. Thank you for your great work!

  • 21. J.R. Atwood  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Deb! No misunderstanding on my part… I’m jazzed you’ve found this site useful and definitely appreciate the kind words of support! I’m heading out of the country for the month of August but will try to get another mix up before I leave.

    The louder the better!

    J. R.

  • 22. Nat  |  July 23, 2008 at 12:24 am


    There are two New Zealand songs that you might like to give a go, if you can find them they might be on limewire?
    1. Tangaroa – Artist Tiki Taane this is a strong heavy bet good for a standing hill climb (sounds a bit like what we call a Haka or Maori dance)
    2. Now this is it – Artist Tiki Taane seated climb 3x chorus turn up everytime he says “now this is it” which is a total of 15 turns so at the end the class should be panting!!!!!

    Hopefully you can find these tracks and you like them.

    Another great track Roadhouse blues which is Crystal meth Vs The Doors…this track I make them double the speed (beginners on the beat) on “let it roll” we stand up basically running this has everyone stuffed at the end too probably one of my hardest tracks if done properly!!!

  • 23. J.R. Atwood  |  July 28, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Nat, I’m lovin’ these tunes. I can listen to and watch Tiki Taane on youtube but have been unable to track-down these songs via iTunes or Amazon for downloading. I’ll keep scouring the net to try and get them to include in an upcoming mix. I very much appreciate the song tips! :)

    J. R.

  • 24. Nat  |  July 28, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Happy do do a CD for you if you like and send it over??? Is this the best way? They may be on limewire??? If I do a CD I can put some other NZ stuff for you too i.e. a band called Evermore….

    Make sure you use the Roadhouse blues track!!! LA Women is also almose…flat for about 4 mins which I make one person at a time turn up and we all draft off them then come up for slow slow climb stay up and speed up and grind sit down and speed up!!! Hard work the song is about 8 mins!! They love it

  • 25. Christy  |  August 12, 2008 at 5:39 am

    I have used your workouts for the entire time I’ve been an instructor. I only teach 50 minutes, so I modify. Now I have some questions….. What about the zones? Do you consider those? Do you think about RPM and teaching the class to know them? Just curious, as I was looking at other sites and saw some W E I R D plans. Your workouts are INCREDIBLE and EFFECTIVE. So grateful you are publishing.

  • 26. J.R. Atwood  |  August 17, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Hi Christy,

    Glad you’ve found this lil’ blog useful and thanks for the kind words. As for your inquiry… No, I do not implement much technology or science into my classes.

    Zones, RPMs, etc… All can be great tools to help one achieve one’s ambition or potential, but they can also interfere with one’s workout. I like to keep things simple and pure: ride hard, ride fast, sweat a lot, embrace the pain.

    The music and energy of the class are enough, I’ve found, to do a killer workout. We know when we’re working hard and we know when we’re dogging it a bit — we don’t need a heart rate monitor or cadence meter to tell us this information. Rather than explaining to the class what 90% of their max heart rate is, how to calculate it, how long to stay there, and why we’re going there, I’ll instead say something like, “This is an all out sprint. I want us to give it everything we have. It’s gonna’ hurt a bit in the belly. The legs are gonna’ burn. The lungs are gonna’ be full. So when I say ‘go!’, hit it! Warp-speed. Double-time! Ready… GO!”

    And go we do.

    This is all personal preference, of course. There are some great instructors that are pros at seamlessly integrating HR monitors and such into their group workouts. I’m just not interested in going there. I don’t want to be looking at my watch when I workout; I want to be in the moment, exhausting my legs and lungs.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    J. R.

  • 27. Jody  |  August 17, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I am about to start teaching spin for pt on an Army base here in Germany! I just wanted to thank you for putting these programs up. I will use some of these!

  • 28. J.R. Atwood  |  August 17, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Thank YOU, Jody! Best of luck in Germany!

  • 29. Amy  |  August 18, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Hi J.R.,

    I just starting subbing some spinning classes at our local YMCA after attending classes for about 2 years. When looking for music and routine ideas, your site is just about the only good reference out there. Thank you for all of your good ideas and tips…they have already been useful. You have a wonderful site.

    Happy spinning!


  • 30. J.R. Atwood  |  August 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Subbing is a great way to build a reputation as a rising spin instructor… Congratulations and good luck!

    J. R.

  • 31. Pat  |  October 14, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Hello J.R.

    Greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    I started spinning classes four months ago and I find your write-up on techniques very informative and helpful. A lot of good stuff here. II will recommend that my instructor visit your site. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it as his style is very much similiar to yours. Keep up the good work.

    All the Best

  • 32. “Cash the Check” 60 Minute Spin Mix « Spinning Mixes  |  November 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

    […] FAQs & Spinning Notes […]

  • […] FAQs & Spinning Notes […]

  • 34. Paul  |  January 29, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Dear J.R

    Just wanted to say what an awesome sight ou have going on here. I am in the Royal Air Force and am currently out in Afghanistan. I have been taking spinning classes out here and came prepared with a couple of sessions on my ipod however I soon realised I needed some new stuff. Your sight has allowed me to put sessions together very quickly. All the guys out here have loved the sessions but I can’t take all the credit!

    Keep up the good work and I will keep the sessions fun but tough!



  • […] FAQs & Spinning Notes […]

  • 36. Melissa  |  February 25, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Hi J.R.!

    So, I cant always make it to a spinning class (get out of work too late) buy my gym allows us to use the equipment at any time. Any reason why i cant hop on a spinning bike with my ipod, use your playlist and routines and go to town on my own?


  • 37. J.R. Atwood  |  February 25, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Hi Mel,

    Not to worry at all if you can’t make it to a spinning class! While many instructors use this site, I initially started posting because my students wanted to know about spinning mixes and workouts they could do on their own. So peruse the blog, download some new tunes, and hop on that bike! Note, there is a great tip offered by one of my readers, AndyD, for people who want to do these workouts on their own:

    “For those out there with an iPhone/iPod Touch…if you cut and paste Jason’s notes into the lyrics section of the song in iTunes, they will show up on the screen when the song is playing. Works out well if you want to follow the ‘class’ and can’t remember all the changes.”

    The biggest benefit of spinning classes is the positive peer pressure it provides to push past otherwise assumed limits and for the the camaraderie with our fellow athletes. But sometimes our schedules just don’t allow us to make it to class.

    If you have any other questions, drop me a line!

    Happy spinning!

  • 38. Beth Ann  |  February 28, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Dear J.R.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this site together. I cycle outside and teach indoor cycling at an airforce base and the YMCA. They love for me to bring it on and your style BRINGS IT ON!

    I sometimes use “commercials” and “funny” songs in my rides. Do you ever do this? My last ride I named, “Sweat Equity.” in honor of the recession. We may not have much financial equity, but we will certainly have alot of “sweat equity” at the end of this ride!

    A Loyal J.R. FAN…

    RIDE ON J.R.!

  • 39. Michael Thompson from UCB  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Hey JR!

    I used one of your mixes at my 6am class at Oakland High Street, 24Hr. The members loved it! I had at least 6 people come up after class and say how great a workout they got. The music and routine were so inspiring I could hardly speak from pushing myself so hard! The whole class was amped! PLEASE let me know when you are teaching… better yet, we should schedule something at my club with you as a guest instructor and invite all of your blog fans!

    I owe you!


  • […] FAQs & Spinning Notes […]

  • 41. Beth Ann  |  May 22, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Salutations J.R.and J.R. Fans!

    I need some advice. I currently train at two sites and we use spin cycles with the knobs just like you. The new facility I’m going to teach at has the Keiser cycles that have gears 1-20, cadence and heart rate monitors. I have been instructed to give gears and cadences to the members. I personally train more like you–a sprint you should be “breathless”, a run-“uncomfortable”, and my favorite of yours-“GRIND and CLIMB”! Would you or some of the other instructors give me some cueing tips and ranges for Keiser cycles? Thank you and my next ride is titled, “Steep Hills,Skinny Tires, and Guts”, if you want to throw in some song ideas, bring it on! Another ride I recently did was “Battle of the High School Musical,” in which my husband and I picked our 7 favorite songs from the year we graduated and then I had everyone guess the two years. It was a fun, hard,and entertaining ride.

  • 42. J.R. Atwood  |  May 29, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Beth Ann,

    First, your theme ride, “Battle of the High School Musical,” sounds awesome, and I’m sure it brought a lot of smiles to a lot of sweaty faces.

    Second, I should have a new spinning mix and workout posted in the coming days.

    Third, I can’t help you with the Kelser cycles, unfortunately. They sound like incredibly awesome bikes. Maybe one of our regular readers has some tips they can offer from first-hand experience…

    One word of caution, though, from a quasi-Luddite… I think this kind of technology (e.g., cadence and heart rate monitors) are fantastic training tools, but they can also get in the way. I’m a bit of a purist, in some way… I like to go hard, then go home. I used to train in specific zones, but would get bored or bothered by my beeping watches. One of the reasons I workout is to push myself to new limits, and to escape the crush of “things” that distract me throughout the days of my professional life. In class, I don’t want my students (or myself!) to be looking at a watch or counting their turnover… I want us to get in the zone, to enjoy that special kinesthetic experience of pushing ourselves beyond otherwise assumed limits of possibility… I love the collective grunting and moaning from the class, the way we all encourage each other, offer head nods and give a thumb’s up to our riding partners, all which allow us to dig deep and suffer sweetly.

    This is not to discourage your use of these new tools… Used wisely, they can be leveraged to achieve our most fantastic athletic goals. But don’t let them distract from the tone you set and energy you bring to the class.

    Let me know how it goes and any tips you learn along the way.


    • 43. Beth Ann  |  May 29, 2009 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks J.R. I’m really nervous about training on these bikes as I am a “go to your perceived max” kind of person and don’t like to dictate RPM’s/gears to anyone. When I ride outside with hubby, we never use the same gears or cadence and we are doing the same roads! Another instructor was subbing my soon to be class the other day and told me she almost walked out on the members as they were so into “GIVE ME A GEAR and CADENCE” mentality! I’m going to forge ahead and teach like I do everywhere else…high energy, surprises, and loads of fun! Here are a couple of good songs you may like: Nightwish-Phantom of the Opera and Trance-Phantom of the Opera (techno dance mix); both are heart pumping action. I use the first as a hill climb/the second is downhill or a flat run. Thanks for the advice J.R. I feel confident going into the “hornets nest” with your advice.

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  • 45. “Fall Forward” 60 Minute Spinning Mix « Power 10 Spinning  |  September 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm

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  • 49. “+ Redux” 60 Minute Spinning Mix « Power 10 Spinning  |  December 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm

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  • 50. Anne  |  December 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Awsome mixes! I always look forward to new music ideas, your routines are incredible as well!

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  • […] FAQs & Spinning Notes […]

  • 53. Hanne-Lize  |  January 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Hi, thanks for this blog. It is very usefull. Just want to say, the numb feet are because you are only pushing down on the pedals, try to pull them up as well. Also had that problem and a professional cycler told me this, tried it and no more numb feet. Have a great day

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  • 55. SDS  |  June 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Hey there! I just came across this site because I am looking for help. I am teaching my first 45 min spin class next week. I need help choreographing a routine that will be easy for me to not fumble the words but hard because these are hard core spinners. Its 45 min and Im just having trouble putting something together that makes sense for me and will make them work. I have kind of made a fun playlist but don’t know how to set my routine to it.
    Any help to start me off would be amazing! THANKS!

  • 56. Tess  |  August 7, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Just wanted to drop a note to let you know how much I appreciate your blog and music lists. I’ve been reading your blog since sometime in 2007 and after thousands of group cycling classes I believe that you offer the most accurate and concise advise on spinning.

    I was wondering if you ever do three position speed bumps? I love them and if you start on an 8 count and work down to a 4 the beginners can usually get the hang of it.

    And do you do hand switches on climbs in your advanced classes? Personally I love to do 20-30 sec segments of hand switches (one hand on the bar, then switch) because it forces the core to balance, adding to the workload. Many instructors don’t do them anymore, maybe for safety reasons. Since advanced students should be placing very little “weight: on the handles it seems like a safe drill for this group. I do believe that safety is the number one priority in any fitness class. Your thoughts….

  • 57. Spin Class- yes YOU can! « mimi.spin.strong  |  September 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

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  • 58. Dee  |  March 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have just purchased a spin bike for my home and I am need for some mixes with instructions. Your website is awesome..but is it only in written form?? Is there any way i can download some mixes with choreography to listen to while I am spinning at home?? Any suggestions please :)

  • 59. jds79  |  September 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Hi there, I love your blog! I just started instructing two months ago and the one thing I found to be effective and gets full participation is not only do I get their names but I randomly call them out to count us off on a sprint of 10, some go fast and others go slow, but overall it’s been a great attribute to my classes! I look forward to viewing your blogs more so keep adding!!

  • 60. shauntel  |  September 26, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Quick question, my feet have really been hurting after class, even days later. Am I doing something wrong?

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  • 62. Would like to stay anonymous to the rest :)  |  October 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

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  • 63. joan  |  November 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    i just started a cycle class and I had a total hip replacement two years ago, is that safe?

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  • 65. lauren  |  November 29, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Hi I wondered if you could please help me.. Everytime I do a standing sprint my knees keep giving way! It’s so frustrating! Please has anyone got any tips? Thanks so much

  • 66. aisling  |  December 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Hi i find your website very useful, I was wondering if you could help me, I am doing a project for college and need to do a brief spin class, all I need is a warm up song, a cool down song and one in the middle, is there any way you could guide me in the right direction, i’ve only ever took part in two spin classes before so don’t really know what i’m doing.

  • 67. julia  |  January 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Hi I am a beginner and at times I feel like quitting but l really want to succeed. I could really use some motivation right now!!! I seem to have a problem with standing on the spin bike my legs get extremely tired. What kind of tips can you give me to help with this problem?

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  • 69. Karen  |  February 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks for the information. I just started a spin class and am liking it a ton, I get tired tho and am thinking maybe my form is off, so all these tips help!!

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  • 81. Rg  |  September 21, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Hi, need help! Why I can’t spin while standing up? What am I doing wrong or what muscles are not supporting me? P.S.I do indoors cycling

  • 82. David Dolan  |  October 15, 2013 at 5:33 am

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  • 85. Katrina  |  January 29, 2014 at 6:33 am

    I absolutely love the information you have provided. Very thorough and detailed! Always looking for new and fresh ideas as a spin instructor. I was able to pick up a few tips to share with my students:) THANKS!!!

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  • 90. MS  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I have been instructing for 5 years and no one has ever complained of hand numbness. I have actually done classes out of the saddle for 50 minutes straight which really taxes your legs. Mix in some tabata training and you will see your reflection in the floor below from the puddle of sweat

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  • 94. wella  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:15 am

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  • 97. Naomi Betancourt  |  June 4, 2014 at 4:35 am

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  • 98. Ruth  |  June 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I am looking for tips, websites, and/or videos of how to incorporate and upper body erg into a spin class (wheel chair accessable) so that I can offer my class to someone with no lower functionality.

  • 99. Steph  |  August 4, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Oh so totally disagree with the statement the louder the better. Never like having instructions screamed at me. Best instructor I ever had kept the music at a volume that barely required his voice raised. Great workout and so much more motivating than figuring out instruction through the scream. Look at it this way- would you rather figure out road trip instruction on a loud highway or a side road. Keep the volume in check.

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  • 107. Alana  |  November 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

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  • 109. gina  |  January 19, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I have a question perhaps you can answer. I started spin class last week, have gone twice. they are 45 minute classes. I am not overweight but am not in great shape. I can keep up with the climbs seated but am having difficulty standing for long periods of time. i can only do it for about 20 seconds and then my thighs kind of give out. am I doing something wrong or will my ability to stand for longer periods of time become better with each class. It is not a beginner class, as that one was full. Seems like everyone else except me can handle the standing parts.

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  • 111. Barbara  |  February 25, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    I had a total knee replacement 4-1/2 months ago and I am going to spin classes for rehab. I am not a cyclist per se, but do ride my bike in the summer. I am in pretty good shape, but I am also a senior (female). I like the cardio I get with spin.

    My question is, I can stand w/o any difficulty, but I don’t like leaning forward when I am seated. Usually I sit up and move my arms back and forth; kind of like taking a non weight bearing walk! Does it have any impact on your actual workout if you sit up or not?

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  • 113. melissa  |  March 26, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I have a question. I did spinning 3 days in a row and still feel intense soreness in my thighs. I also have a scissor fair from time to time and it still hurts to sit and stand, never mind stair climbing. is this normal ? first time spinner

  • 114. joann  |  May 5, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I have a bad back what’s the best way to spin without aggravating it?
    Is there a smarter way to position the bike?

  • 115. Shaneen  |  May 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much! ive been having so much trouble with the bouncing issue, and I found your tips do help .

  • 116. rS  |  May 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, thanks for the help here. I’ve been spinning for 2-3 days a week for about a month now and I just can’t seem to do the fast run songs. This is where the song is faster and the pace is much quicker and sometimes we do motorcycles on it (lean to the right for 4 counts, then lean to the left for 4 counts). I feel like I can’t even keep up without adding the motorcycles, do you have any advice as to how to be able to do it?

  • 117. Nicole  |  August 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Hiya I have just been to a spin class and found it ok but the side of my right foot is killing and getting a burning sensation have you got any advice

  • 118. Nicole  |  August 17, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Hi I have recently just been to a spin class and the side of my right foot is burning why is this

  • 119. Cait  |  September 29, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Hello, thanks for the information, I have been spinning for a few weeks now and love it. Only issue is i get pain on the outside of each foot during class and it can last for up to an hour afterwards. Almost like a cramp or ”dead” sensation that can be quite painful and distracting. Any ideas as to why this is happening and what i can do to stop it in the future?

  • 120. Deb  |  February 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    How does my instructor assess whether speed or resistance is harder for me?

  • 121. Jessica Melln  |  September 21, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I am F 38, 155lb. New to spinning but I strength train 3 times a week, do Pilates and aerial yoga. I have noticed when I pedal in position 2 or 3 my knees hurt. They don’t hurt when I am in position 1 or after class. Could this be a form issue? The last class I stayed seated because I didn’t know if I was going to cause injury to myself. Any ideas?

  • 122. Deanna Upchurch  |  February 18, 2017 at 4:10 am

    So I just got a new spin bike and the seat was just horrible so I replaced with a bigger softer,more springy seat and although it’s more comfy I wonder if it’s good to be spinning with this springy bouncy type seat? I don’t want to compromise my knees or back. I do sometimes feel like it may be too wide and bouncy. Thoughts or recommendations please? Thanks!


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