Indoor Cycling

7 Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Spin Class

We polled Philly's top spin instructors for the biggest no-nos they've spotted in class.


Photograph by iStock/Bojan89

Welcome to Spin Week at Be Well Philly! Each day, we’ll bring you the best and the latest on info on indoor cycling around Philadelphia. Stay tuned for more great spinning articles!

It’d be easy to convince yourself that there’s no way to go wrong when taking an indoor cycling class. I mean, it’s literally just like riding a bike. How hard could it be?

Apparently, there are plenty of ways to go wrong in spin class. And since “doing it wrong” can actually lead to injury, we reached out to some of Philly’s top instructors to ask: What are some of the biggest mistakes you wish people would stop making in class?

Read on for the biggest indoor cycling faux pas.

Not Accepting Help When Setting Up Your Bike

“Getting set up on your bike by an instructor or staff member gives us the opportunity to make sure your bike settings are correct for you. This will help with everything from form to injury prevention to being able to meet the challenges of each class more successfully. It also gives instructors the opportunity to go over form cues and technology on your bike.” — Susannah Greenwood, instructor at Flywheel

Letting Technology Distract You

“I look at a SoulCycle studio as a sanctuary, an escape from the world, and the world today is ruled by technology. There are times where I’ll see riders check in with their Apple Watch, etc., on their metrics. My opinion on the matter is that you know when you are working at or close to your maximum ability that day, there is no need for external validation. Stay in the moment, keep going at it.” — Ryan Lewis field instructor development officer and instructor at SoulCycle

Having Bad Posture in the Saddle

“Your grip should always be light and your spine should be neutral, scapula drawn down the back and shoulders far from your ears. The hunched over, head down, death grip on the handlebars thing you see all of the time in the spin studio massively limits your breathing and your muscle engagement. It’s also a lazy and potentially harmful posture that, unfortunately, I see all of the time in real life. Whether you are spinning, sitting at a desk, eating a meal, driving, etc., you should take a moment to roll your shoulders back, lift your chin, and engage your lower abdominal muscles.” — Jessica Sullivan, instructor at Revel Ride

Using Too Much Resistance

“If you crank SO much resistance on that you struggle moving the pedals around in a smooth circle, lighten up! It is so damaging to your joints when you force your legs to muscle the pedals around. 55 to 65 RPM is the slowest you should go. You are not impressing anyone going 40 RPM, in position three, struggling to get the pedals around, humping your bike, and using your arms for leverage. Your form will go, and you will hurt yourself.” — Shoshana Katz, owner at BPM Fitness

Not Following the Pace Set by the Instructor

“In a regular SoulCycle class, we ride to the rhythm of the music and our workout is created around the pace or BPM of the song. It takes time and patience to get faster paces both in and out of the saddle. A rider that is trying to perfect their fast pace out of the saddle should focus just on the pace in the saddle and come out to third position in 16-count intervals or until they start to lose the pace.” — Nick Turk, instructor at SoulCycle

Throwing Your Weight Around

“It’s dangerous, and you will get hurt if you habitually do it. Your knees should be bent the entire spin class and your weight should be centered and back over the seat. It drives me nuts to see people flinging their weight back and forth, straightening their legs, and leaning on the handle bars. So ineffective, so dangerous!” — Jessica Sullivan, instructor at Revel Ride

Not Living in the Moment

“I start my classes by asking the group to take a moment to let go of the day and to bring their full focus to the time we have in the stadium, and it’s always very obvious who does this and who doesn’t. We build our classes to push you out of your comfort zone, to take you on a journey, and to show you how to be the strongest, most amazing version of yourself. You can only achieve this if you are fully committed and present (and yes, this includes leaving your phone in your locker!).” — Amandah Povilitus, instructor at Flywheel

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