Spin class is a great way to burn calories and build cardio, but incorrect form may be hindering your ride. Whether you’re a spin class newbie or an experienced rider, some form cues can prevent injury and improve your workout.


Asphalt Green instructor Denise Schermerhorn has been teaching spin class for 15 years and shares her tricks to the trade.  


Step 1: Arrive early

The last thing you want to feel is rushed—especially if you’re a beginner—when you get to class. Arrive 10 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to set up your bike, fill up your water bottle, and notify the instructor if you have any injuries. If it’s your first spin class, don’t be shy. The instructor is there to help!


Step 2: Set up your bike

The seat and handlebars will need to be adjusted to fit your height and body proportions. Sit on the bike and begin pedaling to get an idea of whether you need to raise or lower the seat and handlebars. You should have a 5-to 10-degree bend of your knee at the bottom of your stroke, and be able to reach the handlebars by bending slightly forward. Dismount off the bike and adjust your seat accordingly. Then, raise the handlebars slightly higher than the seat.


Step 3: Ready to ride 

The music is blasting and your heart is pumping, but remember to focus on your form. Your elbows should be slightly flexed, head and neck gazing forward in neutral position, shoulders relaxed (we tend to hold a lot of our tension here!), and a neutral back and core (don’t hold your stomach in; you need to breathe). It may seem like a lot to think about, but if you focus on a couple of form cues, often times the rest will fall into place.  


Step 4: Keep up the cadence 

Spin class is hard work. Depending on the format of the class, your cadence—how fast you pedal—can range for 60 repetitions per minute (rpm) to 120rpm. If you start bouncing, you’re going to fast, and if you hesitate at the bottom of your stroke, your cadence is probably too slow.


Step 5: Check in with your body and enjoy the ride

Spin class should be challenging and fun! When you get tired and your muscles fatigue, your form may break down. Check in with your body during class, and make adjustments to your form as needed. The better your form, the more effective your ride. Feed off the energy of a group and get your sweat on. Keep at it, and you’ll be on your way to reaching your fitness goals.