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In the Saddle/Out of Saddle Ratio

dinabean2010-05-02 10:36:08 +0000 #1
Just curious -- in a typical 1 hour cycling class, how much time is typical to be in the saddle, and how much out?

I went to a class with a different instructor last night, and she spent easily 45 out of the 60 minutes out of the saddle. That seemed like a lot to me (and, I couldn't do it).

Particularly you instructors out there --is that typical? Is there a set guideline ya'll are taught? Am I just a wimp?

I figured in real riding conditions I would never be standing for 20 minutes straight, and that's what I told myself when I sat my butt down.

But I am curious what others think of this.
Raindrop2010-05-02 10:45:32 +0000 #2
It's sad...but all too true that many of the Indoor cycle classes are taught more as a choreographed aerobic class instead of a cycle class. I have my classes spending the majority of their time in the saddle, mostly only coming out for a posture break or because the climb has gotten steep enough to require them to leave the saddle.

Remember, you don't have to leave the saddle if you don't want to.
ny biker2010-05-02 11:19:56 +0000 #3
I took a spinning class once a few years ago. It was in October, after a summer of long bike rides including a difficult hilly century. I was in great cycling shape at the time. The spinning class had us standing much of the time. For a week after the class I had severe muscle aches. So whatever muscles the instructor had us working in class, they had nothing to do with actual bike riding.
kmehrzad2010-05-02 11:22:33 +0000 #4

Originally Posted by Raindrop

Remember, you don't have to leave the saddle if you don't want to.

Very true, it's your ride and do what you feel comfortable with. What I don't do are the lifts, jumps, speedbumps - whatever certain instructors call them to the count of two or four, that's way too much strain on my knees, so I tend to either stay up or down and hold that position throughout the exercise. This works for me.
Dogmama2010-05-02 11:53:29 +0000 #5
I try to give my students an "out of saddle" break because the spin cycle saddles can be very uncomfortable for some people. So, if I have one song, approximately 4 minutes, in the saddle, I'll have them out of the saddle for part of the next song. And it isn't just climbing - I'll have people standing as well. I'm aware that the position for climbing can be difficult for some students' backs.

It's hard to accommodate everybody. That is why I emphasize that "this is YOUR ride - if you don't like what I'm doing - don't do it!"
Resi2010-05-02 12:11:41 +0000 #6

the most of the spin class instructor are not cyclists, they are aerobic teachers. Generally in the real biking world, we don't spend a lot of time standing, only for short bursts and maybe uphill for getting off your butt from the saddle for a very short time.

I see 99 % of the members spinning on a very high cadence and bounce like a ball on the saddle, bad postures and so on...there is so much more incorrect stuff they teach, just for entertainment, well I can get this somewhere else and way better... that's the reason I cut down on classes from 5 time a week to 1 class. I just don't want to waist my time anymore in classes like this, I bike outside and if the weather is bad I spin at home on my trainer. If you get an instructor which bikes outside, you will see a difference in class quality.

So in other words, you decide what you want to do in the spin class, this is your time and most important it is your health!
Dogmama2010-05-02 11:48:33 +0000 #7
While I agree that cyclists make the best spin instructors, I think it is important to remember that we're teaching to the masses. Not every student is a cyclist, in fact, most are in class for an aerobic workout. I absolutely agree that bouncing off the saddle, poor form, etc., are contraindicated no matter what the students' goals are. However, I do teach more jumps and out of saddle work than a normal cyclist will experience on the road.

That being said, I also emphasize that jumps are accomplished by using leg muscles, not pulling forward on the handlebars. Standing is done using core muscles, not leaning on the bars. Hills require butt back in the saddle. We do pedal drills where we practice pedaling in a circle. My classes are not just fluff substitutions for step aerobic classes - they learn cycling skills. AND, I have to be conscious that I have many people who are there to burn calories, period. So, I try to keep them comfortable by getting them out of the saddle while being aware that back issues can come into play, etc.

It's a balancing act.
indysteel2010-05-02 11:17:31 +0000 #8
I've had some instructors that spend more time out of the saddle than others. I like being out of the saddle, so it doesn't bother me one way or another. I will sit down or stand up as needed, regardless of what the instructor is suggesting we do. Assuming proper form, getting out of the saddle works muscles that I want to work, regardless of whether it mimics what I actually do on the bike on a regular basis.

I think Dogmamma touches on some good points. While many of us turn to spinning, especially in the colder months, to get a "cycling" workout, spinning is first and foremost an aerobic workout. Not all of it does, or necessarily should, mimic cycling in real life. It's similar but not identical.

IMO, if something doesn't feel good, then don't do it, but I wouldn't assume that something in a spin class was contraindicated just because I couldn't do it for the length of time suggested by the instructor. Even when I've in great "cycling shape," at the end of the season, a good spin class will usually kick my butt.



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