Indoor cycle vs. spinning: what is the difference?

One of the most common doubts among those who want to practice cycling at home or with an indoor bike is to confuse indoor cycling (or indoor cycle) and spinning. We are aware that both modalities are very similar to each other, but also that they have significant differences. That’s why in this article we want to help you understand the difference between indoor cycling and spinning, as well as answer other similar questions that often arise with respect to this type of indoor bicycles. Pay attention!

What is indoor cycling?

As its name suggests, indoor cycling is a type of indoor cycling activity. However, this clarification may fall a little short when we ask ourselves what is spinning, since it also uses an indoor bike (stationary). Indoor cycling is especially recommended for people with previous training, since it is a very technical type of activity that takes into account the heart rate and heart rate, as well as the pedaling speed, among others. In indoor cycling sessions there are usually four movements or positions of pedaling and hands, these are:

  • Flat seated: basic position.
  • Flat standing: position similar to that of a climber.
  • Mountain seated: position that increases strength and decreases speed.
  • Standing mountain: position similar to that of a climber, but with weight.

In addition, an indoor cycling class generally combines the warm-up phase (approximately 8 minutes), with the main part (where the different movements are combined), the cooldown phase (approximately 5 minutes) and the final stretching.

What is spinning?

Spinning is another activity that is practiced with indoor bicycles. This type of activity, generally practiced in gyms or sports centers, was created in California (United States) in 1987. It is carried out to music and is very fun and dynamic. It is also a type of cardiovascular activity focused mainly on weight loss, as well as on improving endurance on the bicycle. In the spinning classes we work on strength, speed, endurance, intervals and resistance exercises. The movements are varied and depend on each instructor in charge of leading the session. They are classes that are practiced with a specialized bicycle in order to perform the training in a harmonious and effective way. People who are new to spinning usually need several sessions to adapt to the level of training due to the demands of each class.

Difference between indoor cycling and spinning

Before talking about indoor cycling, spinning, differences and specific characteristics of each modality, it should be noted that the two disciplines offer very similar advantages, such as improving our endurance on the bike, lose weight, gain strength … And is that both perform high-intensity exercises that work the cardiovascular area, and are usually directed by specialized monitors. On the other hand, the bicycles used are the same; however, they are not the same. These are the main differences between indoor cycle and spinning.

Indoor cycle vs spinning: target audience

As we mentioned above when answering what indoor cycling is, this type of indoor cycling is aimed at a more specific public, with greater resistance, previous training and a superior physical condition to be able to withstand the pace of the sessions. Spinning is also a high-intensity discipline, but not as intense as indoor cycling.

Indoor cycle vs spinning: technique

Indoor cycling is much more technical than spinning. What does this mean? It means that the results and markers are taken into account to monitor the athlete’s performance. Among the values to be taken into account, the cardiovascular frequency and pedaling speed are measured. In fact, many monitors recommend using a heart rate monitor to know the exact moment when you start burning calories.

Indoor cycle vs spinning: entertainment

As we indicated above, spinning is a more entertaining and fun activity compared to the way indoor cycling sessions are organized. This is because it is accompanied by music and the exercises and classes are more dynamic, for example, it simulates climbing a mountain, the moment of acceleration and other situations, as if you were on a bike outdoors (in indoor cycling classes are much more technical, as mentioned above).

Difference between stationary and spinning bikes

This is another of the most frequent doubts among those who start in the world of indoor cycling, in fact, there are many people who do not know the difference between exercise bikes or spinning (the latter is the same that is used in indoor cycling classes). Actually, the answer is very simple, spinning is a much more demanding and dynamic activity, and the bike offers more features, such as adapting the height or being able to use it standing up. The exercise bikes, as a category, are those that are used only for sitting. They are the most basic models and it is not possible to adjust the gears on all of them. Formerly they were the most common for exercising at home, although nowadays we can find a great variety of professional bicycles for the home.

Difference between exercise bike and indoor bike

As we explained in the previous point, the main difference between exercise bike and indoor bike lies in the activity we can do with them. Indoor bikes are much more technical and professional, while exercise bikes are designed for beginners and are the most basic model. In them it is not possible to work the strength of standing, besides lacking many other features that can be found in the rest of indoor bikes.

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