Differences between spin and indoor cycling

26th June 2018

Spinning and indoor cycling are confused with each other a lot, and it makes sense, since the differences are subtle. They’re important though, and their effort and strength levels do differ noticeably.

Riding a bike is so good for you, and more people are now choosing this fun mode of transportation. But sometimes there’s not time, or the weather forces you indoors to exercise. This article will tell you what the differences between spin and indoor cycling are so you can make a good decision.

What is spinning?

Before we talking about the differences between spin and indoor cycling, it’d be good to learn a bit about each one. Let’s start with the most “famous” one, or the one most people think of when they think of a stationary bike.

Spinning began in California in 1987 when a man who like riding a stationary bike had the idea of adding exercise music to it to make it less boring.

When he realized how much motivation it gave him, he invited a group of friends to try out his “invention” and exercise in a more dynamic way. Of course, his creation went much further than that, with the rhythm of pedaling changing depending on the speed of the music.

Women doing spinning and indoor cycling.

Later they added other movements like sitting and standing, using different hand holds, and increasing or decreasing the resistance at times during a class or according to the specific results are in mind. Strength, speed, endurance, intervals, and resistance — all in one workout.

A decade later, the inventor of spinning designed a bicycle specifically for more effective workouts.

What is indoor cycling?

Indoor cycling, as the name indicates, means riding a bike indoors. The activity is much like spinning and helps you lose weight and burn calories, increase your cardiovascular endurance, and tone your legs.

While anyone can do it, indoor cycling is especially recommended for people who have trained before, perhaps competing in bicycle races or riding a “regular” bike, but who don’t do it anymore for whatever reason.

There are four main stages of an indoor cycling class:

  • Warm up (8 minutes)
  • Main stage
  • Intense/climax stage
  • Cool down and stretches (5 minutes)

There are basically four movements, hand positions, or pedaling types:

  • Flat (seated)
  • Hills (standing)
  • Mountain peak (seated)
  • Mountain peak (standing)

So what are the differences between spin and indoor cycling?

At first glance, you might think there are no differences between spin and indoor cycling. True, they are subtle. Spinning is generally thought of as being more for people who want to exercise and have fun doing it, so it’s good for any age.

Indoor cycling, though, is a bit more intense and recommended for those you want to train for a race or mountain biking, for example. Technique, heart rate, and pedal speed matter more here.

Differences between spin and indoor cycling.

Although many think that spin is a “brand” of indoor cycling, it’s actually just a bit freer and more fun. Indoor cycling is more intense and has other goals.

The two have similar effects on your body, toning your muscles — especially your legs and glutes — and increasing your cardiovascular resistance.

You also do both indoors and they both last about 50 minutes. The bikes are pretty much the same, with straight handlebars, small seats, and adjustable levels of resistance.