Spin Your Way to Winter Fitness

Since you don't have to worry about cars, the terrain or any of the usual distractions, spin class allows you to focus on your pedal stroke.

As Old Man Winter roars in and daylight becomes scarce, it's vital that you have a structured training program that keeps you motivated, improves your weaknesses and gets you ready to achieve next season's goals.

Spinning? classes are a great way to beat the cold despite their bad reputation for being a glorified aerobics class on a bike.

Here are three ways that you can turn those classes into the perfect winter workout by honing your technique as you work on building endurance.

Focus on your pedal stroke: You don't have to balance the bike, steer, or be wary of your buddy who thinks he's George Hincapie but is actually the worst bike handler you've ever seen.

Take a few minutes in the beginning of class to pedal with one leg. Do 2 x 30 seconds on each leg. Then take some 30-second or one-minute intervals to really focus on a perfect pedaling—both legs—smooth and efficient. Be sure to slow down (or stop) your pedaling when you switch your legs.

Recruit your fast-twitch fibers: Most gym bikes have semi-fixed or totally-fixed cranks. This will carry your legs through the circle even when they start to wear out at the end of class. This is a great time to do some 30-second bursts of high-cadence, low-resistance sprinting in the saddle. These are for technique, not power.

This effort will recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers when they're the most tired, training your legs to be the fresh at the end of a hard ride or race. This makes you more prepared for that inevitable attack at the end that spring road race.

Remember, you control the workout: If your workout goal is to do a solid 10-minute seated climb, then stay in the saddle. No one is going yell at you. And don't forget that you control the tension on the flywheel. Be sure to keep it at your intensity and not Joe Spinner's—who doesn't even commute to work.

You don't have to be a member as most clubs have a drop-in rate that will allow you to take a class. So get on that Spin? bike and start getting ready for next season!

Eric is a full time triathlon and cycling coach. He is the owner of EK Endurance Coaching and works with athletes of all levels. To see EK Endurance Coaching's highlighted results and learn more about what they can do for you go to EKendurancecoaching.com.

Spinning? is an indoor cycling program created by Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.

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