Spin, also known as rhythm-based indoor cycling, is a type of indoor workout that combines traditional cycling with choreographed movements set to music. It differs from normal indoor cycling as it uses the rhythm and beat of music to guide the entire workout. It requires riders to move with the music, and encouraged to do so in unison to create a dance-like experience on the bike. To add variety, rhythmic cycling classes often incorporate hand weights and other props such as a weighted bar to the workout.

Like other workouts, spin requires a good form and proper execution. It is always good to note some of the spin mistakes, and some of the potential risks associated with these mistakes so that you can look out for and avoid when engaging in the activity.

Why is it so popular?

Designed to be high-energy, immersive, and fun, people engage in spin for several reasons, mainly as an alternative to other cardio workouts like running. It maintains cardiovascular strength, burn calories and strengthen mid to lower body parts, all of which while having a fun and social workout experience. As the entire workout is guided by the rhythm of music, it is both entertaining and immersive. The music and choreography can help distract from the intensity of the workout, making it more enjoyable and motivating.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, spin saw an increase in popularity and interest as people sought safe and effective ways to exercise indoors. Many gyms and fitness studios began offering virtual classes to meet the demand for at-home workouts. As an individual looking for an effective workout, one can easily purchase an indoor bike, connect to online classes and cycle with class virtually. As people sought ways to stay connected and engaged with others while staying physically active, the social and motivational aspect of rhythmic cycling hence became even more attractive.

1. Poor form

Incorrect cycling form can lead to muscle strains, joint pain, and other injuries. It is important to maintain proper form and alignment during rhythmic cycling workouts.

Proper form would mean keeping your core engaged, shoulders relaxed, and knees aligned over the pedals. Avoid hunching over the handlebars or leaning too far forward or backward, or pedalling with the toes instead of the ball of the foot.

Below is a good example of how proper indoor cycling form should be. And to avoid this spin mistake the next time you attend a class.

Video: @Spinning

2. Improper bike set up

Proper bike setup should align with your height and body proportions. Most indoor bikes allow to adjust the seat height, handlebar height, and seat to ensure proper alignment and comfort.

If the bike is not set up properly, it may lead to discomfort, pain, or injury. Common setup mistakes include having the seat too high or too low which may strain your arms and shoulders, the handlebars too far away or too close where you may find yourself leaning too far forward, or the seat too far or near.

Indoor cyclist, Kayleigh Cohen shares on how you should properly set up your bike.

Video: Kaleigh Cohen Cycling

3. Lack of Hydration

Rhythmic cycling is a high-intensity workout that can lead to excessive sweating. If not hydrated properly and the body is not replenished, the body loses more fluids than it takes in overall, and it can have some health consequences. We would thus want to remember to hydrate so as to avoid experiencing the below.

Dehydration can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  1. Thirst
  2. Fatigue
  3. Headache
  4. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  5. Rapid heart rate
  6. Decreased urine output
  7. Dry mouth, lips, and skin
  8. Muscle cramp

During classes, you may notice instructors repeatedly reminding the class to ‘towel down and water’. The amount of water you need to drink depends on your body weight, the duration and intensity of the workout, and the temperature and humidity of the environment. Generally, it is recommended to drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during exercise, and to drink an additional 16-20 ounces of water after the workout to rehydrate.

4. Overexertion and Ignoring discomfort

Spin can be a high-intensity workout that can push the limits of participants' cardiovascular and muscular endurance. To avoid spin mistakes, it is good to first know what they are.
Photo: Element5 Digital

Spin can be a high-intensity workout that can push the limits of participants’ cardiovascular and muscular endurance. It also emphasises the rhythm and beat of the music to guide the workout, hence riders should closely pay attention to heart rate and perceived exertion level to ensure safety.

It can be tempting to push yourself further during a class, but it is important to understand that overexertion can lead to fatigue, dehydration, and other health complications. One should always listen to the body and adjust the intensity and form as needed.

5. Difficulty in Following instructions

It is important to follow the instructor’s cues and safety guidelines, and to not attempt any movements or modifications that are beyond your skill level or comfort zone.

Some people may not follow instructions due to a lack of understanding of execution of certain moves, distracted by their own thoughts, surroundings and the music, or overconfidence.

It is important for all riders to listen carefully to the instructor’s cues, modify movements as needed, and remember to always prioritise safety and well-being.

How to watch out for yourself?

The repetitive motion of cycling can potentially lead to injuries such as tendonitis, knee pain, and lower back pain. Varying the intensity and duration of workouts, as well as incorporating stretching after the workout can help prevent these injuries.

Participants with certain health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or joint problems, may be at increased risk of injury or complications from rhythmic cycling. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.


To minimise the risk of injury or complications, it is good to know these spin mistakes and encouraged to seek help when setting your bike, and form Remember to hydrate and know your limits by listening to your body during the workouts. It is also recommended to speak with your instructor should you have questions or concerns.

Post Image: Ivan Sam