What Muscles Does Spinning Work: Some Important Facts

What Muscles Does Spinning Work: Some Important Facts

A muscle is a band of fibrous tissue connecting two bones and produces motion when it contracts. Similarly, it is also an organ made up of a mass of muscle tissue such as the heart. If you’re keen on getting into a fitness regimen, burn more calories, and get the most results, then you should focus on working the large muscle groups by increasing metabolic rate through spinning or indoor cycling.  But before we identify what muscles does spinning work, let us first know its advantages and learn some tips on how to get the most out of a spinning workout.

Spinning and Some of Its Benefits

Spinning workout is usually done through indoor cycling, either a fitness gym or at home, using a static bike. Here are some of the benefits that you can get from a spinning workout:

  • You burn calories while enjoying the ride.
  • You can set your own pace.
  • It is a great cardiovascular exercise.
  • It results in leaner and more toned muscles.
  • There is a lower tendency to suffer workout injuries.
  • It strengthens your core and helps to tone your body.
  • It enhances mental strength and helps develop a can-do attitude.

What Muscles Does Spinning Work: The List

Like most exercises, spinning targets specific muscle groups. However, with a dash of creativity and a pinch of resourcefulness, you can turn spinning exercise into a total body workout–some fitness instructors do!

Here is a list of the specific muscle groups targeted during spinning:


The quadriceps is a primary muscle group located on the front side of the thighs and made up of a combination of four separate muscles.  This muscle group is largely utilized for spinning work and in the pedaling sequence where you push down the pedal.  It is also used heavily when pedaling your bike uphill.


The hamstrings are a muscle group located at the back of the leg as opposed to the quadriceps. It stabilizes the knees, keeping them in a secure position each time you bring your foot back up when pedaling again.  It also supports the quadriceps and stabilizes your knee joints.  This muscle group helps greatly with the walking and running movements.


This muscle group which is located in the buttocks and consists of three separate muscles is considered as the most powerful and largest muscles of the body. The glutes assist the leg muscles during a spinning workout and are also subject to a lot of stress. You engage your glutes each time you stand on your bike and increase the resistance and incline.


The calves are located at the bottom of the ankle and the rear of the leg towards the bottom side.  This muscle group with soleus as the primary muscle is significant as it helps to stabilize your leg while doing spinning work, and leg stability is vital especially on tough incline runs.

Back and Upper Body Muscles

The muscles on your back and upper body provide support to your torso during your spinning workout and help strengthen and tone it.


This muscular organ pumps blood to the body and supplies oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.  An average of at least 30 minutes of spinning workout yields great benefits for the heart and keeps it in good shape.  At least three spin classes each week is enough to keep your heart healthy and in top condition.

Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Spinning Workout

  • Start with low intensity and gradually increase your pace as you become comfortable with it
  • Keep the workout short, preferably between 20-30 minutes as our muscles need time to recover
  • Be sure to adjust the hand bar as well as the seat height and position for proper alignment to save yourself slips and accidents
  • Maintain proper sitting position to reduce risks of back pains and strains
  • Make sure your spinning instructor is certified as such type of exercise can be harmful if done, or taught, the wrong way
  • Have a towel and water handy because you’re sure to sweat profusely after an intense workout

Some Drawbacks of a Spinning Workout

A spinning workout is an enjoyable exercise, but just like any other form of fitness routine, it also has its share of disadvantages. These include:

  • Spinning workout does not include the upper body.

A spinning workout focuses on the leg area as well as the bum and core, but it totally ignores the upper body area.  However, as what we have mentioned previously, some instructors incorporate hand weights and prep-ups for you to have a full-body workout.

  • Spinning workout could lead to fatigue and burnout as it usually has no intermittent breaks.

Spinning workouts usually require you to move non-stop for 45 minutes, and this can sometimes be an area of concern. Unlike interval training which allows for short breaks, spinning may result in burnout and overwork of muscles.

  • Spinning workout may lead to strain and back pain.

You tend to hunch your back while spinning which results to back pain and strain.  Be sure to consult the matter with your instructor so that he or she can guide you on the proper posture.

  • Spinning workout is considered one of the least comfortable types of exercise.

Your pelvic bones and coccyx could become sore as the seat area is not well-cushioned.  Be sure to invest in padded bike shorts and adjust your bike properly to avoid this misery.

Final Words

A spinning workout yields many benefits as it can burn calories, strengthen your core, enhance mental performance and give a good cardiovascular exercise, among others.  It works up the lower body muscle groups such as the hamstrings, glutes, calves, quadriceps and back muscles.

However, spinning alone does not cover the upper body muscles. Thus, some creativity and resourcefulness are necessary to turn this exercise into a total body workout. Nevertheless, its most important benefit is keeping your heart, which is considered as the most important muscle of the human body, in tip-top shape!

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