Stationary ‘Spin’ Takes Off

Spin, Andover’s new “it” sport, will now become an official athletic option after gaining widespread popularity and amassing a dedicated groups of followers. New believers became hooked after trying Spin during Pilates trial classes and Flexible Fitness Option (FFO). Athletic Director Michael Kuta said, “It was uncanny how Spin was a [FFO] and quickly dropped into a traditional [sport option]”. Spin is an indoor aerobic exercise class conducted on unique stationary bikes, known as spinning bikes. During Spin classes, participants bike at varying speeds, amounts of resistance and in alternating positions. Tension knobs on the spinning bikes enable participants to adjust the resistance load and thus the difficulty of their workout. Supporters of Spin cited various reasons for the sports’ appeal. Spinning veteran, Gabby Iappelli ’08 said, “Spin is an energizing workout that is addictive. It is hard to explain if you don’t do it.” Karen Kennedy, Instructor in Athletics and Spinning Instructor, said, “When you are spinning, you have to come into the moment and focus on [what you’re doing]… Aside from the athletic benefit of Spin, there is an emotional and spiritual benefit because [Spin] stills the mind.” Kuta added, “[Spin] provides a way to address goals that are common for most fitness programs; intensity aimed at large muscle groups.” Specifically, Spin targets the core muscle group and the lower body, particularly the hamstrings, quadriceps and thighs. Kennedy emphasized the physical advantages of Spin. She said that 20 minutes of high-intensity Spin is equivalent to 45 minutes of running. Additionally, reports that a 45 minute Spin class burns an estimated 450 calories. Madison McGreal ’08 said that she was surprised that Spin has a reputation on campus of being ‘easy’. McGreal, who opted for spinning this term over spring varsity softball, said, “I feel like Spin is one of the best cardio workouts that you can get”. Establishing a Spin class at Andover was the combined effort of Kuta, Kennedy and former Athletic Director Martha Fenton. The Athletic Department implemented the class as part of an initiative to provide more FFOs. Last year, the Athletic Department discussed various ideas for FFOs such as game classes, individual workouts with trainers, yoga and snowshoeing. The athletic staff eventually settled on piloting Spin classes, and they purchased ten spinning bikes in the spring of 2007. To prepare for the new athletic offering, Fenton and Kennedy took Spin classes at SpinCity in downtown Andover, where they learned personal techniques and teaching methods. FFO, however, received few enrollments in the fall. In hopes of increasing popularity, Spin was trialed in the Pilates classes during Fall and Winter terms. In lieu of the typical Pilates regimen four days a week, Pilates participants spinned for two days and practiced Pilates during the other two days. When Pilates participants gave extensive positive feedback for Spin, the Athletic Department decided to establish Spin as an official spring sport. Anna Henderson ’08 was a member of the winter Pilates class that trialed Spin. Henderson said that she enjoyed Spin so much that she quit varsity track, her spring sport for the last three years, to continue Spin this term. Spin is growing in popularity in gyms and fitness centers across the country. From gym to gym, Spin classes vary greatly in style and methods. Variations of Spin classes include spinning while watching a movie, singing, playing catch or stationary dancing. Andover’s Spin classes follow a more traditional form and are accompanied by loud energetic pop music.