February 2nd 2021
The best online spin classes to transform your living room into a cycling studio
January 27th 2021 / 0 comment
For killer playlists, challenging workouts and that much-missed studio atmosphere, these are the at-home spin classes to clip in for
For a low impact workout that builds lean muscles, torches up to 400 calories a session and delivers a hefty hit of endorphins, you can't go wrong with an online spin class. And the best news? You only need one piece of equipment to join in - a stationary bike with a selection of gears so you can alter the resistance throughout the class.
There's a wealth of online spin classes to get your indoor cycling fix, with everyone from London and Oxford-based studio Digme offering daily live spin classes online, to pre-recorded workouts with spin experts Peloton. Most at-home spin classes you can join no matter which brand of spin bike you have. In the case of platforms such as Peloton and Echelon, where your bike is app-connected, it merely means you won't appear on online live leaderboards. For example, I had a Keiser bike, from £1,200, which Digme kindly lent me, and still joined in with Peloton's live sessions on my laptop, I just couldn't see how my workout compared to others in the session. On some platforms (including Digme and Peloton) the instructors will use the gears on their branded bikes as a guide when leading the class. I.e. 'have your gear at '11', but also talk in percentages, such as 'go at 70 per cent of your maximum speed', so anyone can join in, no matter which bike you're on.
Here are the virtual spin classes to try now for that post-cycling high.
Digme At Home, £29.99 per month, unlimited live and on-demand classes
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The vibe: Digme's instructors are part of a new breed of trainers, encouraging you to work at your maximum without pressuring you. Rather than shouting to smash your previous performance, they offer positive mantras about doing your best that day, which I personally found more motivating.
What you get: £29.99 per month gives you unlimited live and on-demand classes via Zoom link; £9.99 per month buys unlimited on-demand classes with £6 extra per live class. The platform also has yoga sessions, HIIT, strength and outdoor running audio sessions included in the monthly subscription. Digme's trainers use Keiser bikes which can be rented from £69 per month and can be linked to the Digme Ipad app so you can track your performance. You can also buy the Keiser bike from Digme for £1,999 which also includes one year's membership to Digme At Home.
Live spin classes: Eight per weekday, seven at weekends, between 7am and 8pm, all lasting 45 minutes
On-demand spin classes: The platform has a library of more than 30 on-demand spin classes with two new ones added each week. The videos last 30 or 45 minutes and are produced especially for on-demand, rather than being filmed live classes – experienced at-home spinners will know that watching back live classes can be irritating when the instructor is shouting out riders in real-time, when you know it's not happening then and there!
The trainers: There are 38 trainers on the Digme At Home platform, all with boundless energy to keep you motivated when it's just you on a bike in your living room. I especially enjoyed classes with Sophie Maggie, a twenty-something trainer who is endlessly upbeat and brought a dose of positivity even to the bleakest of mornings.
Class types: Digme offers a range of class styles including Rhythm, in which you cycle along to the songs concentrating on choreography and the music, and Ride which is a traditional spin class where you focus on your RPM. The platform has a mix of standard ride classes and themed ones, such as a Beyoncé ride and a Pop Divas ride which features everyone from Britney, to Miley Cyrus to Kylie Minogue on the soundtrack.
Our verdict: There's someone for everyone on Digme At Home, no matter if you like house or pop music, HIIT rides or endurance sessions, though most classes have a mixture of HIIT and endurance to work your muscles and improve your cardio health too. You can follow Digme's sessions on any spin bike.
Apex, £30 per month for unlimited on-demand classes
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The vibe: Apex's class content is created with London spin studio Boom Cycle, so expect boppy, music-led classes. If you have a competitive streak, you can buy an Apex bike, £1,200, and use Bluetooth to connect your bike to the Apex app to record your ride and check out your stats in comparison to other riders (RPM, calories burnt, etc). You can follow Apex rides on a generic spin bike, but you wouldn't be able to receive stats or monitor RPM and resistance.
What you get: For £30 you get unlimited on-demand classes, joined via the Apex app.
On-demand spin classes: There are currently 150 on-demand classes on the app to choose from and once lockdown is over there will be two live classes per day (one morning, one evening) for riders to book into, included in the price. The lives classes will also be added to the app after they've ended.
Class types: Classes range from 15 minutes to 60 minutes. There are a number of different types of classes that fall under two categories: Move and Metric. The former are dance-based, the latter are stats focused. There are four different levels of difficulty, ranging from 'beginner' to 'spinning god'. There are HIIT classes, hill interval classes, classes with and without weights and a number of different music genres to choose from.
The trainers: There are ten instructors in total, all from Boom Cycle and as you'd expect from the studio they're motivational, full of personality and all different from each other so you can find an instructor who suits your vibe.
Our verdict: For a touch of healthy competition with world-class instructors at a price that's less than a monthly gym fee, Apex is the at home spin class for you.
Find out more about Apex – in January Apex is offering a free month of classes.
Echelon, from £24.99 per month for unlimited on-demand and live classes
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The vibe: If you miss the camaraderie of spinning alongside others, these are the sessions for you; with the branded Echelon bike you receive personalised performance reports and you can ride with other people around the world.
What you get: Echelon's bikes start from £799.99 to buy, or you can use a generic spin bike, though as with other platforms, this means you can't access live data and leaderboards. For from £24.99 per month you can access unlimited on-demand and live classes through the Echelon Fit App, which can be streamed through any smart device.
Live spin classes: There are 14 lives classes daily, every hour, on the hour. These are uploaded to the on-demand platform afterwards.
On-demand spin classes: Thousands!
Class types: The classes range from 20-minute blasts to hour-long sessions. They vary from beginner sessions, to bike boot camp style classes, cadence lead sessions, hills, power, low impact, speed, scenic, etc.
The trainers: Echelon currently has 35 different instructors.
Our verdict: If live classes are your preference, Echelon has the upperhand with some many live sessions taking place every day.
Peloton, £39 per month for unlimited live and on-demand classes
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The vibe: If riding alongside others and comparing your stats on a virtual leaderboard is what motivates you, Peloton is the online spin class for you. It has a community feel; members get to know the instructors, who often give shout-outs during class to members who have hit certain ride milestones, have a birthday or are riding for the first time. There’s an intimacy to the Peloton experience.
What you get: Unlimited access to thousands of on-demand and live spin workouts, as well as yoga, strength, walking tracks, cardio sessions and running guidance. All are accessed on the Peloton app. One of Peloton's USPs is you get the community feel of being in a real life spin class, but this is only available if you have the Peloton bike, which features a real-time leaderboard, which shows on your tablet in every class and enables you to track your progress against other riders and your own personal record. If you’re riding in an on-demand class you can use a filter called ‘Here Now’ to see who is riding at the same time as you in that on-demand class. I used Peloton on a non-branded bike so couldn't see the live leaderboard but didn't feel excluded particularly.
Live spin classes: Peloton don't advertise a number of live classes per day, but the sessions are streamed from studios in London and New York with live classes typically starting at 6am or 7am UK time, to cater members worldwide (of which there are 3.6million). Classes range from 10 minute HIIT sessions to 90 minute endurance spins.
On-demand spin classes: There are thousands of on-demand sessions on the site. Once a live class has taken place it's added to the on demand so you can access at any time.
Class types: With thousands of classes on-site there are endless different styles to choose from, from standard spin to the beat classes, to HIIT workouts, hill climb sessions, arm and spin combination sessions. Music themed sessions are particularly popular with rock rides, country rides and R&B rides commonplace.
The trainers: Peloton's ride sessions are hosted by 35 instructors who have become celebrities in their own rights for their individual teaching styles and music preferences.
Our verdict: There's a reason Peloton is the biggest name in online spin classes; with the largest variety of sessions of all platforms, differing lengths of classes and huge roster of trainers, there's no chance of getting bored, but this is reflected in the price.
Psycle At Home, £35 per month for unlimited classes
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The vibe: If you've ever set foot in one of Psycle's four London studios, you'll know their classes are all about the energy. From upbeat instructors keeping you going to claps in between press-ups, their sessions are go, go go and this translates well to at-home classes, when it can be hard to motivate yourself.
What you get: For the monthly fee you can do unlimited live and online classes. Alternatively you can pay per class, with individual class credits available for purchase for £12. Psycle at Home can be done on any generic spin bike.
Live spin classes: Psycle At Home offers four or five live Ride classes per week, which are then available to view for 48 hours afterwards so you can take it at a different time or even take it again if you loved it. Classes tend to be live at 7:30am and 6:30pm to fit around the working day and are either 30 or 45 mintues long.
On-demand spin classes: There are over 30 on-demand spin classes available on the platform, with new ones added each week to supplement the live classes.
The trainers: Psycle At Home has 15 different spin instructors. Each has their own style, but all create fun, immersive and energetic workouts that are designed help you clear your mind, transform your body and have fun.
Cass style: Classes can be filtered by intensity, duration and instructor, so you can find the right workout for your mood. Themed classes are launching this month too.
Our verdict: Psycle's positive energy translates best into online classes of all the virtual spins we've tried, leaving us radiating good vibes post-spin.