Spin Workouts: Learn the Benefits and Limitations

By Tara Hackney for Athletico Physical Therapy

Spin Workouts: Learn the Benefits and Limitations Spin cycle studios seem to be on every other corner these days. This popular workout involves a stationary bike, fast and loud music, and an upbeat and motivating instructor. The studio usually has low lighting, a video screen with goals and maybe some fun disco lights. Let’s take a closer look at this workout to see the benefits and limitations.

Benefits of a Spin Workout:

  1. Spin workouts are non-impact, which is appealing for those that wish to get a workout without a lot of pressure placed on the joints. The act of cycling also allows for good joint range of motion. This helps with joint flexibility without the pounding associated with running. A properly set up bicycle will have minimal pressure placed on the joints. This is good for the hips, knees and ankles.
  1. Spin classes burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. This can be beneficial for those wishing to lose weight. A sensible diet combined with spin classes may help you shed unwanted pounds. Spin class is also an excellent cardiovascular workout.
  1. Spin class works a variety of muscles in the lower body. The hips, knees, calves and ankles all get a great workout during spin class. If you have ever taken a class, you know that your legs can feel like “jello” afterward, which indicates muscle fatigue in the lower body.
  1. All ages can benefit from a spin workout. Intensity of the workout can be altered to each individual via the bike, which means that all ages and skill levels can participate in a spin class.

Limitations of a Spin Workout:

  1. There may be some intimidation associated with spin class. The room is dark, the class may be very full and it could feel like everyone else knows exactly what is going on. However, generally classes are made up of blended genders and all fitness levels. The instructor or employees can also easily help you set up a bike your first few sessions.
  1. There is little use of the upper body during a spin class. Upper body strength training may need to be added to your routine on days you do not attend a spin class to address these areas.
  1. Many new participants to spin class complain of a sore butt after the first few classes. Gel seats or padded bike shorts can be purchased to help offset this complaint.

A Well-Rounded Routine

Although spin class is a great workout for cardiovascular health and lower body strengthening, there are some limitations. Stretching is recommended such as a yoga class, or incorporation of balance and strength skills for a well-rounded routine in addition to a spin workout regimen. Should an injury occur during workout, schedule an appointment at a nearby Athletico location so we can help you heal.

If you suspect an injury from a workout, find your closest Athletico for a complimentary injury screen.

Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

Motorcyclist Breaks Record after Cervical Spine Surgery by Dr. Frank Phillips

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Dave Siebert, 62, of Grayslake, IL, is up for just about any physical challenge. Two of his favorite activities are wreck diving (scuba diving among shipwrecks) and racing motorcycles which he builds himself.

With a life full of adventure and high physical demands, Dave is used to orthopedic conditions. Over the past ten years, he has undergone two hip replacements, a shoulder replacement, and a broken arm. Each of these he took in stride and has experienced successful recoveries.

However, a new, gradual pain crept into Dan’s body last spring that concerned him in a different way. He could feel the strength slowly drifting from his left hand; something he called a “frostbite” effect. He could barely hold the clutch of his motorcycle. The weakness and loss of control spread to his leg, leading him to stumble and trip. “I remember falling off a chair trying to tie my shoe,” he recalls. “That’s when I knew it was bad.”

Dave consulted his orthopedic physician who told that this time the problem was a cervical spine (neck) nerve impingement. His doctor recommended that he see a specialist, specifically Dr. Frank Phillips, director of the minimally invasive spine surgery specialty at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

After a visit to examine Dave and discuss his MRI, Dr. Phillips recommended a minimally invasive cervical fusion, which would eliminate his neck pain and restore his sensory perception, coordination, and balance issues.

Dave agreed to the procedure at Rush University Medical Center and was pleased to be home and walking within 48 hours.

“I didn’t like feeling unable to do something. Being able to walk was the first thing on my mind. Since I’ve had the surgery, I’ve been better and better.” As part of his healing, he focused on building strength and flexibility by practicing piano and yoga, and then swimming.

Just two months after surgery, Dave was even able to walk comfortably in his son’s wedding. Since then, he has graduated to the activities he loves most: wreck diving, building and racing motorcycles.

Just a year after surgery, Dave broke a national record: 15.3 seconds in a quarter mile race while riding a 1972 2-stroke Suzuki motorcycle that he rebuilt himself. He is thankful to be active again and is looking forward to a diving trip in Cozumel, Mexico this winter.

“Dr. Phillips really knew what he needed to do and he did it,” he explains. “It’s comforting when you have a doctor who is really on his game. I was very impressed with the whole experience.”


Learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery

Patient Completes Ironman after Knee Replacement

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Several years ago, lifelong swimmer Laura Parker, now 47, of St. Charles, IL, took an interest in running because some friends were competing in a local triathlon. Training for this event got her hooked on competing and since 2009 she has completed four Ironman triathlons – the most difficult of all triathlons.

Her fourth triathlon was very special.

In an Ironman, competitors complete a 2.4-mile swim,112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. – a total of 140.6 miles.

It’s all about training and committing to a process. “Training is harder than the race,” says Parker. “It’s not about racing against them, it’s a race against yourself.”

The training did take a toll on her body, however. Her first Ironman left her with knee pain that made it difficult to walk. She went for an MRI, which revealed that she had end stage arthritis in all three compartments of her left knee.

Heeding her doctor’s recommendation, Laura did physical therapy for six weeks to strengthen her vastus medialis oblique (VMO), a muscle located just above the kneecap.  She then went back to training but the pain worsened.

Eventually, even though she did two more Ironman competitions, it became increasingly harder to train, walk and perform every day activities. Then, in 2016, her doctor recommended a total knee replacement.

Laura immediately began her research to find the best surgeon for this procedure. One of her cycling friends had great success at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, so she started there.

She discovered Dr. Craig DellaValle, a top ranked hip and knee replacement doctor, set up an appointment, and felt confident to that he was an excellent choice. She was excited to get back to pain-free training, but exactly what kind, she wasn’t yet sure. She was hoping to compete in another Ironman competition and discussed this in detail with Dr. DellaValle.

Laura’s knee replacement surgery went very well and she began stretching, lifting lightweights and was eventually able to start fully training again. She did so well that, eventually, Dr. Della Valle approved her to compete as long as she walked in the running portion of the races.

Laura did accomplish her goal of competing in yet another Ironman. She successfully completed her fourth in January 2017, a year and a half post- surgery.


“Being able to say you did an Ironman after surgery is a great reward,” she explains.


Next up for Laura is the biking season.  She will take a year off from the Ironman, but plans to resume them again in 2019.

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“Getting your knee replaced is not a death sentence when it comes to your activity at all,” she explains. “Adjust your expectations and commit!”


For more information on keeping your knees healthy, visit www.kneesforlife.org. For an appointment with Dr. Craig Della Valle, call 877-MD-BONES. Visit www.dellavalleortho.com for more information.

Monitoring Training Metrics on Elite Athletes; Clavicle Fractures; Concussion & Youth Football Participation

Episode 17.24 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:23): Dr. Kevin Sprouse from Podium Sports Medicine describes the key elements in monitoring the unique biomechanical and physiologic variables widely applicable to any level of athlete who wishes to ensure that they are optimizing their overall health and performance.

Dr. Kevin Sprouse is a Knoxville native, now working with elite athletes and active individuals around the world. Trained and certified in both Emergency Medicine and Sports Medicine, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Wake Forest University before attending medical school at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech.

He then completed his Emergency Medicine residency in New York City, where he was elected Chief Resident. Following residency, he attained a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Greenville, SC.

The focus of his academic interests and practice has been the care of the endurance athlete, as well how exercise, diet, and movement effect the health and well-being of all active individuals. His patients have included professional and Olympic cyclists, runners and triathletes, and he now brings his experience and expertise in this field to Podium Sports Medicine.

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Segment Two (11:40): Dr. Cole and Steve talk about the causes, treatment and recovery for Clavicle Fractures.

A clavicle fracture is a break in the collarbone, one of the main bones in the shoulder. This type of fracture is fairly common—accounting for about 5 percent of all adult fractures. Most clavicle fractures occur when a fall onto the shoulder or an outstretched arm puts enough pressure on the bone that it snaps or breaks. A broken collarbone can be very painful and can make it hard to move your arm.

Most clavicle fractures can be treated by wearing a sling to keep the arm and shoulder from moving while the bone heals. With some clavicle fractures, however, the pieces of bone move far out of place when the injury occurs. For these more complicated fractures, surgery may be needed to realign the collarbone.

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Segment Three (17:00): Coach Paul O’Toole, Commissioner of the St. Raphael Youth Football Program in Naperville IL, talks with Dr. Cole and Steve about the decrease of football enrollment due to risk of concussion; technique, program and protocol changes to make the game safer for young players; addition of trainers onsite at all games.

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Related article: Counsel patients, parents on concussion risks in football