Spinning vs. indoor cycling: Which is the best for your lifestyle and fitness goals?

2/26/2024 – Mark Nessmith

Spinning vs. indoor cycling: Which is the best for your lifestyle and fitness goals?

Spinning classes and indoor cycling have a lot in common. Both appeal to cyclists, both offer a great way to get your heart pumping, and both can be enjoyed no matter the weather. But how are they different? And which is best suited to your lifestyle? Let’s take a look.

Since gaining traction in the mid 1990’s, spinning classes held in fitness studios have remained among the most popular methods of getting cardiovascular exercise indoors. In recent years, though, there’s been a significant shift towards indoor cycling. Thanks to the evolution of high-tech apps like ROUVY, today’s indoor cycling is a far cry from its ancestor: that dusty, old stationary bike.

In this blog, we'll compare the experience of indoor cycling to spinning classes.

Traditional Spinning Classes

Spinning classes have been a staple in fitness centers for decades now. Led by instructors, these in-person classes offer a structured workout in a group setting. Fans of spinning find motivation in:

The group dynamic

Spinning classes offer a sense of camaraderie and motivation that comes from exercising in a group setting. The energy of fellow participants and the encouragement from the instructor can push you to work harder than you might on your own.


Instructor guidance

In spinning classes, instructors lead participants through a series of routines that include variations in intensity, speed, and resistance. The instructor's guidance ensures that participants follow a well-rounded workout that targets different muscle groups and provides both cardiovascular and strength benefits.

Real-time feedback

During spinning classes, instructors provide real-time feedback on form and technique, helping participants optimize their cycling posture and pedal stroke. This personalized attention can prevent injuries and improve overall performance.

Spinning classes: A potential drawback

A drawback of traditional spinning classes is their fixed schedule. Participants must adhere to specific class times, which don’t always align with their busy lifestyles. Spinning also requires traveling to whatever club or fitness center is hosting the class.

Indoor Cycling Apps

Today’s indoor cycling apps offer a different approach, leveraging technology to create immersive virtual experiences, with ROUVY leading the industry when it comes to realism.

Here's how they compare to traditional spinning classes:


Flexibility and convenience

Perhaps the most significant advantage of indoor cycling apps is the flexibility they offer. Users can cycle at home whenever they want, eliminating the need to adhere to preset class schedules. This flexibility makes it easy to integrate indoor cycling into your busy schedule.

Interactive virtual environment

ROUVY provides users with an interactive virtual environment where you can ride more than 1,300 real routes alongside other cyclists from around the world. These virtual routes simulate real-life terrain, complete with hills, descents, and scenic landscapes. The immersive experience adds an element of excitement and engagement to indoor cycling sessions.


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Personalized training plans

Indoor cycling apps like ROUVY allow users to constantly customize their workouts based on their fitness goals and preferences.


Beyond the realistic routes, ROUVY subscribers have access to easy-to-follow training plans designed for every fitness level.

With its short sprints, high intensity rides and pyramid workouts, the plan by legendary mountain biker José Hermida, a silver medal winner at the 2004 Olympics, is a great start for beginners. The workouts by 2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck provide a clear roadmap of how to ”build a bionic body and be ready for any physical challenge.” And if you’re more serious about your training, try the plan designed for ROUVY by the UCI pros of the Lidl-Trek team.

The ROUVY app also allows you to integrate with TrainingPeaks, one of the most popular and powerful training apps on the market. It's very easy to integrate ROUVY and TrainingPeaks.

Integration with Strava

Many indoor cyclists like to integrate their ROUVY account with Strava, the world’s most popular social network for athletes. You can share your rides, of course, but that’s only the beginning. Many ROUVY routes contain Strava Live Segments which make it easy to track your progress over time, and see how you stack up against friends, family and even world tour pros. ROUVY subscribers who connect with Strava can automatically get 60 days of Strava Premium for free. (Offer only valid for riders who are not currently Strava Premium members.)

Variety of equipment: Choose your trainer

The ROUVY app is designed to work with all three categories of indoor trainers – smart bikes, smart trainers, and basic turbo trainers – giving new riders a lot of flexibility in terms of budget.


  • The top of the line in terms of both features and cost, high-tech smart bikes are purpose-built for indoor riding. They offer the ability to measure pedal strokes; monitor your power output, cadence and heart rate; and automatically control resistance.

  • More portable and budget friendly, smart trainers couple your bike with a rear-wheel unit that automatically increases and decreases the resistance to simulate changes in gradient to give you an immersive workout. They’re less conducive to use by more than one cyclist, however, because you have to switch bikes (or ride on a bike that’s not optimized for you). Also, wear and tear on your road bike might be a consideration.

  • The most common – and affordable – type of indoor trainer, turbo trainers offer a wide range in cost and features. The vast majority of turbo trainers are wheel-on, meaning your bike fits onto the trainer via the rear axle. As you start to pedal, your back wheel spins a drum which is connected to a resistance unit.

Spinning vs. Indoor Cycling: Conclusion

Both traditional spinning classes and indoor cycling apps offer unique benefits and cater to different preferences and lifestyles. Spinning classes excel in providing group motivation, in-person instructor guidance, and real-time feedback, making them an excellent choice for those who thrive in a structured group environment.

On the other hand, indoor cycling apps like ROUVY offer unparalleled flexibility, immersive virtual environments, and personalized workout options, making them ideal for individuals seeking convenience and variety in their workouts.

Ultimately, the choice between spinning classes and indoor cycling apps comes down to personal preference and fitness goals. Some may prefer the energy and social aspect of spinning classes, while others appreciate the greater flexibility and customization of indoor cycling. Regardless of the choice, both options offer effective ways to improve cardiovascular health, build strength, and enhance overall fitness levels.

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or just starting your fitness journey, indoor cycling presents a convenient and effective way to stay active and ride the world year-round – no matter the weather.

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