Spinning Standing Vs Sitting – Which One Stands Up To The Other?

Spin classes typically involve alternating between sitting and standing positions. Is it really necessary to stand every so often? In this spinning standing vs sitting comparison we tell you why both are important for your overall goals.

I am a big fan of spin classon the overall, but I really don’t like the standing up part. I find it very difficult and cannot sustain it for long. Quite often I choose to stay seated when others stand. Am I missing out on anything by doing this?

Here is a spinning standing vs sitting comparison to shed light on the benefits and drawbacks of each.

What re the Differences between Spinning Standing and Sitting?

Spinning standing
Spinning sitting
Muscles worked
Lower and upper body ( full body workout)
Lower body only
Calories burned
Burns more calories (approx. +10%)
Burns less calories
Heart rate
Increases heart rate (approx. +5%)
Regular heart rate
Requires some technique
Requires minimal technique
Primary use
Used by professional cyclists and athletes
Used for regular weight loss and fitness goals



One of the reasons indoor cycling is so popular especially among beginners is because it is familiar. Many of us learned to ride a bicycle as a child so there is little to learn about riding an indoor bike. You just hop on and start pedaling.

This is the case as long as you are in a seated positon. When you stand on a spin bike, there is some technique to it. Doing it wrong makes you take a less than proper position which could cause unnecessary strain to your knees or back.

The first thing you need to remember before you move from a seated to a standing position is to make sure that you have just the right amount of resistance. Too much resistance means your legs are struggling too much to make a complete rotation.

Too little resistance means that the pedals cannot support your weight. The result of that is that you find yourself leaning too far forward towards the handlebars to be able to support your weight. The resulting position is bad for your back and can cause strain or pain.

Muscles Being Worked

In every sport, there is a group of muscles which are considered the primary muscles. These are responsible for majority of the work done in the sport’s repetitive motion. For cycling, it is mostly the muscles in the thigh and leg.

These include

  • Quadriceps, which are a group of muscles in the front of the thigh.
  • Hamstrings which are found at the rear of the upper part of the leg.
  • Calves which are the back part of the lower leg
  • These are the muscles which make up the buttocks.

All these are utilized while cycling in a seated position. When you stand up, they are engaged to a greater extent. At the same time, muscles in the upper body (which were previously ignored) such as biceps and shoulder muscles are engaged.

Core muscles are heavily engaged because they have to keep your body stable and support the weight which was supported by the saddle. This is why cycling standing is said to be a full body workout while staying seated is a partial body workout.

Calories Burned

Cycling is one of the most popular ways to burn calories because it is quite effective. You burn calories cycling whether you are seated or standing. The exact number of calories you lose cycling depends on your weight, speed, resistance and distance. That said, it has been proven that standing does increase the number of calories burned.

Research from the American Council on Exercise found that participants in a study burned about 10.3 calories per minute when seated. This translates to 309 calories in a30-minute cycling session.

How about in a standing position? The research found that the average participant burned 11.3 calories per minute. This is, on average, an extra calorie per minute. It may seem like an insignificantlysmall difference but when calculated cumulatively, it is actually a 10% increase. In a 30-minute cycling session it could help you burn an extra 30 calories.

If heart rate is measure you are keeping track of, standing makes a difference there as well. Experts say standing as you cycle raises your heart rate by about 5% even when there are no increases in resistance or cadence.

SpinningStanding Vs Sitting – A Comparison Overview

SpinningStanding Overview


There has been some debate as to whether or not standing while riding an indoor bike is beneficial. It has been proven that it burns more calories. What else makes spinningstanding a good idea?

It also helps to take pressure off your lower back. Some riders experience back pain after sitting on the saddle for long. Standing provides relief because it aligns your body so that weight and pressure is distributed between the hips and legs.

Even if you don’t experience back pain, standing simply helps to give your legs a break due to the redistribution of weight.

For some people, a poorly adjusted saddle can cause groin pain. It can happen to both men and women but understandably scares men more than women. Even with aproperly adjusted saddle, sitting for too long can cause pain or discomfort in the groin area. Standing every so often in the course of your session can help to alleviate the problem.

Blood flow is another reason spinning standing makes your overall workout better. Yes, there is improved blood flow no matter what exercise you are doing. However, your body was not designed to be in a seated position for extended periods of time. Standing on a spin bike makes blood flow easier especially to and from the legs to the upper part of the body.

Standing makes a big difference for people who tend to get bored by sitting and cycling for long. It adds to the challenge as well as breaks monotony.


  • Lower and upper body work
  • Burns more calories
  • Reduces pressure on lower back
  • Gives the legs a break


  • Unsuitable for peoplerecoveringfrom injuries

Spinning Sitting Overview

Magnetic Bike Vs Spin Bike

Spinning sitting is the most common way of using a spin or other type of indoor bike. Although it does cause you to break a sweat and burn a lot of calories, it is unlikely to cause much strain. With this you pedal faster and increase resistance levels to make the ride more challenging.

There are specific bikes designed for spinning sitting. These have a more comfortable saddle to reduce pain in the buttocks as well as lower back strain.

Spinning sitting is preferred by some because it allows you to multi task. You can read a magazine or watch television. The extra comfort and multi-tasking ability makes it easier for you to spin for longer than you would in a standing position.

Sitting is the most practical position for spinners who are obese or for the elderly who cannot support their weight well.

What is perhaps the most obvious advantage of spinning sitting is the fact that it can be sustained for an extended period of time. Although it doesn’t burn as many calories as standing, you can be sitting in a spin bike for an hour, pedaling continuously. You can’t do that in a standing position. You can easily burn just as many calories as you would standing while in a sitting position by extending your workout time.


  • Easily sustainable for long
  • Allows for multitasking
  • Comfortable
  • Practical for obese or elderly people
  • Suitable for people with injuries


  • Burns fewer calories
  • Can get boring


Spinning, regardless of the position you take is a great way to lose weight, get quality cardiovascular exercise and achieve general body fitnessYou can choose to stick to sitting alone and still achieve all your goals, albeit slower.

Verdict: So Which Is Better Spinning Standing Or Sitting?

When all is said and done, would you rather be standing or sitting on a spin bike. From our analysis, sitting is best primarily because it is a position which can be sustained. Even if standing burns more calories, you cannot sustain the positon for long. It also helps to give the leg muscles a much needed break after cycling in a sitting position for long.

On the overall, spinning standing should be done as a brief alternate to sitting. This way you don’t tire out too soon. You can work out for longer and eventually achieve more. To engage upper bosy muscles, use weights as you cycle.


Why is it so difficult to spin standing?

Spinning standing forces you to support the weight of your upper body using your leg and core muscles. If these muscles are not conditioned to take this weight or if your upper body is significantly heavier than your lower body it will be difficult to stand.

I’ve heard of groin pain from spinning sitting for long? Is it anything to worry about?

Many spinners experience a bit of groin pain or discomfort. It should resolve after a day or two of rest. If it doesn’t check with your physician to make sure there is nothing to worry about.