Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reviews of indoor cycling apps, trying to see what each one has to offer and how it can help you with your fitness goals.
One I’ve been meaning to try out for a while is the Spinning® Digital Plus App that was created by the very company who created indoor cycling – Spinning®.
Spinning® has a few apps that bring their indoor cycling classes into your own home however today I am reviewing their Digital Plus app.
So let’s get into it.
Spinning® Digital Plus App Overview
The Spinning® Digital Plus app is a fairly new indoor cycling app and the latest of the three apps Spinning® now has.
The previous apps launched by Spinning® that are still available to download are the Digital & Connect.
The Digital app provides On-Demand indoor cycling classes that you can stream through your smartphone, tablet or smart TV.
The Connect app is basically a customizable app that allows you to track your indoor cycling by connecting up any sensors you have such as a heart rate monitor, power crank or pedals or cadence and speed sensor.
However, it seems that Spinning® has noticed a change in the market by users wanting personalised indoor cycling data metrics.
So the Spinning® Digital Plus app has now brought their previous 2 apps together and integrated them by:
- Providing On-Demand indoor cycling classes straight to your smartphone, tablet, Smart TV
- Allowing you to view your own personalised indoor cycling metrics by connecting up your own sensors
By providing these On-Demand classes with connectivity to your own indoor cycling efforts it really brings a more immersive and ‘real feel indoor cycling class’ all from your own home.
The App User Experience
The Spinning® Digital Plus app has a very simple design to it and provides almost everything you want to see and be able to use in an indoor cycling app.
The navigation is really easy to use.
You can scroll up and down, left or right and choose a class that suits you.
All of the classes are displayed with name of said class, who is teaching the class along with a thumbnail of the class itself.
Along with the classes there are guides on how to to get started with indoor cycling such as bike setup and getting the correct bike form.
There is also some troubleshooting guides such as navigating the app, connecting your sensors and filtering your workouts.
I have tried out a fair few of their classes and I must say they are excellent.
All of their classes are taught by fully qualified trainers and really make you dig deep to get the most out of your workout.
So, the classes themselves can all be accessed directly from the main home screen.
They have their rides broken down into 14 sections:
- Popular on Spinning® Digital Plus
- Spin® Series: Peak Power
- Spin® Series: Zone Focus
- Skills & Drills
- JT Underground
- 30 Minute Rides
- 45 Minute Rides
- 60 Minute Rides
- Beyond The Bike
- Viva La Vida Spinning®
- Master Instructors
Once you click into any of the workouts, you will be able to see the class instructor, how long the class lasts along with a brief summary of what to expect from the class.
All you need to do next is click ‘Join’ and the class will commence.
Filtering Your Workouts
Now, you can also filter your workouts at the top right hand corner.
These will then pop up how you wish to filter.
As you can see you can filter your classes via:
- Class Length
- Class Type
- Completed Classes
This is a great way of being able to choose a class that is right for you.
If your short on time you can choose a class that only lasts 20 minutes or if you’re after a long leg burning workout you can choose a class that lasts 60 minutes.
The classes are either taught in English or Spanish and you can also choose from a list that you have added as a favourite by tapping on the little heart symbol.
Inside The Classes
Once you enter into a class you will be able to see all of your cycling metrics displayed at the bottom of the screen. These metrics will show your:
- Heart Rate
- Calories Burned
As you begin to cycle you will start to notice these numbers start moving and reflecting your effort on the bike.
We’ll talk about what devices you can use and how to connect them in a moment.
So once the class begins you’ll see the instructor come on screen – they will be your guide. The instructor will be telling you when it’s time to increase your resistance, lower your resistance and come on and off the saddle.
Simply just follow along to what they’re saying and you’ll guarantee to torch a lot of calories.
2 metrics that are important that you’ll hear the instructor call out from time to time are:
% Of Your Max Heart Rate
So to predict your max heart rate, you’ll need to connect up a heart rate monitor. This will bring through what your bpm is (beats per minute).
It uses an age-predicted formula which you can adjust in your profile settings however it is very accurate with this alone.
For example, my max heart rate is 190bpm and the app has worked off 186bpm.
Now, within the classes you’ll never work to your 100% max heart rate – that’s why it shows a % of your max heart rate.
The greater effort your exert into the bike, the higher your bpm will climb and show a % of where you are.
You will hear the instructor telling you at a certain point within the class that your % of max heart rate should be within a parameter for example between 60-65% or 80-85%.
What’s great also is that working off your % of max heart rate, you will also see what fat burning zone you are in.
Throughout the class, your cycling effort will change and you will see your zone change dependant on your heart rate.
Zones range from 1-5 which are colour coded.
- Zone 1 – Blue (Difficulty low, recovery zone)
- Zone 2 – Green
- Zone 3 – Yellow
- Zone 4 – Orange
- Zone 5 – Red (Difficulty high, torching calories here!)
The higher you are up the zones, the greater chance there is for fat burn to occur.
Another metric you’ll hear being called out from the instructor from time to time is your cadence.
This is important because it provides a rough measurement how fast you should be pedalling.
This is your RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)
So during a certain point in the class you will see parameters of what your cadence should be within.
For example, between 70-75 RPM or 80-100 RPM (as shown above)
With your cadence sensor attached, you will be able to see what your actual cadence is and you just need to adjust your pedalling to be within that certain parameter.
So this where you are going to be able to pull in all of your own personalised real-time cycling metrics.
To get the most from your experience on the app, it is recommended to connect a power crank and a heart rate monitor.
Spinning® advise to use their SpinPower® Studio Crank.
This will pull in your Watts/Power & Cadence and then be able to display your distance metric on-screen also.
Now, I tried to connect up my Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals which generally allows me to see my metrics on apps such as Zwift or Bkool but it won’t bring them through on the Spinning® Digital Plus app.
So my setup I now use with the app is by connecting up my Wahoo Cadence Sensor (Check out on Amazon)
This pulls in my cadence and provides a very accurate reading of my pedalling.
I also then connect up my Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor (Check out on Amazon)
This is a chest heart rate monitor and is one of the most accurate heart rate monitors on the market.
Now, obviously by just using my cadence sensor it won’t bring in my watts/power but to be honest it’s not really a metric you need during the classes anyway.
The 2 most important metrics you need to see is your cadence and heart rate.
I use my smartphone when connecting to Spinning® Digital Plus and I don’t like following along to the classes from here as the screen is simply too small.
Instead I connect my smartphone up to my TV with the use of the Google Chromecast (Check out on Amazon)
This provides a greater indoor cycling experience and makes it more enjoyable!
Connecting Your Sensors
So you can click on your profile on the top left hand corner which will then pop up the next screen.
Here I click on heart rate monitor and it will search for my Wahoo TICKR and should display it very quickly. Just click and pair.
Next, I click on cadence sensor which will then search for my Wahoo Cadence sensor. Once again, just click and pair.
Your good to go – just open up a class and click join.
What I Thought
I’ve been using the Spinning® Digital Plus app for a few weeks now and I must say I’m really impressed with the app.
I think it is highly comparable to the likes of Peloton and I think this is what Spinning® is looking to achieve.
It may not have the leader board like Peloton does but for that you need the actual Peloton bike which a fair chunk of change!
I really do like how it allows you to see all of your real-time cycling metrics displayed big and bold in front of you but without being too interrupting of the actual class itself.
Being able to see were your cadence should be between and what % of your max heart rate you should be at really makes you feel like your part of an actual physical indoor cycling class.
You see nowadays there has been a big shift towards personalised indoor cycling. People don’t just want to follow along to a class hoping that the effort they give is meeting the classes goals.
People want to be able to see their own real-time metrics and be able to match these up to how the class is moving along and I think the Spinning® Digital Plus app does this really well!
The only drawback I have and what should be improved upon is being able to connect up different sensors such as different brands of power meters or cranks.
However as I said, the main metrics you will use and want to see is your cadence, your heart rate and calories burned and a cadence sensor and heart rate monitor like the ones I mentioned above does the job!
The classes taught are incredible and the instructors really make you give everything you’ve got.
I can guarantee that you’ll be coming off the bike sweating – so grab a towel!
I hope this review has helped you and if you do have any questions about it please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
Here Are Some Of My Favourite Indoor Cycling Devices
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful when finding new ways to make your indoor cycling more fun & enjoyable. Here are some devices I use myself personally that allows me to really get the most out of my indoor cycling. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, I will earn a commission but at no extra cost to you.
Indoor Bikes: If you’re looking for your first or next indoor bike there are two I highly recommend. In the UK, is the Joroto X2. In the US, is this Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy SF-B1851. These bikes are incredibly well made and come in at a very affordable price.
Heart Rate Monitor: To measure my heart rate accurately and effectively, it has to be the Wahoo TICKR. This is an incredible piece of fitness equipment that allow you to see just how well you’re performing on the bike by measuring your BPM, calories burned & what heart rate zones you are in.
Cadence Sensor: To measure your cadence, I use the Wahoo RPM Cadence sensor. This little piece of equipment can be easily attached to your shoe or crank arm and delivers accurate pedalling metrics on how fast your legs are moving.
Power Meter Pedals: To measure my watts and power, I love the Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals. You simply attach these to your bikes crank arms, start pedalling and it will automatically pull in your speed, cadence and power output.
Personalised Nutrition: This necessarily isn’t a device however nutrition is very important to meet your fitness goals. Here I recommend Nutri-Genetix (NGX). NGX are a company I love working with that deliver personalised nutrition that is designed around my specific genetic makeup straight to my door. You’ll also get a 10% discount if you use my my code CYCLEFROMHOME10.