It's time to face your fears once and for all: Front row riders reap serious benefits, instructors say.

By Cassie Shortsleeve
January 09, 2017
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Some days, simply moving your bum from the couch to the spin bike is an accomplishment. Showing up is half the battle, right?

Well, the other half is actually working your butt off once you arrive. And let's be real: It's all too easy to fall behind (and zone out, and only half try, and never move the resistance) if you park it in the last row of the studio. That's why getting the most out of a 45-minute spin sesh involves jumping out of your comfort zone-and into the front row.

"When I first started taking classes, I used to compare it to my days in a traditional classroom," says Sarah Coppinger, an instructor at The Handle Bar, a Boston-based cycling studio. "Do you want to learn more and be engaged in class? Then get right up there, don't be shy about it!" (Here, more pro tips from cycling instructors for powering through class.)

So, it's time. Next time you book, reserve a bike in row one-front and center. Here, instructors reveal the benefits you'll reap. (And don't worry, your couch will still be waiting for you once you get home.)

It's a distraction-free zone. Looking ahead at rows and rows of riders can be motivating but it can also be distracting (where's her top from? How do her legs move that fast?). In the front row? "Instead of focusing on everyone else in the room, you can zero in 100 percent on the instructor and the cues he or she gives," says Coppinger. That means you're more likely to finally do those tap backs the right way. Plus, when you're up front, you're less likely to check your Fitbit (or the time) and risk being called out in front of the whole class.

You'll work harder. "There is no hiding in the front row," says Coppinger. "It's a surefire way to hold yourself accountable." After all, while you don't have to be perfect in the front row, naturally, you're going to want to challenge yourself, says Cate Brinch, owner and operator of Recycle Studio in Boston. "You decide that you are ready to fully commit to the ride and not hold back. You realize you are setting the tone for the riders behind you so you can't slack or miss a beat."

You'll ace your form. Anyone who's ever felt a sore back post-spin class knows that form plays a huge role in proper performance. By positioning yourself front and center, you have the best view of your form in the mirror, says Brinch. Shoulders down, missy! (Find out why you have lower back pain after spin class-plus how to fix it.)

It's like a one-on-one training sesh. When there's no one between you and the instructor? "It's like working out with a personal trainer," says Sherica Holmon, a New York–based Flywheel instructor. "This will naturally push you to the next level." You'll also get to know your instructor, which might make you more likely to make booking the front row a habit. Because, c'mon, what's better than being called out for your perfect pedal strokes?

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