I teach most days of the week and in many cases it could be a class full of people that have been in my classes long enough that they know the class, know what to expect, etc. Even though I know this, I still treat the class as if it’s a room full of new people. No matter the audience there are things that we should stay consistent with in every group fitness class we teach, whether it be spinning / indoor cycling, yoga, zumba, weights, cardio, etc.
Class Introduction (you name, the class name, the intent, the time length, etc) – People like to know what to expect and for new people it always starts classes off a little more personal when you tell them your name. They are more likely to walk up to you afterwards if they have questions when they know how to address you. In spinning / indoor cycling I will tell them my name, the class name, time, and even what type of class we are doing (strength, intervals, endurance, etc) so they know where we are headed.
Warm Up. Yes, I know that mentally we want to jump right in with both feet but the muscles need to warm up. When possible it’s even good to go through similar warm up exercises that will loosen the muscles up that you intend of using in class.
Form Cues. Always. You may have a room full of veterans but that does not mean that they have always heard everything you’ve said in the past. Plus, when we get tired we all know we lose focus and our form starts to slip. So, always strip it back to the basics on occasion and help them correct their form.
Cool Down. We just worked out for XX minutes .. the muscles need and deserve a cool down. This is not only for muscular stretching but it’s also to help lower the heart rate and taper back to our typical body state. So always add in an adequate cool down! I also use this time to add in any announcements or class changes that may be happening.
Class Closing. I always circle back around at the end of the class, tell them my name again, thank them for coming (without them we would not be teaching!), mention my other classes, and invite them to talk to me about questions or any bike maintenance issues. I think it’s important for my classes to know how much I appreciate them working out with me each week 🙂
I subbed a class for another instructor and when I sub I detour from my standard class structure and typically teach an intervals class (I’ll have to blog about my class structure in a future post). This one was a good one .. I had a real fiesty crowd in there and we had a great ride. My regulars got the rest of the class into it and the end result is great for everyone in there!
I’ll talk about it below the playlist.
NOTE: I’ll describe the type of tracks that I used them for below (i.e. fast pace, strength, etc) but definitely use your own interpretation on building your class and what moves go with which (standing climbs, seated climbs, etc). The beauty of indoor cycling is that we all bring something new to class and we all hear the same songs differently! We can help inspire ideas with each other and then take those ideas and run down our own paths 🙂
Time of Our Lives – Warm Up – I really like this song and was happy that they released a clean version of this. Granted they don’t drop the F bomb but if I can get the language out of it, then I am a happy instructor.
Blow – Endurance Pace Track – This song is a pretty upbeat song and it actually feels longer than it is (at least for me). It’s a good one to really warm up the legs and to find the initial tempo.
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To – Endurance Track – I love this song so so so so so much. It’s a great seated flat for the beginning of class. It has just enough ‘rush’ without wearing them out too much early on.
Get Up – Moderate Resistance Track – This track we start building in resistance. The pace needs to be quicker and yet still challenging for the legs. We’re starting to work our way into the initial climb in class.
Rock Your Body (Paul Oakenfold mix) – Strength Track – The first hill hits us here. I love this remix. It has a great beat and gives new life to an older, but still awesome Justin Timberlake song.
Uma Thurman – Strength Track – I may have to ban myself from playing this song because I am putting it into too many playlists lately. I LOVE Fall Out Boy and I really love this one. Still working on that same hill.
Lick It – Endurance Track – I may have to ban myself from this one too! I love the BOOMS in this track. I taught this in this profile as a seated flat but I have also taught it as a climbing track and a speedwork track. It’s so diverse and it really just pulls you in! We take the hills off for a track to throw the legs a twist on this one. The goal is to take enough to feel the difference but not lose the legs, or the riders.
Not Myself Tonight – Strength Track – Adding the hill back in for one track the class is going to feel the benefit to that flip flop in resistance that we just did.
Recess – Endurance Track – We switch again, using the same goals (take enough off to feel the change but still stay in the game). I am a big fan of Skrillex and, again, this is a song that I have used too many profiles for different purposes.
Give it to Me – Strength Track – This is the last switch back until the end. The legs at this point are feeling the burn. This is the last of the hills.
Alone Again – Strength Track – I found this one the other day and I love it. It’s a good one that helps pull you along.
I Remember – Strength Track – The last climbing song. It’s long and tests the endurance and strength for everyone.
Bangarang – Endurance Track – I think that this is one of my top 5 seated flats. It BOOMS you three times to finish class off strong.
Back Home – Cooldown – Andy Grammar has songs that are great for cooling down
I hope you enjoy and definitely follow me on spotify (the link is below) as I will keep posting new rides! I also have playlists by spinning moves, i.e. seated flats, standing climbs, long songs, etc.
So .. I’ve been teaching or taking spinning / indoor cycling classes for, I don’t know, 8 or 9 years ..maybe longer. About 2 years in I went out and bought myself a pair of cycling shoes solely for the purpose of these classes, which have held up fantastically by the way.
The other day I was apparently having an off day. I left the house to head to the gym to teach, drove down the road, and realized I had left my trusty spin shoes at home, in the basement.
I look at the clock and realize that there is no way I can make the trip back home but thank goodness I have the shoes in my bag from when I taught the night before. So, I had to make a mad dash into a store by the gym, by a pair of socks, and go with it.
Now … let’s skip to the lessons in this because you all don’t care about the minor details, right? I will say that I learned that night how much the shoes have helped me on the bike and so now I am an even bigger advocate on people buying indoor cycling shoes than I was before!
I have gone through the certifications with Mad Dogg and know all the benefits to wearing these shoes however I will say that ‘feeling’ the difference really brings to light some of the positives that I will discuss below!
Just a few benefits of indoor cycling shoes:
I would list out everything I discovered but it may be a *long* post .. instead I believe that these are some of the big ones that are worth sharing…
The help to correct any sort of alignment issues in the lower half of your body.
I apparently turn my left ankle inward. I occasionally suspected it but that night confirmed it. During a 55 minute class I hit my left ankle on the crank arm 34 times … Granted I would just graze it and not slam into it but I did not realize that the shoes were helping that much with that side. It was both entertaining and enlightening.
Any sort of fast-paced movement are much more efficient in spin shoes.
When you are clipped in you are all but ‘one’ with the pedal (see below). This gives you much more of a push / pull efficiency as opposed to just pushing the pedal. The end result is a smoother ride, more focused energy, and apparently a better ride.
Honestly this may apply to all the movements (and not just fast-paced ones), because even while standing I just did not have ‘trust’ in the pedals … because of what I will discuss next ..
When you are clipped in the shoes are solid enough that you almost ‘extend’ the pedal, giving you a longer platform to pedal on.
This one is going to be hard to explain … you may have read that and said .. what??? Let me break it down like this:
When I was pedaling in cross trainers I felt like I was ‘tip-toeing’ the entire class .. I could not push downward through my ankle because there was no solid / trusted surface to push onto.
When you are in cycling shoes they are stiff and barely bendable. After you clip in that entire surface all but means now have the entire length of your foot as a firm pedal to push on. When I ride in cycling shoes my entire foot, toes to ankles, is pushing into that pedal because the shoes are their to support it. That makes a big difference in your pedaling efficiency.
With indoor cycling shoes you get more of a 360 push / pull on your pedals.
I actually mention this quite often but yes, I did feel this the other day. While I was strapped in to the pedals the straps still kept coming loose so I was not able to take advantage of the push / pull movements that you get from being clipped in. Indoor cycling shoes allow you to pull up on the back side while pushing forward on the front side .. the end result being that you are able to work more muscles in your legs and ultimately, again, get a more efficient pedal stroke.
Buy a pair of indoor cycling shoes and they will last a *really* long time.
This is not a lesson but a statement of encouragement. I have owned these shoes probably 6-8 years. A little wear on the inside of them but otherwise they are great. I paid $100 for mine but you can get them cheaper if you look around. 6-8 years … 2 – 3 classes a week … $100 … you can do the math on how cheap they are.
The physical benefits of the shoes .. well I was definitely reminded of that in this class!
Is it obvious? If you taking indoor cycling classes with any sort of routine then consider buying a pair. You can pick them up at your local bike shop, including the clips. Just tell them you are looking for indoor cycling shoes and they will get you set up.
I remember people telling me to buy them but I resisted for a while. They kept jokingly saying ‘you will kick yourself after the fact when you feel the difference’ and yes, they were right. They are a cheap investment considering how much they will change and improve your workout!
If you have questions, let me know! Thanks for reading!
((I also have playlists for different spinning movements .. i.e. seated flats, standing climbs, etc. … and by BPM … i.e. 130BPM, 120s, etc.))
This profile was a strength ride, aside from the first and last song. I tend to start strength classes with a flat burst, then I like to end classes with one more push to the end.
This profile starts out with that flat burst at the beginning, to get the blood and heart rate going. Next, it works into a series of 3 hills, where seated climbs at Uma Thurman and Dance, Rock, Shake, Pop give them a chance to active recover and find both the mental and physical strength to push ahead.
The music goes from slower and intense to a bit faster and upbeat towards the end to help push them through the mental challenges that come with this strength profile. Incorporating movement within a few of the songs really helps to dig into the muscular strength and also work the supporting muscles within the legs.
This one was a great ride. The beginning started as a confidence builder which carried through the tougher spots within the class. The last burst in ‘Go!’ (by Autoerotique, which for some reason is not loading into the widget) was done as a seated climb with standing climb attacks out of the saddle (in the fast spots of the song), and was great for reminding the riders of the accomplishments they had achieved in class.
I hope you enjoy and definitely follow me on spotify as I will keep posting new rides!