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What do you want from a Spin class?

Raindrop2010-05-02 23:35:09 +0000 #1
1 have been coaching indoor cycling classes since 1997, and have been riding outside since about 1998. My classes tend to follow "outside" riding in that I develop profiles that have a purpose, whether it is strength (climbing) or speed work (TTs or sprint work).

It's come down to the point that people attending my class either object to the amount of saddle time, because I don't do a lot of out of saddle work, or the drill work, or the lack of "excitement" in class (i.e. lots of saddle changes).

Those people that cycle outdoors appreciate my classes because there's not a lot of fluff (and...if I do say so myself...I have awesome music to back up my profiles and I've gotten a lot of compiments on it)....but I am not catering to the competitive cyclists (although they're part of my group), I'm hoping to appeal to anyone who likes cycling.

Most people are in between. They're either there for the cardio (non-cyclists) or people that ride and want to keep their "edge" in the off season.

I consider myself a recreational cyclist. I'll never compete, I ride to the grocery store, and I ride for fun.... I'll ride just cause I like to ride, that's it. Once in a great while...I'll ride for "real" mileage, but I don't have the time or schedule to do that all that often.

How many of you fit in that category? What would you like to find in an indoor cycling class? Every year in the past, I've done periodization....not all members are into that (although it benefits all members because of the training regimen).

So....what would you consider to be your "ideal class"?

Irulan2010-05-02 23:37:24 +0000 #2
In no particular order

-to not hate the current song

-to get more fit ( strength and endurance0

-to have at least some relevance to real riding ( ok, I'm a singletrack rider, I know this is dreaming)

-to not have stupid moves ( popcorn, jumps, hate those)

I figure there's no dream class that's tailored just for me, and every instructor is different, so I just close my eyes and dream of singletrack to get me though some of them.

Also, when the instructor is leading us verbally through something, like a road climb with a tree across the road (??wtf??) where you are supposed to "power around it" I'll shout out things like BUNNY HOP just because I can't help being a smart*ss sometimes.


edit - what is periodization, please define
bcipam2010-05-03 00:13:45 +0000 #3
It's kind of you to ask...

My favorite spin instructors are probably most like you. I am an outdoor cyclist that spins as a alternative to not being able to ride outside and to maintain fitness.

Favorite classes: Ones were they is alot of long, sustain aerobic activity. I rather have it out of the saddle only because spin class saddles tend to be very wide and thus hard on the booty but I can sit as well. I rather not have a ton of tension (say riding in the 80% or above area) unless it's for a very short period of time. I also do not like alot of very fast spin (120 rpms or more) as to me, it serves no purpose. I definitely will not spin fast and stand at the same time. Too risky for injury and again serves me no purpose.

One really good way to keep the class interesting is the music. I can do anything if the music is good. I hate, and have walked out of classes, when 1) the music is too loud - I still have good hearing thank you and 2) the beat is a constant, sustained techno drive. Ugh, nothing worse. The Techno music gives me a headache. Best music seems to be good alternative rock and hip-hop. OK to mix it up with some oldies and it's also cool to put in some different seldom heard "world" music. Let the class know you spent same time making your CD's.

I dislike the up for 4 counts, down for 4 counts, up and down, up and down stuff but will tolerate and sometimes enjoy the back and forth or side to side in order to hit different muscle groups.

I know it's difficult to satisfy both groups but this is a spin class, more like cycling than Stepping and should be as close to cycling as possible. At least that's my 2 cent. Once folks get used to actually riding the bike properly (OK another subject I can go on forever - good form. Alot of people have no idea what good form means. If on a real bike, they would be flopping over! All bouncing elbows and straight legs. What's up with that?), they will start to enjoy the class more. Keep doing it your way. It will be appreciated.
Raindrop2010-05-03 00:26:04 +0000 #4
Thanks for your replies. I agree with both of you that music can make or break a class and for that reason I spend a lot of time (and money) making my own cds and use a variety of music so that, if you don't like what's on now...wait, and you'll probably like what's coming.

As far as what periodization is; it's a training method where you attempt to increase training results via a series of training phases (I usually base it on 3 to four week mesocycles) which focus on weekly variations in volume, intensity and loading. It starts in the fall (when the weather turns bad with a recovery stage, then the base building stage (which for cyclists means lots of saddle time at moderate intensities, with some forays into moderate strength building) I do this in Jan. and Feb. (it's also a great start for beginners), then a significant change into higher intensities where I increase the cadence speed along with the resistance, and the intensity of the climbs. I do this in March and April, with a final increase to TT intensity and/or power (long, strong climbs) in May and June. I schedule active rest of about a week (the equivalent of three classes) to avoid overtraining and also prevent de-training. After this preparation, the competitive or even avid cyclist is ready for their summer of competition, or fun as the case may be.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, so this schedule coincides with most of our weather conditions.

However, this also involves having an involved management, and clientel. It's worked in one of my locations, but not the others.
Veronica2010-05-03 00:51:55 +0000 #5
I no longer belong to a gym, but my favorite instructor was always really cool about me not doing every thing exactly the way she did. She knew that I had specific goals in mind and they didn't always fit with what she had planned. I liked her personality and her music. I did tend to choose a bike off to the side to not distract others.

latelatebloomer2010-05-03 00:39:48 +0000 #6
For myself, I prefer an instructor who spends time off the bike, checks in with riders individually, really eyeballs how people are doing and becomes aware of their goals. My favorite instructor often doesn't ride at all - his class is so full he often gives his bike up - it's more a treat if he's riding with us.

I like longer intervals, where I can focus on my body - how I'm using my muscles, trying different ways of moving, a chance to close my eyes and race in the desert or wherever the music is taking me. I need the break from stress as much as my body needs the workout.

I like riding in dim light or even sometimes, in darkness - or as much darkness as the room can provide - then it's just me, the music, and my bike, and a coaxing voice.

I like an instructor who knows how to use a mike - no need to shout! I don't much like whooping, cheering, or berating.

I like at least a couple little stretch breaks, same for recovery, and I think it's good to cue riders to drink.

Spin classes really changed my life and helped me discover that there was an athletic spirit within me - and the spin instuctors and classmates never wrote me off because of my size.

latelate, over and out!
alpinerabbit2010-05-03 01:38:43 +0000 #7
I want: great music, loud , but not too loud

fast speeds are stupid. I am not going up a hill standing at 150 rpm.

a cool instructor. My favorite is this wiry guy, a really crazed middle-aged man who you really believe. I do not need sexy.

good ventilation (!!)

not too many poseurs in the class

not to have to show up an hour early to grab a spot before it's booked

to get decently tired but not exhausted to the brink.

and yes, I also do it just in winter not to lose my shape. At least that's what got me started this winter.
Veronica2010-05-03 00:29:19 +0000 #8
Those standing drills with low resistance are really good for building leg strength. I have been doing the three hour spinervals DVD and Coach Troy does that exercise three times. It's a b*tch, but I am seeing improvement in my performance.




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