Trick or Treat: You Choose Your Fate
Have you ever attended an indoor cycling class where someone was wearing a wig, or a tiara, or even a cape? Well, I have and I encouraged it! Yes folks, it's that time of year again when adults get to play dress up, at least in my classes, and we play Thriller by MJ for the whole class!
What will you do with your class this year? Here's one idea (want more ideas? Check out my previous posts here and here on Halloween games) using homemade Trick or Treat cards.
This is an easy way to incorporate “tricks” (i.e., challenging drills) and “treats” (i.e., easier drills). Simply have participants pick a card, either trick or treat, and the predetermined drill assigned to that card will dictate what drill is performed. I’ve decided to have six possible tricks and three possible treats.
1. Two minutes of jumps with 30 second break; repeat two to three times
2. Two one minute standing hill climbs and a couple two minute standing hill climbs; 15 second recovery between each climb
3. Five one minute sprints with 30 seconds recovery between each sprint
4. 15 squats off the bike followed by one minute of seated hill climb; repeat two times (be watchful of participants’ footwear particularly if they are wearing cycling cleats)
5. 10 sprints for 15 seconds. Recover for 45 seconds.
6. Attack the pack power! Six intervals of seated power for 30 seconds, recover for 30 seconds
1. Standing jog/ride for two minutes
2. Meet your neighbor spin out. Participants discuss best and worst Halloween costume they ever wore for three minutes.
3. Steady time trial pace for six minutes singing to the song everyone knows the words to, Thriller (the album version is 5:58)
After you've constructed your family’s costumes and your Halloween decorations, it's easy to whip up these trick or treat cards. Here's how I did it:
Step one: collect crafty items such orange post-it notes, black card stock, "trick" (6) and "treat" (3) labels, and fun Halloween pictures or stickers.
Spooktacular Spin Class
Want to ‘pump’kin your cycle participants up with your creepy and frightening class? Try some of these drills and skills this Halloween!
Ghostbuster Hill Drill
Did you know that the word “ghost” is sung 30 times in the original Ghostbusters motion picture soundtrack song? Why not use this to your advantage and have your cycle participants increase resistance every time they hear the word “ghost”.
Now for those who have a tension knob, participants can increase with small increments in the seated position each time they hear the word and stand when their revolutions drop below 50 rpm for a standing hill climb. For those with gears, why not have cycle participants climb two hills increasing from gear 5 to gear 20 (move to standing to reach the top of the hill), with 30 words, these lucky folks get a break dropping back to 5 before climbing again (apparently this hill has a dip near the top!).
Both ways, the hill is just over four minutes total and I would encourage adding in downhill at the end to another classic Halloween song, Monster Mash!
I found these really wicked Halloween glass tags with six themes – Trick, Treat, Bats, Witch, Haunted House, and Jack o'lantern (see above). I laminated them, place them on each bike and use them to perfectly divide participants into six groups.
Power work has been a focus this term and thus, R.I.P. Power is the perfect way to put cycle participants into the grave! Split the group into 2 groups (Group 1: Trick, Treat, and Bats; Group 2: Witch, Haunted House, and Jack o'lantern). Group 1 start with seated power for 15 seconds while Group 2 rests. After the 15 seconds, the groups switch where it is Group 2’s turn to go. Continue to switch groups while increasing the duration of the seated power (i.e., 30, 45, 60, 90 seconds). If time permits, start again and steadily increase in duration with standing power.
Need more inspiration? Check out October 2010’s post for another drill idea for sprints!
Where is the L.O.V.E.?
Picture courtsey of www.etsy.com
With the greatest love day of the year upon us, how can you infuse a little bit of L.O.V.E into your classes?
Simply using the word love might just help!
Start off with:
Long slow distance: an endurance ride of 10 minutes, adding a gear with each minute. Begin with setting tension at time trial with 80-90 rpm. Add a gear which will be set differently based on the bike style and model.
Obstacle course: set up a predetermined race course that includes speed bumps, pot holes, slippery bananas, gravel, etc. Take participants through the course of obstacles.
Velocity (sprints): what can your group handle? 100% effort sprints for 30, 60, 90 second sprints?
Elevations (hills): finish the class with a set of hill climbs.
If you have access to a white board, chalk board or poster board, write down the four letters and as you come to the next letter, add the details of the drill. Keep the class guessing as to what is next in store.
Think of your music and match L.O.V.E. songs to your drills. Check out last year’s post for song ideas and the list below for some new song options (watch the bpm for appropriate types of drills!).
Where is the Love?/Black Eye Peas (100 bpm)
What is Love?/Haddaway (140 bpm)
This Love/ Maroon Five (100 bpm)
Love is/ Alanna Miles (120 bpm)
You Suck At Love/ Simple Plan (145 bpm)
Love Somebody Like You/Keith Urban (120 bpm)
What About Love?/Heart (80 bpm)
Lovegame/Lady Gaga (120 bpm)
Somebody to Love/ Queen (80 bpm)
Finish the class with a bunch of hugs and kisses. Not literally of course, but of the chocolate variety!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Cycle into Christmas
With the holiday season upon us, how can we incorporate the festive season into our indoor cycle class?
The simple answer would be to include holiday music in our mix of songs. Many of the big fitness music suppliers have seasonal music set to the 32 count, such as Power Music, Dynamix Music, and Yes! Fitness Music. But, is there a more creative way to get your cycle participants into the holiday spirit?
Since we always begin with a warm-up, let’s start there! Get your reindeer antlers on!
Picture courtesy of Microsoft clipart
Set the scene for your cycle participants by indicating they are one of Santa’s reindeer (now it is time to imagine!) and it is a snowy Christmas Eve pulling Santa’s sleigh around the world. Have cycle participants get themselves set to a moderate tension in a seated position to start. Here are some suggested ways to get cycle participants warming up:
1. To avoid clouds, cue participates to add tension and stand up into a standing hover position while they dodge clouds (slide upper body from side to side).
2. To land on rooftops, cue participants to sit down on the saddle while they add tension and sit back as if the reins are being pulled back.
3. To drop presents from the sky, cue participants to sit down and set tension low as if descending quickly over rooftops (similar to a downhill ride).
4. It’s close to the end of the night and Santa needs to go faster, cue participants to perform a seated sprint.
Use a combination of the above suggestions and/or makes up your own version of what reindeer would need to do to get Santa around the world on Christmas Eve!
Nothing says the holiday spirit than giving. Consider gathering donations (food for the Food Bank, toys for Santa’s Anonymous or money for the Salvation Army) from your cycle participants. Just double check with your venue to ensure this is something they are okay with. And maybe next year plan for a donation drive for the whole month of December.
Wishing you the best of the season, Merry Christmas! -Lisa
Do your cycle participants groan when they hear sprints? It’s time to liven up sprints by adding an imagination component. I usually cue cycle participants to put on their imagination hats and get ready for the main event.
Wikipedia states that imagery is the “usage of details and descriptions in order to create a sensory experience”. As group fitness leaders we are able to transport our cycle participants to new and exciting places, particularly when they need to sprint. In a cycle class, imagery can:
· Set the mood (excitement, enthusiasm, competition, to name a few)
· Define a focus and purpose to the drill
· Allow for mental distraction to get through a difficult drill
Over the many years I’ve been teaching, I’ve come up with various images associated with sprinting that help cycle participants push past their limits. Typically, each sprint is for one minute with one to two minutes active recovery between each sprint. Here are some of my favourites.
1. Visualize yourself racing a childhood friend (add situational cues of your childhood bike)
2. Visualize yourself racing a family member (we always have one family member we are slightly competitive with)
3. Visualize yourself in the Rocky Mountains and you are being chased by a grizzly bear!
1. Visualize yourself racing your greatest competition (particularly when working with a sports team, have athletes picture their competition)
2. Visualize yourself racing for the last spot on the Canadian National Cycling Team (the coach is on the sidelines timing your sprint and you need to impress him/her)
3. Visualize yourself racing in first place with a competitor on your back wheel (one minute to the finish line!)
1. Visualize yourself racing to a store full of the newest and greatest video systems (e.g., Xbox Kinect) or video games (e.g., the newest Halo) and you’re after the last copy
2. Visualize yourself as a bride-to-be and you are racing into the wedding dress discount sale that happens only once per year (if you’ve never seen the racing heart rates of brides-to-be, check out this video)
3. It is December 26 and you’ve been waiting since 4 am to get inside your favourite electronic shop to get your overlooked Christmas gift, that big screen TV. Visualize yourself rushing the front door and heading straight for the TV section to find your prized gift.
As it being Halloween today, I would be remised not to mention a Halloween themed sprint.
1. Visualize yourself trying to exit a haunted house but can’t find the door. Frankenstein appears as you race out of the house, down the stairs and out into the dark of night (okay, so maybe I’ll never be a thriller book author!)
2. Visualize yourself as the lead reindeer on Santa’s sleigh and you must hurry to deliver presents for Christmas
3. Visualize yourself as one of Santa’s elves who is responsible to get all of the presents onto Santa’s sleigh on December 24
I’ve provided some examples that will engage your cycle participants to sprint their hardest to reach their goal. Make up your own that best suits your class. When I listed the benefits of imagery, I neglected to say that it also makes the sprints FUN! Always finding ways to engage, encourage and provide a place for play is our goal. Now go out and get your class sprinting!
Happy Birthday Canada!
I love my birthday (quite frankly, what I call my birthday week) and in honour of our nation’s birthday, I would like to share a couple ways to use the theme “birthdays” in a cycle class.
1. Throw a birthday party! Invite cycle participants to celebrate a birthday, such as Canada Day. Have birthday games (you remember your childhood favorites such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey) and modify them into cycle drills, decorate with streamers and balloons, and provide party hats. Consider having prizes or “goody-bags” at the end of class for all those who attended. And don’t forget to play the song “Happy Birthday”.
2. A less involved way to incorporate the theme “birthdays” is using birth month to group cycle participants. It is an easy and quick way to separate the class into distinct groups. Regardless of what drill you want to do with class participants, calling out a month of the year, cycle participants who are born in that month will respond without even thinking! When grouping, I would suggest three or four groups, which include either three or four months together (e.g., cycle participants born in January, February, and March participate together).
3. And finally, for registered classes where you could access participants’ birthdays, consider at the month end, celebrating the birthdays. What a great way to make participants feel special in their birthday month!
My countdown is on as my birthday week is fast approaching. Enjoy Canada Day!
Picture Courtesy of: Edmonton Journal
P.S., As we roll into the summer months, my blog post may become fewer as I will be out on my bike enjoying the nice weather. Don’t worry - I am cooking up more blog post ideas for the Fall! Happy Summer! Happy Riding!
With Earth Day a not so distant memory, consider sharing these statistics with your cycle participants courtesy of www.egreenrevolution.com.
Now, if we could harness this energy production on our spin bikes, we could maybe power our stereo during class!
What other eco-friendly things can you do in your cycle class? Comments are welcome. Please share ideas and suggestions!
Love is in the Air
Valentine’s Day is a time for Love. Here is my Valentine’s Day themed cycle playlist that I use to spark a little Love in the air. Please note that the Love songs are sequenced to start with a warm-up, followed by cardiovascular component, and a cool-down. The beats per minute are estimates.
If You Had My Love/Jennifer Lopez (110 bpm)
Sunshine of Your Love/Eric Clapton (120 bpm)
Love Song/Sky (120 bpm)
Fast Love/George Michael (120 bpm)
The Love You Save/The Jackson 5 (120 bpm)
Like I Love You/Justin Timberlake feat. Clipse (120 bpm)
Love Train/The O’Jays (130 bpm)
Love Shack/B-52’s (133 bpm)
As Long as you Love Me (Soul Solution Mix)/Backstreet Boys (140 bpm)
The Love Scene (Henry Street Remix)/Joe (140 bpm)
Lay All Your Love on Me/ABBA (140 bpm)
She Loves You Ya Ya Ya/ The Beatles (140 bpm)
Love Train/Big and Rich (140 bpm)
You Give Love a Bad Name/Bon Jovi (140 bpm)
Lovefool/Cardigans (140 bpm)
It’s Love/Train (140 bpm)
Shot of Love/AC/DC (145 bpm)
Jungle Love/Steve Miller Band (145 bpm)
Hello, I Love You/The Doors (130 bpm)
Baby, I Love Your Way/Big Mountain (80 bpm)
This Year’s Love/David Gray (70 bpm)
Check out iTunes for the songs listed above or look to see what Love songs are in your music collection!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Let It Snow! Holiday Cheer!
Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous 2010!
Just for fun, here is a holiday themed drill idea!
Using the song "Let It Snow", add 1/4 turn of resistance on your tension knob every time you hear the word "SNOW". And for those of you on a trainer (either road or mountain bike), add a gear every time you hear the word “SNOW”. As the song continues, the tension becomes a progressive hill. Stay seated for as long as possible; get out of the saddle once you max out in the seated position. You may reach your maximum during the song in which you then turn the resistance down and start over! The word "SNOW" occurs 18 times during the song.
Duration: Depends on what musical interpretation you choose.
The original artist, Vaughn Monroe, first sang the song in 1945. His version is 3:09 minutes but you may find the beat too slow to ride to.
Two versions that I particularly like and seem to work for a ride are:
Ella Fitzgerald (2:42 minutes) and the version from the fitness music company, Power Music CD “Tis the Season” (3:22 minutes).
Others song options include:
Michael Buble (2:24 minutes)
Frank Sinatra (2:40 minutes)
Bing Crosby (2:05 minutes)
Boyz II Men (4:12 minutes; “SNOW” is repeated 34 times!)
Diana Krall & The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (4:00 minutes)
Cadence: 60-90 RPM (likely to decrease as the song progresses)
Resistance: Set tension at steady state, moderate pace (e.g., 3-4 out of 10) and add tension as the song dictates!
Note: Depending on your bike, 1/4 turn may be too much or too little resistance to add. Feel free to adjust your increments as necessary depending on the bike being used.
Wizards in Winter
The song title is fitting for the time of year we are moving into - WINTER. This cycle drill is more suited to mid to advanced cycle participants. Using the song "Wizards in Winter" a combination of sprints and power (increased resistance and cadence) can be timed to coincide with the instruments used.
Set resistance at moderate or slightly higher to get your best sprint work/small recovery tension. Power (either seated or standing) requires participants to up the resistance and maintain increased cadence.
Get ready for a 3 minute ride of your life!
Intro (12 s)
Sprint (5-6 s); 100+ rpm
Quick break (2- 8s) ; 80-90 rpm
Repeat three more times to the intense synthesizer playing
Break (8 s)
Power (20 s) to the slow guitar playing
Break (6-8 s)
Sprint (5-6 s); 100+ rpm
Quick break (2- 8s) ; 80-90 rpm
Repeat one more time to the intense guitar/playing
Power (25 s) to the slow guitar playing
Break (6-8 s)
Sprint (5-6 s); 100+ rpm
Quick break (2- 8s) ; 80-90 rpm
Repeat one more time to the intense violin playing
Sprint (15 s)
Power Finish (18-20 s)
Wizards in Winter
Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!