Wow! What a great session at the 11th Annual YMCA Spring Training! As promised, here is a link where I’ve posted the music playlist and a sample template for the rating of perceived exertion cards.
Thank you to the instructors who took the time to attend my session. It was a pleasure to meet you all! I appreciated the invitation to share my ideas and present to you today. Take those ideas and use them at your next class!
And don't forget to connect with me! I'd love to hear how your classes are going!
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Exercise Your Happiness!
SpinTastic By Jason Hammers
Recently, I was thumbing through iTunes podcasts and stumbled upon a fantastic find - SpinTastics playlists by Jason Hammers. It is a well stocked list of podcasts full of single one hour mixes of spin songs. And the best part is that they are FREE to download!
I contacted Jason to hear his take on his 20+ playlists.
He told me that initially he made the playlists available to his clients and cycle participants particularly for those who missed a session and wanted to get their workout in on their own time. The idea grew and Jason started to share his playlists with other instructors who needed help finding good music. At which point, he decided to design a podcast and post them on iTunes.
Jason’s playlists are chalk full of your favourite songs and they are all from the original artists. Take some time to listen to each and build your class drills based on the sequence of the songs. Songs can range in beats per minute from fast (140 bpm) to slow (90 bpm) so apply drills appropriately!
Jason also told me that he is considering building spin profiles/drills and packaging with his playlists for a small fee. Keep an eye out on Jason’s website for when they become available.
To get your copies of SpinTastics, simply download iTunes to your computer (if you don’t already have it) and search “spintastics”. It should be the first item to pop up in Top Results.
As you can agree, music is essential to our classes and making a playlist can take a fair amount of time. Thanks to Jason we’ve got access to an extensive choice of playlist podcasts.
Kudos to Jason for designing great playlists!
I’ve been working on a workshop for the upcoming 11th Annual YMCA Spring Training Conference on reinventing your spin classes and a word keeps coming up as I put it together: creativity. A colleague and friend of mine forwarded me this and wondered what thought! Take a peak!
Not to give away what’s in store for the upcoming workshop, what can we learn from these daring acts on the bike? Let’s put on our creativity hats...
· A couple words come to mind – enthusiasm and energy. How do you bring these two attributes to your classes?
· The use of percussion and sound cues with clapping. The individuals are using clapping to set the rhythm and beat in the song. Could you add another layer of cuing to the music you use?
· Pedal cadence is consistent with the beats per minute (bpm) in each song. For example, in the first video, the song is 150 bpm and the cyclist is pedalling between 75-80 rpm. Look at how effective the music is setting the intensity and pace. Do you use the bpm of your songs to dictate cadence in your classes?
· Synchronization! Matching partner or group leg movements were set. This is a great way to foster teamwork in your class. How could you promote synchronization in your classes?
· It is all about taking your cycle participants out of the norm for a spin class. How can you do this? Well, bike placement might just do it. The second video demonstrates a pace line option. Now, I don’t recommend the bounding over the bikes, but perhaps this could be the inspiration for participants rotate through bikes in a safer way? How can you shake it up for your cycle participants?
· Just like a round in music (two or more voices sing exactly the same melody, starting at different times), the cyclists in the second video glide into a round on the bike when each move from sitting to standing starting at the next phrase in the racing music. When can you include a round in your drills?
· Did you catch the theme in the last video? Kevin Bacon in a tight white shirt and jeans bring anything to mind? The cyclists are ‘dancing’ to the song Footloose on their bikes. Decked out in tight white shirts (minus jeans of course) and tapping their feet just like some of the moves from the movie. Now it maybe that we won’t ‘dance’ on the bike (although that might even be something to consider) but think about themes for you classes. What themes would interest your cycle participants?
Now I would be neglectful if I did not mention that some of these moves are not particularly safe for many (if not all) of our cycle participants. Uncontrolled high cadence, lifting the stationary bike off the ground, standing on the handle bars, uncontrolled single leg work, the v-sit on the saddle, and clap push ups are not recommended in a regular spin class. So maybe don’t try this at home or in the studio with participants.
Let’s look at these videos more as a spectacle versus functional training, but anything can be the inspiration for a great spin class!
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!
Central Park Ride
As part of my summer vacation, I was surprised with a trip to New York City. I was there last year only for a couple days and I knew I just had to get back to see all the sites. I was fortunate to spend a full day in Central Park and enjoy all the sights and sounds. I would love to share with you a ride in Central Park (and some of my pictures).
Just a bit of background ...the park was completed in 1870 and spans 843 hectares (think – Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park [at 130 hectares] times eight). It is huge! Around the park there is Central Park Drive which is open to walkers, joggers, roller bladders and of course, cyclists. Riders are a diverse group from seasoned cyclists to tourists riding rental bikes for the day. And I can’t forget the bicycle taxis!
Central Park Drive is a 6.03 mile (9.7 km) loop around the park. Set the scene by mentally taking your class participants to the park by picking the time of year (e.g., beautiful autumn leaves on trees or hot, sweltering days of summer). List things that they may see on their ride such as the outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), horse drawn carriages, lots of trees and wildlife such as extra large squirrels, numerous bodies of water (the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir), and of course, the world famous Great Lawn.
Instead of being one of the wide-eye tourists with cameras hanging around their necks, your cycle participants are the bicycle taxis drivers (see above picture) that drive tourists around the park. Cycle participants pick up a single tourist at the south east tip of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (right by The Met) and he requests a ride around the Reservoir, which is 1.58 miles (2.5 km). Assume cycle participants ride at 25 km per hour, the loop will take 7.5 minutes to complete. What cycle participants don’t know that the loop varies in terrain and there are surprises on the way! Start heading north on the east side of the Reservoir.
0-1 minutes: slight incline to the terrain; add tension stay seated
1-2 minutes: seated time trial/steady pace with one tourist
2-2.5 minutes: you run into large group of runners who are taking up most of the road; you need to dodge runners by adding tension and riding out of the saddle
2.5-3 minutes: tourist is not happy with your swerving and requests to get out; light tension on the flat
3-4 minutes: two female tourists pick up the ride at the north end of the reservoir with many heavy shopping bags; add tension to compensate for extra weight; push hard!
4-4.5 minutes: the path curves and you meet up with other bicycle taxis; to show off your excellent cycling ability, you start to pick up the pace and move into standing jog
5-5.5 minutes: you round the northwest corner and leave the other bicycle taxis behind, keep the same tension as above but sit down into saddle, remember you still have the two tourists
5.5-6 minutes: two tourists request to get out as they are heading to the Upper West Side, you let them out and turn tension back to seated time trial/steady pace with no tourists; Freedom!
6-7 minutes: you are waved down by a family of three that want to squeeze into your small carrier. They insist so you let them in. Turn up the tension and stay seated. Hold the pace to pull them to the finish of the loop.
7-7.5 minutes: You hope and pray the family wants to get out at the Great Lawn and hurry pedal your feet (increase speed) only to run into a horse and carriage that makes you want to speed even faster (increase speed).
Unfortunately, the family won’t get out at the Great Lawn and you race back to the Met and drop them off with a huff and a puff!
Feel free to modify your ride as required with the well detailed map of the Park.
Why not include some New York City Themed songs. Here is my list:
Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (censored radio version)
I Love New York – Madonna
NY minute – Mobile
New York Minute – Eagles (good cool down song)
New York City Boy - Pet Shop Boys
Sex and the City Theme Song
Theme from New York New York – Frank Sinatra
New York Groove – KISS
New York – U2
New York City – Boney M
New York is My Home – Ray Charles
Or check out more options on Wikipedia.
I HEART NYC!
Fundamental Games for Beginners
The first couple classes of a new session are a great time to get the class practising fundamentals – using resistance and cadence to dictate their workout. These two drills are great for the first few classes as they are interactive but also introduce some important concepts. The drills are also good for the beginner classes to give cycle participants a taste of what a cycle class can be like.
Stand Up, Sit Down Wave
As we know, it is important to add resistance to the flywheel as we stand up out of the saddle. The drill emphasizes this principle but also allows cycle participants to ‘play’ with their resistance.
Starting at the front of the room, prompt the first cycle participant to stand up and add more tension. As soon as the first participant stands up, the next participant follows suit by adding tension and standing up. The ‘wave’ begins and participants remain standing until the last participant joins the others.
The wave can continue from the back of the room, where the last cycle participant decreases his/her tension and sits down. The wave will move through the group quickly and can last several cycles. If you want to change it up, try starting at the back of the room, this forces participants to watch for the wave especially with their peripheral vision (excellent skill to have when riding on the road!).
Encourage cycle participants to add more resistance on each round of the drill. An alternative to this drill would include having cycle participants maintain the same tension they set for standing in the sitting position.
One of the fun parts of being a cycle group fitness leader gets to play DJ! This drill focuses on cadence by using the music volume to dictate speed. As the song starts, keep the volume low (slower cadence) and progressively add more volume over 30 seconds to take cycle participants into a sprint pace. Hold the sprint pace for 30 seconds then slowly decrease volume and prompt participants to slow their cadence. Repeat up to six times. Choose a song that is between 140-150 bpm.
Note: To ensure auditory health, keep the high music volumes below 90 decibels.
Games are always fun to play in a cycle class. Try these two games with your beginner participants to help them learn the basics on the bike!
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!