Just For Fun!
Thanks Nora, for sharing this cute video on how women in France ride bikes to burn calories!
Now how do we bring this to Canada...
Bike Set Up: A Refresher Course
Scanning the internet, books and previous conference notes, reminds me of the many options on setting up indoor cycling bikes for a class. I was working on my PowerPoint slides for the AFLCA cycle designation course I taught today and wanted to dive deeper into the nuts and bolts of set-up.
I came across this YouTube video, produce by Star Trac, the bike company that I typically use when I teach. It is very comprehensive and covers the majority of the points needed to set-up the bike.
As a quick review, here are some key points:
A crude estimate can be determined by lining up the saddle with hip bone (top of the iliac crest) or the crease of the flexed hip. I usually have participants sit in the saddle and complete a few revolutions while watching if the hips are rocking excessively. When the foot is extended the knee should be slightly bent, which really means the knee angle is approximately 25-35 degrees. Using a goniometer to measure this angle can be very helpful.
Handle Bar Height:
As I mentioned in a previous post, hamstring flexibility can help set the handle bar height. Have participants lean forward to the handle bars and set the height at a 45 degree angle from their hips. Beginners are looking for comfort so usually I have them place handle bars at the same height as the saddle. Whereas your experienced or more flexible riders will likely prefer a lower setting for height.
Saddle Forward (fore) or Back (aft):
Setting this position helps determine the placement of the knee over the pedal. This is where I find there are varying ideas of how to set up the ideal position. If the goal is efficiency and maximal force transfer from the foot to the pedal, participants will want to have the knee positioned directly above the pedal axel. By using a plumb line, there are two current thoughts on what to do:
1. Use a plumb line from superolateral patella/knee to the pedal axel, or
2. use a plumb line from mid-line of patella/knee to line up with the end of the crank arm.
To determine the position with either option, look at participant’s leg and imagine a straight line from the knee to pedal axel. If the plumb line is forward (/) over the pedal axel (option 1) or end of crank arm (option 2), the seat needs to be moved backward. Conversely, if the line is backward (\) from the pedal axel (option 1) or end of crank arm (option 2), the seat needs to be moved forward.
Handle Bar Forward (fore) or Back (aft):
Position will vary due to different torso lengths of participants. By a visual assessment, determine if participant is too far forward to reach the handle bars or too cramped (i.e., elbows hugging body) in their body position. Participants will typically self select the position for comfort.
After all four (or three depending on the bike) variables are set, re-check angle at the knee with goniometer and take long plumb line string and draw a straight line from the hip to the crank to the axel. If there is alignment with all three points on the participant’s body, they are set to ride!
For other reviews and/or suggestions on bike set-up, here is a sample of other recommended YouTube videos!
Do you have a Dwight?
As we start back to classes this Fall, this video not only gives me a giddy belly laugh but it also reinforces how as indoor cycling leaders, we need to expect the unexpected in our classes!
I can’t say I ever had an extreme a case as Dwight but I have had some opinionated participants. As leaders, how do we handle these participants? Are they providing friendly, non-threatening suggestions and enthusiasm or are they trying to sabotage your class? It’s those individuals who are positively engaging with you and others in class that you need to take a second look at!
In some cases, I think these types of eager participants want to actually be leaders themselves. How do you identify, encourage and foster a new leader? Can you think of a potential new leader? And don’t feel intimidated to suggest they get certified. If I’ve learned anything over ten plus years in this role, is that there are always way more people wanting to get moving than there are leaders and we need each and everyone we can get to lead group exercise. When you’ve found a promising candidate don’t feel intimidated to suggest they get certified. Who knows? Maybe one day they would be a great sub for your class!
As a certified leader, is it not also our role to promote our certifications? I challenge you to find at least one participant this session/term to encourage to become certified, but don’t stop there, act as their mentor! The next time a Dwight arrives in our class we embrace him/her and see what he/she can bring to the role of an indoor cycling leader.
Let me know when you find your mentee and how it goes!
If they are looking to get certified with the AFLCA, I’m facilitating the cycle designation on October 20, 2012 and would love to have them attend!
Enjoy the first couple weeks back in the saddle!
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!
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!