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!
Are you looking to advance your skills and drills? Join me on April 16, 2011 at the 11th Annual YMCA Spring Training Conference!
I will be presenting a session on Reinventing Your Spin Class -- my excitement and passion. The day is jam packed with many different types of sessions such as core training, aqua zumba, interval training and much much more! Check out the YMCA Edmonton website for more information and to register on-line.
Hope to see you there!
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!
In my last blog post, I discussed how to use a simple deck of cards to jazz up any indoor cycling class. Since there are many ways to play with the cards, I’ve come up with two other drills that can raise the stakes and ace the workout!
Drill #3: Using the Suits to your Advantage
Have you ever wanted to put cycle participants into groups? Using the deck of cards, the suits will help you randomly assign groups. Pass out a card to each cycle participant (place in front of the bike or simple attach an elastic band to each card and affix to the handlebars). Since there are four suits you can split the group into four distinct groups. Determine four different drill types (e.g., seated hill climb, standing hill climb, seated down hill, seated flat) and call out which group is to do what drill. For example, all those cycle participants with hearts are to complete a standing hill climb. Rotate the drill types through each of the groups for a total of four minutes (one minute for each drill).
Alternatively, use the colour of the suits to break a large group into two smaller groups. Alternate work and rest between the two groups. For example, all those cycle participants with black suits are to complete seated power drill for 30 second while those with the red suits are in active recovery.
Drill #4: Add it Up!
Similar to last blog post, use the values of the cards to determine drill duration but use the rules of Blackjack. Instead of you as the Group Fitness Leader listing the duration from the cards you pull, have cycle participants in each row, usually four to eight people long, add up the total value of their cards. Again, distribute the cards to each cycle participant (as described above). For example, in the studio I teach in, I have six rows of six to seven bikes (approximately forty bikes). Each row of cycle participants is randomly picked to add up their cards and the whole group proceeds to complete a drill for the assigned duration. Here is a refresher to Blackjack rules:
Ace to 10 cards = 1-10 points/seconds
Face cards = 10 points/seconds
For example, a row of 6 cycle participants have a king, 3, 8, ace, 3, and queen. That would equal a 35 second drill. After each row has had a chance to add up their cards and the whole group does a pre-assigned drill for that duration, consider shuffling the cards and starting over. Feel free to pick a second drill type for the next round. The duration of all the drills will be totally random or at least the probability of the same cards being pulled would be very low!
Consider “hitting” the class with a “double down” and see who will “bust or break”!
Got other ideas how to use a deck of cards in an indoor cycling class? Post your ideas!
Did I get your attention? Aren’t diamonds a girl’s best friend? Well, I’m not giving away any freebies this blog post, especially not diamonds; but I am giving you a new outlook on how to include a deck of cards, yes a deck of cards, of all things, in your cycle classes.
Take your standard deck of cards, 52 cards to be exact. You’ve got your four suits each with an ace, king, queen, jack and cards two through to ten. Now depending on your deck, you may have one to four jokers as well. So many cards and so many things you can do with the deck to spice up you next cycling class. And think, how many card games you know that you could ‘play’ in a cycle class?
Drill #1: Pick the Number, Pick the Duration
Take a typically drill (e.g., hills, power, sprints) and let the deck dictate the duration. I typically use only the number cards (tack an extra zero on the end of the number to equal seconds) with random jokers in the deck. For example, I pull a three of spades and thus the group needs to do 30 seconds of the drill. Now, if I pull a joker, it is a random card and I let the group yell out the duration. Watch those highly motivated cycle participants yell out a 10; thus, the drill is for 100 seconds!
To keep the cycle participants engaged, pull four cards from the deck. The first and third cards are the duration of the drill and the second and fourth cards are the recovery duration. Boy, you can sure get some mismatching happening in which cycle participants can get more work than rest!
Drill #2: Numbers Count - Jumps and Lifts
Using the whole deck of cards, randomly distribute a card to each cycle participant. Since the cycle participants could receive any of the potential cards in the deck, ensure that you announce what each cards represents. Of course the number cards would be pretty self explanatory but say face cards are worth 15 jumps/lifts and all jokers are worth 20 jumps/lifts.
Throughout the class, call on participants to reveal which card they have and follow their direction on how many jumps/lifts the class is to complete. Expect to call on at least five separate cycle participants to help dictate the number of jumps/lifts the group is to do. Alternatively, depending on your duration of jumps/lifts (four, eight, or sixteen beats of the music or using stop watch every 10 seconds) you may need more or less cycle participants to participate.
Now who knew that a simple deck of cards would be so handy in a cycle class?
Stay tuned for part two, of Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs, and Spades…
I'd like to start off the new year with a freebie - an E-book on Resistance Training with Thera-Bands® !
Use it with your cycle participants (Spin and Resistance Class, anyone?!?), share with other clients you work with, or start a Thera-Band® program yourself!
To get this E-Book:
1. join my new Facebook page, Medical Fitness Consulting (you'll see my picture),
2. click on LIKE this page, and
3. send me a quick email at email@example.com so I can send you a copy!
You have until January 31, 2011 to receive your free E-Book.
By joining my Facebook page, you'll get automatic updates when my blog is updated! Woowhoo!
Happy New Year! Welcome 2011!
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
I like to have cycle participants engage with one another, particularly when they are in a registered class. It is nice to make the group feel more like a community rather than separate individuals coming to a single fitness class. It is actually part of my role with Campus Recreation at the University of Alberta to promote community. Their mission speaks about it loud and clear: “To create a sense of community through quality recreation programs at the University of Alberta and in the community beyond the University”.
Thus, I like partner drills. This drill truly is a balancing act between the partners as they are required to complete a power drill that is short but also try to ensure their partner has adequate rest time as well. Let me explain...
Partners are required to maintain a power drill for a total of three minutes between them. As we know, power drills are intense and tap into the anaerobic lactic energy system. Each partner takes a turn completing the work while the other partner takes a recovery ride. As power is intense work, each partner may only be able to maintain the drill for say 60 seconds at which point they signal to their partner that it’s time to switch. Over the three minute period, partners may swap up to three or four times depending on each others’ physical fitness ability.
So how do you cue this Lisa? Well, I typically count out the time in 15 second blocks. This allows participants to complete their part of the drill in 15 second increments (i.e., 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds).
Now, for your beginner groups, try two minutes to start and slowly increase the duration as the class progresses. And for your advanced riders, try five minutes. Be sure to explain that they are working with a partner and they may need to take up the slack at times when their partner needs an active recovery. Feel free to use seated power work and standing power work for this drill.
It is nice to hear cycle participants interact on the bikes. I enjoy hearing the giggles, groans, and high fives as they connect with a fellow cycle participant.
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!
I’d like to think of myself as an explorer, a fitness centre explorer. Any chance I get to go into a new facility I am giddy and excited like a child on Christmas morning. I like to explore gyms from large municipal facilities to hotel fitness rooms. The rush of seeing shiny equipment and learning about innovative programs is fun for me. I always want to know what physical activity opportunities are out there from both a business and personal curiosity perspective.
About six months ago, I was driving by a new fitness centre and decided to go in to learn about what they had to offer. I always enter as a “lay” person and inquire about membership, ask for a tour and inquire about programs. I ask about spin/indoor cycling classes. In this one particular facility I inquired and the customer service representative was happy to tell me about their indoor cycling classes. She proceeded to tell me that a class can “burn up to 1400 calories” in 60 minutes. I tried not to let my face warp into an inquisitors’ expression, as I asked myself, what is the real number of calories one burns in an indoor cycling class?
Well, one of my favourite resources was published in the journal Medicine and Science Sport and Exercise in 2000. Barbara Ainsworth has done extensive research on energy expenditure and physical activity and published the Compendium of Physical Activity. It outlines the metabolic equivalent (MET) for a lengthy list of activities. And we can use her work to help determine the answer...or at least a range of answers.
First and foremost, we’ll assume your average cycle participant is 150 lbs (68 kg). Based on Ainsworth’s Compendium, your average cycle participant uses the following METs and estimated calorie expenditure per hour based on different drills or power outputs:
Based on the calculations, an average indoor cycling participant doesn’t come near to what was quoted by the customer service representative, unless your cycle participants on average are 440 lbs (200 kg), and they are riding at a moderate effort. Are you surprised by the result? It turns out that body weight factors into the way energy expenditure is calculated and the results end up being highly personalized.
As certified fitness leaders, it is our responsibility to provide our participants with correct information. Take the time to let your participants know their efforts are great but may not be an absorptive amount of calories that sometimes can be presented when pitching a program or new type of fitness class. Keep it realistic and maybe not bother quoting calorie expenditure. As we all know, there are many other benefits to riding that just burning calories!
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!