Recently, two separate cycle participants have made comments about fitness leaders using percentages, such as “cycle at 50%”, in class. In both cases, the cycle participants both stated that they didn’t know what 50% means. They found it challenging (and frustrating) to interpret the percentages on the fly as they were being used in the class.
Monitoring intensity is an essential part of any cycling class. The difficulty lies in communication. Not only do instructors need to effectively communicate their intended intensity but they also rely on feedback from the participants indicating they are working at the intended intensity (something that is often difficult for the instructor to judge directly).
Over the 10 plus years I have been teaching, I have explored a number of ways to describe and monitor intensity during cycle classes. I find a combination of various tools helpful:
1. A simple check of “How is everyone doing?” and interpreting the response from the group (i.e., no response means “I’m tired” and enthusiastic response means “I’m ready to push myself”).
2. Showing of hands in response to my questioning. For example, “I am doing great”, “I am doing so-so”, and “I am ready to get off my bike because I just can’t ride anymore”.
3. Setting a specific resistance and revolutions per minute (more to come in future blog posts) and having class participants continually check if they are maintaining the set intensity.
4. Individual Rating of Perceived Exertion cards that dictate how hard class participants are to work.
If planning to use percentages to monitor intensity ensure the following:
1. Explain and explain again to ensure you are communicating how you would like class participants to quantify/qualify their intensity.
2. Consider discussing how to gauge individual intensity during the warm-up. Best to be on track from the start.
3. Use visual cues such as a Rating of Perceived Exertion poster or individual cue cards that explain what each level represents.
4. Ask for clarity from the group and if they understand how you would like them to monitor their intensity during the class.
Using percentages is one way to monitor and describe intensity during a cycle class. Find the combination that works best for you and your class participants.
I just want to thank everyone who supported me in the quest to be the next W Network expert. Unfortunately, I was not picked for this task. What I have gained from this experience is the understanding and appreciation for the wonderful people in my life. Those of you who provided the high star ratings and kind words; I thank you!
My on-going passion of promoting physical activity and health will continue on and I will find other ways to permeate my message. My goal is to build my website as one of these outlets. Stay tuned!
One of my favourite ways to get cycle participants engaged in their warm-up is to play a friendly, childhood game of Simon Says, or should I say, Lisa Says.
This warm-up drill goes without saying - truly, it is a blast back to your childhood! As a quick refresher, all parts of the drill are to start with “Lisa Says...”. Those parts that are not called out with “Lisa Says” are not to be followed! Use all options you can think of to spice it up such as the following:
“Insert your name here Says hover over the saddle”
“Insert your name here Says pull your abdominals in to the spine and ensure proper spinal alignment”
“Insert your name here Says increase your resistance by a half turn of the knob”
“Insert your name here Says drop the shoulders and push down on the pedals”
“Insert your name here Says decrease your resistance by a full turn of the knob”
This is where you can catch those participants who are caught off guard especially because they sit and others stay standing.
Of course, this is just for fun and no one is singled out or asked to stop the drill. It is just a causal way to get cycle participants ready and focused for the creative and enduring drills ahead!
Now, Lisa Says try this drill in your next warm-up!
Mark your calendar for Alberta's largest Fitness Conference June 11-13, 2010.
Fit Rendezvous 2010!
I've had the opportunity to attend for 10 years! It is an event not to miss! Bring lots of water, changes of clothes, pen and paper, and a well-rested body. It is a weekend to refresh and renew your skills as well as learn new skills. Your body will remind you on Monday how many skills and drills you actually did!
I plan to be there as a volunteer so ensure you stop me in the halls to chat and catch up. See you there!
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!