For Instructors Spinning

Making Stuff up on the Bike

I was halfway through writing this blog post when I happened to read fellow blogger Jeff Krabiel's excellent post from today about his "Please Stop" list (the same thing happened to fellow blogger Ralph Mlady last week when we both had chatty classes on the brain at the same time). So, I've revised my post today to leapfrog from Jeff's. This question comes to me often but was especially relevant today as I saw hordes of outdoor riders dusting off their helmets and hitting the road for the first time this season. Western New York was blessed with a bright bright sunshiny day with temps in the 50's. After slogging through snow and ice for months it truly felt like spring finally was in the air. When you watch outdoor riders and think about what you do in a Spinning class that correlates with outside riding, things like seated flat, climbs, and always a decent resistance come to mind. Yes,we do wiggle and jump around on a Spinning bike far more than we ever would or should outdoors, but we also understand that Spinning maintains its roots in outdoor riding and simulating the depth and breadth of that outdoor experience is part of our job as an instructor/coaches. So, the $25 million dollar question is why are so many instructors driven to make up crazy stuff on a Spinning bike? Once can argue that it's ignorance or misguided attempts at creativity, but given the pervasiveness of "contraindications", I wonder if there aren't other factors at play. While Spinning is a group exercise class, it is a very different type of group ex than a step or Zumba class. I love me some Bodypump, but I acknowledge that what I'm gaining in that class for fun factor, I'm also losing out as far as the most precise and individualized approach to weight training various muscle groups. Our goal as instructors is to put together a safe, fun, and effective workout. If you could write your own 'Please Stop" list and send it to the most prominent offenders that you personally know, what would make your top 3 list? Here are mine currently, in no particular order: 1. Please Stop being ignorant about cadence. 60-80 rpms is 60-80, 80-110 rpms is 80-110. If you are not an experienced outdoor rider you will need to spend some time outside of teaching class learning what the cadences feel like and getting various rpms into your muscle memory. Even though not every song should be cued to pedal on the beat, you should know the bpms of each song on your playlist so students can use it as a relative yardstick 2. Please Stop yapping throughout the entire class (yes, instructors can be just as guilty as students of talking too much during class, myself included!). When in doubt, be quiet. Give your students the gift of silence. Spinning is a mind/body workout. 3. Please Stop pressuring the class to do everything that you're doing/cuing. Give everyone options. "Hey teacher, I love that you're doing a kickbutt strength profile today, but I did lunges and squats with my personal trainer yesterday and my legs are toast. Is it OK that I do more of a recovery/endurance ride?" "Hey teacher, I love endurance training & I've paid my dues in base camp for 3 months, but I've only got 2 days this week to do cardio and I really need some high intensity intervals to maximize my limited time to work out." I understand that is can be disconcerting to have students not following you in class at all especially when they are sitting front row center with their iPod & fluorescent headphones on (or playing a video game, as one fellow instructor recently told me). As instructors you can educate your students about respectful ways of following their own energy zones in any class, and subtly use the blatant abusers as non-examples. Sadly in this day and age as with many other forms of good manners, Spinning etiquette is something that must be explicitly taught and reinforced (& modeled) by the instructor. How about your own "Please Stop" list?
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