For Instructors

Cadence and the Spinning Program

Creator: Michael Ferrante

If you are leading Spinning classes on bikes that do not
have a Spinning Computer, there are two simple, effective ways to help your riders determine their cadence range, and by doing so, gain further
appreciation for the established cadence parameters in the Spinning program.

Just to set the stage: Remember that cadence is pedal stroke speed. It connotes how quickly a rider can turn the pedals over during a one minute period. This is known as RPM, or Revolutions Per Minute. In the Spinning program, the recommended cadence parameters for flat terrain are 80-110 RPM and 60-80 RPM for hills.

The 15 Second Count

In the absence of a Spinning Computer, you can help your students determine their cadence by simply having them count how many RPM occur during a 15 second time frame and then multiplying that number by 4. You
will need a timing device to monitor the 15 seconds. Any watch or clock with a second hand will do, or most smart phones have a stop watch feature.

1. Instruct your riders to focus on their right or
left foot and as it reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke and sweeps past the floor. Riders will be counting how many times the foot passes through this point during the 15 period.

2. Before starting this drill, give some guidance
to your riders. Let them know that a count of 20 during the 15 seconds, for example, is equivalent to 80 RPM.  A
count of 25 correlates to 100 RPM, while a count of 15 correlates to 60 RPM.

3. Instruct your riders to start their count and
keep the count in their heads.

4. As the instructor, quietly monitor a 15 second
time frame. At the end of 15 seconds, instruct your riders to stop counting and determine their RPM.

5. In general, a count of less than 15 during the
15 seconds is below the suggested cadence for hills, while a count greater than 27 is above the suggested cadence for flats.

Use a Metronome

For about $30 you can purchase a metronome, a device that makes repeated clicks or beeps to mark a certain pace or RPM. I use a Matrix MR-500 quartz metronome and I also have a Boss DB-30 metronome. Let’s say I want my riders to find a cadence of 100 RPM. I can set my metronome to that pace. I hold the metronome up to my microphone so riders can clearly hear the click or beep and then I ask them to match their pedal stroke –once again at the bottom of the pedal stoke – with the sound of the metronome.

The metronome and the 15-second counting method are
fantastic tools for creating cadence-specific Spinning profiles.

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