For All Spinning® Enthusiasts


I'm lucky enough to have the same riders every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Even luckier that most of them have been with me since the gym opened over 11 years ago. It's very simple to put rides together for a population I know so well, whether it's aerobic capacity, speed, strength or lactate tolerance, I'll follow the principles of training. And progression will take us many weeks of riding into the future.

To quote directly from the Spinpower manual, "Participation in Spinning classes causes adaptations, whether positive or negative, as a result of training. The participants that aim sensibly develop positive results. However, when guided unscientifically, negative consequences can occur. The best possible outcomes are achieved when training includes a gradual progression of stressing muscles and energy systems plus appropriate recovery to repair the cells." As Spinning instructors, or simply, coaching human bodies on a bike, it's important we keep the basic principles of training in mind: overload, recovery and progression. It makes it easy to create profiles.

Here's a ride that is all about increasing strength, force and lactate tolerance:

1 min. full gas, or the highest workload one can sustain for a full minute 7-8 RPE

2 min. back off to a 6 RPE or one's aerobic ceiling

1 min. full gas

2 min. aerobic ceiling

5 min. recovery

REPEAT for a total of 3 sets.

That's just 2 minutes of work done above threshold, and 4 minutes at one's aerobic ceiling. We'll do 3 sets that are climbing specific, with 5 minutes of active recovery in between. That would give you 33 minutes of main sets, sandwiched with a warmup and a warmdown.

The physiological benefits of this ride are increasing strength and force on the bike by stressing muscle fibers and energy systems associated with climbing around threshold. Working with load that supports a cadence between 60-80 RPM in this range stresses both ST and FT muscle fiber. The energy systems taxed, very generally, are both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Assuming the riders recover via sleep, nutrition and hydration, restoration should occur within their cells. The adaptation is they'll become stronger than before. How can we progress this structure to gradually increase the training stress? We could add one more minute of full gas to make the set 7 minutes instead of 6. We could do 4 sets instead of 3, we could decrease the recovery to 4 minutes instead of 5. There are a lot of possibilities, all based on the same premise.

My students love to know what they're doing and why, and enjoy being able to measure strength gains via the power meter. Without the ability to measure power, a rider could notice a lesser perceived exertion at the same heart rate, a lower heart rate at a high perceived exertion, the freshness to do another set, or a quick recovery in heart rate.

Keep it simple: overload, recovery and progression. Throw in individuality (one's HR or power parameters), and specificity (speed, stamina, strength)and class construction can be a breeze.






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