Old Tricks for the New Year

Remember your Instructor Orientation? Whether it was last decade or last week, you probably recall being given a lot of new information—much of which you might not have revisited since you passed your assessment. But believe it or not, your trusty Instructor Manual contains a slew of ways to bring a dose of motivation to your students as they charge into the New Year. Let these tips make your classes more effective and more fun.

Conduct Cadence Checks
Telling students to pedal faster or slower doesn’t really get at the real issue: are they within the acceptable cadence range and intensity level for a particular terrain? Do they need less resistance? Do they need to take it up a notch? Or are they simply, unknowingly, mimicking the pace of the person in front of them?

In addition to quantifying your direction and providing a safer and more effective ride, conducting a few 15-second cadence checks can help students get a better sense of what hills and flats feel like. This allows them to fully experience each ride—making the workout more interesting and gratifying.

A 15-second check should yield the following results:

• 15-20 pedal strokes for climbs (60-80 RPM)
• 20-27 pedal strokes for flats (80-110 RPM)

Take their Pulse
When it comes to gauging intensity, nothing beats a heart rate monitor, and you should definitely encourage your students to use one. But just because most students don’t doesn’t mean that instructors shouldn’t educate their students on the importance of heart rate training. Asking students to measure their rate of perceived exertion can make them more aware of their intensity and help them gauge their progress.

Dividing the ranges indicated on the Spinning® Energy Zones™ heart rate chart by four for 15-second heart rate checks is a general, but easy way to start. For instance, the target heart rate for a 32-35 year-old man would be as follows:

• Recovery: 23-30
• Endurance: 30-35
• Strength: 35-40
• Interval: 30-43
• Race Day: 37-43

Encourage students to calculate their own target heart rate zones and monitor their progress.

Overcome Resistance
Many students are scared to add resistance to their bike. Some are under the false impression that doing so will “bulk up” their legs. Others just don’t like the effort that additional resistance requires. Therefore it’s important to educate students on why riding with resistance—and the resulting increased leg strength and endurance—are so beneficial. Conversely, students riding with too much resistance need to lighten their load to avoid an increased risk of injury. As mentioned, cadence checks are the easiest way to let students know if they need to increase or decrease resistance.

When beginning a climb or resistance loading drill, be sure to let students know how many gear changes to expect so that they’re able to start from an appropriate point and add resistance in manageable increments. And remember—telling your class to give their knobs a quarter turn sounds like an easy way to make sure everyone adds a little more resistance to their ride but may be a huge increase for one student and a nominal one for others. Calibrations may differ significantly from bike to bike—making quantitative resistance changes a risky proposition.

If your facility uses the new Spinning Computers, these tips are much easier to incorporate. But regardless, helping your students quantify their efforts gives them feedback they can use—and a great sense of accomplishment as they achieve incredible results from the goal-oriented training sessions you construct.

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