Inside Out: How to Train Outdoor Cyclists with Spinning® Classes
By Becki Tooley
thing the Spinning program focuses on heavily is using movements from
real road cycling. Since many of my students in Spinning classes are
avid outdoor cyclists who participate in races—including the week-long
bicycle race through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado—I’ve found that my
classes are a great training method that students can use to prepare. I
use these specific methods to help train outdoor riders: knowing their
goals, simulating the terrain and performing drills.
Know their goals. First
and foremost, I ask students about their goals for upcoming races and I
use this knowledge to plan my classes. I realize that some of my
students come to class simply for the great workout, so I am very
conscious of not being too technical. I always keep the class moving
and everyone improving.
Simulate the terrain.
To prepare my road cyclists for their upcoming races, I focus on
environment. By describing the scenery and simulating the terrain that
they will encounter, students will feel more prepared for the race. I
have had the pleasure of traveling quite a bit, but some simple online
research is one of the surest ways to help you plan your class.
Perform peloton drills. Although
I always encourage all of my students to ride at their own pace, it is
important to train road cyclists to be aware of riders around them. I
refer to my students as the peloton—the large group in a road race.
of my favorite drills for the peloton is what I call “The Attack,”
which is demonstrated when a rider is charging up a hill and wants to
pass another rider or get around an obstacle in the road. At the
beginning of a hill climb, coach your students to turn the resistance
up, get out of the saddle and push it hard for 10-20 seconds. Slowly
ease back into the saddle and continue pushing for another 10-15
seconds. Finally, turn the resistance down and recover. This short but
challenging drill helps train road cyclists to be more aggressive on
Perform single-leg drills.
Emphasizing cadence during single-leg drills is always a good bet for
making riders stronger. Start out on a long hill. Coach your students
to focus on one leg while increasing their cadence for 30 seconds.
Release resistance and recover for 30 seconds. Add resistance and
repeat the drill three times. Bring your mindset back to both legs
together for 30 seconds and then repeat the drill, focusing on the
ultimate goal should always be to make your students stronger—whether
you’re helping them reach their goals for Spinning class or outdoor
races. Either way, your coaching will take them a long way, up a large
hill with obstacles or simply toward being healthier and more