Welcoming The New Guys
Spinning® instructors, we face a number of challenges every time we
teach. Some of these challenges are physical while others are mental or
emotional, and many can be overcome with experience, continuing
education or dialogue with other Spinning instructors. Yet the
challenge of giving new students an experience that will encourage them
to come back is one that seems to endure.
newcomers feel welcome, helping them stay safe and motivating them to
stick with a program that you know will lead them to a healthier,
happier existence is infinitely rewarding. However, being in top
physical condition and having an extensive repertoire of technical and
scientific know-how is usually not enough to make this happen. Let the
following tips help you give the new guys the TLC they need to feel
welcome—and come back for more.
at least 15 minutes early to set up your own bike and music. Have this
work done before your students arrive so you can focus on them, help
them set up and foster a positive mood for the ride ahead.
Greet people as they enter and look for new faces. Act as if you're hosting a party and the students are your guests.
if anyone needs help setting up their bike or has questions, but don't
rely on students to raise their hands. Walk around, take a good look
and help those who need it.
Share an overview of the class you’ll be teachingand outlinewhat the focus of the ride should be.
an effort to learn students’ names. This is the most powerful way to
build a sense of community and create a caring, inclusive atmosphere.
Research shows that teachers who don’t take the time to learn students’
names are often perceived as remote and unapproachable. In large
classes, the task of learning names can be daunting but even if you
only learn a few names at a time, you’ll be making great progress
toward fostering a supportive, community environment.
Keep a stash ofstudent handouts in your bag. Tips for everything from proper bike setup to details on form and technique are covered at spinning.com.
Refresh and expand your own knowledge of Spinning program fundamentals by reviewing thearticles and research posted on the Spinning website.
first-hand what it’s like to be the new kid has made me a better
instructor. It will help you too, so try taking the occasional Spinning
class at clubs where no one knows that you’re an instructor.
of your students can benefit from these reminders, but take care to
keep new students safe by reviewing these Spinning program fundamentals:
Remind students to stay hydrated before, during and after class.
the three hand positions and five core movements, reminding your class
that these are critical to ensuring a safe, comfortable and effective
Encourage students to be fully present in mind and body and to go at their own pace.
Make sure new students know how to stop the flywheel and adjust the resistance.
Cover the importance of monitoring heart rate and exercise intensity. You may want to print and share theEnergy Zone™ Heart Rate Chart and student handouts for each Energy Zone posted at spinning.com.
For students without monitors, explain rate of perceived exertion (RPE).
Remind students that riding without resistance offers no training advantage and increases the risk of injury.
Makethese minor tweaks to your class and you’ll find that both newbies and vets reap benefits:
the music and while you assist new students, have experienced riders
warm up. Cue them to focus on perfecting each pedal stroke—reminding
them to keep the foot straight, work on both pushing and pulling and
avoid “ankling” or excessive flexion of the ankle while pedaling.
seasoned regulars can benefit from reminders, so cue a light touch on
the handlebars, relaxed shoulders and adequate resistance.
checks benefit everyone, so conduct them regularly. Ask riders to count
their revolutions on the down-stroke for 15 seconds. Coach students to
ride at 60-80 RPM on hills and 80-110 RPM on flats, which translates
into 15-20 and 20-27 pedal strokes for hills and flats respectively in
15 seconds. After the check, ask students to adjust their cadence or
resistance as needed until they fall within those ranges.
off your bike and check on students at least once during class.
Validate what they’re doing right and make form and technique
suggestions for how they can ride more safely, comfortably and
effectively. Doing this off the bike is less likely to make
participants feel self-conscious.
At the end of class,
thank your riders and ask for a special round of applause for the
newcomers. Assure new students that it takes a while to get adjusted to
the bike and to feel comfortable in the saddle, and make sure they know
that you’re happy to answer any questions.
Your facility has a vested interest in member retention and satisfaction, so enlist the help of your colleagues.
Encourage new riders to arrive ten minutes early for their first class via the club website and front desk staff.
sales and personal training that the Spinning program is a great way
for new members to get the personal attention and structure they need
to initiate a successful cardiovascular training program.
sufficient demand exists, add a 30-minute “Beginning Spinning” class to
the schedule and ask sales to promote it to new members.
every class, you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s
life. You might inspire a middle-aged person to get on the road to
fitness and slow down the aging process. Perhaps you’ll help a new
mother find some time for herself. You can give couples an opportunity
to reconnect through exercise or help a 70-year old ex-high school
football star rediscover the champion within.However, you won’t
be able to do any of these things unless you spend some time getting
acquainted with your new students. Make sure you let them know you’re
glad they came—and do your best to remember their name when you see
Graves is a Spinning Instructor living in Austin, TX. Certified since
1998, Alison moved to Austin one year ago and hopes to resume teaching
in the near future at a local club. She can be contacted at [email protected].