Want to get inspired? Be the best indoor cycling instructor you can be? Watch students line up for a chance to get into your class? Oh yeah.
This is the place to post your questions and share your experience with others. Come on in, the coffee’s on.
Hi, new to the group but here goes. Wondered if any other instructors could share their ‘ques’, things that they shout out to the class to keep them on point etc….. I seem to have hit a stale mate!!!! with mine.. Ta
I just (after 8 years of teaching) got panned in an evaluation for using/Coaching the time trial position at race pace on our Spinning bikes in a Power Intervals class. Who has any thoughts out there? Thanks
Thank you guys for sharing all your playlists and Cynthia for creating this inspiring platform. Like you, I love cycling AND I love good music. I am not an instructor, but I use this blog for inspiration, to spice up my commuter rides. Sometimes my spinning class instructor uses one of these songs as well.
Personally, I love some heavier stuff than regularly played in spinning class. As there are not a lot of rock songs around for cycling/ spinning, I wanted to share these with you. I made my own Spotify spinning playlist (look for: Michiel – Spinning real music playlist) with a mix of (hard)rock/ metal, drum ‘n bass but also mainstream spinning music. It’s all about diversity in life… Just a few examples from what I regard as “nice music to cycle to”, maybe you get inspired by these:
Alien Ant Farm – Glow
Black Keys – Lonely Boy
Bloc Party – Flux (or Banquet)
Daughtry – There and back again
Fall Out Boy – This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race (love to do sprint intervals on this one)
Foo Fighters – Rope (Don’t remix rock music, please! But I have to admit the remix by Deadmau5 is also OK)
Muse – Uprising
Republica – Ready to go
U2 – Elevation
Wolfmother – Woman
Metal (Warning, some of the songs are not for the faint-hearted):
Metallica – Master of Puppets (8:36 version) – ideal for climbing
Periphery – Parade of Ashes
Textures – Reaching Home
Machine Head – The blood, the sweat, the tears
Deftones – Be quiet & drive (far away)
Mainstream & various
Black Sun Empire – Killing the Light (drum ‘n bass)
Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle
Foals – My number
La Roux – Bulletproof
Music where I gratefully thank Cynthia’s blog for:
Calvin Harris/ Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
Deadmau5 – The Veldt (8 min+ version)
Regards from the Netherlands,
I just recently started teaching and also got my certification! I love teaching and have been gaining confidence each class. However, I am struggling with doing jumps. Does anyone have suggestions and do you usually start them in the saddle or standing? Thank you fellow spinners!
Michelle, I usually start seated and move to standing. I usually do 4 or 8 count jumps and coach riders to use enough resistance to ride with the music at a comfortable challenge pace. It is important to let the quads do all the work lifting and lowering (not lift/plop) and not using arms to pull or push – arms are for balance only. I also urge riders to sit a few jumps out if they fatigue and can’t continue with good form. It took me years to be able to count in my head and talk to the class, so I use a thumbs up sign to go up and thumbs down for down (also saves repetitious counting – who wants to hear three minutes of up-2-3-4 down 2-3-4?) I count until I see that everyone’s got it and then use my thumb. Jumps can also be done double-time, basically as a series of explosive standing runs (MUCH harder). I would do 8 counts for these.
Great info on jumps, thanks! Another question with regard to jumps- Does 1 count equal a full pedal rotation, a half pedal rotation or do you count beats to the music?
Hey there Cynthia…nice work with the explaining! I love the results of jumps but quite honestly STINK at coaching them…I can’t seem to go below 4 counts and I always coach to the beat of the music (up-2-3-4-down 2-3-4), is that correct? Mentally it seems to make sense. How the heck do you coach 2 counts, literally, up/down, up/down? Isn’t that like popcorn jumps which can be a bit unsafe? Any guidance here would be great. Ive been sticking to a ton of climbing/strength profiles and really need to switch it up. You rock!
I recently became certified and have an audition on Monday (11.25) The audition is only 10 mins long. Id like to use only one song to show all 5 core movements and talk about energy zones. (around 5-6 mins??) Any one have any suggestions?
Congratulations on getting certified and obtaining an audition so quickly. I’d take a look at Beyonce’s Ring the Alarm (Freemason’s Club Mix) (8:34), The Veldt (8 minute edit) by Deadmau5 (8:40), The Black Pearl (Caribbean Trance Mix) by Scotty (6:39) or Play Hard (Albert Neve Remix) by David Guetta (6:53). All are relatively recent, high energy, versatile songs that will allow you to showcase your stuff. Listen to the song you choose until you know it inside and out and ensure the music is in sync with the class profile (e.g. don’t cue a sprint just as the music slows down).
Good luck! Drop in after your audition and tell us how it went.
I purchased the class builder app about a month or so ago and it is awesome! I wish i had found it earlier. It was $20 just as the previous comment said but yep worth it. Its a little confusing to begin with but if youre okay with technology youll work it out.
Also just to add this blog is fantastic, it’s so great to get ideas and keep my classes fresh. Thanks :)
Also I used tub thumping by chumbawumba for jumps in my class as someone else previously suggested and the riders absolutely loved it. In the saddle for ‘I get knocked down’ and out of the saddle ‘but I get up again’ I explained and then let the music guide the jumps it was great.
Thanks Liz! I got the app and now have to find the time to play with it. I am glad you like the blog.
I’ve reviewed both the Class Builder and MyFitnessDJ apps for an iPad mini. Any experience with the latter? I’m trying to decide which is most user friendly, no bugs and best tech support.
I don’t have any experience with either but the developer of MyFitnessDJ emailed me (he’s a cyclist too) and I am hoping to experiment when my teaching term ends this spring. Anyone else?
What is the name of this app??
Can anyone recommend some 4 minute tunes for Tabata drills?
The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim
Showtek & Justin Prime – Cannonball (Hardwell edit)
A great tune Iann – thanks! I wasn’t able to find it on iTunes but listened on Youtube. (Note that there’s a bleeped m*fo in this one for those who teach at gyms that frown on explicit language.)
I have ended some of my classes with a song by: The Jim Carrol Band called “People Who Died”. This is a great Tabata type song. With 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off with the exception of three of them which are 30 seconds on.
Nice driving beat – thanks Frank!
Hey fellow spin instructors, So I got certified about 4 months ago. Couldn’t get a single class not even a demo. Finally offered to do a 930pm sat nite class which took off. From that I got a sub position at two other gyms. All in all I have taught in 3 different gyms but only about 8 classes. Now in order to try find something permanent they are all asking for resumes….What do i write. I have one certification and one class and a few subbing how do I put that down without it being only one paragraph?? Any suggestions on how to be creative appreciated especially from fitness directors who see these resumes daily
Hey Ellen, Did you post on Facebook as well? I think I recall seeing your post and some good advice. I would keep it simple, one or two pages. Indicate you are a newly certified instructor starting out. They’ll want to know which certification you have and where you’ve taught. You don’t have to say it’s only 8 classes, just say you were certified on X date and have taught (or are teaching (or subbing) at) gym A, B, C – more impressive if you have a current relationship. Tell them you’re looking for one (or more) steady weekly classes. If you have other group exercise certifications that is relevant and if you’ve been a group exerciser for years, that’s relevant too, as is any outdoor athletic experience, especially competitive. If your education has anything to do with physical activity or health, that’s relevant – if you have a college diploma or degree, mention that. If your job (or job history) includes transferable skills (motivating a team? public presentations?) mention those.
If they are unsure about you being new, offer to demo a class and bring your A game. Most of the time, new instructors sub for quite a while before getting a class of their own. One way to get a class is to be willing to teach at a time when it is harder to get instructors (early AM, during the work day, Friday after work, sometimes weekends…depends on the gym) Find out when the gym needs folks and see if you can meet their need.
Drop by again soon and tell us how it is going for you. Good luck!
Hi, I was wondering does anyone have any suggestions on a HIIT Spinning class?
Hi Jess, I am working on one now. Leaning toward longer McMaster University intervals than shorter Tabata ones. There was a great graphic posted on a cycling Facebook page I belong to and I can’t find it anymore. Readers, has anyone done a HIIT class you can share with us? I understand the basics – one of the things I am still mulling over is how to cue and motivate the class so that they will truly work hard enough to get the benefit; the second is how to incorporate HIIT (which is necessarily short) into cycling classes lasting 45-60 minutes without the rest feeling superfluous.
How do you know when to tell your class to add resistance?
Hi Angie, it depends on your goal. The two ways your riders will increase their effort are with cadence and resistance, so you can play with the combination to get them to the level of exertion you are looking for. I let the music guide me, but I also choose the music with my overall profile in mind. For a fast best, you might get them to increase cadence rather than resistance for a seated flat; if the music slows, increased resistance will produce similar effort (and a hill climb). I wear a heart rate monitor, so while I can’t generalize my results to other riders, I can keep an eye on whether things are playing out as I’ve planned by watching how my own heart rate responds during a ride.
I harp on always riding with some resistance on the bike, and never adding so much resistance that cadence goes below 60 RPMs. The way I put it with my class is that I will never ask them to ride slower than the music. They should always be able to ride with the music (since I’ve chosen it specifically for that purpose.) I cue resistance increases prior to sprinting or climbing (to avoid bouncing) and often cue increases during a climb, either tiered (e.g. increase every 60 seconds) or what I call rolling hills (where the resistance is tweaked up three or four times, then down again while the cadence stays the same. For these, I wing it, giving approximately 20-60 second intervals at each resistance level). Hope this helps!
Can you give me a good suggestion for something other than sprints for Beyonce’s All the single women. The last chorus is quite long so it might be too long for sprints wasn’t sure if single count jumps might work or presses then riding it out for the chorus. It’s one of my favorites and trying to work it into a playlist. Thanks for all the amazing good advice as usual. Your site rocks. Ellen
Hi Ellen, thanks for the kind words. I would do jumps for this song – 4 count and 2 count. The beat is a bit complicated – I’d go with 2 count for the complicated bits. It could also work as a seated climb or climb/jump combo.
We’ve got a few football players in our house and have found that Sportzyme from Norwex (organic products) works really well for smelly shoes.
Thanks—is it sold in the US? Having a hard time locating the product.
Hi. It looks like it is sold all over the world, according to their website, Norwex.com.
Hi Cynthia, I wanted yours (and others) advice on my first 15 minute practical in my Cycle training class. Heres what I was thinking as I am following someone who is doing a warmup and then a 10 min spin.
Starting off with:
1. Will I. Am-Scream and Shout (4:44)
Starting in first out to third for eight back to first for eight.
2. Disturbia-Rihanna (3:49)
3. Babel-m=Mumford and Sons (3:28)
Slow climb in saddle
4. Amnesia (Radio Edit) – Ian Carey and Rosetta(3:08)-
Out of saddle in third and sprints in first, second, third for chorus.
ANY SUGGESTIONS would be completely appreciated. There will be two people after me for 15 mins each. Wish me luck. Ellen
Hi Cynthia – great site. A fellow spin instructor at my club told me about. There are a few exercises you or others reference on the site that I am not familiar with, can you explain? They are: tempo runs or drills, surge and squats.
Also, what do you typically include in the cool-down? Do you remain seated and slowly take off the resistence and slow the legs down before getting off the bike and stretching? This is what I am doing now but curious how long you remain on the bike (whole cool down song ..) Big thanks for your help!
Hi Shannon, I coach tempo as a seated flat at a steady cadence. Surges are not-quite-sprints, fast seated flats done at about 80% max capacity. Squats on the bike are not part of any certification that I know of – they’re very hard on the knees and should be avoided. As for the cool down, I usually use two songs, one where we are mostly on the bike, though we often dismount before the end, and a second for stretching. If I am running behind, I will compress them a bit.
Hiya guys, i take it you also use your I Phone/I pod for your music playlists etc.
Is it me but am i the only one that finds it hard to read the time the song has been on and how much it has left on the top left/right of your screen?? obviously its handy knowing timing etc.
My question is does anyone know if you can make those numbers any bigger or are there better devices you can use?
You’re right, those numbers are small! I use an elastic band and attach my iPhone to the handlebar (I use an extended cord to the sound system). It works really well for me, but it doesn’t really help you solve your challenge! Sorry!
Hi, I had that problem also. I’ve found a app named BPTPro. You can load your playlist and after that you wil see numbers bigger and counting back. I’m still looking for a app to make my spinningClass on my iPhone.
Cool! How can you go wrong for 99 cents? Thanks Jeroen.
I build all my classes on my phone using the Class Builder app. I believe it was around $20, but well worth the purchase!
I’m going to try that on my itouch. I use the itouch exclusively for all my aerobic classes. Quick question…can you drop your “comments” for the ride into the application like you do on the “lyrics” of the playlists?
Oh and Merry Christmas to all my fellow spinners from the Rock of Gibraltar :)
Happy holidays Jonny! Great to hear from you again.
Any good ideas for an Xmas workout using xmas songs? have had a look at some but wondering if anyone has done anything in the past :)
Check out my latest post here for lots of holiday ideas: https://spinningmusic.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/ho-ho-holiday-spin-mix-2012-60-minutes/
This is a great site!! Picked up loads of tune tips on here. Thanks
I love how energized and competitive my class gets when I have a “race” song and alternate two teams, and randomly pick a team that “wins” but do other folks have other “race” ideas?
I am also interested in incorporating race themes into my rides. Readers, bring it on!
A few of the things I have done are:
- I have three rows of bikes in my class so I sometimes use three teams instead of two and go 20/20/20 seconds so they get 20 on 40 off.
- I’ve done a pace line where one rider sprints all out at the head of the pack and the others ride tempo (not recovery – about 70-75% effort) to simulate drafting. The sprinting rider waves a hand when s/he fatigues and the next rider has to take over with a sprint, and so on for the song, so everyone gets a chance to sprint at the lead. These are full-out anaerobic sprints so no more than 15-30 seconds each. I use an extended mix so everyone gets a chance to sprint. This works especially well if you happen to have a smaller class that day (say, under 10 riders).
- I sometimes sneak in extra sprinting time. For instance P!nk’s Blow Me (One Last Kiss) has sprints of 33/33/1:07 and I tell them they are 30/30/60 seconds then afterwards confess that I got an additional 13 seconds of sprinting out of the class.
- I will also sometimes get to the end of a sprint interval and – where the music supports it – say, “Who’s got a little more?” and then count extra seconds: 10, 20, 30 of sprinting and riders can drop out and recover whenever they need to. It’s a nice way of showing riders that even if they think they gave everything, there is often just a little more in the tank.
- I have also used visualization of a race where riders attack and overtake (imaginary) opponents.
Thank you all for the advises her on this page. I just started to teatch spinning classes in my gym and you guys have helped me alot !!
Greetings from Iceland
Greetings from Calgary! Such a quick and complete response – thank you so much. I love trance and these DJs. I didn’t even think to research these for my class. I’m looking forward to listening to your trance-inspired profile. I’m a new instructor and finding this website has been invaluable already.
Hey, no worries. I enjoy trance classes because I find I am able to connect with the ride better when the music doesn’t include vocals, but I don’t do many of them myself because I find them harder to cue.
Another question: do you have your i-Phone/i-Pod in hand when you are doing your drills for the timing or do you intuitively know when the changes are coming from what you’ve written in your notes?
Not sure if this helps, but I have my i-pod so I can see it, ( I like to tell my class how much time is left to a certain hill sometimes) but my jumps and drills usually go with the beat of the song/or chorus….
I do this too, Jen. Most songs I know what I have planned based on the music so I don’t need to check the exact time but sometimes there’s a break at a particular point or for a song I don’t know that well, or that doesn’t follow standard pop conventions (like trance) I need the cues I’ve jotted down to make the music and the ride fit together.
Hi Kelly, I put my iPhone on the handlebars (which I am sure results in some very unflattering lighting) but it is easy to check timing and control volume. I have a great silicone case so it seems to sit there and I’ve only had it fall off a couple of times, with no damage because the case is quite protective. I have actually seen Groupons for devices that attach an iPhone to handlebars but I couldn’t tell if they’d be easy to snap on/off each time or if they required permanent installation. I also wear a heart rate monitor but I find it easier to time with the iPhone.
I also have a plastic covered notebook where I jot notes (one page for each class) and I put that on top of the stereo and occasionally glance at it, but I try to do it as unobtrusively as possible.
Kelly, I have a 8.5″ x 11″ notebook with a plastic cover and I write notes for my rides on a single page in three columns: song title and artist down the left column, duration of song, type of drill and notes (sometimes motivational cues, sometimes just ‘sprints 30/30/30 at 0:30 – 1:00, 1:30 – 2:00, 2:30 – 3:00′). When I teach a class I rest my iPhone on the centre of the handlebars (it has a silicone case so it hardly ever slips off) and I can easily use how far we are into a song to see what’s coming. Sometimes it’s obvious (e.g. sprints during each chorus) but other times the cueing is more complex – particularly with trance/house music). I have also taught classes where there is a small wall clock propped up on the floor at the front row of bikes for the instructor to use for timing.
Hello. I’m looking for some good songs to start my cycle class with — ones to build the excitement and anticipation. I’m specifically looking for songs with no vocals. I have one favourite — Mission Impossible (Ultimate Movie Themes Knightsbridge). Any suggestions?
Hi Kelly, Good one! Some of the instrumental tracks I like best are: Levels by Avicii, Glasgow by David Guetta (there are several Guetta instrumentals on his latest CD), Dread Rock by Oakenfold (also a soundtrack song, from The Matrix), Mighty Love and Niton (The Reason) by Eric Prydz, Adrenaline by Liquid Soul, Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan, Christmas / Sarajevo by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (riffs on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen so only really works around the holidays). I would also check out DJ Armin Van Buuren and trance music as there are lots of instrumental picks. Van Buuren’s top hits have vocals, but lots of his work doesn’t. Here is a link to my laste (mostly) trance ride: https://spinningmusic.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/firework-spin-mix-60-minutes/
A couple of suggestions:
Exceeder (fanfare mix) – Mas
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Propellerheads
Soul Grabber Part 3 – Paul Jacobs
Kinetic – Golden Girls.
Thanks Iann! I especially like Soul Grabber Part 3 because of the funky nod to R&B.
I teach at two gyms..My one gym loves my music, its a mix of everything…hard rock, new rock….the other gym, he keeps telling me what I can and can’t use…what his vibe is at his gym….its a new gym not many members, the people who take my class love what I play…He wants me to change my list, he has told me no Prince, Led Zepplen, no hard rock….I feel I have to play what moves me and the people taking my class, he feels I should change to what he wants……thoughts.
There’s an old saying: “The boss ain’t always right, but the boss is always the boss.” It sounds like you’ve already expressed your concerns, but if you haven’t that’s the first thing I’d suggest. Most gym goers don’t care about the music (I know – blasphemy), but a significant percentage do choose their classes based on music preference, so even at a gym where most instructors play Top 40, you can carve out a very successful niche by developing a signature style that’s different. Try exploring his reasons – what is he actually concerned about? You’re both after the same thing: packed classes, so there should be some common ground there. You could also invite him to one of your classes to see how much the participants like the music you play. But if you do explore it with him and he won’t budge, you have two choices: change to the type of music he wants, or start looking for another gym to teach at.
Good advice, I will say everyone leaves loving my music and keep coming back because of it…but I did add some newer songs in my ride…I love your new October set. I have used I Cry by Flo Rida and it is awesome…For people looking for an oldie, I have ended my rides with Miami 2017 by Billy Joel and it got a huge round of applause…try it, worth the end of the ride…..
I’ve moved to a city in Europe where Spinning classes are only at very expensive gyms. I have a found a great gym that has spinning bikes, but no classes. Can anyone recommend any CDs or website where an instructor is dubbed over the music (that is not just a playlist)? If not, how can someone with a bad sense of rhythm take advantage of playlists?
Sure – try this: http://motiontraxx.com/mix/exercise/cycling/
Thanks Iann – this looks like just what Sue was looking for and he’s got the Spinning Music stamp of approval for only using legal music. And all free, including his podcast. This is a great link, folks.
I remember backpacking through Europe after university and there were some cities where the only place I could afford a coffee was McDonalds! Does your gym have a whole classroom full of bikes, or just a few on the cardio floor? If they have a room set aside, my first inclination was to suggest that you get certified and become their first instructor!
I don’t know of anyone dubbing cues over a playlist. Hmm, could be a market there folks…
If you’re thinking of riding on your own with headphones you could look at The Sufferfest (www.thesufferfest.com) for rides with music and written cues over gorgeous scenery and real race footage. The site includes a 5 minute sample and the rides are $12.99 each advertised with a 100% moneyback guarantee.
A free option is to choose a playlist from this blog or another cycling blog and simply print the instructions. Put together the playlist and bring the instructions into the gym with you. Stick them on the handlebars (you can use a plastic-covered binder insert to keep them dry and stiff, and a bit of stick-tac (that silly putty like material that sticks things to walls) to keep it on the bike.) Then just hit play and follow the written cues.
Outdoor cyclists do much simpler workouts than I use. Check out Workouts in a Binder for Indoor Cycling by Dirk Friel. $20 on Amazon. He gives you the workout (on plasticized pages no less), you add the music. Any strong music suitable for cardio would work fine.
Does anyone else have ideas for Sue?
sue, if you go to i-tunes, you can download the cd by rachel Buschert Vazirelli (Rachel Buschert i believe is what its under, as she got married) she is a Schwinn Master Instructor and a great contributor on Facebook under Indoor cycling Instructor and my site, Former cycling Pingers. We welcome everyone to join for ride profiles and music. But rachel will talk you through a great ride and has awesome cueing for any instructor out there.
Does anyone have a routine to oldies from the 60′s :-)
I don’t have an all-60s playlist on the blog (I should!) but one of my regular contributors, Bob Leventhal, regularly uses oldies in his playlists and he has posted a few on the Reader Playlists page. (Just do a Find on the word ‘Bob’ and they’ll come up.) One of the posts mentions his weekly e-mail playlist but unfortunately, he doesn’t send out a weekly email anymore. For more suggestions, reader Chris Hopkins posted these mostly 1960s tunes on the Reader Playlist page:
Mamas & Papas, Do You Wanna
Association, Along Came Mary
Swinging Medallions, Double
Shot of My Baby’s Love
Paul Revere & Raiders, Just Like Me
The Cars, Tonight She Comes
Standells, Dirty Water
T-Rex, Bang A Gong
Cyndia Lauper, Girls Just Want To
Karla Bonoff, When You Walk In
Buffalo Springfield, Do I Have To
Right Out And Say It
Lucinda Williams, Crescent City War, Summer
Steve Earle, Guitar Town John Hiatt, Memphis In The
Ventures, Hawaii Five 0 Meantime
Ventures, Walk, Don’t Run Lucinda Williams, Lines Around
Taj Mahal, Ain’t Gonna Whistle Your Eyes
Dixie (No Mo) Johnny Rivers, Seventh Son
Los Lobos, One Night In America Young Rascals, Good Loving
Neil Young, The Emperor of Ritchie Valens, La Bamba
Wyoming Lucinda Williams, Righteously
Dion, Donna The Prima Donna The Supremes, Back In My Arms
K.D. Lang, Constant Craving Again
Joe Turner, Shake, Rattle & Roll Sly & Family Stone, Dance To The
Johnny Rivers, Mountain of Love Music
Graham Parker, Discovering Japan Spencer Davis Group, Gimme Some
Roy Orbison, Oh Pretty Woman Loving
Bobby Fuller Four, I Fought The Law
Karla Bonoff, Got Me In Trouble Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing
Again Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On
Joe Cocker, Feeling Alright Bruce Hormsby & Range, Every
The Boxtops, The Letter Little Kiss
The Band, Promised Land Lucinda Williams, I Just Wanted
Commander Cody, Hot Rod To See You So Bad
Lincoln Jennifer Warnes, First We Take
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Manhattan
Dancing In The Streets Major Lance, Um, Um, Um, Um,
Aretha Franklin, Since You’ve Um, Um
Been Gone ` Rod Stewart, Maggie May
Fleetwood Mac, Go You Own The Guess Who, Shaking All Over
Way Dionne Warwick, Walk On By
Sarah McLachlan, Surrender
Staple Singers, I’ll Take You There Isley Brothers, Harvest For
Paul Simon, You Can Call Me Al The World
Crystals, Da Doo Run Run Martha Reeves/Vandella, Heat
Human Beinz, Nobody But Me Wave
The Strangeloves, I Want Candy Pat Benatar, Hit Me With Your
The Beatles, Please Mr. Postman Best Shot
Mitch Ryder, Devil With The Blue Van Halen, Jump
Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly Rolling Stones, Start Me Up
Bobby Lewis, Tossing And Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels,
Turning Little Latin Lupe Le
James & Bobby Purifys, Shake A Graham Parker, Discovering Japan
Little Tail Feather Sheryl Crow, Soak Up The Sun
The Chiffons, One Fine Day Shadows Of Knight, Gloria
Roy Orbison, Oh Pretty Woman
Jay & The Americans, Come A
Little Bit Closer
The Bangles, Manic Monday Roxy Music, More Than This
Rolling Stones, Start Me Up Lou Reed, Love You Suzanne
Jimi Hendrix, Fire Lou Reed, New Sensations
Love, Little Red Book Steve Earle, Guitar Town
Cream, Sunshine of Your Love Ventures, Hawaii Five 0
The Doors, Light My Fire Ventures, Walk, Don’t Run
Jefferson Airplane, We Can Be Los Lobos, One Night In America
Together Neil Young, The Emperor of
Led Zeppelin, Rambling On Wyoming
Yardbirds, Shapes of Things Steve Earle, Last Of The Hard
Neil Young, Cinnamon Girl Core Troubadours
The Beatles, No Reply
The Strangeloves, I Want Candy
The Who, The Kids Are All Right
Danny Gatton, Sailing On Sheryl Crow, Leaving Las Vegas
Brian Setzer, Bobby’s Back Sheryl Crow, All I Want To Do
Brian Setzer, The Knife Feels Everything But The Girl, These
Like Justice Early Days
Brian Setzer, Boulevard of Lucinda Williams, Six Blocks
Broken Dreams Away
Marshall Crenshaw, Marianne Lucinda Williams, Lines Around
Marshall Crenshaw, Mary Jean Your Eyes
Marshall Crenshaw, Girls Little Eva, Locomotion
Marshall Crenshaw, Someday, The Chiffons, One Fine Day
Someway Carol King, Jazzman
Marshall Crenshaw, She Can’t Carol King, Going Back
Dance Carol King, What Have You
Bob Seger, Trying To Live My Got To Lose
Life Without You Joni Mitchell, Troubled
Jackson Brown, Running On Child
Empty Joni Mitchell, Raised On Robbery
Jackson Brown, You Love Linda Ronstadt, Just One Look
Hey guys, i have just qualified as an instructor and now have a regular spot in a health club. Would anyone know of where i can get those cycling tops with spinning written on them or instructor tops ? just wanted to look a bit more professional in my classes :)
Hi Jonny,you can buy jerseys at the official Spinning website – http://www.spinning.com. They go for $35-$99 or so. Most bike shops also sell various jerseys. I like mine because of the zippered pocket at the back – that’s where I stash the box for the wireless mike.
Many Thanks, am using some of your spinning profiles to, hope you dont mind lol some great music :)
Thanks Jonny! No worries, that’s what they’re there for.
A complete beginner here. I’m completely unfit, playing soccer and I’m looking to do some fitness training at home and I figure using my spin bike that sits in the lounge room willing me to ride it would be a good start. The last spin class I went to was 10 years ago and I’ve been looking for a website to create my own playlists but have been completely put off by all the techno music, hence my delight when I came across your site and found real music that I know.
What I would like to know is how I should start out building my fitness, ie how long should I make my spin playlist to start with and I need to know what order to put my tracks in, ie warmup first, then the order I should continue with until cool down?
Sorry to be such a novice, hoping you can direct me :)
Still waiting on an answer. Is Cynthia running this site anymore?
Hey Gayle, sorry for the delay in responding. I am still here, folks! Being mom to a toddler, working full-time, and summer vacation have meant I haven’t been around as much. Essentially, I’ve been lurking on my own blog.
But on to Gayle’s question:
Good for you for resuming your fitness program. It really is true that the hardest part is beginning.
I’d suggest starting with 30 minutes. If that feels like too much, start with what you can do and add 30-60 seconds to every workout until you get to 30 minutes. Once you feel like you still have juice left after 30 go to 40 (adding 1 min per session) and maybe eventually to 60 minutes. Current research shows that anything more than 60 minutes per day, while still beneficial, offers diminishing returns. Instead, add a daily workout until you are doing as many as you want per week. (I recommend no more than 6, so you have at least one rest day. A balanced regime that includes weights and flexibility (like yoga or Pilates) is better than all-cycling-all-the-time.) Soccer and cycling are both great cardio options.
I started out making playlists to cycle by myself at the gym and did that for a few years (in addition to taking classes) before making the switch to teaching. The easiest way to start is to use the pre-prepared classes on this or other blogs. (Check out my links for other bloggers who teach cycling and post their classes online.) If you don’t have/like/want to use a particular song, just substitute another song suitable for the same type of drill (i.e. climb for climb, sprint for sprint). There are examples of 30/40/50/60/75 minute classes on this blog, and there’s nothing wrong with truncating a class or skipping songs to get to the duration you are looking for. If you do this for a few months, you’ll begin to get a feel for how a class is supposed to develop and it will become much easier to create your own. (I also recommend going to some cycling classes if they are offered in your community.)
Whether you cycle at home or a gym, make sure your bike is set up properly for you. There are videos on Youtube and on the Spinning website to guide you through this and the blog post for my Give Me Everything Spin Mix describes how to get a proper bike fit: http://spinningmusic.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/give-me-everything-spin-mix-75-minutes/
If you want to start putting together your own classes, here are some guidelines to consider:
(1) Most beginners and casual riders benefit most from an interval-based class (alternating periods of steady work, full-out bursts, and recovery time). A more sophisticated form of training is called periodization – you can read about this in cycling books and websites, and it forms the basis of the Spinning program, but I’d just go with intervals for now.
(2) Warmup and cool down should be approximately 10% of class time each. 3-5 minutes is about right. For a beginner, I would suggest going with at least 5 minutes. The best warmup is an easy version of what you will be doing in class – just simple, straight-ahead cycling at a pace that would allow you to chat with the person beside you. Don’t do static stretching (stretching and holding a pose) to warm up – it actually weakens your performance. If you want to stretch, you can do dynamic stretching (moving through a range of motion). I often do some shoulder rolls during the warmup.
(3) The first working drill should not involve full-out effort such as sprinting – extra insurance that you’ve done enough warm up.
(4) The working part of your class (i.e. everything but the warm up and cool down) should keep you at 65-85% of your maximum heart rate. Cycling trainer Selene Yeager suggests spending 75-80% of your time in the aerobic range (easy – moderate – working, but still able to speak in full sentences), 10-15% at your lactate threshold (80-90% of your maximum heart rate, but still able to speak) and 5-10% of your time at your VO2 Max – as hard as you can go (generally 85%-90% of your maximum heart rate.) Aerobic intervals generally involve anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes of work followed by up to the same amount of recovery. Anaerobic intervals (those VO2 Max ones) involve 5-20 seconds of work and much longer recovery – as much as 2-5 minutes between intervals. (Now, I confess, I never allow for this much recovery time in my classes.)
(5) Choosing drills – choose an assortment of drills: climbing (seated or standing), sprinting (seated or standing), jumping (check out the Spinning website for descriptions and photos of how to do each move properly). I also utilize steady spinning and surging (not-quite-sprints, about 80% of your max effort, keeping something in reserve). Sometimes I choose to represent all drills equally; other classes focus more (but not exclusively) on one type of drill. For extra challenge you can pair more than one of the same drill in a row (e.g. a two-song hill, or three sprint drills in a row).
(6) There is very little benefit to be had from getting creative and developing new indoor cycling moves. I do not use or recommend the more creative moves you will see from time to time (arm behind back, pushups on the handlebars, cycling backwards, working intervals with no hands, that sort of thing). They are contraindicated for a reason. If you Google Spinning contraindicated you’ll come up with lists of the problematic moves along with explanations as to why they are problematic. Stick to the basics.
(7) The most recent research on cool downs show that the most important thing is simply not to stop moving abruptly. Take at least five minutes to keep moving at an easy pace that permits you to carry on a conversation without difficulty. Your muscles will appreciate some stretches (I usually do 3-5 minutes of stretching to conclude each class.) Static stretches are what you are looking for here. You can Google good stretches for your quads, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves.
I hope this is helpful Gayle – drop me a note and let me know how your workouts are going.
Hi Cynthia, I am mum to two young children myself and work full time also so there are no worries about the delay, I know how hectic life can get :) Thank you for your amazingly detailed response. This will help me greatly and is far more comprehensive than I was expecting so for that I thank you very much. I will definitely get in touch again after I have put your advice into practice. Thanks so much. Gayle
Sorry but I’m speaking in french ! Je suis du Québec, Saint-Eustache, j’adore votre site et je m’inspire beaucoup de vos sessions. Étant moi-même prof de spinning, je consulte aussi les sessions des autres membres. C’est super ce que vous faites Cynthia et j’espère que sur le nouveau site il sera aussi enrichissant. Je pourrais moi aussi vous apporter ma contribution en déposant une de mes sessions. Depuis plus de 6 ans que je donne des cours!!! Lâchez pas votre beau travail !!!!
Fripou (Francine) :D
For the Anglophones, here is Google translate’s version of Francine’s post:
Sorry but I’m speaking in french! I am from Quebec, Saint-Eustache, I love your site and I am inspired by many of your sessions. Being myself spinning teacher, I also consults sessions other members. It’s great that you Cynthia and I hope that the new website will also be rewarding. I would also like me to make my contribution by depositing one of my sessions. For over 6 years, I teach! Not give up the good work!!
Fripou (Francine): D
Thanks Francine! Quebec has such a vibrant music scene, I would love to know what you’re cycling to these days. Drop by again soon and post a playlist. (Readers, I would love to start offering reader playlists in languages other than English – ideally in both the original language and English, so please don’t be shy about posting in another language.)
Only just found this site but it has given me some great ideas already, thanks
Opened an indoor cycling studio March 1st, in Buffalo, NY so far so good. Does anyone have any words of wisdom, suggestions, caveats, marketing ideas, warnings??? I have a great staff, but I am currently bleeding money. Also I went with Freemotion bikes, which are great however the company is NOT. Big warning against them!
Hey Alex – congratulations! By now you’ve been open for three months – how is it going? I am just an instructor but I was hoping there’d be some owners who commented on your post. My own suggestion is that people are wonderful about sharing expertise. Maybe track down some spin studios you admire in non-competing markets and ask to buy the owner lunch or recommend them on your website in exchange for sharing some business advice?
Hey Alex, I am a studio owner in Wilmington, NC. I have been open 2 years and still have struggles. I had expert advice on my opening, products etc… but you never know about the local market. I have Spinner NXT’s – have to say that I am very happy with them and the company. I rode a Freemotion bike at a conference in Boston last year – it’s a nice bike. You are more than welcome to check out my website and email me with any questions.
Having a great staff is your biggest hurdle – good job.
One day I am going to do a tour and come take classes with all of my readers.
Though I didn’t open a fitness studio I can relate with your woes. I opened a restaurant about a year ago and am still ‘bleeding money’. Social media, networking, promotional offers, joint ventures- team up with a restaurant that serves healthy food ( like mine with is all vegetarian/vegan, lol) and host a tasting w/ healthy food event…Good luck!
When things get stressful I am thankful that I am able to teach cycling- gets those endorphins going!
What a great idea Judy. I didn’t know you’d opened a restaurant – congratulations. I have huge respect for entrepreneurs.
The restaurant biz is tough- some days I love it, other days…
We are all veg- nothing else like us in our area. Inspired by other metropolitian areas where we veggie folks can eat without worrying about cross contamination, lol.
One great outcome of being a restauranteur is that I have connected with my spinners on a different level. Though we focus on healthy foods at my restaurant, I love chatting with my spinners, who so generously support me, over a meal vs. a hot, spin bike! It has really enhanced many of my relationships, taking them to another level- I’ve gone from group ex instructor to friend.
Cynthia, I’m going to add those new ‘oldies’ to my repertoire. I love creating new playlists- it’s therapeutic!
Hi Alex, there are alot of studio owners on facebook under this site, Indoor Cycling Instructors, Spinning Instructors, team spinning,Spinning (R)Instructors. Some great people to talk with are angela Cupp, Andrew Clayton. Good luck :-)
Love your site. I spin sometimes on my own and now I have the best playlist! Suggestion- Kidz by The A List Tribute Band.
I have missed chatting but I have great difficulty with the readers playlists section of this website—for some reason it never fully populates and doesn’t cooperate but the bike cafe section- no problem! Strange!
Is anyone else having similar problems?
I have some awesome playlists to share!
No spin for me this weekend-I’m headed to NYC ( From Florida) for the NYC half marathon-I am very excited. It’s my 6th race this season and my goal race. 15,000 runners!
I am aware of the problem and working on fixing it. I think it’s the sheer number of comments that is crashing the Reader Playlists page.
How’d it go in the NYC half marathon?
So nice to hear from you! Yay-I’m thrilled that there are going to be changes made to the site—I miss chatting with everyone! Frustrating!
The NYC 1/2 was about as perfect as it gets! I had a blast. I’m gearing up for a full now—haven’t decided which one to do. Disney 20th anniversary marathon – 26.2 miles through Disney World or the Miami ING- which would be good practice for the ING NYC.
Right now I’m teaching lots of combo classes and I LOVE it! I teach ‘spinalates’ ( spin and Pilates) and ‘spin-sanity’ ( spin and bodyweight bootcamp- similar to the famed ‘Insanity’ program). I do about 45 mins of spin then we move into the studio next door for part two;-) Anyone else teach combo classes? I also teach ‘spin-tensity’-45 mins of HIIT–ooo, what a work out! I do drills including Tabata- 20 seconds full on, 10 seconds of rest /8 rounds . The time flies in those classes and they are packed. I only teach one traditional spin class per week.
As always you a source of motivation and inspiration! What a cutie your little one is! They grow up so fast you have to savor every moment with them!
Love the new playlist—Paul Oakenfold tunes really get me going-I’m a house/trance gal with some contemporary on the side! Here’s a few oldies suggestions—Nirvana- ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’- great for a heavy climb, ‘Shout’- The Isely Bros- wonderful for drills, ‘Promises in the Dark’, Pat Benatar and Van Halen ‘You Really Got Me’. I love to toss those tunes in and mix up genres—got to keep’em on their toes ( err, in the saddle)!
Thanks Judy – think both full marathons will be hot, hot, hot, given the location. I’ve always thought indoor cycling and yoga went really well together, first a cycling class, then yoga. (I once tried the reverse and can say doing yoga first doesn’t work.) I like to throw in older music, too. I actually find that playlists have more legs (i.e. are useful for longer periods) if they aren’t totally made up of Top 40 songs, which really begin to feel dated after a while. Last class, I threw in Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm and She Sells Sanctuary by the Cult. Both sound as fresh as the day they were recorded.
Hi cynthia, firstly your blog is amazing and has helped me immensely!! and secondly if I wanted to follow you on PING, how do i find you? Thanks.
My handle is Spinning Music. There is someone else there with a very similar name selling CDs so make sure you get me – the posts are all the same as the ones of the blog. I don’t sell music.
your blog is my inspiration. Thanks
Thanks Pacioreczki – much appreciated. What are you spinning to in Poland these days?
this Friday I have my first instructor class :)
So keep your fingers crossed;)
We are spinning everything we like :)
Write me one thing – in the “Warmup” are songs that are 120-128 bpm. Polish School of indoor cycling is that warmup and cool down should have properly – 80-100 rpm warmup and cool down with less than 100 rpm. When you are spinning like bmp = rpm, this is too much, is not it?
My English is not fluent, I’m sorry :)
Pacioreczki, congrats on becoming an instructor. Cadence can be full BPM or half. I generally don’t coach a cadence for the warm up or cool down – I just encourage riders to move and ask them to think of an easy ride on a flat, paved road.
Just wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to incorporate team/pair work into a session. Basically ive been asked to devise a bit of a head to head session for 2 offices. I was thinking about setting the bikes up so the face each other (head to head) and for some of the tracks the have half the class working (sprinting or climbing) whilst the other recovers.. that way they can cheer each other on or try to put the other team off…
Any other ideas would be great!!!
I’ve only team taught once, for a fundraiser. I think it works best if you know the person you’re teaching with and can banter. I do a few pace line type drills where some are working while others are recovering but it is hard to find all-go-all-the-time songs to fit. I would be really interested to hear from others who team teach and who use competitive drills or imagery in your rides.
I had a friend who did some spin classes while on a cruise and the bikes all had computers that projected everyone’s heart rates on a giant screen at the front of the class… you only knew which was your own heart rate. He said it was incredibly motivating and I’ve been wanting to try it out ever since but there’s nothing like that in my community. Has anyone else tried this?
It’s called GX pro or something like that….heard about it yesterday, but didn’t write it down. Good luck! It is very new and very popular. They are getting it at jcc Dallas.
If you need a great resource for music ,profiles and professional development try Pedal-On.com.
Well, I now have 6 weeks of teaching under my belt. It’s been fun and a great confidence booster! (teaching a fitness class was a huge step out of my comfort zone-the biggest reason I did it!).
Today I did a “Love” themed class…mix of Rock…alternative…country..dance…..pop ..everything.
Now here is a question…although my Sunday morning class likes a mix…most everyone is in their 40′s like me…most in the class are men (not like me). I think a song or two that everyone can sing along with would be good . Any suggestions for songs (with recommendation of drill).
Last night my husband was watching Satruday night fever..and I couldn’t help listen to all the music and want to add the songs to my playlist!!
By the way-how often do you change your playlist? Do you rotate them? I only “officially” teach once a week.
Hi Amy, great to hear it’s going so well! I teach for a living but teaching a fitness class was WAYYYY outside my comfort zone, too. My junior high gym teacher would be shocked.
Hmm, sing along songs… For a 40-something group of guys, I’d consider Mony Mony by Billy Idol (sprints), It’s My Life by Bon Jovi (sprints), A Change would do you Good by Sheryl Crow (jumps), Mari Mac by Great Big Sea (sprints), Fun Fun Fun or Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys (surges, tempo), Summer in the City the Bad Boys Inc version (climb), Born to be Wild, the Hinder version (climb, sprints), Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash (jumps). I am not sure how a group of mostly male riders would react to a singalong but I am a big fan of trying something to see what happens. Pick a classic rock tune and go for it. In a class with younger riders or more women I might try Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 (climb), Raspberry Beret by Prince (jumps) or The Edge of Glory by Lady GaGa (climb/sprint).
I do recycle my playlists. When I did multiple classes each week I had a system and carefully wrote down each time I used a playlist. These days I just do it from memory. My basic rule is not to use the same playlist (or substantially the same playlist) more than once a month in any given class. I figure if they heard it a month ago, they won’t remember. What prompted me to do this was an instructor who used to teach at my gym and used only CDs. I think she had three and they got mighty tiresome. The once a month rule seems to strike a nice balance between getting lots of use out of Top 40 playlists (which do eventually get dated) and not being repetitive.
I am curious as to what others do. Folks, how often do you recycle your playlists?
I teach 5 times per week, 4 times at one gym with the possibilty of the same members coming to 3 of my classes per week. I just don’t have the time to make 3 new spin classes every week so I have 3 or 4 on the go that I rotate for 3 weeks or so, adding or changing songs here and there. But I usually only come up with a completely new class once a month. I find that my class members don’t get tired of music as quickly as I do (thankfully!) Also I like to challenge them to measure how hard they work against how well they did the last time we did the same class. I’ll throw in a themed ride every now and again and sometimes do that twice in a row, take this week for instance I’ve done a Valentine’s list, so I used it this morning, and I’ll do it again on Wednesday.
Depends on the class I guess. Sometimes I don’t think my class appreciates the effort I put into my music and that I should just play 55 minutes of trance!! :) Would drive me crazy though so not much chance of that.
Good luck with your sing-along tunes. I’ll have a think and see if I can come up with any suggestions for you
LOL, I actually don’t use my trance rides that often because I find them hard to cue. I never remember what’s coming up, probably because I don’t listen to trance off the bike. I don’t think my riders care as much about the music as I do. I am always asking for song suggestions and I seldom get any. When I hear a new spinnable song, I get excited!
just wondering if anybody has suggestions of how to have a student recover more efficiently if they claim they are really out of breath or their heart rate is peaking. what is a good way to slow them down or stop breathing heavy….thanks…..
Hi Dan. To a large extent, recovery time depends on a person’s fitness level. With training, your riders should find themselves able to recover more quickly (using a heart rate monitor can demonstrate how they’re improving & it’s very motivating). But leaving fitness level aside, two other things that are important are fuel and water.
If a rider is having a tough time with your class, suggest a small snack about 1-1.5 hours before (say, a banana). Some people go to spin classes without having eaten for hours. Tell them to bring a bigger water bottle (or even two) and drink liberally during class. I consume at least 750ml of water per class (that’s 3 cups for Americans) and could go to 1 litre (4 cups). Sports drinks are not necessary. Once they’re doing those things, they only way to recover is to keep moving but slow down and ride easy until they feel ready for another interval. It’s really important that they don’t stop pedaling or get off the bike – it should be active recovery.
If what you’re coaching is too tough for some of your riders, consider offering alternatives like sitting out every other interval, or doing sprints or climbs seated rather than standing, or doing surges instead of sprints (surges are 80% of max, not all-out effort).
Does anyone else have ideas for Dan?
Good morning and happy New Year!
My thought would be to really have them focus on their breathing. I must say “in through the nose, out through the mouth” at least 10 times each class.
As a former mouth breather I can really attest to the fact that efficient breathing will help you recover. However it definitely takes quite some time to get used to the method, but it’s so helpful (at least for me).
I hope this is somewhat helpful.
I am doing an instructor course, but I am wondering how you put the different songs in an easy way together, so that there is no silence between the different songs!
Hope you can help me out!
And I think you have a very cool website!!
Hi Esther, in iTunes go to preferences/playback/crossfade songs, check the box and set the crossfade to 1 second. That’ll almost-but-not-quite eliminate the gap. To totally eliminate it, you’d need software like MixMeister. Glad you like the blog, Cynthia
I too have wanted a solution for this and hence ended up developing my first iPhone app in order to have the Crossfade on my iPhone.
Its not yet launched, but I would love to share it with everyone here when its done.
And, at long last, here is the app I created for iPhones which allows you to remove the silent gaps between songs. Hope this is of some use to you: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/automix-crossfade/id545904463?mt=8
Thanks Iann. We’ve had several requests for this kind of app as not everyone wants to use Mixmeister or the like, and as you know, even setting crossfade on the iPhone or iPod to zero seconds still leaves a short gap between songs.
Folks, if you try Iann’s app, come on back and tell us how you liked it.
Question for you all :) I’ve been an instructor for a long time but just recently started teaching spin. I have a class that really wants to be challenged physically but I don’t think I’m quite getting them there yet. I’ve been looking at a lot of the suggested playlists for inspiration re class formats, music but am wondering what you all would suggest? I know when I do specific drills (i.e. Tabata – 20 sec sprint, 10 sec rest cycles) that seems to help with “tiring them out”. Are there any other specific drills or sequences of things you would suggest for a tough, fit crowd? Thanks in advance.
Lucky you to have such a fit crowd, Lisa! And good on you for reading your class – no doubt that comes from your years of experience teaching other cardio classes.
Here are some ideas for making your spin class tougher:
- Generally speaking, an interval class works best.
- Are your riders putting enough tension on the bikes? Play with RPE and how best to describe the right tension levels for various drills. Play with ways to describe the right cadence.
- Think of ways to coach riders to give more – different things motivate different people. I’ve always liked urging them to “get what you came for.”
- Use killer music – the kind you can’t help but move to. Music choice is a major culprit in unchallenging classes.
- Crossfade your songs on your iPod to eliminate the silence between them (preferences/playback/crossfade)
- Be judicious (and cheap) with your rest breaks. For example – try not to pause the music between songs to explain the next drill. Use the last 30 seconds of the previous song or the first 30 seconds or so of the next song to do it. I couldn’t believe the difference in effort when I stopped pausing the music between songs.
- Standing sprints are harder than seated ones so coach some standing sprints.
- Longer sprints are harder than shorter ones, and sprints with less recovery between intervals are harder than sprints with more. Try to find some songs to support longer sprints in the 45-75 second range (think: This is How a Heart Breaks, by Rob Thomas), and all-sprint, all-the-time songs (where you can choose the interval because the whole song supports sprinting) and try 30 seconds on/off or even 30/15 (think: Black Betty by Ram Jam)
- Coach jumps with enough tension on the bike and choose songs where the jump is more of a short standing run (two perfect songs for this: Magic, by B.o.B. and Candyman, by Christina Aguilera.)
- Coach standing climbs rather than seated climbs. Urge riders to find the sweet spot where it is just slightly uncomfortable to keep up with the beat of the music. (Now personally, I like seated climbs and they are great for keeping one’s heart rate aerobic while permitting a sense of recovery, but if your classes are feeling unchallenged, standing climbs will scratch that itch better than seated ones.)
- Offer the odd riders’ choice drill about 3/4 of the way through a class. It can be a song that works for multiple types of drills, so everyone can do their own thing (think: Love Generation by Bob Sinclar) or have two songs ready and do a democratic vote for which to use (show of hands: who wants another sprint? another climb?) Pay attention to what your riders choose more of.
- try to make the last two drills extra tough – you want people to finish up with that pleasantly thrashed feeling (think: Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga. I would use this as the last song of every class if I could get away with it.)
- consider asking your gym to lengthen your class. If it’s 40 minutes, can they make it 60? If it’s 60, how about 75?
- for more ideas, find out who the wildly popular spin instructors are at your gym and check out their classes.
Hope these suggestions are of some use. Readers, do you have any other suggestions for Lisa?
Write back to us in a few weeks and tell us how you’re doing with your uber-fit class.
Cynthia, I think your detailed and excellent response to Lisa’s question is FANTASTIC. I think it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been a fitness instructor, to become really good at teaching SPINNING, you’ll need between 8-12 months of teaching a minimum of 2 classes a week. I speak from experience when I say that… having taught STEP classes for a number of years, stepping into teaching Spinning was a challenge. If what you have sketched above does not suffice for Lisa’s question, I would like to add the following response;
How do you tire out a FIT crowd of member riders?
If your member riders are actually WATCHING your feet and MATCHING their own intensity and rhythm to YOUR intensity/rhythm AND if you’re able to communicate the FEEL/MOOD/INTENSITY of each ride to them with correct verbal, non-verbal, visual and facial cues, then they should be able to feel completely consumed and happy from exhaustion at the end of your 55 minute class. If your members are NOT feeling it at the end of a 55 minute class, maybe YOU should work on your own personal fitness level. We shouldn’t forget that as “Spinning Fitness Instructors”, we need to be in BETTER and FITTER shape than our member riders. In my personal view, increasing the number of riding minutes in a class does not necessarily translate into more cardio output.
Thanks NS & I agree that the instructor has to give everything she expects to get from the class. And it’s true, we do have to be fitter because we do what they do plus talk through the whole thing.
Hi Cynthia. I just discovered your blog . I have never taught a fitness class in my life, but will begin teaching a Cycling class next week! I am excited and doing my research). I have attended Les Mills RPM classes in recent time and Spinning classes in my “old life”. I will be teaching at a small facility, similar to a YMCA.
First Question: How do I post to your blog (besides replying to a comment like I just did). I set up a user name, but have no clue beyong that.
My main question: Best way to builda 60 minute class . I have plenty of music to choose from (thanks again), but not sure how to build a challenging class. Any thoughts or resources to direct me to?
Hi Amy, congratulations on becoming an indoor cycling instructor! At this point the only way to post to my blog is in a comment but I am working on upgrading this for 2012. For now, click on comments on the post you want to comment on, then scroll to the bottom for the Leave a Reply box.
I love longer classes – I’ve taught as long as 75 minutes and still have in the back of my mind to pitch a 2 or 3 hour class to my gym as a special event. When I do 75 minutes I build in a recovery song/water break of 2-3 minutes in the middle but for a 60 minute class it is working drills all the way through. I find the 60 minute classes usually attract experienced riders looking for a challenge so my goal would be to offer those riders a challenge while keeping the class accessible to less-experienced riders.
I allot about 10% of the class to warmup and 10% to cool down so I would start with a slightly longer warm up, maybe 6 minutes and have the first song just be easy spinning while I go over proper form. The second song is an easy working drill, usually a climb or a tempo drill not designed to take riders much over 65-70% of max heart rate. The real work starts with the third song, 6-7 minutes in.
I’ve experimented with different combinations of the various drills and there’s no one way to organize a good class. One of my favourite profiles is a simple series of climb/sprint/jump sets. I also like including larger hills (such as 3 climbing songs in a row) or a series of sprint intervals (e.g. 3 songs spanning 9 sprint intervals in a row) or multiple jumping songs in a row. Doing more of the same type of drill in a row is tougher than mixing it up.
I think riders appreciate ending a class feeling spent, so I always plan a couple of tough drills right before the cool down.
The cool down would be 6-8 minutes with upper body stretching on the bike and lower body stretching off the bike. I always add an extra song as goodbye music at the end, for when people are wiping down their bikes etc.
As for other resources, I would suggest checking out some of the links to other spinning blogs in the right hand column. You will get a feel for how a bunch of different instructors put classes together. Another good site is http://www.indoorcycleinstructor.com. Some of their content is free while the rest requires a membership. There is a lively forum at http://www.pedal-on.com with a ton of information but I think they just limited it so that only registered members who have a certain number of posts (5 I think) can see the material about creating classes. The spinning website also posts a weekly profile from an instructor and I have gotten some great song suggestions there but the music isn’t always to my taste.
My best advice for your first class is: (1) pick music you love and know really well, and (2) practice the class once by yourself before you do it. Go to an empty spin room, put on the mike, do everything you will do in class (yes, talk out loud) and run through the whole class. If there are bumps or rough patches, you’ll know. I don’t do this anymore but for the first year or so I did it a lot and it really helped.
Good luck! Let us know how your first class goes.
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me about your blog and my “newbie” questions about teaching. Well, I did it. I completed my first 60 minute class today as an instructor.
I created a challenging class, filled with about 50 minutes of real good work. Your music/playlist suggestions and comments were very helpful. I included Usher, Pink, Flo Rida, Salena Gomez, Right Said Fred, MC Hammer, Taio Cruz; The Veronicas, Justin Timberlake, Marky Mark, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Eats World, Tone Loc, Paramore, Devo, Christina Aguilera, Adam Ant and ACDC! I tried to include a little for everyone. I had a good turn out…10/12 available bikes taken. I had several avid outside riders. I teach at a facility like a YMCA..nothing fancy..not great bikes or music system..but it works. Now that I have the confidence to move forward I am looking forward to continuing in this “out of my comfort zone” location! Thanks again for helping me get there!
I just got my certification to be a spinning instructor and i live in a very small town that most people here haven’t even heard of spinning. But Me and two ladies went and received our certification so we are so excited and this is outside of my comfort zone. My email address is email@example.com and i would love to stay in touch with you because i need some help getting some routines together for my first couple of classes. I am a little nervous but i am very excited at the same time. Thank you so much!!! Everyone in my class will be beginners so thats good and maybe easier to plan. Thanks again.
Congratulations on getting your certification and getting a spinning program going in your community! I would be happy to try to help (you can email me your questions or draft profile/playlist at spinningmusicblog [at] gmail [dot] com. There is also a ton of support and expertise from instructors all over the world at the Bike Cafe. We’ll get you going!
I posted this on the reader playlists first but then I thought it would be more appropriate here. I had no idea that I could crossfade songs on iTunes until this weekend, thank you master intructor D! Someone else may be in the dark on this too so here is how to do it. Go to iTunes, Edit, Preferences, Playback and click on Crossfade Songs. Now you have one continuous flow but can control the songs individually as opposed to it being one long song like MixMeister. I love MixMeister and mostly use it but if I have a new crowd I may veer from my plan. This way I can skip songs if I want. Yay!
I just asked something like this on my blog, excellent timing!
I’m going to check that out tonight. So then when you use your ipod it plays continously?
Jessica, the crossfade works only on some devices. I’m still looking into this. Some of my songs work properly and some don’t on the SAME playlist when I play them on iTunes from my PC. I have read that a Nano will work and a Touch will not. There is quite a bit of chatter on the subject. I’ll keep you posted.
I started a brand new instructor in May with two classes of six riders per week. As of September I’ve had as many as 22 and we hold steady at 16. I was also instructor of the month at my huge club largely in part to this blog. THANK YOU all! I haven’t been able to access the reader playlists though. When I try to use it Shockwave crashes. Anyone know why?
I have had a few people mention this to me. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the number of comments – over 500 – that are causing the crash. I would suggest trying to view the site with another browser – maybe Firefox or Chrome? It does take a bit of time to load now – will appear frozen until it loads.
I am meeting with a WordPress design guy at the end of the month. I am hoping he can help me streamline the blog and fix some of these little glitches, maybe even add a few new features. So look for a new and improved Spinning Music later this fall.
Crashes with Chrome and Explorer BUT works great with Firefox. Thanks for yet another tip!
BTW – huge congrats on winning instructor of the month at your gym!
Could not have done it without all of you. I had taught one class when they hired me in May but shhhhh…they don’t know that.
Fake it till you make it!
Can anyone give me an idea of what they know to be a reasonable and customary range as far as compensation for teaching an hour long spin class?
Chicago IL USA is $25-35 when just starting out with a gym. Typically closer to $35. More experience over the years at the same gym may get you up to $45.
I would agree with Mark, here in the midwest starting rate is $25.00 at a private studio or gym but YMCA’s pay scale is much lower starting rate is $13,00-$15,00. Hope this helps.
Jeez, I wish I got paid that much per class! The YMCA that I work at pays less than $10 per hour, so by the time you get there, set up, and take down after the class it’s a little over an hour.
Here in the Northeast it varies greatly.
At one gym I started at $30, at another I started at $20 but with a free membership from the start and the ability to bring guests whenever.
I know of a handful of instructors who make $50 but most clubs are trying to phase them out since they’d rather pay folks less.
At my gym it is $20-$25 for most instructors, though long-time instructors can get a few dollars an hour more. All instructors with at least one weekly class also get a free membership, and once a year they give a coupon for a second free membership (typically used for spouses). Instructors also get discounts on personal training.
And folks, if you like Lululemon Athletica for gym gear, they offer 10% off to fitness instructors in all disciplines, you just have to bring them a pay stub once and they’ll put you in their system. The only catch is that the discount applies only to things you buy for yourself and they do ask that you fill out their online feedback form to rate what you purchased.
I am pretty impressed that some can make $45 per class.
I work at a corp fitness gym, paid much less than a typical Mom and Pop gym. The range is between (before taxes) $25 – $35 per class. At one time, I was working for “spin studio”, making $35 hr. I think the more seasoned instructors were making much more.
Here in california (sacramento, cycle pay ranges from $15-26. One gym pays me $15, another $24 and another $23. Most clubs want you AFAA certified as well. I also get free membership to all the clubs and have my daughter on the big chain one. Another perk is i have free movie passes (up to 3) for Century theatres, free bodybugg online service, and 15-25% off car, life, etc. We also get $80 credit per year to dynamix music. Not bad…..
Hey–where is our leader Cynthia? Haven’t heard from her in a while:-(
Cynthia- I would love to get your feedback on RealRyders. I just picked up a new gig teaching gig using them—we have not been certified by RR so cuing and teaching is more challenging for all the instructors who are not familiar with this bike. Your thoughts, suggestions, etc. are welcomed!
Teaching on the RR’s is difficult—also been bothering one of my knees:-(
Feedback from others????
Hey Judy! I’ve been AWOL, but lurking on my own blog. I was home with my daughter during the day this summer & worked nights and weekends, so there wasn’t much down time for creating profiles or minding the shop. I’ve missed it. I have two playlists in the pipeline, and one BIG announcement, so look for a flurry of posts soon.
I’ve only done one class on the RealRyder bikes and you probably gathered from my post about it – I didn’t like them. Standing was the big problem for me – I found it impossible to keep the bike anywhere near steady. Have you checked out their website at http://www.realryder.com? They have a schedule for training all over the USA (didn’t check the cost, if any); if there’s nothing near you, try contacting them – I bet they have written info they could e-mail you.
Cynthia, what is your big announcement??? Did i /we miss it??? Are you pregnant again :-) Inquiring minds want to know……
Aw, gr8tflm, not pregnant. No, the big announcement was getting to 1,000,000 hits on the blog over the Labour Day weekend. Old news now. Sorry for not having anything more exciting.
Hey, speaking of being pregnant, did you read about Chicago mom Amber Miller, who completed a marathon last weekend while 39 weeks pregnant, then had something to eat and headed off to the hospital to give birth to her second child? Here’s a link to the story: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/tribnation/chi-amber-millers-chicago-marathon20111011,0,557644.story
Amber Miller, my hat is off to you. (And to your doctor, who gave you two thumbs up to do it.)
Help! I am visiting Halifax next week and looking for a great place to spin. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
I would appreciate feedback from my fellow spin instructors-please help me gather information as to which fitness certifications (USA) are accredited and respected? I am IFPA and Mad Dogg cert in spin, NASM and AFAA certs in personal training, group exercise, sr.fitness, SilverSneakers cert too and now looking into aPilates cert—don’t want to break the bank since I don’ t get compensated nearly enough to justify costly certification- but at the same time I dont want to waste $ on a poor quality, unaccredited cert—I find it hard to believe that there are so many online cert courses- just doesn’t seem appropriate.
My spin cert is Schwinn, but I’d like to get Mad Dogg too. It’s a logistical issue for me – the closest Mad Dogg training is about 1500 km away in Ottawa.
Judy, here in California AFAA is highly recommended and has a great reputation as a leader in fitness. There also is APEX and of course IDEA. I would recommend those. As for spinning, Schwinn is recognized but all of 24 hr fitness along with mad dogg, but there is a difference so that is a personal preference i think. Les Mills programs are very good, but only can be taught at a Les Mills licensed facility. Good luck! sounds like you have a great resume of classes so check out what AFAA and IDEA offer for you.
Just found this site & love it! I’m a part time groupX instructor and was getting burned out on cycling only because I haven’t had time to set up my music (midlife (or late midelife??) change of careers-in nurnsing school); was buying premades! Was even looking at LesMills RPM just for the ease of music & choreo -
thanks for the motivation!
Welcome to the blog Rachelle. Glad to hear you find it useful. Drop by again to post a few of your favourite songs or playlists.
Maybe I am looking for the impossible but…..is there a piece of software out there that I can construct my spinning session with notes for my playlist ie sprint, climb etc with the timing within a track of faster and slower sections etc. Perhaps I am looking for something that doesn’t exist. I want to control my sessions through a small netbook rather than an iPod.
Anyone got any ideas, thanks for the feedback, Tony
This is the 1st app developed for indoor cycling “Class Builder” I have not tried it yet as I use Spotify for my music and it does not work YET with streaming music
Does anyone ride LeMonds- the bright yellow bikes? I have taught using Star Trac, Schwinn, CycleOps…but now I have new gig at a gym that has Le Monds and I find them hard to adjust—those levers are stiff and the design of the bike doesn’t allow for a petite person to fine tune because there is not enough room to move the levers for seat forward/aft or handlebars forward and aft if you keep both the seat and handlebars relatively low. Not sure if that makes sense but… any suggestions?
I’m looking for suggestions for a long (7-10 mins) instrumental track that I can use. I attended a class where the instructor used this beautiful irish music with different rhythms and tempos which she used in a very freestyle, unstructured kind of way with visualisations (eg we’re heading into a forest now; watch out for the branches, you’ll have to duck to avoid them). It’s not how I normally teach but I’d like to give it a try. Does anyone else teach in this way?
Here are few longer instrumental tracks that I’ve had success with…
Fable (dream version) – Robert Miles (there are a few versions out there)
The Bongo Song – Safri Duo (or something like that, LOVE this song)
Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix) – Rob D (I think this is from the Matrix)
Let me know if any of these work for you.
Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you, internet is really slow in Zimbabwe and I keep downloading the songs to youtube, but it takes so long that by the time they’re done I have forgotten about them and closed down the page! I love the Bongo Song too and often use it for sprints. I hadn’t heard the other two before, they’re great! Very atomospheric :) I’ll definitely try them out on my class. The beats are quite steady though, any ideas on songs which have more tempo changes?
Here’s a suggestion from me. I run a program right now and having great success with the Painkiller song suggested in the Reader Playlist in this site (where you have to do a quick stand-up everytime the word Painkiller is mentioned) There’s always laughter and smiles in the class during this song. Thanks for this!
In the same program – and here’s my suggestion – I also use Toca from,,, doh…Boca. It’s mainly just a beat, but with a perfect build-up. During the first minute I let my spinners pedal easy and fast, disregarding the rhytm. This to let them get some speed into their legs after the previous song, which in my program is a slow and heavy going hip hop song producing sour legs (“Jump Around”, if interested) . After 1:27 and the words “La Musica Toca!” is where the beat really starts to fly. Here I have already instructed the spinners that they run like a team. “Keep in formation and be sure to steer straight forward and in perfect pace in order to not destroy the slipstream effect”. You can literally see them pedaling with their tongues out of their corners out of their mouths, that’s how concentrated they are. After three or four minutes with this I crossfade into Adele with “Rolling in the Deep”, I’ve found that it works great to alternate beats with melodic songs like the Adele hit..
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I use the volume button frequently. In the first minute of Toca you leave the volume quite low, almost to the point of too-low for a spinning class, but that enables you to turn it up to almost too-high when the beat proper starts at 1:27. Fun, everytime!
Just getting started as an instructor after being in class for 10 years and enjoying this website!! Here’s my contribution: Someone Like You, Adele (remixed by DJ Joe Gautheaux, Brian Cua, Big Room Anthem) (130 bpm): http://soundcloud.com/djjoeg/someone-like-you-joe
Oh, almost forgot…mine’s a flat white!
Just a bit about me…I spent a couple of years out of shape through injury and a stressful all consuming job. I turned 40 not too long ago and decided enough is enough. Got myself in shape and lost 4.1/2 stone in the process. Quit my job, studied and qualified as a personal trainer, then steadily built up my clients and knowledge. I was recently asked to cover a spin class, and although really nervous about showing my lack of knowledge. I jumped in with both feet…The best opportunity ever given to me! I now have people I ‘ve never meet coming up to me asking me when my next class is. Love the music, love the people and love the buzz! Just been promoted to gym manager of a 7500 people club where we have 4/5 spin classes per day and I’m not giving mine up for no one!!!
Thank you so much for you help and inspiration over the last few months, and hi to everyone who’s ever dipped their toes out of their comfort zone.
Paul from a sunny London, UK.
Just a few tracks that are keeping me motivated that I’ve not seen here. My guys love ‘em. I’ll let you decide where you take them:
B Complex Beautiful Lies 6:45
Sander Van Doorn Riff 5:09
Chase & Status Pieces (Ft.Plan B) 4:49
Magnetic Man I Need Air 4:17
Chase & Status End Credits (Ft.Plan B) 3:21
Ryoksopp The Girl and the Robot 4:29
Audio Bullys Shot You Down 3:35
Cross Genesis 3:54
Air All I Need 4:28 (my favourite cooldown)
life has a funny way of putting you through the grinders… after leaving my home of ottawa, for an opportunity overseas, i found myself struggling with culture shock and some personal pains (I’ll leave in a volt)…until I discovered spinning. life is always a struggle, but that hour a few times per week, was the best thing that could have happened. i’m living in a developing country now, in the midst of the “arab spring” but this tiny class, with thrill of a pump and music gives me that boost to help make through another difficult day. after 8 weeks, i’ve been offered a chance to teach my own class. i have long owned my own spinner, but never really learnt all of the moves and the importance of the music until i recently joined the classes. thanks for helping to promote a great sport and sharing music!
an international spinner in culture shock
Welcome to the blog! I love hearing from readers all over the world and have a huge soft spot for Canadians and Canadian artists (since I’m Canadian, too.)
That’s fantastic that you’re going to be teaching. Drop by in a month or two and let us know how it’s going for you. The Bike Cafe is always open if you have questions.
I know it will probably be impossible to take a cycling certification where you’re living but there is a ton of great material available on the internet about teaching, a lot of it from the Spinning website. You should also Google spinning and contraindicated to get a sense of which moves are controversial and why, so you can decide what to include and nix from your own classes. You may find the indoor cycle instructor website helpful – they offer a subscription based service that costs about the same as a couple of magazines. You can find them at: http://www.indoorcycleinstructor.com/. I’ve exchanged email with one of the owners, John McGowan and listened to some of their free podcasts but I don’t have a subscription (with a toddler, time is very limited!) I think they do offer a free or low cost trial though, so you can try it and see what you think. And if you get back to Ottawa, they offer regular Spinning certifications. I’ve been meaning to fly there and do one myself. I have friends in Ottawa so it would also be a great social visit.
All the best,
Just wanted to pass along that SYTYCD is now posting the music they use in each episode – very helpful for some inspiration!
Thanks Lisa. SYTYCD is one of my guilty pleasures. I wish I could move like that.
Cynthia – you change the settings but I think it will messed the order of the comments. For example, my comment would be listed before yours. Not sure will work. Anyway, here is the link to the options.
Love the site!
I should hire you as my webmaster. Thanks for the link – I reversed the comments so that the newest ones are always at the top. I took a quick look through the blog and it seemed okay. Replies still come after comments, no matter what the date.
Readers, how do you like this change? Let me know…
Love that the newer comments are on top! I used to scroll, scroll and scroll some more to see that latest and greatest! Ratings will be helpful, and Bike Cafe provides a wonderful, valuable resource for all who love to spin:-) The changes have made this the best go-to website! Idea- how about reviewing bike shoes, riding attire, bikes, etc? One person’s experience may help another make an informed decision.
I used your latest posted playlist tonight- loved it-I added a few songs to make it 60 minutes–climb to ‘Sunglasses’/Divine, ‘What the Hell’/Lavine, then finished with ‘Music is Pumping’. Loved it!
Thanks for the feedback Judy. I goosed that playlist to 75 minutes for a class last weekend as well and posted it with some comments about the Real Ryder bikes at a local gym. I like the idea of reviews… will think about how to add this.
Hey all you spinners,
We are having a spin-a-thon where I teach next weekend—I am teaching one segment- 3 hours-does anyone have suggestions for heart pumping, motivating tunes. The competition is based on heart rate/calories burned-all participants will be wearing a monitor- each team (3 members per team/ each spins for 1 hour) gets sponsers and the $ goes to fund underpriviledged kids’ memberships at our facility- yay for encouraging kids to be physically active! My job is to keep all the participants motivated- me too because I am teaching and a member of a team! Any suggestions will be appreciated!
Sounds like a blast. If one segment is three hours, how long is the whole thing? I love that the competition is based on heart rate. A friend of mine did some spin classes on a cruise recently and said that each riders’ heart rate was projected on a screen for all to see (but the riders were identified only with a number, so while you could see where everyone in the class was, you only knew for sure which number was your own. The instructor could say things like, “Pick it up number six!” He said it was incredibly motivating.)
For a class like this I’d go with a combination of my favourites and great new music.
My favourite go-to sprinting songs are Stoned in Love by Chicane, This is How a Heart Breaks by Rob Thomas, and The Boys of Summer by the Ataris.
For out-of-the-saddle climbing, I like Thunderstruck or You Shook Me by AC/DC, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse, Viva la Vida by Coldplay, Lit Up by Buckcherry, and Mercy by Duffy.
For seated climbing, I like Old School by Hedley, and Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan.
Favourite warmup songs are I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, Jumpin’ Jack Flash by the Stones, or Ride Like the Wind by Fab
Favourite cool down is Africa by Karl Wolf, or If I Were a Boy, by Beyonce
My favourite newish songs are The Edge of Glory by Lady GaGa, Magic by B.o.B., More by Usher, Dynamite by Taio Cruz, and Sexy Chick by David Guetta.
I love your blogs, the new bike cafe and reader playlists are excellent. Would it be possible to reverse the order of the posts so that the most recent appears at the top instead of the bottom? It is time consuming to have to scroll down each time I want to read the most recent updates. Thanks for taking this into consideration!
Great idea! I rooted around my WordPress dashboard but didn’t see a way to reverse the order of the posts. Are there any WordPress gurus out there who could tell me if I missed something? I am just using the free online version.
Personally I am open to all types of (cueing) instructing—as long as the instructor is good at the style they are choosing to use, it all works for me. Each instructor has to allow their individuality to shine! I too visit my colleagues classes- not only does it give me new ideas but I enjoy the diversity. I prefer that the instructor be on the bike–I know the people who attend my classes feel it’s motivating to see their instructor working as hard as they are and I couldn’t agree more:-)
I love that you’re going to other people’s classes and thinking critically about what works and what doesn’t.
I think this is a personal thing. There is no one right or best way to do it. I stay on the bike, myself. but I’ve been to classes where the instructor walked around.
While some people may not mind being singled out by name to correct their form, I think a lot of people would, and it’s the kind of thing that might drive someone from your class permanently. Walking around and giving a quiet suggestion here or there is safer, though I think some riders would still bristle at any correction aimed at them. My own practice is to make my comments on form to the entire class and let people figure out what applies to them. It isn’t always successful – in particular, the people who love to pedal with too little tension – but it mostly works.
I think there’s a secondary issue here, too with how much talking your riders like. Some instructors chat through the whole class; others give minimal cues and let people ride their own ride. I like a chatty instructor if they have an engaging personality, and instructors who are engaging can develop a real following this way. I also thoroughly enjoy classes with minimal cueing so I can focus on my ride. (I find the instructors who go for minimal cueing often prefer trance/house or instrumental music (no vocals) which enhances individual focus). Both options can deliver a great class.
Anyone else want to weigh in on this?
I, personally, am one for minimal chat. I like to let the music guide the ride. However, I do provide some Jillian Michaels-like motivation during the pickups in sprints.
For 8 years I stayed on the bike the entire time. However, this winter I had pneumonia & it left me unable to ride for more than 2-3 minutes at a time. So I spent a lot of time off of the bike. My spinners said that the classes where I was off the bike were HELL. I think it’s because I really didn’t have an idea of how hard I was making the class.
That said, the best advice I ever got from a fellow instructor early on in my career is this “no one likes an easy class. If your class is brutally hard, they might complain, but they will always come back. People like to be pushed.” I have always kept that nugget in the back of my brain. It’s true. My classes are BRUTAL, yet they sell out in 5 minutes with a wait list every time.
I agree, Amy. The classes that routinely fill up at my gym are the toughest ones. (It also helps if the instructor is buff!) The ones that languish with 6-8 riders almost always have instructors who don’t push hard enough. It’s not street cred – they have some excellent credentials. It’s the execution.
I was surprised to learn that time slot has not a whole lot to do with the popularity of a class. Four times now, I’ve seen a wildly popular instructor give up a packed class. Six months later, the new instructor is getting 6-8 riders, often fewer. All the people just drifted away because the class didn’t offer what they were looking for.
Hi all, this week I attending another spin instructor’s class and witnessed a class that had ALOT of instruction during the class. Don’t misunderstand my statement “ALOT of instruction”, I do instruct during the class but this class was much more. The instructor told all the riders that she was coming around and checking their form (which was good) and then called out people who needed to adjust their form. I usually watch from the bike, during the song and call out (without names) whether their form is off or their heads are down (“heads up”).
I am reaching out to you folks, I wasn’t sure if this was something most instructors do or if it was just a little over the line. I don’t necessarily think its not a good thing, just wondering if I should incorporate more of her teaching in my class.
Anyone have any comments or advice?
Keeping laughing and smiling (it’s a good thing)!
it was very impressive, when I read how you involved spinning class.
I live in Taiwan but Korean nationality.
I also really like spinning. I’ve involved spinning about 4~5 years.
even I’m not an instructor or master, really I’m enjoying spinning.
if you are available or possible, I hope you could share your spinning music with me.
if I couldn’t go to class of spinning, I play it by myself in the gym.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
You’re not crazy at all. Before I taught, I used to make my own playlists and spin by myself, too. I really enjoyed it. I don’t have music available to download on the blog but you have all the information you need to download the songs yourself and put them into a playlist. I also give all the cues you need to do the class yourself. Starting on January 1, 2011 all of my playlists will be posted on Ping under my moniker – spinning music. Ping lets you listen to and download all of the songs easily.
The weather is getting nicer in Canada. Can’t wait to ride outdoors again.
Can you please point me to where you have your cues? I am testing to get certified this Sunday and I am terrified for my first time leading. I’ve been taking class for years now and am comfortable on the bike, I’m just not sure how to actually construct a ride, other than to pick out some fun songs.
Thanks! I have a great discussion with the studio owner. He was very nice about it. Good and bad news. Good news, the chit chatter purchased more spin classes. Bad news, I may another challenging class this week. Fortunately, I have some great ideas from this site!
Appreciate the help!
I had another idea – it’s sort of passive aggressive but it might work. At the outset of the next class that Chatty Cathy attends, you could announce that the gym has received a complaint about riders talking during spin classes and ask them all to be respectful of each other’s ride and not to talk during class. Hey, it’s true – the gym DID get a complaint – yours.
Good luck – let us know how you decide to handle it and how it worked for you.
Morgan’s got some good ideas. If you are comfortable teaching off the bike, a quiet word might be just the thing.
I sometimes get talkers during the warmup and usually just start talking myself (I have a mike, so I’m always gonna win that one).
Riders who talk consistently during class aren’t working hard enough. I do two things: turn up the music, and cue the class to push harder. I do find that turning up the music usually works.
Hi folks! Love this web site! great ideas and suggestions. I recently had a challenge and would love your suggestions on how to handle it. What do you do when you have 2 people who talk thru entire spin class? Talking to the point it is disrupting others. I tried hooting, hollaring and cheering them on, to get them to focus on the class and quiet down. It only worked for a minute (sign!). I also work for a small studio when the owner is pretty much business focused. To me it means, customer service and sell memberships! My other challenge, I am a very direct person. Some people may take my comments as insults. This could get me in trouble with the owner (yikes!).
Any ideas? Words or actions I could have used?
I totally understand your frustration… I have texters…
I did my certification at the beginning of the month and we talked about this exact topic. The instructors suggestions were to either get off your bike and walk around, politely say something to them when you walk past them. Or to tell the class to “quiet their minds and their mouths” and get into the beat of the music and turn it up. These feel a bit generic and passive to me, I’m direct like you haha but it can’t hurt to try them.
I say make them work more, I had an instructor in the past say that your mouth better be open and all you should be abel to do with it is breathe, otherwise you aren’t working hard enough.
I hope this helps somehow!
I turn up the music like someone else suggested but then I yell, “CAN EVERYONE HEAR ME?!” Sometimes nothing works though so I just do my thing.
Wow! What a great tool to use as an indoor cycling instructor. It is amazing to me how the community of teachers can now be so well connected. One thing I’d like some feedback on is how others find fresh, creative, and effective ways to promote the classes that they teach. If there is one thing I love most about teaching, is teaching to a packed house!
Would love to hear any feedback,
Hi Kendra, I love a packed house, too! Learning the names of regular riders and chatting to them outside of class helps. Finding out who is packing them in and going to their classes to study what they do also helps.
Some other ideas:
- encourage riders to make a standing date with a friend to come to your class
- keep things fresh and fun, well-thought out classes with great music. Let your passion shine.
- people like to be pushed hard – deliver a challenging class
- try a contest – participating riders get a check mark for every class they attend over 12 weeks. Riders getting 10/12 or more get a prize (your gym might even donate some swag).
There are some good podcasts on promoting one’s classes on iTunes from the indoorcycleinstructor podcast (also at http://www.indoorcycleinstructor.com).
I’m fairly new to instructing and am trying to build up a member base for my classes, but what I find has been working is doing themed classes. I know this isn’t for everyone but I really enjoy thinking up a theme and going out and finding music to fit to it and my members seem to like it too. THe last one I did was for a Saturday morning class, I did a “party” theme and baked muffins for everyone to enjoy at the end :)
Mmm, I would like a muffin after a spin class. Great idea.
So have you stuck with the themed classes? I love them too — my latest one for this month has been a Superbowl theme and I take my riders through the pre-game, 4 quarters, half-time, etc. A few that I’ve done: a night ride, ABBA vs AC/DC, Heartbreak, freefall to name a few. Always looking for new insiration for those themes!
Hi Kelly – great ideas! I would like to use more themed rides. One I am thinking of at the moment involves asking riders to write down their year of birth after class (if they want to). For the following week I’ll create a playlist made up of hits from the years they were born. (Super easy with access to this historical information from Billboard where you can look up the top 100 songs for any year: http://www.bobborst.com/popculture/top-100-songs-of-the-year/?year=1964). Riders have to guess which song is theirs.
Unrelated question- how do you all get the stink out of your bike shoes? Mine smell AWFUL! I’ve pulled the insole out and washed them, sprayed Febreeze into them, stuffed dryer softener sheets into them…nothing works. I teach so many classes that they dont have enough time throughtly dry out—I alternate between 2 prs of shoes–both stinky;-)
I use sneaker balls – the little plastic ones that twist open to release fragrance – and put a few into each shoe, then air out my gym bag when I get home by leaving it open. Synthetic socks are sometimes a problem, maybe try 100% cotton? I’ve never done more than about 5 classes a week so it hasn’t been an issue for me.
Hello Guys!!! I’ve been a Spinning Instructor here in Puerto Rico for over 6 years teaching 4 to 5 classes a week 3 classes in the same GYM with almost the same PPL. I think that mabye some of you think like me; “SO what I’m Gonna Play Today..?????, Nope, I use that one on monday….”
Thanks for all the refreshing ideas!
Hi Q. Even when I was teaching 3-4 classes a week it was to different people, so I was able to rotate my playlists and get more mileage out of them. I also tracked which ones I used by writing the name of the playlist in my calendar. What strategies do you use to keep everything going?
Hi there and thank you for this great resource! I just got off the bike about an hour ago and I love coming to this site for inspiration! Congrats on such a great idea!!
I teach about 5 times a week and I try to challenge myself to keep my profiles fresh, so this will be wonderful!
Right back atcha, Angela. You and I enjoy a lot of the same artists but I was excited to see that I’m not familiar with many of the songs you’ve chosen – I love new material! (Readers, Angela’s blog is acyclepsycho.blogspot.com and it’s got tons of great playlists and music ideas.)
WOW- I am overwhelmed with the kind, helpful advice and support from everyone! Thanks so very much!
Ok, thanks so much! I will try that! Thanks for the advice and wonderful blog!
Hi, I am a new spinning instructor. I have been teaching classes for years, Bodypump, Bodystep, and Bodycombat, but have basically no experience with spinning. I literally think I took spin (RPM mainly but a couple of freestlye) classes about 5, maybe 6 times in my whole life before I agreed to teach it. It has been a hard adjustment since it is so different from the other formats I teach, and I only teach 1 class a week for now. I teach total about 9 classes a week, sometimes more if need to sub. I am currently in the middle of certifying through a home study program. I kind of feel overwhelmed by it right now. I teach so much that in order to allow myself to recover and prepare for my other classes, I can’t go to other instructors classes. I think I could teach 3 hours of Step back to back, but I have to admit 1 hour of spin kicks my butt. I am having trouble building up endurance, especially for standing sprints, which I want to do so badly. Any thought on how I can overcome this? This is my only job (well besides being a stay at home mom!), and I am very dedicated and always give 150% to whatever class I am teaching. Any ideas or suggestions would be great. Thanks, Angie
And for Judy- do not let one person’s comment get you down. I have learned after 6 years that you will not please everyone all of the time no matter what. For every one person that thinks you are so-so, there will be 10 who love you. I have a lady like that that comes to all of my Bodypump and spin classes. She is never satisfied, no matter what anyone does for her. She even tells this guy I work with how he needs to teach his class. She told him that he shouldn’t go from a warm-up track to a climbing track! Hello, who is she to tell him how to teach? She is so annoying, my GroupX director (who is also the owner) is about ready to yank her membership because she is always whining and complaining about everything and everyone. So do not stress about it. Everyone has that 1 person who will try to bring them down. It sounds like you are doing what you should. I would also invite your director to class. I don’t think she should “restructure” anything until she has personally experienced you class!!! Stay positive!
I got tired just reading about all the teaching you do, plus being at home with your kids! I have a friend who teaches RPM, BodyPump, BodyStep and Zumba and he says he finds the RPM classes the hardest to learn. I know when you teach RPM you’re not supposed to bring notes into class – I’d have a heck of a time if I didn’t bring my cheat sheet.
I have a couple of ideas that might help. First off, it’s very common for new Spinners to struggle through the first few classes, even if they have a high level of fitness for other activities. It’s the same for me when I run. I could spin for 2 hours, but running for 30-40 minutes leaves me with newborn pony legs the next day, because I don’t run that often anymore. No need to do anything; this will fix itself within a couple of months. It’s just sport-specific fitness.
As for the standing sprints, my suggestion would be to dial back the resistance. Actually, for teaching generally, I use less resistance than when I am taking a class. I want to be able to talk throughout without sucking wind, but leave enough resistance on the bike to demonstrate good form.
Judy — Don’t let that ONE person get you down. So one person, for whatever reason, doesn’t like your class… imagine those that (unfortunately) don’t tell you how much they LOVE your class and what an inspiration you are to them. Remember the needs of the many…
Thanks for the pep talk! I just put a great playlist together using some of Cynthia’s Top 25 of 2010 and interspersed those tunes with some of my fave Adam Lambert—I ran to it ( that’s how I test out all my playlists) and loved it.
Judy, Megan and Dee are right on. I think your classes sound plenty inspiring. Your passion sure comes through here in your posts and comments.
I teach for a living and get student evaluations every year. I was used to getting very positive evals but got a vicious one a few years ago and went to a colleague with it. He talked me off the ledge and said something that I think was very wise. He told me, “You can’t connect with everyone – it’s impossible. If 90% of your evals are positive, you’re doing great.” I reminded myself of his words last week – we did mid-term evaluations and I had 27 great evaluations and one “meh” evaluation. I would love to be able to connect with every single student, every single time, but I accept that there are going to be a few misses.
I got the sense that your boss isn’t being supportive – why not invite her to take one of your classes and give you feedback? I bet she’ll be blown away and see that you’re delivering a great class.
Hugs and a high five,
Just when I need some advice and support here is a wonderful forum to get guidance, thanks Cynthia!
I’m pretty bummed, yesterday I was told by my supervisor that one of our members said that my class was uninspiring:-( I have great music, cheer my riders on by saying things that I would want to hear, challenge them, keep my music fresh and always have their best interest at heart ( “this is your ride” “listen to your body” “only do what you feel comfortable with”…) I have undergrad degrees in sociology & psychology, and a masters in public health have been cert personal trainer for 12 years, and practice what I preach (I race- 1/2 marathons, triathlons-participate in all types of sports- balance cardio with strength training etc.) I still have my original clients- talk about retention! I have attended many of the classes that my coworkers teach and don’t feel that anyone else’s classes are ‘better’ than mine- what I did learn is that many try to keep the members motivated by incorporating contraindicated movements into their routines. Though my supervisor claims that she takes these comments with a grain of sand she wants to ‘restructure’ a few of my classes. Hmmm, apparently that grain just became a beach. She wants to implement a program I suggested several months ago; heart rate training.
I try to engage my spinners, keep them motivated and injury free yet my personality is what it is…does anyone have any advice to offer? THANKS!
Don’t let it get to you, Judy! Exercise is something that EVERYONE has a preference on. Some people like to go at it alone, some people like exercising in a class… and of those that do like a class setting: some like a boot camp style instructor yelling at them, others like someone who won’t shout, some like oldies music, some like techno… you can’t please everyone! It sounds like you have your priorities straight and your main concern is keeping your participants motivated and injury free. My teaching style is similar to yours. After every one of my classes, I say “Thanks for coming, please let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions as I am always looking to improve!” I’ve never gotten negative feedback (except for one song that somebody didn’t like), but people do sometimes offer suggestions. Maybe if you invite suggestions, this person who said your class was “uninspiring” would bring you their suggestions… and if not, then hey, nothing else you can do!
Yes that is wonderful. I have a spinnig class in turkey. I m always picking my musics from here. And new ideas about spinning will be very good. I dont want to do the same things all the time in my class… Always better than the other lesson.
Thanks Ensar. I am looking forward to it too.
Thank you so much for this website! I’m getting certified at the end of the month and this website definitely helps by giving me more confidence. :)
Congrats Chastine! Come back and tell us how your teaching is going.
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