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This “Best of 2016” Indoor Cycling Playlist Rocks the House

Indoor cycling instructor Michelle

Since last year was monumental for the music industry, I couldn’t get too far into 2017 without creating a “Best of 2016” indoor cycling playlist. First and foremost, we said goodbye to quite a few celebrities with significant contributions to music, like George Michael, David Bowie and Prince. 2016 also saw new Top 40s hits that are great for a spin class. So, I combined some of the chart-toppers with classics from those that passed last year to create the ultimate indoor cycling playlist of 2016.

I’ve done this one a bunch in my spinning classes, and it is a huge hit with participants. They always finish this ride out of breath and wiped. Now, whenever I’m in a pinch and need a go-to indoor cycling playlist, I’ll pull this one out.

Here is my member-approved “Best of 2016” indoor cycling playlist.

As you know, I like to teach my spinning classes in a series of exercises that we do twice or three times through, depending on the series. So, I pick a couple exercises to make up my series, and we stick to it throughout the class. That way, participants know what to expect, so they can go big when they’re supposed to and not hold back for fear of another interval around the corner.

Here’s the series — do it three times through. The first two songs are “climbs”, which means you add resistance throughout both songs. In addition, you can add some fun variations to the ride. Like if your bikes have monitors, you can ask participants to increase their RPMs or leg speed on the chorus, or go in and out of the saddle as you go, as long as everyone is increasing resistance throughout. Then, the last song is for intervals. I ask participants to track their distance for a 2-minute breathless interval in the first song.

Then in the second series, we use that distance as our guide. So, I’ll ask participants to do half the distance in half the time. Divide that original distance by two, and time the class for one minute. Finally, in the third series, we’ll again do half the distance in half the time, so divide the number by two and go that distance in thirty seconds. You choose how many intervals you’ll do for each song. I like to do the first one once. Then, series two has two 1-minute intervals. And, series three has three or four 30-second intervals.

The “Best of 2016” Indoor Cycling Playlist

  1. Cake By the Ocean, by DNCE [Warm-up]
  2. Let Me Love You, by DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber [Song 1]
  3. Faith, by George Michael [Song 2]
  4. 24K Magic (Workout Remix), by Bruno Mars [Song 3] *Make sure to get the edited version of this song!*
  5. Just Hold On, by Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson [Song 1]
  6. Under Pressure, by Queen & David Bowie [Song 2]
  7. HandClap, by Fitz & The Tantrums [Song 3]
  8. Can’t Stop This Feeling, by Justin Timberlake [Song 1]
  9. Just Like Fire, by P!nk [Song2]
  10. 1999, by Price [Song 3]
  11. Take it to the Limit, by The Eagles [Cool Down]

Hope you enjoy! If you’re looking for more spinning songs and playlists, check out the workout routines and playlists page.

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April Fool’s Day Spinning Music Playlist & Routine

April Fool's Day Spinning Music Playlist and Routine

My spin class participants have become obsessed with wacky themed playlists, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to create an April Fool’s Day spinning music playlist and routine, knowing the silly song selection I’ll have to choose from. Themed spin playlists are a great way to mix up the typical Group X class and energize folks to focus and work hard. Personally, I like to push the edges of my themed playlists, and add songs that don’t quite fit into the theme. That’s because those are the songs that end up being great ice breakers, comedic relief and, frankly, the most fun.

I thought I’d really try to push the envelope with my April Fool’s Day spinning playlist and routine. Not in a way that would put people off, but it a way that would make them chuckle or do a mental double take. Because, that’s why participants show up to my class: to get a different, more challenging workout than they would on their own.

Without further ado, here is my April Fool’s Day spinning music playlist and routine.

As you know, I like to teach my spinning classes in a series of exercises that we do twice or three times through, depending on the series. So, I pick a couple exercises to make up my series, and we stick to it throughout the class. That way, participants know what to expect, so they can go big when they’re supposed to and not hold back for fear of another interval around the corner.

Here’s the series — do it three times through. Each song in the series increases resistance, so participants will continue to add resistance throughout and maintain it as they go from Song 1 to Song 3. At the end of Song 3, that’s when folks will go back to their flat road baseline and start over.

  • Song 1: “45 second drill”. Every 45 seconds, ask participants to increase intensity, either by going faster or adding resistance. Participants will start in moderate intensity, transitioning to hard intensity, then harder, and finally breathless intensity. That’s four segments of work in the song. Then, participants can recover with the remaining time and heading into the next song, while keeping the resistance on the bike.
  • Song 2: Feet slow just a bit to keep up with the pace of the song. You’ll add resistance throughout the song to increase the intensity, starting seated and working your way to standing once resistance is heavy enough. You’ll start in a high moderate intensity level, and will end at a hard intensity level standing.
  • Song 3: Stay standing. For the first minute or so, ask participants to add resistance to get the resistance super heavy. Then, you’ll do what I call “Reverse Tabata”. It’s 10 seconds of breathless work, and 20 seconds of recovery. We do it 4 times through. I like to start the sprint with a countdown. On 3, participants stay standing and start to sprint. On 1, participants will keep that breathless, sprint pace and have a seat, keeping the pace for the next 7 seconds seated, totaling 10 seconds of work. Then, we stand and recover for 20 seconds, and do it again. Starting the sprint standing helps participants to set the pace before having a seat, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to sit and pick up the pace at the same time.

The April Fool’s Day Spinning Music Playlist:

  1. It’s Tricky, by Run-DMC [Warm-up]
  2. Fools Gold, by Fitz & The Tantrums [Song 1]
  3. Everybody’s Fool, by Evanescence [Song 2]
  4. Foolin’, by Def Leppard [Song 3]
  5. Foolish, by TOKiMONSTA [Song 1]
  6. Chain of Fools, by Aretha Franklin [Song 2]
  7. Fools, by The Dodos [Song 3]
  8. Taken for a Fool, by The Strokes [Song 1]
  9. Some Kind of Joke, by AWOLNATION [Song 2]
  10. Fools, by Van Halen [Song 3]
  11. Foolish Games, by Jewel [Cool Down #1]
  12. Don’t be a Fool, by Shawn Mendes [Cool Down #2]

Hope you enjoy! If you’re looking for more spinning songs and playlists, check out the workout routines and playlists page.

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St. Patrick’s Day Spinning Music Playlist & Routine (45 minutes)

St. Patrick's Day Spinning Music Playlist and Routine

It’s fun to make a themed spinning music playlist and routine for St. Patrick’s Day, since there’s a lot more room for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. When it comes to Christmas and Halloween, you’re often stuck playing the chart topping hits, because that’s what participants expect. For St. Patrick’s Day, you can throw in a bunch of quirky songs loosely related to the holiday and get away with it.

I’m a big fan of tying together songs around a very broad theme, because then I can play the songs I want, and my participants get a kick out of the wackiness. This year, I’m adding a handful of Irish artists and songs about luck, gold and the color green to my St. Patrick’s Day spinning playlist and routine. Because, why not?

If you’re putting together a spin playlist of your own, I encourage you to have fun with it! If you think a song will be awesome for spinning, but doesn’t fit perfectly into a theme, that’s okay.

Here’s my St. Patrick’s Day spinning music playlist and routine.

As you know, I like to teach my spinning classes in a series of exercises that we do twice or three times through, depending on the series. So, I pick a couple exercises to make up my series, and we stick to it throughout the class. That way, participants know what to expect, so they can go big when they’re supposed to and not hold back for fear of another interval around the corner.

Since it is a St. Patrick’s Day spin playlist, the series is three songs long and the resistance on the bike mimics the shape of the rainbow. So, the resistance will get heavier for the first two songs and then dial down for the last song.

Here’s the series — do it three times through.

  • Song 1: Climb (Part 1). Start seated at a flat road resistance and moderate intensity. Add resistance periodically during the song to increase intensity, ending the song at hard intensity. If you do have monitors, try to stick to roughly the same RPM the whole song.
  • Song 2: Climb (Part 2). Keep the resistance on the bike and continue the climb. This time, every 30 seconds we’ll go from seated to standing (and vice versa). Each time you stand, add more resistance to continue to increase intensity, starting in hard intensity and ending at breathless intensity.
    • Please note: when you stand, the intensity of the ride will not be as challenging, so participants will get some reprieve during these times. Students will monitor what their intensity is like in the saddle (seated) going from hard to breathless.
  • Song 3: Bring the resistance back down so that it’s just a touch above flat road and you’re working at a high-moderate intensity. When the chorus comes, students will go faster, finding a breathless intensity. If you have monitors, encourage folks to increase their revolutions per minute (RPMs) by 10-20. At the end of the chorus, go back to that initial resistance and intensity.
    • Please note: if students need a longer recovery period, feel free to recover a bit longer at the beginning of the climb in Song 1.

The St. Patrick’s Day Spinning Music Playlist:

  1. Green Light, by John Legend [Warm up]
  2. The Other Side, by Bruno Mars (feat. Cee Lo Green and B.o.B.) [Song 1]
  3. Holiday, by Green Day [Song 2]
  4. Get Lucky, by Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell Williams) [Song 3]
  5. Pot of Gold, by The Game (feat. Chris Brown) [Song 1]
  6. California (There is No End to Love), by U2 (they’re Irish! :)) [Song 2]
  7. Lucky Strike, by Maroon 5 [Song 3]
  8. Gold Digger, by Kanye West (feat. Jamie Foxx; “clean” version) [Song 1]
  9. Brown Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison (also Irish!) [Song 2]
  10. Rainbow in the Dark, by Dio [Song 3]
  11. Lucky, by Jason Mraz (feat. Colbie Caillat) [Cool Down Pt. 1]
  12. Lucky, by Britney Spears [Cool Down Pt.2]

Hope you enjoy! If you’re looking for more spinning songs and playlists, check out the workout routines and playlists page.

 

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Valentine’s Day Spinning Music Playlist & Routine (45 minutes)

Instructor listening to Valentine's Day spinning music playlist

Oh, Valentine’s Day! While many people love to love this holiday, I know others that love to hate it. I personally fall somewhere in the middle. But personal preferences aside, Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to use for themed spinning classes, since there are so many songs out there about love. With everyone having different opinions about the holiday, I think it’s important to make a spinning music playlist that’s not all mushy gushy love songs — add some spunky single swag, and songs about self-love, friend love, etc.

Have fun with it, and don’t take the spinning music playlist theme too seriously. I would look for love songs with a solid beat or high emotion to bring the energy in the Group X class, and throw in a few spin songs that will have everyone singing along.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day spinning music playlist and routine.

I like to teach my spin class in a series that we do twice or three times through, depending on the series. So, I pick a couple exercises to make up my series, and we stick to it throughout the class. That way, participants know what to expect, so they can go big when they’re supposed to and not hold back for fear of another sprint around the corner.

For this Valentine’s Day-themed spinning music playlist, I took us through the arc of a relationship — the crushin’ phase, the romance and finally the break-up.

Here’s the series — do it twice through.

  • Song 1: Moderate pace with hard (uncomfortable) surges on the chorus. If your bikes have monitors, choose a fast RPM (between 80 – 100), then ask participants to add 10+ to their RPM during the chorus.
  • Song 2: Sprint intervals. 30 seconds breathless effort, 30 seconds recovery. Do this three times through.
  • Song 3: Climb (Part 1). Starting at moderate intensity seated, resistance slightly above flat road. Add resistance throughout the song, ending at hard intensity.
  • Song 4: Climb (Part 2). Keep resistance from prior song, and stand up. When you’re out of the saddle, resistance should feel moderate. Add resistance throughout the song, until you’re at hard intensity at the end.
  • Song 5: 45 seconds each — moderate, hard, harder and breathless intensity. You can add resistance, leg speed, sit or stand to increase intensity with each. If you’re using a monitor, you can ask participants to add RPM with each increase (approx. 80, 90, 100 and 110).

The Valentine’s Day Spinning Music Playlist:

  1. Call Me Maybe, by Carly Rae Jepsen [Warm-up]
  2. Got My Mind Set On You, by George Harrison [Song 1]
  3. Emotions, by Mariah Carey [Song 2]
  4. Buttons, by Pussy Cat Dolls [Song 3]
  5. The Other Side, by Jason Derulo [Song 4]
  6. Hey Leonardo, by Blessed Union of Souls [Song 5]
  7. Crazy in Love, by Beyonce feat. Jay-Z [Song 1]
  8. Best Days of Your Life, by Kellie Pickler [Song 2]
  9. Can’t Feel My Face, by The Weeknd [Song 3]
  10. Forget You, by Cee Lo Green [Song 4]
  11. Since U Been Gone, by Kelly Clarkson [Song 5]
  12. Fresh Eyes, by Andy Grammer [Cool Down]

Hope you enjoy! If you’re looking for more spinning songs and playlists, check out the workout routines and playlists page.

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45-minute Spin Class Routine Ideas

Group-X-Spin-Class-Routines

Why do your participants show up to your group fitness class? That’s one of the hardest questions to answer, but one of the most critical for personalizing and tailoring your spin class routine for your audience. I was able to attend two separate spinning classes this month with two very different types of people, and I took away some great spin class routine ideas to share with you.

What I found most interesting from the two spin classes I took were how the style of instruction differed, and how my friends and fellow participants reacted to each class. The first was a dream for all my data heads out there. You plugged your stats into the bike, and then as you rode, the bike would let you know if you were working in the ideal range. My engineer, number-crunching fiancé loved it. He told me he much preferred that to the motivational rides that tap into your feelings. After that ride, I felt like I needed to focus on spin class routine ideas that cater to the numbers and stats.

But then I went to the second class with two inspiring, emotionally-driven friends. Familiar with spin classes, they told me they just wanted a dark room where the music was on fire and they could just let go. We went to Flywheel class where there were some numbers to look at, but it mostly focused on the high-energy music with an instructor that had a personality to match. Also interesting was that the Flywheel class has a “torq” board you can sign up for that will flash on the screen so you can race your fellow participants. In my class, only one other girl participated with me, while there was a handful of men on the board. Yet, the class had at least a dozen other women in the room that did not want to be on the board. If I just had that one experience to pull from, I would think I needed to focus on spin class routine ideas that catered to good music and inspiring directions.

This just even further complicates the question of why people are coming to your spin class. Ultimately, everyone comes for a different reason, seeking a different experience. It’s up to you to find your own style and own it, even if it’s not one everyone likes. So, we need to make sure we’re constantly evolving and changing up our spin class routine in order to cater to the wide-range of needs in a given class.

If you’re looking for 45-minute spin class routine ideas, here are a bunch of class-approved playlists and routines to try.

As you know, I like to teach my spinning classes in a series of exercises that we do twice or three times through, depending on the series. So, I pick a couple exercises to make up my series, and we stick to it throughout the class. That way, participants know what to expect, so they can go big when they’re supposed to and not hold back for fear of another interval around the corner.

Spin Class Routine Ideas #1: Fast Feet

  • Song 1: “Seated climb + 30-second sprint”. Keeping feet fast (to pace of music), increase resistance starting moderate and ending hard intensity. Then, 30-second breathless sprint at the end.
  • Song 2: “Seated climb + 45-second sprint”. Keeping feet fast (to pace of music), increase resistance starting moderate and ending hard intensity. This time, the 45-second sprint happens in the middle. “Force” the recovery by continuing to climb afterwards while working at a lower intensity.
  • Song 3: “Seated climb + 60-second sprint”. Keeping feet fast (to pace of music), increase resistance starting moderate and ending hard intensity. Finally, do the 60-second sprint at the beginning. Afterwards, “force” the recovery continuing to work, but at a pace and intensity level that allows you to catch your breath. At the end of each series of three songs, allow for a full recovery with a towel and water break.

The Fast Feet Playlist

  • Livin’ on a Prayer, by Bon Jovi [Warm-up]
  • HandClap, by Fitz and the Tantrums [Song 1]
  • Bad Reputation, by Joan Jett [Song 2]
  • Hey Ya!, by OutKast [Song 3]
  • Just a Girl, by No Doubt [Song 1]
  • She’s Out of Her Mind, by Blink-182 [Song 2]
  • The Greatest, by Sia [Song 3]
  • She Works Hard for the Money, by Donna Summer [Song 1]
  • Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina & The Waves [Song 2]
  • I’m Still Standing, by Elton John [Song 3]
  • Loving You Easy, by Zac Brown Band [Cool Down]

Spin Class Routine Ideas #2: Crushing Climbs

  • Song 1: Climb. Start at a flat road resistance in moderate intensity. Then, add resistance, while maintaining RPM or pace, until you end in hard intensity.
  • Song 2: Climb continues. Once you have enough resistance on the bike where it feels like you have to stand in order to keep up that RPM, then stand. You should have plenty of resistance under your feet. Then, continue the climb ending in a harder intensity (but not breathless).
  • Song 3: 20/20/20 intervals. For the first 20 seconds, participants will strive for breathless intensity (a.k.a. sprint) for 20 seconds seated. Then, they’ll do the same thing standing for 20 seconds at breathless intensity. Finally, they’ll recover for 20 seconds standing or seated. I usually do this twice in a row, and allow them a longer break in the middle (typically around 40 seconds). Then, I’ll do one more 20/20/20 interval, or two if there’s enough time left in the song.
  • Song 4: 30/30 intervals. The last exercise we did was 30/30 intervals with increased resistance. So, participants would hold breathless intensity for 30 seconds, then recover for 30 at moderate intensity. Right before each interval, I asked the class to add some resistance, so that it felt like they continued to “climb” with each sprint.

Crushing Climbs Playlist

  1. You Make Me Feel, by Cobra Starship [Warm-up]
  2. Rebel Yell, by Billy Idol [Song 1]
  3. Separate Ways, by Journey [Song 2]
  4. Without You, by David Guetta [Song 3]
  5. Heartbreaker, by Pat Benatar [Song 4]
  6. Clarity, by Zedd [Song 1]
  7. Back in the Saddle, by Aerosmith [Song 2]
  8. Dirty Deeds, by AC/DC [Song 3]
  9. Can’t Stop the Feeling, by Justin Timberlake [Song 4]
  10. In the Air, by Phil Collins [Cool Down]

Spin Class Routine Ideas #3: Climb & Sprint Combo

This time, we did a 5-song series:

  • Song 1: climb + 30 second sprint at the end
  • Song 2: climb + 45 second sprint at the end
  • Song 3: climb + 1-minute sprint at the end
  • Song 4: moderate pace/intensity with hard intensity surges at the chorus. Can be a mix of leg speed and resistance increases.
  • Song 5: surprise sprints. The instructor calls out an intensity (hard or breathless) and a duration (30 seconds). When you say “go”, we’re off to the races.

If the bikes in your Group X classes have monitors, this is an easy lesson plan to incorporate the monitors, as well. Instead of doing 30 second, 45 second and 1-minute sprints in each series, devote each series to one amount of time. Say, 30 seconds for the first one, then 45 seconds for the second and 1 minute for the last one. With each sprint in a series, have the participants do the same amount of time, and track the distance they cover on that first sprint. From there, set a goal for members to try to beat that distance when they do the sprint in the next two songs.

So, in the first series, participants are sprinting for 30 seconds, tracking their time, then sprinting for 30 seconds in the next two songs and trying to beat their distance. After the first series is over, start fresh tracking the distance traveled in 45 seconds, and so on.

Climb & Sprint Combo Playlist

  1. Let’s Ride, by Kid Rock [Warm-up]
  2. I Love Rock N’ Roll, by Joan Jett [Song 1]
  3. Wherever I Go, by OneRepublic [Song 2]
  4. Our Own House, by Misterwives [Song 3]
  5. Without You, by David Guetta [Song 4]
  6. Memory, by Sugarcult [Song 5]
  7. Communication Breakdown, by Led Zeppelin [Song 1]
  8. Wild Ones, by Flo Rida [Song 2]
  9. The Way You Move, by OutKast [Song 3]
  10. Clarity, by Zedd [Song 4]
  11. Give Me Everything, by Pitbull [Song 5]
  12. Hymn for the Weekend, by ColdPlay [Cool Down]

For more suggestions, check out my workout routines and playlists page.

And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich.

 

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Group X Spin Class Routines: Steep Hills (45 minutes)

Group-X-Spin-Class-Routines

Summer is here! And for many spinning instructors, that means a dip in your class sizes as many participants opt to ride outdoors instead. Rather than getting down on yourself about the smaller class sizes, spend that extra energy thinking of creative ways to boost morale and engage the members in your Group X classes through fun, new spin class routines.

Here’s a spinning routine that’s received good feedback from members. This one puts a special twist on the climb. In this case, you’ll start with your traditional climb, adding resistance as you pedal to move from moderate to hard intensity. And, that’s where the similarities end for your traditional climb.

Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll ask members to maintain their resistance and do surprise sprints. That means you’ll call out a time duration and an intensity level (moderate, hard or breathless), count down from three and then folks will start their sprint. After each sprint, make sure participants get adequate recovery time. These intervals are fun, because participants need to be focused on your instructions and respond. They also mimic an outdoor ride when someone in the pack of riders decides to shoot off in front of the rest, taunting the rest of the group to keep up. The final song of the series is a reverse climb where participants will start with heavy resistance and hard intensity and take off resistance until they’ve found a moderate intensity level and are close to flat road.

To round out a 45-minute spin class, you’ll do these same drills three times through, picking different sprint durations each time. Here’s a look at the workout playlist, along with the spin class routine.

For another spin class idea, check out the Triple Threat routine.

“Steep Hills” Spin Class Routine

Group X Spin Class Routines: Steep Hills

“Steep Hills” Playlist on Spotify

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Group X Spin Class Routines: Increasing Intervals (45 minutes)

Group-X-Spin-Class-Routines

It’s important for fitness instructors to keep their spin class routines interesting. If every class is the exact same thing day in and day out, participants will stop enjoying themselves and stop seeing progress. While we all have our go-to playlists and workouts, it’s important to add an exercise or two to mix it up. There are a few easy ways to spice up your spin class routines. You can add a crowd-pleasing song that you know will amp everyone up — my current song obsession is, “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” by Def Leppard.

You can also try a new exercise that’s not part of your typical toolkit. Here’s one of my spin class routines and playlists that I call “Increasing Intervals”. I’ve split up the songs into three series. The first series revolves around a “30” theme, so intervals and activities are held for 30 seconds each.

So, we start with a climb, increasing resistance from moderate intensity to hard intensity, finishing the song with a 30 second breathless interval. The next song is breathless intervals and periods of recovery for the allotted time, so 30 seconds each in this case. Finally, the series wraps up with an increasing intensity drill. Every 30 seconds, participants increase intensity, either adding resistance, increasing leg speed, sitting or standing. There are a total of four intervals: moderate, hard, very hard and breathless intensity. The group can recover for the rest of the song and can continue to recover at the start of the first song of the next series, if needed.

The next series focuses on “45”, so we do the same activities this time for 45 seconds each. Then, we do these exercises again with a “60” theme, holding everything for one minute.

I like this spin class routine, because it gives participants a chance to get good at the drills, but it also increases in difficulty as the class goes on. By the end, you’ll really need to motivate the participants to push themselves for the 1-minute intervals.

“Increasing Intervals” Spin Class Routine

Spin Class Routines: Increasing Intervals

“Increasing Intervals” Playlist on Spotify

For more spin class routines and music ideas, check out the workout routines and playlist page.

 

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Group X Spin Class Routines: Triple Threat

Group-X-Spin-Class-Routines

As group fitness (or Group X) instructors, we’re always looking for new spin class ideas to keep members excited and motivated. While we all have our go-to playlists and workouts, members do appreciate when we add an exercise or two to mix it up. There are a few easy ways to spice up your spin class routines. You can add a “throwback” song to your playlist, especially a classic that has everyone singing along. You can also try a new exercise that’s not part of your typical toolkit.

Here’s one of my 45-minute spin class routines and playlist that I like to call “triple threat”. You’ll notice I use tabata timer songs for the intervals, which makes it super easy to do 20/10 intervals without losing track of time. There are a lot of different song timers out there. If you decide to give a song timer a try, take some time to listen to the preview before purchasing to make sure the countdown style works for you.

For more tips, check out the workout routines and playlists page.

“Triple Threat” Spin Class Routine

Group-X-Spin-Class-Routines-Triple-Tabata

“Triple Threat” Playlist on Spotify