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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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Teaching a Spin Class with the Schwinn Cycling App “Class Tamer”

When I first started to teach a spin class, I wrote my lesson plan and notes in my notebook, then created the playlist for it in iTunes. At the time, iTunes would automatically add up the time of each song and share how long the entire playlist would last. This is critical in order to properly teach a spin class, because if a playlist is an hour and five minutes but the class is only an hour, you’re going to have problems.

But then, one of Apple’s software updates removed that feature, so it no longer automatically calculated the time length of the entire playlist. For a couple weeks, I would manually add up each song to estimate if the playlist would end on time. It was time consuming and inaccurate. After the class ran (slightly!) late one too many times, I decided to find a new way to do my spin class playlists.

I remembered my Schwinn certification instructor recommending the Schwinn cycling app, so I decided to give it a try.

Here’s my review of using the Schwinn Cycling App to teach a spin class.

The Pros

  1. The app will calculate the total time length of the playlist to help make sure you end the class on time. Schwinn Cycling app tracks total time for spin class playlist
  2. It shows how much time has passed and is left for each song in big numbers. This is nice, because I don’t have to squint to read the numbers. However, be careful to not confuse the two numbers — I’ve learned that the hard way!
  3. There’s a space to add notes for each song. This is nice when there’s no place to set your notebook, like in spin rooms that use Bluetooth stereos. I normally put my water bottle and notebook on top of the stereo next to me, but if it’s on the other side of the room, everything gets placed on my bike’s handlebars.

Add Notes to Schwinn Cycling App to Teach the Spin Class

The Cons

  1. It’s difficult to press the “next song” if you decide to skip a song during class. This can be good, since there are no accidental song changes, but it also means I’m stuck pressing the button a bunch of times in front of a class full of waiting spinners.
  2. You have to start at the beginning of your playlist, so you can’t jump to the middle very easily without clicking through each song.

Overall, I would recommend the Schwinn cycling to anyone teaching a spin class. It’s never let me down in the year I’ve used it. And, I love that it calculates the total ride time for me. Since I don’t have to press buttons all that often, it doesn’t bother me that it’s difficult. If you’re someone who bounces around your playlist, this may not be the right app for you.

For more tips and tricks, check out the group exercise ideas page. And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich.

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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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How to Best Use Indoor Cycling Bike Consoles

Indoor cycling bike consoles

Late last year, my gym finally got new (to us) indoor cycling bikes with consoles. Even though they’re used bikes, it’s so exciting to have consoles that we can use to measure different aspects of the ride. One participant even commented that indoor cycling rides are more challenging when you have a console to hold you accountable and motivate you. The only bummer I find with most indoor cycling bike consoles, including ours, is that the numbers can vary so drastically from bike to bike, and sometimes even day to day on the same bike. Especially as the indoor cycling bike consoles start to get some wear and tear, they’re easily off calibration, and usually read much different numbers than you would see if you were riding outside.

So, here’s the problem: how do you suggest a range to work within for any of the items displayed on the console (speed, RPM, watts, etc.) when the bikes’ calibration varies so drastically? For example, you might say, “your WATTS should be between 100 and 500,” but what if their WATTS are calculated on a bike console with an inaccurate calibration? Even if the calibration is correct, 100 to 500 is such a huge range to work with as a participant.

My solution? Do the same interval more than once, and use the first interval as a guide to match or surpass in the remaining intervals. That way, it doesn’t really matter if the numbers are inaccurate, because riders will be able to reach their max using measurements they establish instead.

Indoor Cycling with Bike Consoles Ride #1: WATTS

For example, if you want to track WATTS, you can suggest:

“We’re going to do a breathless, sprint interval for 30 seconds. Resistance is just a touch above flat road. During your interval, observe your WATTS to see how high you can get that number. In the next interval, I want you to try to match those WATTS. In the final interval, I want you to try to pass those WATTS.”

That way, participants are pushing to find their very best WATTS they’re able to ride that day, despite any inaccurate indoor cycling bike consoles’ calibrations, and can use that to guide the rest of their ride.

Indoor Cycling with Bike Consoles Ride #2: Distance

Another measure I like to use is distance and time. These two are nice companion measurements, and you can do quite a few exercises with them.

For example, you can track distance over a specified amount of time:

“We’re going to do a breathless, sprint interval for 60 seconds, seeing how far we can go using that distance measurement. Then, on our next interval, we’re going to cut both numbers in half, so half the distance in half the time.”

Creating a guide measurement to follow for the rest of the class helps to avoid the issues we typically find when offering broad ranges for participants to follow. Make sure that you start over each week, asking participants to observe and measure their numbers on the first interval, since they may switch bikes from week to week or their indoor cycling bike consoles may have been altered since. Then, use that metric as a guide to match or beat during other intervals in the class.

For more tips and tricks, check out the group exercise ideas page. You can also find spinning playlists and workouts here.

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Schwinn Certification Review: How I Became a Spinning Instructor

Realizing that I got my indoor cycling Schwinn certification back in 2015 to officially become a spinning instructor, this review is long, long overdue! I want to share my experience with you today to help those interested in the Schwinn certification know what to expect.

For background, I passed my ACE Fitness group exercise certification test in 2010, and started teaching strength and step, plus subbing spin classes every once in a blue moon. In 2015, one of my gyms needed a new permanent instructor for an evening spin class, and I jumped at the opportunity. The only caveat: I needed to get a spinning certification. Every gym has a different policy — some need just a general group exercise certification and others have more specific requirements. So, it’s a good idea to check with the gym(s) you want to teach at before getting new certifications.

I had taken a couple Schwinn classes at the SCW Mania convention that same year, and had already fallen in love with the brand. With that in mind, I knew I wanted to take a Schwinn certification course. Up until then, I had been dragging my feet because of the extra costs, but I learned that there’s only a one-time fee to get your Schwinn certification — no extra costs associated with continuing education! Woo!

So, I signed up for a course with Shannon Fable at Crunch Fitness in San Francisco.

Shannon Fable

Shannon is an IDEA and ACE Instructor of the Year and a fitness business and programming consultant. She’s helped brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, POWER SYSTEMS®, ACE and BOSU® over the past 20 years. Shannon is a member of the ACE Board of Directors, is the owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud based group fitness management tool, and Balletone®.

I loved Shannon’s presentation style. She was truly authentic and genuine, which is rare in this industry. I give major props to Schwinn for how they select their master instructors. They are some of the best in the biz and will get you pumped to be teaching spin classes.

The Schwinn Certification Training Details

  • Time: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Breaks: The day is jam-packed. We had a lunch break, and a few quick bathroom breaks.
  • What to Bring:
    • Snacks
    • Lunch (unless there’s a place nearby to grab something)
    • Water (most gyms will have faucets to fill your bottles)
    • Towels (you can usually grab some from the front desk at the gym)
    • Pens/pencils
    • They’ll give you a workbook to take notes, but you might also want to bring your own notebook
    • Clipboard (optional; makes it easier to write without a desk)
    • Sweatshirt (when not riding, a lot of the rooms can get cold)
    • Spin shoes (if you have them)
    • Come dressed in workout clothes, ready to ride
    • Change of clothes (optional; if you tend to sweat a lot, might be nice to have a change of clothes for after the first ride)
  • Cost: $229
  • CECs (continuing education credits): 1.20 ACE CECs, .08 NASM CECs and 8.00 AFAA CEUs

The Schwinn Certification Review

Schwinn Certification Workbook

Overall, the training was great. I was nervous about taking the class with a bunch of really experienced riders, but the class was much more diverse than I expected. There are people that have never taught a single class before, and there are others that have been teaching for decades. Most of the participants there were really nice and made the group/partner work fun.

The morning kicked off with an overview of the technical stuff — bike functions, how to use the monitors/consoles, and body mechanics on the bikes. We went through how to fit users for the bikes in both a “quick fit” and “high performance fit”. This was one of my favorite parts, because it’s one of the most important elements of teaching spinning classes. The bike fit will make or break someone’s experience in your class, so this formal training was critical.

Then, we talked through class planning, cueing, music and motivation. Shannon did recommend avoiding asking participants for song suggestions, because then you’ll be stuck playing whatever song they suggest, whether it’s good or bad — funny, ’cause it’s true!

And, if your class moans and groans when you play a certain song, you can say, “Alright, we’ve played a bunch of different songs here today. This next one is for me, because I love it!”

Of course, we also did two rides throughout the day to practice and experience what we were learning.

Would I recommend Schwinn Cycling?

As you can probably tell, I loved getting my Schwinn certification to officially become a spinning instructor, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in teaching. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much experience with the other spinning certification programs, so I can’t really compare them for you today. I can say that my experience with Schwinn and as a spinning instructor has been excellent.

Since I already had a class lined up, I was able to dive right in to teaching, and have made the money back that it cost to take the course. I love teaching spin classes, there’s something unique about being stationed on a bike that allows instructors to get creative with how we motivate the class. Participants are able to get more introspective, so we can tap into personalized, goal-oriented motivational cues.

If you’re interested in taking a Schwinn certification workshop, check out their event calendar here.

You may also like my recent Valentine’s Day spin workout and playlist, or check out other group exercise tips.

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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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17 Great Throwback Spinning Songs for 2017

Group fitness instructor listening to throwback spinning songs for 2017

Spinning songs will make or break your group fitness class. Sure, the exercises, motivational cues, tempo and overall vibe are important, but it’s mission critical to get the music right, or you risk losing return Group X participants. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some great chart-topping hits in 2017, but in the meantime, it’s always fun to toss in a few throwback spinning songs to get the class jamming.

Whether it’s a popular song from 2016 or one from the 80s, it’s always a good idea to think about your audience when choosing songs. After a few classes under your belt, you’ll know whether they prefer Top 40s, rock, instrumental or one of the many other genres out there. Once you know their faves, you’ll want to continue to offer a mix of songs, with a special emphasis on their preferred genres.

I teach evening weekday spinning classes, mostly to professionals at the end of their workday (our gym is right outside a couple corporate buildings). There’s certainly a mix of interests in the class, leaning towards a love of classic rock and the Top 40 pop music.

Here are their favorite spinning songs that they ask for again and again.

  1. Livin’ on a Prayer, By Bon Jovi — I think this is generally folks’ all-time favorite spinning song!
  2. You Shook Me All Night Long, By AC/DC — this is another major crowd pleaser in my class.
  3. Bad Reputation, By Joan Jett — great for sprint/quick feet songs.
  4. Born to Run, By Bruce Springsteen — this one makes me feel like I’m spinning in a movie.
  5. Come as You Are, By Nirvana — good for a climb with heavy resistance.
  6. Communication Breakdown, By Led Zeppelin — this song is a little over two minutes. It’s great when you need to fit a quickie sprint at the end of the class.
  7. P.Y.T., By Michael Jackson — pretty much any Michael Jackson will do. He gets you in a such a good mood.
  8. Draw The Line, By Aerosmith — this one doesn’t have a whole lot of vocals, so I like to use for my warm-up when I know I’m going to be doing a LOT of talking.
  9. Emotions, By Mariah Carey — I LOVE this song. Not everyone does, but worth a try in your next spinning class.
  10. Heartbreaker, By Pat Benatar — tempo is fast, and lyrics are addicting.
  11. I Like the Way You Move, By Outkast — I’m not sure if this really counts as a “throwback”, but nothing gets you bobbing to the beat quite like Outkast.
  12. Livin’ La Vida Loca, By Ricky Martin — this is the kind of song that will surprise your participants, but with an open mind it’s super fun to use for spinning.
  13. Lose Yourself, By Eminem — another one of those spinning songs on the border of a “throwback”, but I’ve had participants specifically ask for this song before.
  14. Only Wanna Be With You, By Hootie & The Blowfish — The pace for this is moderate, but it’s a fun song if people know it.
  15. Pour Some Sugar on Me, By Def Leppard — I was obsessed with this song last year, so I know I overplayed it in my spinning classes, but I promise it’s so good!
  16. Push It, By Salt-N-Pepa — if you want a change-up from the classic rock, this is a fun throwback for you.
  17. Survivor, By Destiny’s Child — this is a special one because you can tap into the lyrics for motivation.

I’ve heard other instructors suggest Madonna and Whitney Houston, but I haven’t found the perfect spinning song by either of them to get the group fitness studio rocking. If you have other spinning song suggestions, please send them my way!

For more workout song suggestions, 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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Spin Class Ideas: Maximum Effort Interval Training

Folks doing interval training in a spin class

As a fitness instructor, have you ever asked your Group X class to give their all during high-intensity interval training only to watch as they held back in the execution? You tell them to go all out, and while your participants are working really hard, you know they still have a little bit more to give.

When we take group fitness classes, most of us have a tendency to hold back. Especially if we’re not sure what’s to come for the rest of the class, we’re hesitant to really give it our all in case we need more energy and effort later on. And, that maximum effort is an uncomfortable feeling that takes a lot of willpower and determination to achieve. Plus, it’s difficult to sustain that max effort for a long period of time. While I know it’s almost impossible for riders to truly work at “maximum” level, we all can recognize when we feel like participants are giving their best in the moment or holding back.

So, how do we bring out the very best effort from our participants during sprint interval training in spin class?

Recently, I tried a new strategy in cueing sprint intervals in my spin class.

We’ve done 30/30 intervals before — 30 seconds of maximum, breathless work and 30 second recovery. But, sometimes we struggle with truly getting breathless by the end of the sprint.

This time I tweaked my cues for the intervals. I asked folks to give me their max effort right out of the gate.

Go as fast as you can possibly go and hold it for as long as you can (within the 30 seconds).

So, if you can’t hold that effort for 30 seconds, that’s okay. Instead, you would dial it down and continue at a “hard” pace until the 30 seconds are up.

The response was amazing — wheels were flying and legs were pumping fast! And, I was blown away with how long participants could hold that maximum level of effort. Just about everyone was able to keep with it for the entire 30 seconds of the first sprint.

I think part of the reason this was so successful was because it deviated from the status quo. We don’t normally do our intervals like that, so the change was appreciated and embraced.

And, since members knew they could slow down whenever they wanted, they allowed themselves to tap into that maximum effort mentality.

While I loved the response I received on these intervals, I don’t think I can incorporate them into the spin class routine every week. These intervals are more of a special option to be used when riders need fresh motivation. Otherwise, the cue will lose its impact.

Also, be careful with how many intervals you do in one class. If these intervals are going to more challenging than usual for participants, you’ll want to consider doing less, so they can really give their all when called upon.

Try incorporating this interval training mentality in your next spin class. Feel free to tweak the instruction to meet your teaching style.

For more tips on what to say to a Group X class to encourage great work, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.