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Cinco de Mayo Spinning Music Playlist

Mexico cyclist for a Cinco de Mayo spinning music playlist

Cinco de Mayo is a challenging holiday for group exercise for a couple of reasons. First, there are mixed feelings about the holiday, commemorating a Mexican victory in the Franco-Mexican War. It’s not really celebrated in Mexico, but in the U.S. it’s hugely popular. Second, it’s hard to find the perfect Cinco de Mayo spinning music playlist. Do you play only songs in Spanish? Do you play popular songs in Mexico right now?

Ultimately, the answer lies with your participants. What will they like and appreciate? For my classes, I know that a good mix of songs from a bunch of different genres and themes will be well-received.

Here are the types of songs I included in my Cinco de Mayo spinning music playlist.

  • Popular songs in Spanish with a good beat. There are some songs that transcend their borders. Just like I picture Pitbull coming out of speakers across the globe, I know that there are Spanish songs that Americans enjoy. I listened to a couple until I found ones with a workout beat.
  • Songs by Mexican Americans. Since Cinco de Mayo is really an American holiday, I figured it didn’t hurt to give special emphasis to Mexican American singers and artists. This includes folks like Santana, Demi Lovato and Fergie.
  • Songs related to “Five”. For those of you that know my spin playlist style, I tend to throw in a few wacky songs into the mix. They always get a positive reaction from the crowd, since they’re just a little bit silly, but still provide a good workout. I couldn’t find any songs I liked with “Cinco” in the title, but there were a couple related to “Five” that I wanted to include.

Without further ado, here’s the Cinco de Mayo spinning music playlist.

  1. Matador, by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
  2. La Bamba, by Ritchie Valens
  3. Sky Might Fall, by Kid Cudi
  4. Smooth, by Santana feat. Rob Thomas
  5. Die Romantic, by Aiden (guitarist Angel Ibarra is Mexican American)
  6. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody, by Fergie feat. Q-Tip, GoonRock
  7. The Glamorous Life, by Sheila E.
  8. Come & Get It, by Selena Gomez
  9. Confident, by Demi Lovato
  10. Testify, by Rage Against the Machine (Zack de la Rocha is Mexican American)
  11. Blame in on the Boogie, The Jackson 5
  12. High Five, by Beck (edited version)

I’m still looking for the perfect Selena workout remix to add, so if you find one, please share!

If you liked this list, you’ll also like the St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day spinning music playlists. And, for those already gearing up for Memorial Day, I’ve shared a super fun list of workout songs, as well.

For more playlists, check out the spinning routines page.

And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich.

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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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This Group Fitness Instructor’s True Love? Resistance Band Workouts

Fitness instructor loves resistance band workouts

This Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but celebrate all of my loves. And let me tell you, I love a lot of things. Sweet potatoes. Margaritas. Hi-rise leggings. Ponytails that don’t pinch. Words that stick. But, at the top of my list of loves this year? Resistance band workouts.

I know I talk about resistance bands all the time, but they are seriously the perfect exercise tool to use in your next fitness class. Resistance bands are great, because everyone in a class full of varying fitness levels can pretty much all use the same resistance band and get a good workout. The bands have so much versatility — they help us get a full body workout, especially when mixed with bodyweight exercises.

When leading your class through resistance band workouts, instruct participants to first inspect their band for rips or tears to prevent the band from breaking during the exercise. Then, grab the band and get started.

Here are my five favorite exercises that you should include as part of your upcoming resistance band workouts.

  1. Lunge with Reverse Fly

Resistance band workouts: lunge with reverse fly
Grab the band in both hands and extend your arms out in front of you so the band is already taunt. Step out with one foot, and bend both knees to lower into your lunge, while also bringing your arms away from each other. Remember to keep your elbow slightly bent, but you don’t move at the elbow joint in this exercise. Instead, you’re moving at the shoulder joint to bring your arms further apart.

  1. Push-ups

Resistance band workouts: push-up
Wrap the band around your back and put your hands over the band securely. If it bothers participants to rub the band against their body, they can either put a towel between their clothes and the band or they can do push-ups without the band. From there, do push-ups as you normally would. The most important part is to make sure that the band is taunt when you’re in the plank position at the top of the push-up.

  1. Squat with Overhead Press

Resistance band workouts: squat with overhead press
Place the band underneath the arch of your shoes for one or both feet. Then grab the handles and bring your arms up so that your palms face away from your body. If this makes the resistance too heavy, then you can leave the band by your sides as you squat. You can also do one arm at a time. If this makes the resistance to weak, you can “choke up” on the band and grab the band itself until it feels more challenging.

Squat with your hands by your shoulders, and as you stand bring your arms overhead in an overhead press.

  1. Side lunge with Bicep Curl

Resistance band workouts: side lunge with bicep curl
Place the band underneath the arches of both shoes with your hands in the handles by your sides. Step out to one side, keeping the band under the arch, and bend into a side lung with one leg bent and the other straight. Then, come back to standing with your feet together and bring your arm into a bicep curl.

  1. Tricep Extensions

Resistance band workouts: tricep extensions
Place the handle in one hand, then swing the band behind your back and grab the band with the other hand. The more you “choke up” on the band, the more challenging it will be and vice versa. Bend your elbow so that it faces the front of the room with your hand behind your head. Then, keep your elbow where it’s at and bring your hand up to the ceiling.

Make sure to switch and do the other side for this exercise and the others that are unbalanced left side to right.

These five exercises will give your class a full body resistance band workout. For more exercise ideas, check out the workout routines 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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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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Resistance Band Back Workouts for Group Fitness Instructors

Resistance band back workouts

I am obsessed with using the resistance band for chest, arms, legs and back workouts. Resistance bands are compact enough to fit in a purse or suitcase, so I can easily get a workout anywhere while simultaneously prepping for my next group fitness class. It’s so easy to modify each resistance band exercise, so that participants with a wide variety of fitness levels can all get a good workout using the same piece of equipment. I know I’m gushing, but seriously, resistance bands are AH-MAZ-ING.

Resistance bands will help you target every muscle group, so you can get a full body strength workout when you want it. And, as you know, strength training is mission critical for those looking to lose weight or get healthy. Strength training helps you burn more calories long after your workout is over, and is great for strong bones and a better mood.

Here are four resistance band back workouts that you can incorporate into a full-body or upper body strength plan.

 Back Workouts #1: Upright Row
Resistance Band Back Workouts #1: Upright Row

Wrap the resistance band around your feet so that the band comes out on the outer sides of your feet. Then, either grab the handles or “choke up” on the band by grabbing lower to make it harder resistance. From there, pull the bands back towards your sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Back Workouts #2: Reverse Fly
Resistance Band Back Workouts #2: Reverse Fly

Either sitting or standing, grab the band in both hands firmly and extend your arms out in front of you, at shoulder height, with elbows slightly bent. Then, bring your hands away from each other again squeezing your shoulder blades together. Feel free to bring your hands all the way back until they’re about an inch in front of your shoulders. You can adjust your grip to increase the resistance of the band. The closer you have your hands together, the harder the exercise will be.

Back Workouts #3: Lat Pull-down

Resistance Band Back Workouts #3: Lat Pull-down
Either sitting or standing, grab the band in one hand, holding it secure so that it doesn’t slip around in your hand. Then, grab the handle using the other hand. You want the band already pretty taunt, so feel free to choke up if the band has too much slack.

From there, with both palms facing the wall in front of you, you’re going to extend the arm holding the band above your head, so that the wrist, elbow and shoulder are all in a straight line, without locking out your arm. The other arm comes over head in the same position, then you bend at the elbow to bring your arm down toward the floor. You should feel the back muscle under the armpit working to bring your arm down by your side. You’ll bring your elbow down below shoulder height, with your wrist staying wide and slightly higher than your elbow.

Back Workouts #4: Bent-over Row

Resistance Band Back Workouts #4: Bent-over Rows
Bring your chest towards the ground until your chest is parallel to the floor, knees slightly bend. Place the resistance band under your feet, then grab either the handles or “choke up” to grab the band itself. Then, pull the band up toward the ceiling and back down, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do it. If this doesn’t feel challenging, bring your hands closer to the ground and grab the band there. That will increase the resistance and intensity of the exercise.

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

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10 Christmas Workout Songs for Group X

Christmas Workout Songs

Forget presents and twinkle lights, I’m of the belief that nothing gets people in the holiday spirit quite like Christmas workout songs. Music can make or break a group fitness class, and it has a huge impact on the energy of a class, so it’s no surprise that Christmas music is an ideal way to make your holiday fitness classes feel fun and special. I’ve shared the top motivational songs for Group X a few months back, and now here are 10 Christmas workout songs to try.

10 High-energy Christmas Workout Songs

  1. 4 Carats, by Kelly Clarkson
  2. Run Rudolph Run, by Cee Lo Green
  3. Oh Santa!, by Mariah Carey
  4. Punk Rawk Christmas, by MxPx
  5. Sleigh Ride, by August Burns Red
  6. All I Want for Christmas is You, by Mariah Carey
  7. 12 Days of Christmas, by Relient K
  8. Sleigh Ride, by TLC
  9. Man With The Bag, by Jessie J
  10. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, by *NSYNC
  11. One More Sleep, by Leona Lewis

I picked these songs, because they are all fast-paced, upbeat songs great for strength or spin classes. Of course, I had to include my all-time favorite Christmas song, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” by Mariah Carey, which has a great beat for holiday-themed workouts.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to make sure you’re considerate of the participants in your Group X class before playing exclusively Christmas workout songs. If you want to round out your holiday workout playlist, consider including songs for other holidays this time of year, like Hanukkah, and winter-themed songs, as well. A good playlist has a hearty mix of songs to reflect the interests of the participants in your class.

For more themed workout playlists for group fitness classes, check out the Memorial Day workout playlist or the Halloween workout playlist.

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45-minute Spin Class Routine Ideas


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.