Over the last couple of days I've remembered a few points that didn't make it into either part 1 or part 2 of my SoulCycle articles that I wanted to share today.
3 pound hand weights can get really heavy
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I failed to complete part of the weight segment in the first class. I'm not kidding 🙁 Amy was right there next to me when I was unable to finish (I can't remember exactly what exercise) and had to drop my arms and rest, before I was able to continue. I didn't pick them myself, those little 3 pound weights were already there on the bike for me - given the chance I would probably grabbed something larger.
Our Instructor (Heather) had us with a lot of load on the flywheel and sitting up straight and tall. We went through multiple, high repetition series of shoulder, bicep and tricep exercises. I'd guess it was 5 or so minutes total and I worked to failure of my shoulder muscles before the end.
Something to consider...
But you can't gain strength with those little weights! That's what I've heard expressed by multiple "experts" that light weight/high repetition exercise has no value. I was discussing this with a former SoulCycle Instructor and his response to me was along the lines of; wait... so riding a bicycle has no value either? Isn't the act of pedalling a bicycle, with its high repetition and relatively low force, exactly the same as what we are doing with small weights in class? Why would one be "good" and the other "bad"?
The fact is that many women don't want to build muscular size - they only want to tone their upper body and rarely go near a weight room. SoulCycle obviously understands this = that's why they offer these exercises. Poke your head into any Group Fitness "Sculpt" class and you'll see a room full of women using similar sized weights - often while sitting on something unstable, like a Bosu or exercise ball.
They know their music... I mean REALLY KNOW THEIR MUSIC!
Yes, I mentioned this in the original article > When I compare how well both SoulCycle Instructors knew their music, as compared to my rather A.D.D. (feeling the need for something new every week) approach, I'm thinking I have a lot to learn here. In both classes it was uncanny how each Instructor was able to pre-cue every significant change in the music > or at least it seemed that way. The net effect was powerful and very impressive 🙂
Question: what, exactly, is wrong with using the same playlist for multiple classes? In the pre-digital music days, I watched Amy painstakingly create cassette tape playlists. She would use each for a month or more and then recycle her favorites months later. After a few classes she would know the ebb and flow of each song perfectly + what track was to follow. My (and maybe your) need to deliver new music every week (or class?) has me scanning my iPhone or crib sheet for what's coming next > is this a climb or a fast flat? What's going to follow? Does your class really need new music every week? Or is that just an insecurity of yours... one you'll need to get over? [/wlm_private]
This was surprising to me John!
I received a bunch of emails and read multiple Facebook comments, all expressing the same basic sentiments; your observations are the exact opposite from what I've heard others say about SoulCycle. Why haven't I heard this perspective before?
Why do you think much of what you've read/heard about SoulCycle is negative? I have my ideas, but I prefer to hear yours below >
Are you an independent thinker when it comes to conducting an effective, entertaining and motivating Indoor Cycling class? If so please consider joining us here as an ICI/PRO member where everyone is welcome - no matter where, our how, you choose to teach!
Originally posted 2014-10-25 14:17:30.
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Hey John, Just took my first soul cycle class today. Had to see what all the hype was about myself. I agree with the points you made. I also heard mostly negative comments from traditional spin instructors who have never tried it! All I know is I got a great work out was breathless and sweaty at the end all while having fun. I see how people get hooked. I arrived early and saw they had bigger weights , switched the 2 pound ones on my bike for 5 pounders and barely got through it. beforehand I thought the light weights were silly but I did some sets to failure! I didn’t see any moves that seemed dangerous. My instructor did start out as a traditional spin instructor. Spin is very slow to change,( just approved hand position 2 1/2 )and getting stale. Soul cycle is not the devil the traditional spin instructors make it out to be, it may be our savior .
Great observations Thomas – and not just for the brands in our industry. All of us need to prevent becoming stale.
I’ve been a fan of Specialized Bicycles’ mission; “Innovate or Die” since the day I first heard it. Barbara Hoots reinforced this in her presentation for studio owner at WSSC titled “New, Improved or Improving”.
SoulCycle is effectively dragged us beyond the “we’ve always done it this way” school of thought.
This make me believe that there is room for a ‘non-authentic cycling’ certification.
Does anyone know if Jim Karanas’ request to ACE to look into non-authentic cycling ever produced anything?
After all if the big three, Madd Dog, Schwinn and AFAA (not necessarily in that order) are not going to offer it some one should. Like ‘power or heart zones training, non-authentic cycling could be added to a basic certification.
Here, not in any special order, are the three important bullet points I get from these posts:
1) an instructor cannot go wrong by NOT ONLY knowing their music but choreographing the ride to it.
2) Be happy to be there and connect, connect, connect with your riders. Soul Cycle instructors are selected in large part due to their natural ability to connect and then educated by Soul Cycle to make them provide that ‘Wow Factor’ every class.
3) Studio owners take note of all the details the Soul Cycle administrators did to make Amy and John’s experience so positive. Even before the class started.
It is far easier to yell and scream “CONTRAINDICATED” or “Of no training value” or “That is not how one would actually ride a bike” than to accept the reality. Soul Cycle actually figured out what people going to cycle classes really want.