Did you know that all of the Indoor Cycles that use magnetic resistance (FreeMotion S11.9, Keiser M3i and Schwinn AC) have a built in feature that will help your riders get stronger, create more power and burn more calories if you recognise and cue to it properly?

The feature I'm talking about doesn't have a label to identify it or a button to push to turn it on or off. It's not found in any manual that I'm aware of and there's a good chance it wasn't even mentioned in your training. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist - it's just poorly understood... which is where I come in 🙂

The feature I'm referring to is how cycles with magnetic resistance get progressively harder to pedal as cadence increases.

Now if you're reading this and are thinking; everyone already knows this John. I am going to challenge you and say most don't. I've taken a lot of classes recently on Schwinn AC's, taught by multiple Instructors. In each class the studio was using PIQ to track rider stats and the Instructor explained that they were committed to helping everyone work hard and burn the maximum amount of calories. But none of them took advantage of this unique feature.

This feature, by the way, doesn't exist on Indoor Cycles that uses a friction pad to create resistance.

I described a short experiment I ran in this post, comparing the new Spinner® Blade Ion (friction) with the bike I teach on regularly, the FreeMotion S11.9 (magnetic). I was pretty excited with the results as it confirmed what I had perceived after our club switched from Spinner® NXT's to FreeMotion S11.9's.

You can try a similar experiment on your own.

  1. Riding by yourself, find a seated cadence of ~ 70 rpm and add resistance until you would feel comfortable coming out of the saddle and standing - a medium grade hill.
  2. Stay seated and accelerate your cadence up to 100 + RPM and beyond if possible.

One of two things will happen, depending on which type of resistance is used on your bike.

  • On a Friction Resistance bike you'll typically feel that the amount of force need to turn the pedals becomes easier, with less and less force required as your RPM increases. Depending where you started from, you'll probably feel the flywheel taking over and begin to feel it run away on you as you get over 100 RPM.
  • A magnet bike will feel very different. The resistance gets harder and harder, the faster you turn the cranks. If you started with an honest hill there's a good chance you'll quickly reach the point where you simply can't go any faster, because you can't produce the rapidly increasing amount of power needed.

So how do I use and cue this feature if I have it available?

When you want to motivate your class to work hard it's actually very simple > always add/increase cadence to existing resistance.

Here's an example of how I cue this for a typical 3-4 minute "Best Effort" PTP (Personal Threshold Power) interval I include in every class. I include these to give everyone a working PTP for that day, on that specific bike - which helps to negate issues around variances between bikes.

NOTE: This is very effective when you are using the PTP feature on PIQ. From the PIQ manual page 16:

PIQ PTP Screen

Personal Threshold Power (PTP) Mode
In the PTP mode, riders are asked to spend 3 minutes riding as hard as they can to find their “critical power” level. 90% of the Average Power generated during the 3 minute PTP test is used as the PTP number. For example, if a rider rides for 3 minutes at an average of 100 Watts, their PTP would be 90 Watts. At the end of the 3 minute test, a purple PTP number will be displayed for 10 seconds. Using this PTP number, riders will be able to perform zone training based on each individual”™s sustainable power level.

  1. For this PTP segment I'll choose a song with a strong 85-95 RPM cadence, with the intent of having everyone at or near the track's RPM during the effort. I used this 88 RPM remix of; "Ain't no rest for the wicked" from Cage the Elephant last week
  2. During the song's intro I'll ask everyone to go to ~70 RPM and add load until they're feeling they could stand.
  3. At the right point in the song (where there's enough time till the end) I'll cue everyone to accelerate to the song's actual tempo 85-95RPM.
  4. Cue thumb over stage button in three... two... stage button and/or click CALC PTP in PIQ to start recording the effort.
  5. After the first minute I'll suggest making any small changes in load to make sure they can sustain the chosen cadence until the end.

I've found through experimentation and rider feedback (I've been doing this in every class I teach for ~ 2 years) that this is the easiest and most effective method I've found to ensure everyone works their hardest during these timed and recorded efforts = a more accurate PTP that I'll use to guide efforts during the rest of the class. I don't have PIQ where I teach - I just ask everyone to remember their PTP average watts once we get to the end.

Please give this a try and let me know your experiences.

Originally posted 2014-11-12 10:34:27.


Add Your Thoughts...