By Team ICG® Master Trainer Jim Karanas

Everyone agrees that indoor cycling classes using heart rate are more effective and even more fun to teach.  This post is not about which HR training principles to use or the best way to determine training zones.  You or the facility at which you teach can decide those things.

This is about how to get your students to wear HRMs in the first place.

I”™ve used HR-based training in all my classes since 1998.  100% of my students wear HRMs in every class.  Instructors ask me how I achieved that.

Use HR-based training yourself. 

You can”™t convey the benefits of HR training unless you fully appreciate them.  Once you adopt a specific training regimen, note your results so you recognize how the body is changing internally.  My first awareness was on the rowing ergometer.  (There weren”™t many indoor cycling computers in 1998.)  I was amazed at how my HR/power correlation improved with the use of periodized training.

If you don't prove to yourself the efficacy of HR training, you won”™t present it to others with conviction.

Don”™t Worry About Understanding Everything at First.

HR training science can get technical.  You can use it and appreciate its benefits without understanding the science fully.

For instance, Polar offers Ownzone, a way of determining HR training zones based on Heart Rate Variability (HRV).  HRV is not the easiest thing to explain. It's fascinating but takes a fair amount of study to understand fully unless you have lots of technical training.  Still, Ownzone is an effective way to determine a student's HR training zones without a max-effort test.

One of the most interesting things about HR-based training is that it keeps evolving.  Yes, there are way too many interpretations of the same information, but it's interesting to read and learn.

Perfect Your Pitch.

Sometimes I hear instructors ask if anyone wants to borrow or use a loaner HRM to try in class.  Not surprisingly, the response is minimal. Your pitch is important.  This is mine.

I never announce it.  I walk over to a new student, hold up a HR strap and say, "Have you seen one of these before?  No?  This is a heart rate monitor.  I want you to wear it today.  It”™s going to change your life."

No one has ever refused.  There”™s no question in my mind that using a HRM will change his/her life.  If you have that level of conviction, people will try it.  They”™re not paying for the loaner and have nothing to lose.

Carry Loaners.

I can't tell you how many of my HRMs have disappeared over the years. What's odd is that just as many HRMs come into my life as I lose.  I no longer consider them an expense.  If you want to teach with HR, you have to carry loaners.  Get them on students at the start of every class.

You won't have enough for everyone and don”™t need to.  That's part of the fun. Carry three or four, plenty to get the class going.  The others will want them next time.  Then they”™ll buy their own.

Cue Both Ways.

This is the clincher.  It comes down to your cueing ability.  You must make everyone feel part of the class but still demonstrate the efficacy of using HRMs.

Selective cues will make everyone see that the students using HRMs are actually getting a better workout than those who aren”™t.  It's extra work, but powerful.  Example:

"Great job on that climb.  Now spin your legs to recover, but not all the way.  If you're wearing a HRM, I want you to drop your HR no more than 20 beats.  Those of you without a HRM will not be able to do this as effectively, but you can still do it.  Regain control of your breathing, but don”™t feel as if you're cooling down.  No shift in body temperature.  This is only one of the reasons I want you to wear HRMs.  They enable you to control the amount of recovery you allow yourself."

Keep It Simple.

I was just talking about this with Team ICG® Master Trainer Chuck Cali.  At ICG® Academy in SF, where we showcase Myride®+, we have many first-time cycling students.  As we switch all of our classes to HR-based training, we have to be careful not to give too much information too quickly.

I call this Qualitative HR training.  I don't talk about zones, threshold or HRV to start.  I ask the students to watch their HR with respect to how they feel and what they”™re doing.  At what HR do you first start to breathe more consciously?  Where”™s your HR when you start to sweat?  When you can't talk?  When your muscles burn?  When you”™re cross-eyed and drooling?

Don't get rid of RPE.  Simply get everyone to have FUN training with HR.  There will be plenty of time later for numbers and metrics.  And another post….


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Originally posted 2012-06-04 09:34:53.

Jim Karanas
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