By Jennifer Lintz –
When I heard about a SPINNING® Certification Workshop being offered just minutes from my home-base in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, I jumped at the opportunity to sign up. Believe it or not, I have been teaching indoor cycling for nearly four years, but never received formal training on the bike. The workshop I attended was held in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on July 23rd, 2011, and was led by Seth Dedmon, from Tennessee. Seth epitomizes what it means to be a great workshop facilitator. His energy, sense of humor, and thick Tennessee accent made me want to listen, and his knowledge base from years of experience had me jotting down notes and quotes almost non-stop.
The nine-hour event was broken down into four sections:
– Bike Setup/Safety
– Heart Rate Training
– Class Design
We spent the early part of the workshop learning how to properly set someone up on the bike. Because I had never been formally trained to teach indoor cycling; I knew that the bend in the knee should not be more than 25 degrees, but not much else. After completing this portion of the workshop, I now have a systematic approach to bike setup and feel completely confident with the entire process.
Second on the agenda was form. During this part of the workshop, we were on the bikes for over an hour with absolutely no music (Imagine that!) and Seth led us through a series of drills while teaching us proper form for seated and standing flats, climbs, jumps, sprints, and running with resistance. Many of the participants – including me – realized form is something even we need help with from time-to-time.
Heart Rate Training
As someone who does not own a heart rate monitor, this was the time of the day when Seth convinced me to buy one. Additionally, he discussed the five types of cycling workouts – recovery, endurance, strength, interval, and race day – and their corresponding heart rates. Seth’s instruction helped me understand the benefit of workout periodization and encouraged me to make certain each class has a specific purpose.
Finally, we learned about class design. As a team, we worked together to build unique profiles (workout routines) and also talked about the importance of using music to create feeling and emotion in class. It has always been a personal priority of mine to consistently create new playlists, but Seth encouraged me to broaden my horizons and search for songs from a wider spectrum of genres – from reggae and classical to tribal and alternative.
To top off the day’s experience, Seth had us get back on the bikes for a sample class, and he actually instructed off the bike. To our surprise, he encouraged us to do the same from time-to-time, as it allows the instructor to give riders personal attention, correct form when necessary, and check in on participant heart rates. Quite honestly, his brief, 30 minute class was one of, if not the best, cycling experiences I have ever had because of the ambience he created in the room. It motivated me to become a better instructor.
In addition to what I learned about bike setup/safety, form, heart rate training, and class design, I learned two things. First, I discovered that indoor cycling is very much a mind/body form of exercise and have a stronger desire to encourage visualization through music, class design, and my words. Additionally, I realized that instructors reach plateaus in their teaching just as the everyday exerciser reaches ruts in their training. The entire day left me feeling empowered to continually improve my teaching so that participants – our number one priority – remain excited about their health and fitness.
*Jennifer Lintz is a Nutritionist, AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Certified SPINNING® Instructor, and ACE Certified Personal Trainer. Visit her web site at www.wellnessbyjennifer.com.