We've all heard the causality dilemma, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. Ancient philosophers have been debating this question since the beginning of recorded history. Indoor cycling instructors have been asking themselves a similar question,”What comes first, the playlist or the profile?”, ever since Jonny G showed the world how much fun it could be to ride a bike that goes nowhere.
As a more “seasoned” instructor and Master Educator for Stages Cycling I am often asked my advice on this dilemma. I tell them that an awesome playlist or a great profile can carry a class, but if you can create both you'll be a rock star.
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In my “The Power of 3” posts I put together 3 harmonically mixed songs and a short profile that can be used with each mix. I'm always searching for the perfect blend of music and performance based interval sets. Sometimes, like I did for the “ICI/Pro DJ Scott Melker Music Playlist Contest” I let the timing and energy of the music determine my profile. In this post I'm presenting a profile that takes the lead and the music is of secondary importance.
Below I have provided a harmonically mixed 65 minute long music track. The music is not the focus of this profile, so if you want to use your own playlist go right ahead. I would recommend you find a playlist that is high energy and don't worry about the timing of each song and interval, just let the music play.
The two profiles I have provided are very similar, actually the timing of the intervals are exactly the same. The only change is the difference between the low intensity or “Floor” and the high intensity or “Ceiling” of each workout. Due to the high intensity or vaulted ceilings of the Above Threshold workout a low intensity or shallow floor is required to recovery after each interval. It's important to understand this principle, if you are asking your class participants to work above threshold for any length of time you are also going to need to give them time to recover, the higher the intensity, the lower the recovery. If you do not give appropriate recovery you should expect to see a drop in the work done for each interval. I purposely DID NOT give my class appropriate recovery between each interval of this workout. My goal was to have them work on their anaerobic endurance, lactate clearance and lactate buffering. I expected a drop in wattage or work from interval to interval but asked my riders to try to keep this drop as small as possible. Between each interval set riders were given a 2 minute recovery to filter out as much of these accumulated waste products as possible. The cue I kept repeating in the middle of each interval set was “Your legs should feel like you're taking a bath in a tub full of lactate.”
The timing of the @ Threshold workout was exactly the same as the Above Threshold workout, but the height difference between floor and ceiling went from a room with vaulted ceilings to something that resembled a crawl space. The higher intensity or ceiling should be only a few watts above threshold or just above maximum sustainable intensity and the low intensity should be just below threshold or to the point where riders can regain control of their breathing. I like to compare this workout to a Time Trial effort or I also call it a Criss Cross Threshold workout. It is as much mental toughness training as it is physical. Science has shown us that a rider can maintain a threshold effort for more than an hour, so riders are physically capable of successfully completing this workout, the question is are they mentally capable. We can train the brain the same way we can train the body, if any participants cannot continue, let them know it's okay to take a 2-3 minute recovery then rejoin the group when they are recovered both physically and mentally. Also let them know that the next time you teach a class like this they should expect to “keep the power the pedals” longer. The cue I used in the Above Threshold profile also holds true here, after about 10 minutes, “Your legs should feel like you're taking a bath in a tub full of lactate.”
Give these two profiles a try and let me know how it goes. Both profiles are very similar and very challenging, so challenging that a bet your participants will not be able to remember a single song you played for the entire class.
Sometimes, a great profile can carry the class.
A detailed set profile to print (wider range between Floor and Ceiling, Above Threshold)
A detailed set profile to print (smaller range between Floor and Ceiling, @ Threshold)
65 minutes of mixed music to be used with these profiles, to download Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.
Recording of me teaching the Above Threshold profile on a Spinner Blade Ion, Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download on PC or Download Linked File As on Mac. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.
Recording of me teaching the @ Threshold profile on a FreeMotion IC Bike, Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download on PC or Download Linked File As on Mac. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.
Latest posts by Dennis Mellon (see all)
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- The Power of 3 – Three Song Harmonically Mixed Indoor Cycling Sets - September 27, 2017