By Jennifer Lintz, Registered Dietitian and ICI/PRO Member Soigneur
Recently I received a message from one of our members in need of a little assistance:
"I'm pretty new to this spin instruction thing and I'm looking for new class ideas and routines that aren't based too much on certain songs but on technique and fun challenging routines. Is there a spot on your site to help with this?"
Because I am sure there are others who have had this same question, I am sharing my response, just in case others find it helpful. Getting started as an indoor cycle instructor can be very overwhelming, and a lot of times, new teachers are simply looking for ideas.
Here is my take ...
"Yes, we do have a section with some class ideas. Once you get logged in, if you click on the "Instructor Training" tab at the top, and then "Class Profiles," we have over 50 different examples of classes that Instructors and Master Instructors have led that were well-received. Each instructor explains their class plan in an audio podcast, but there is also a corresponding PDF to go along with it. Here is a good example from Julz Arney.
Many of the instructors do list recommended songs, but by no means would you have to use them. If you glance through the various profiles we have on the site (and we add new ones a couple times each month), you will get a lot of ideas for how to structure your classes and can tweak them to fit your teaching style.
I always like to start my class planning with some kind of objective that answers the question "What are we going to do today?"
When I taught this morning, we did an "Out and Back Ride." Therefore, all of the terrain we conquered in the first half of class we saw in reverse order in the second half, as if we had turned around. You can apply so many different types of terrain to that format ... it could be rolling hills first, followed by flat roads focusing on consistency in pace and gear, then a gradual climb, some speed work, and turn around to do it all over with new tunes and slight variations in the way the drills are executed.
Some days, my classes are entirely drill-based (i.e. "We are doing interval ladders today." An example of this might be: 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, followed by 60 seconds on and 30 seconds off, 2 minutes on and 30 seconds off, 4 minutes on and 1 minute off, etc. and then go back down.)
Other times, I will describe the terrain right out of the gate. (i.e. "Today's ride is pretty flat, but we will have 3 hills to deal with, each a little steeper than the previous. The first one will be a 3 minute climb, followed by a 5 minute climb, and finishing with a 7 minute climb.")
When I go to class as a participant, I like to know a bit about what we are doing ("The Plan"), so I try to give that to my riders as we start the warm up. Today we are doing "____________." It can help when music correlates with the terrain/drill, (i.e. slow, steady beat for inclines vs quick, driving beat for endurance/flat terrain).
I could go on and on and on! I don't think there is a right or wrong as far as the way you set up your class, just as long as you have a plan, explain it to your students, and stick to it. Hopefully scanning the Audio PROfiles will give you some good inspiration. I also find it helpful to listen to the podcasts when I am driving to work to help improve my cueing/coaching/organization/motivational technique.
I am copying John on this in case he has anything to add. It can be very overwhelming when you get started as an instructor, but each class is an opportunity to improve."
I would love to hear what the rest of you have to say about this topic!
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Sounds like we have a similar MO, here.
My warm-ups pretty much always follow the same pattern…..a few minutes easy-peasy a few minutes ramp-up…..back to easy peasy and then we’re off.
During the easy peasy is where I always announce that I’ll be doing all the yapping over then next few minutes so’s not to intrude on their ride and run through the “objectives” for class……explaining for the benefit of any newcomers that, once they’re used to my style, it’s pretty easy to be able to think ahead at say minute 20 and know what’s about to come up at minute 40 and budget/modify their effort accordingly.
As rational an approach as this seems to me, it’s not that common. It’s certainly popular with my regulars and newbies often remark on how quick the time went by but oddly enough at a former gig that I ended up dumping the only consistent complaint was that there was too much talking/teaching!?!
Naturally, the general standard of instruction wasn’t that great……and thaat’s what the class demographic judge a “proper” class to be like