Stairway

 

The Power of 3 - "Stairway To Heaven"

"Rhiannon" by Stevie Nicks

"Come On Eileen" by Dexie's Midnight Runners

"Stairway To Heaven" by Heart

For years I had been patiently waiting for the facilities I instruct in to upgrade their bikes to use power.  When these upgrades finally started to happen I was surprised by the different wattage readings I would see, not only, from different brands of bikes but by bikes built by the same manufacturer.   I had always assumed a watt is a watt the same way a MPH is MPH or an RPM is an RPM.  At first this was VERY disappointing, I have a very technical teaching style and I was hoping to have all my class participants perform a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test every 6-8 weeks, calculate their personal power zones and coach each and every class to those zones.  Unfortunately, if every bike in the studio reads wattage, even a little bit, differently I would need to adjust my teaching style.

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I needed to figure out a way to use this new technology, even with it's faults, effectively to give my participants the best workout possible. I decided that the FTP test was still going to be an integral part of my programming and I would still perform this test every 6-8 weeks.  I asked my class participants to find 2-3 bikes that they believe are similar in wattage readings and ride those bikes as often as possible.  Small differences are ok, large ones make zone training impossible.  I also needed a technique to "dial in" new riders, those who never performed the FTP and others who may be forced to ride an unfamiliar bike.  I decided to start every class with a proper warm followed by a mini threshold test that I call a "Threshold Check".  This "Threshold Check" can last anywhere between 4-6 minutes and I ask class participants to ride at their maximum sustainable intensity or wattage for the duration of this short test.  If the bikes are equipped with a console that will show average wattage I ask for the class to find their average wattage for this "Check".  If the bikes do not have a way of reading average wattage I ask the class to be aware of their wattage throughout the "Check" and choose a wattage that they believe is closest to their maximum sustainable wattage.  If I'm teaching on a bike that is not equipped with a power meter I still perform this "threshold check" and i do my best to "anchor" effort with threshold RPE.  I also like to "anchor" effort and RPE during the FTP .  Most FTP tests last 20 minutes, so 10 minutes into a FTP effort I'll explain that the feelings participants are experiencing, slight breathlessness. burning sensation in the legs and the need to stay extremely focused or wattage will drop is how a threshold effort "feels" and I ask them to associate  this feeling with whatever RPE number is used as threshold in the facility I'm teaching in.

Now that each participant has a threshold wattage or RPE to work with I break my profiles down into 3 zones: Above Threshold, Around Threshold and Below Threshold.  Efforts that are Above Threshold (greater than 106% of threshold) can last up to 8 minutes, efforts around threshold (90-105% of threshold) can last up to 30 minutes and below threshold efforts (less than 90% of threshold) can last up to 3 hours.

Check out the recorded classes below to hear how I use this "Threshold Check" in a class setting.

A detailed set profile to print

The_Power_of_3_Rhiannon_Come_On_Eileen_Stairway

 

3 song harmonically mixed track, 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 this 3 song set in a class 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 this 3 song set in a class on a Spinner NXT , 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.

 

3 song harmonically mixed song AND video,  to download Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download.

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