This cute kid found something good - image from

This cute kid found something good - image from

The posts with more than a couple of comments always catch my attention. It shows a hit on a subject that interests people enough to share their thoughts. I have always considered this forum's primary objective to do just that. Light a fire so-to-speak.

That said, the post on Single Leg Pedal Drills got me thinking. They are a staple of my classes. I teach on both magnetic as well as friction resistance bikes. Like Doug (Yo Doug good to hear from you) I cue the riders to “let one leg go along for the ride.

The term 'contraindicated' has - over the years — been associated with these drills when the rider has been instructed to 'unclip'. And I agree though I see the risk as minimal. Even on bikes using MR we have a few 'bouncers' — those that will just never put the kinds of resistance we instructors are trying cue — and as such are at risk for getting a pedal in the back of their leg. So I just don't do it.

Yet, what I liked most about John's post is that he has come back around to an important issue. It clearly got us talking with our fingers which means — hopefully — we gave it some thought. We don't always need to be finding something new so much as reinforcing something good. And that got me thinking.

As I have moved from beginner to journeyman to experienced to grizzled veteran, I've learned a few things.

Embrace and learn from those that take the time to compliment you/your class. Lately there have been many more of my riders — some regulars some new — that have taken the time after class to come to me with an acknowledgement of well delivered class. “Your best yet” said one just yesterday. The irony was that I'm doing nothing really new. In fact I used a playlist favorite of mine that has been collecting dust in my iPad for a while. When I think about it I've not really put anything new together in quite some time. Oh, I've got a pile of audio podcasts printed out waiting for me to take action. But I believe the truth is that the riders in my regular classes are enjoying my growth as an instructor far more than hearing Katy Perry's new tune. Or another way to climb.

People resist change. We already know we cannot please everyone in class every time. So if you are committed to bringing new everything to your class, every class, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Your regulars have an expectation of what you're going to deliver before they walk into the studio. Try your new stuff out when you sub.

You are who you are. If you have been teaching well attended, prime time classes then it is very likely that your success has more to do with you, than what you play and cue. While I don't recommend getting stale I do strongly urge you to stay true to your style.

I will use John as an example of what I mean. Recently he posted about a technology, Harmonic mixing, that blends tracks of the same musical key. His frustration was that others could put together better mixes than he. Ok, I guess. First, that is his opinion of his playlists and probably not an issue for his riders.

Next, while his integration of harmonic mixing may have a subtle effect (positive or negative) on what the riders hear, John is teaching to full room because he is John. A great smile, always happy to see his riders, has a plan for the workout and best of all, his voice over the mic during his cues are about the best I've heard. Right up there with the late Jim Karanas. Which segues nicely to.

Know your strengths and play to them. Maybe wife Amy and Chris Hawthorne put together mixes that he thinks flow better. Good for them, that is their strength, among many others, 🙂 not his. We all chose to get to the front of the room. On stage is what I call it. So face it, you like the affirmation. What gets you applauds is what your strengths are. If you are a new instructor then you may still be searching for key performance parameters. I use the word performance intentionally because that is what we do. It's not just about the workout but how you deliver it. Your performance.

One last thought on strengths. The best of the best are quite adept at getting their riders attention and holding it. I cannot stress this enough, go watch them. How? Maybe at your club there is the one instructor that 'packs em in'. Attend conferences. IDEA here on the left coast is dedicated to instructor continuing education. SCW has monthly conferences around the country. Find one near you.

Know when to say when. If you are teaching more than an average of a class a day it will be very difficult to keep the fire burning hot. Motivating ain't easy. If you are teaching your third class of the day it will soon become obvious to your riders that you are not feeling the love. Teaching indoor cycling for living is tough and — in my opinion — not sustainable at pro levels. Unless teaching that many classes is standing between you and the street, consider what your optimum number is per day as well as per week.

Do continuing education. You can always get better. Our craft is one of caring, connecting, nurturing, prodding and sweating. But none of that is possible if you don't base it on sound fundamentals. Indoor cycling is about doing cardio vascular training on an indoor cycle. Knowing as much as you can about training both, will never hurt. Add your personality, a touch of some stuff you picked up from the pros and you've got a winning recipe.

We don't always need to be finding something new, so much as reinforcing something good.


Originally posted 2017-11-20 09:00:51.

Chuck Cali
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