While there are dozens of important elements included in all great indoor group cycling classes and programs, there are 10 essential ingredients that set great indoor group cycling classes apart from others.
Utilize this information to guide you when seeking out quality classes/programs to ensure that the program is safe, effective and fun. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.
Ten Essential Ingredients
• Quality, well-maintained indoor group cycles. Without the best equipment for clients, their safety and outcomes/results may be seriously impaired.
• Quality, well trained, certified and experienced indoor group cycling instructors. These individuals must be certified; however, there is no magic in certification as some of these certification programs are one, 8-hour day of training and that is not even in the realm of enough training to safely and effectively train clients. It takes a foundational certification in group exercise or personal training, a specific indoor group cycling certification combined with years of specific indoor group cycling training experience to fully develop a qualified indoor group exercise instructor.
• Well planned and designed profiles for each and every class. A profile is the lesson plan for that specific ride which is written for referral by the instructor and if possible, displayed on a white board for the class to see and follow along. There are more sophisticated profile programs such as those featured by Cycling Fusion (i.e. Class Builder) which are terrific; however, the main element is that there is a well-designed planned profile. These profiles should identify how many of each skill or drill will be performed, the duration of each exertion and recovery interval when HIIT is being featured, the number of load-ups when a load-up drill is on deck, the revolutions per minute (i.e. RPM’s), intensity requirements (i.e. RPE’s, Heart Zones Training Zone, and heart rate), and the duration of the ride excluding warm-up and cool down, etc.
• The program should include comprehensive goals/objectives for the short and long-term which focus upon helping clients attain personal goals/objectives.
• Visualization/imagery are critical during each ride as we are attempting to simulate the outdoor ride indoors.
• Tracking mechanisms. Whether it is a simple statistics journal for the riders to record their data or sophisticated heart rate monitor with downloadable data, it is important to track progress.
• Periodic testing for threshold one/two utilizing various testing modalities. These tests should be performed with regularity so that the rider is able to witness improvement in threshold levels.
• Music selection which enhances the ride is a must. Each song should be selected specifically for that ride and be organized so the class flows seamlessly.
• Bike Fit. A professional bike fit should be performed on each rider prior to their first class. This takes time and planning, but can be managed if a club is well prepared for this process. Bike fit cards with the fit displayed along with intensity parameters also creates structure and organization to the classes.
• Submaximal heart rate tests should be available for those riders that choose to refine their training intensity.