Last Tuesday I shared What To Expect In Cycle Class, and today I’m giving you the tools to create your very own cycle class that you can do by yourself! There are so many days that I wish I could make it to that Spin class at the gym, but as much as I’d like to be there, my schedule just does not allow that to happen! Wait, you too? Yeah, life is crazy and unpredictable sometimes, and our personal schedules don’t always line up with the class times the gym offers. Here’s our options when it’s not possible to get to spin class in time: Boohoo!! I guess I can’t exercise at all today! I pay all this money for a gym membership, and now it’s all their fault that I feel like a slug, because they don’t schedule their classes around my personal life! Waaa! OR… we can say, wait-cycle room is open? Awesome! I can still get my cardio in! And bonus-that sweaty guy who ALWAYS chooses the bike right next to mine isn’t there, so I don’t have to worry about getting his drippy sweat splashes on my legs! Score!
It’s all in our perspective yall…
One of the fantastic things about cycle classes, is that it’s pretty simple to get a fantastic cardio cycle workout even without that ADHD instructor in the front barking out orders! All you need is a bike, the same clothes and equipment I shared with you on Tuesday, and an awesome music playlist (which I’m gonna give you at the end of the post!).
Cycle classes are especially great because there are really no fancy dance moves or pretzel-like positions to hold, so it’s pretty simple to create a spin class-like experience on your own. If you were attending a cycle class, during the time between the warm-up and the cool-down, your cycle instructor will want to target either your Strength by climbing hills, challenge your Speed by leading sprints, or focus on your Endurance by riding on a flat road. These are the three major areas of work in group cycling, and any other drill or activity is a subcategory or mixture of one of these three areas.
One of the best and easiest ways to create your own cycle class, is by taking the above three areas of work, Strength, Speed, and Endurance, add in your favorite motivational music, and just let the music be your guide. Slow, gritty, heavy beats will tell you to turn up the resistance and climb that steep hill. Fast techno or upbeat, rapid-paced music will beg for you speed up and take on a race, and moderate tempos or introspective songs will make you feel like settling into a steady pace on a flat road. You might switch things up by standing up or sitting down during different times within a song, maybe gradually increasing the difficulty of the work by adding additional resistance with each new verse or chorus within the song. Maybe during a techno song without lyrics, you might sprint for 30 seconds, then recover for 30 seconds, and continue to follow that pattern for the entire song. Some songs are more contained or softer during the verse, so you might sit and climb a hill during the verse, and then stand up and increase your pace as the music picks up in intensity during the chorus. These are only a few of countless things you could do while indoor cycling, so be creative and ride the way you like best, and also take note of fun or challenging ideas you experience in group classes, so that you can recreate those drills or exercises on your own time!
I have below a sample class that you can print out if you’d like, along with a Spotify playlist to take with you to the gym, so that you can do your own cycle class! Follow me on Spotify, and pull up the DIY Cycle class playlist (and make sure the playlist is not on shuffle!). The Instruction Sheet below is what I would do if I were teaching a real life class to this music, so feel free to print it out and follow along, or just create your own workout, using your favorite cycle exercises!
My only pieces of advice today are:
1.) Be sure to set up your bike correctly; awesome short how-to video here.
2.) Make sure AT ALL TIMES (yes, even during sprinting and cool down!) that you have at least enough resistance on the bike to feel as though you have an imaginary road underneath your feet. Most cycle/spin bikes are designed with resistance levels so easy and light that the pedals would continue turning for minutes all by themselves, without any effort taking place on the rider’s end. This might feel like you’re pedaling through the air. Yes, it might feel so happy and nice and easy, but if you’re at the gym, you’re probably there to get some exercise in, not to just let the bike pedals take your legs on a fun ride round and round for an hour. I have attended classes myself where the instructor tells the class to take all the resistance off and go as fast as they can. Eeeek! I beg of you not to do this! Injuries take place when we are not in control of our pedal stroke. It’s not that I’m trying to stop you from having fun and trying to hold you back from reaching your lightning-fast speed goals! An uncontrollable fast pace with too light of resistance is asking for an injury, and is not worth the mph you might reach with no resistance. An easy way to tell if your resistance level is at the correct level is to check to see if you are bouncing up and down (kinda a slight jerky, jumpy-type bounce) in the saddle as you pedal. If you are, it’s too light. Your stroke should be smooth as you pedal, and your upper body should stay pretty stable. YOU pedal the bike; don’t let the bike pedal you. Stay safe, and exercise smart.
3.) Cheer yourself on! You haven’t got a group of people around to motivate you to keep working hard like you might in an actual class, so tell yourself you’re here to work, and then use encouraging self-talk to keep yourself pushing forward!
- Cycle or Spin Bike
- DIY Cycle Class Playlist
- Nothin To Lose (Josh Gracin) - Resistance = Light. Pedaling quickly on a flat road, warming up the muscles and increasing the heart rate.
- My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Fall Out Boy) - Resistance = Medium to Heavy. Verse--Seated Climb; Chorus--Standing Climb, increasing pace, fighting against difficult resistance level.
- Don't You Worry Child (Swedish House Mafia) - Verse--Seated and/or Standing Climb, Medium/Heavy Resistance; Chorus/Instrumental--Reduce to Light Resistance, speed up pace (sprint).
- Asturias (David Garrett) - Resistance = Light. Speed Intervals = 30 seconds of speed (sprint), 30 seconds of recovery; repeat for entire duration of song.
- Dream On (Aerosmith) - Resistance = Heavy. Verse--Seated Climb; Chorus--Standing Climb. Increase resistance level at the beginning of each new chorus.
- Somebody Told Me (The Killers) - Resistance = Medium to Heavy. Verse--Standing Climb; Chorus = Sit down and speed up pace (keeping the difficult resistance level)
- Sandstorm (Darude) - Resistance = Light. Speed Intervals - Listen to music, and sprint until music intensity drops, about 1 minute. Recover until music intensifies, about 1 minute. Sprint until the end, about 1 minute.
- Bang Bang (Jessie J) - Resistance = Medium to Heavy. Verse--Standing Climb. Chorus--Sit down, and keeping difficult resistance, speed up pace.
- Proud Mary (Tina Turner) - First half of song, Resistance is Heavy, Seated and/or Standing Climb; Second half of song, Resistance is Light/Medium, Sit down, and increase pace (sprint) to finish.
- Separate Ways (World's Apart) (Journey) - Resistance = Heavy. Intro-Standing Climb; Verse-Seated Climb; Chorus-Standing Climb. Gradually increase resistance with each new chorus.
- Love Never Felt So Good (Michael Jackson) - Cool Down Resistance = Light
- This (Darius Rucker) - Stretch
- Fallin For You (Colbie Caillat) - Continue Stretch, if needed
2. Challenge your body!
3. Add in any extra favorite drills to personalize your class