By Doug Katona
Flip tradition to become a stronger cyclist. As an alternative to training outdoors or doing more long, slow, duration (LSD) indoor cycling training, look no further than the Spinning® program. It’s secret sauce for gaining power, and more power equals more calories burned. The result? A leaner body, a stronger engine (lungs, legs, capacity) and, if you ride outside, more stamina.
Traditional LSD training stated that in order to get more powerful on the bike, you should log more miles or ride for a longer duration. There are three problems with this formula: there’s no emphasis on skill, intensity or class structure. Speaking as a competitive cyclist, the Spinning program can flip this tradition and allow you to get more out of your training in less time!
The Formula for Power
In order to maximize your Spinning experience and get a return on time spent in class, make sure you don’t fall into these three common traps:
- Not using the right resistance. If you could pedal all day, rethink your resistance.
- Pedaling at too high of a cadence (measured in RPM). Again, RPM is linked to resistance, but speed without adequate resistance will give you an inefficient, low-intensity ride.
- Stopping-and-starting. Don’t mix recovery with rest. During recovery from a more intense movement in class, keep pedaling with resistance to develop stamina.
Simply put, the tradition of LSD indoor cycling training should be re-defined. In order of priority:
Develop sound biomechanics of how to pedal with efficiency. Get your technique refined. By developing a proper pedal stroke, you will be able to pedal with more resistance for a longer period of time. Outdoors, there are a lot of cyclists who look like they are pedaling in rough circles. They may “chop” through pedaling or fail to properly align the foot through the pedal “clock.” With a slightly shorter crank arm on a Spinner® bike, even roadies will learn to develop a smooth and efficient stroke. Traditional LSD rarely addresses this attention to technique.
The Spinning program puts a premium on intensity. It’s not all about cruising at a low tempo. We focus on higher intensities to get that critical metabolic conditioning required to maintain higher speeds and higher loads during indoor cycling training. It’s often challenging to nail those structured intervals outdoors due to traffic, weather or ideal location. A Spinning class puts you in total control to hit those intensities for a required amount of time. In many Spinning classes, you’ll see at least a few sections of high-intensity training in class. And the best news is that shorter hits are often more beneficial. Intense bouts of less than a minute to up to 4–5 minutes make a huge difference in your threshold.
If you have experienced Spinning class with proper resistance and have stuck to structured training as defined by our program, then you will agree that it’s easy to smoke yourself in a single class. Working hard during class pays off when you go outside. Often the difference between you fatiguing out or getting dropped on a climb, both indoors and out, may only be your body’s ability to hang on for a 20–40 second high-end effort. This is why a lot of traditional LSD riders rarely seem to get stronger. They ride long, but they don’t ride hard.
Spinning: The Secret to Power
Spinning is the leader in indoor indoor cycling training. It may also be a secret weapon for a lot of people seeking to enhance their road cycling, for play or performance, through structured training. Intensity and technique are prerequisites for mastering the outdoor ride. It sets your body up for being able to get closer to the fitness and health potential you are searching for.
Whether you are a cyclist, a multi-sport athlete or aiming to simply to improve your fitness, the Spinning program helps build power—power for speed, performance and stamina. And because of the fact that you can get a top-shelf training session in without slogging away for 2–3 hours, you may find you recover more efficiently and actually have time to enjoy life! Instead of Long, Slow, Duration, think Load (Resistance), Speed (Intensity) and Duration (short and tough)!