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We continue our look at the brand new Becoming a Rockstar Instructor certification by looking at the strategies that world-class instructors use to create life-changing rides!


Creating an extraordinary ride requires careful planning and the use of sound training methods. It also involves setting clear goals that are specific, measurable and attainable. Spinning® classes are designed with a combination of biomechanics, skills, techniques and energy systems. But most importantly, they need to be fun!

Great instructors bring the riding experience to life by layering in music, visuals, positive communication and expert delivery to every class. With the brand new Becoming a Rockstar Instructor course, we wanted to share the strategies used by the world’s best Spinning instructors so that every rider stays excited, engaged and on track toward their fitness goals. This brand new certification not only explores how to create an effective ride, but also how to cultivate an exhilarating environment that will leave students feeling invigorated and ready to come back for more.

Last month, we reviewed the scientific knowledge that’s required of exemplary instructors. Today, we will look at the qualities of ride design that will transform small classes into rooms packed with excited riders!

Go Beyond the Basics

In our Spinning Instructor Certification, we learned the basics of class design with the four Ps – population, purpose, plan and progression. These four areas define who is in your ride, what their goals are, and how we can best achieve those goals with a safe effective ride and clear periodization schedule.

The Rockstar course delves even deeper into the planning and progression stages of your ride design. These two areas not only set up a great class for today, but also for an exemplary training plan in the months and weeks to come. The course also explores classes as examples like the 300/600/900 ride from Spinning Master Instructor Josh Taylor. With these rides, instructors from all around the world can draw from Josh’s inspiration and teach classes like a true rock star!

Creating Great Rides with F.I.T.T.

With your riders’ goals in mind and a solid intention on achieving those goals, the next step is to create a plan using the training principles in the Spinning® program. The F.I.T.T. principles (frequency, intensity, time, type) establishes the framework and course design variables for your plan.

Ride profiles in the Spinning program have always included F.I.T.T. principles to that every instructor can meet the needs of every participant. Frequency can be modified with the number of movements repeated like Jumps or Standing Climbs. Instructors can define the intensity with the Spinning Energy Zones or a rider’s rating of perceived exertion. They can manipulate time with the duration of certain movements. And the nine movements themselves determine the type of modality at the ride achieves.

Ensure Your Riders’ Progress

Progression can be incorporated within the framework of the class, or into the following weeks and months. It begins with a warm-up, gradually preparing the body for exercise. All rides should start very easy and progressively wake up the body’s systems by introducing movements and intensity little by little. If you up the intensity too fast or too early, you increase the risk of injury and poor performance. This will not elicit the best results from the students, so a good warm-up and cool-down is essential.

Find Rockstar Trainings

In addition to warming up and cooling down, an appropriate amount of overload needs the correct dose of recovery from the movement/intensity to ensure the best results for riders. Creating a progressive flow of movements and intensity from start to finish gives the rider a suitable amount of recovery to achieve the purpose of the class. Although we commonly think of great instructors pushing their hardest through every second of a class, this balance and variety of intensities offer the best progression for students, and they are the true hallmarks of a rockstar instructor.

But those are just two of the many qualities that make up a great class. World-class Spinning instructors also know how to layer language, music and visuals to create a truly incredible class experience.

The Power of Positive Language

Great instructors use language and other mental training techniques to relax riders into exercising, and boost riders’ self-confidence through the stresses of the workout so that the mind and body work together in harmony. This strikes a balance between pushing them and supporting them so they leave feeling they had a great training session.

The language in class should coach riders through the intensity of the movements while boosting the fun and motivation of every class. Relaxation, positive instruction and imagery are some of the strategies used to motivate riders to have a strong belief in their ability to perform well. Using all the language tools you have your disposal, you can put your riders in the perfect frame of mind to keep the flywheel moving. This makes the ride enjoyable yet challenging, enhancing fitness and boosting self-confidence.

In the Rockstar course, instructors get positive cues from nearly a dozen scenarios that can pop up in class. There is also language tailored for Josh’s 300/600/900 ride.

Setting the Soundtrack for Class

According to the American Council on Exercise, the number one subject of feedback in a group fitness classes is music selection, followed by class design. Music is the driving force behind the total Spinning® experience. Spinning instructor are not only skilled motivators and amazing coaches, but they are also the DJ; the soundtrack of the ride needs to be thoroughly timed and flow from one component to the other. Just as the terrain on the road has a shape, rhythm and effect, the music forms the profile, pace and purpose.

Exceptional instructors coach students to find their own rhythm, and we all have the freedom to choose between following the music’s tempo or our own pace. It is important to understand that riding on or off the beat is a method that can assist some riders in setting their inner metronome. But in addition to the beat of the music, take a close look at music’s personal significance. The more that your riders connect emotionally with the song, the more moved they will feel.

The Rockstar course includes sources to find quality music, and methods for mixing your own tunes just for class. But that’s not the only way that Spinning instructors craft a better class experience.

Enhancing Your Rides with Visuals

Using visuals in Spinning classes can be a great motivational tool for our riders and can help you create a unique experience, enhancing the connection between movement, music, verbal and visual coaching. Spinning has released several professional quality videos designed for indoor cycling studios that create the illusion of riding through the green hills of Ireland or ascending the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Instructors can start with these Spinning videos, or search for visuals as soon as you have a clear concept for your ride, and then you will add your music. As Spinning Master Instructor Mark Tickner notes in the course: “When putting a visual ride together, have a picture in your mind what you are trying to present…a story of some kind if you will. Then write down the movements that will create the profile for your story. Find the right images and movies to allow your story to take place.”

With these tips and strategies, a small studio can grow into a one-of-a-kind experience that take riders on a journey while they achieve their fitness goals. But as the old idiom goes: it’s all about delivery. Next month, we will conclude our exploration of the new Becoming a Rockstar Course with delivery techniques that combine expert class design with magnetic personality.

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