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I'm new to the forum. I'm a spin instructor at a gym but not much of an outdoor cyclist. I'm looking for techniques to use on indoor spinners that will recreate real cycling conditions while fitting into an interval training system. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

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Two skinny J's
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This sounds like something right up INTEGRATE's alley. I've never done a spin class so I have no input
 

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Also, check out the offerings from David at The Sufferfest. He has group editions of his videos that you could use in the class, or you could just buy the single edition, try them on your own, and structure some similar workouts. Most are right around an hour. He uses great music and actual footage from pro races. Most efforts are based on rate of perceived exertion, so your class wouldn't need anything special to do the workouts. I've also found the videos are very well thought out and have resulted in significant gains for me over the winters.

Here's a thread where I've discussed a lot of the videos: http://www.twospoke.com/forum/f27/review-thesufferfest-videos-3519/

And here's a link to a review I did on one of his latest videos for Industry Outsider: http://www.industryoutsider.com/?p=2356
 

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Two skinny J's
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Spin = boring punishment to me. At the very least, you should be switching up the room so I can look at a different thong-clad behind every 10-15 minutes.
I think that's why I can't ride stationary trainer over the winter, MTB fits nicely!
 

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First of all I will be completely honest, I'm not a fan of indoor classes on spin bikes. They typically don't fit people correctly, proper instruction as to how they can fit the best on the bike isn't given and the classes do more to encourage muscle imbalances than they do to help fitness. This is in addition to people using the wrong muscles to perform a proper pedal stroke. Plus, in all honesty, in my experience there typically isn't a periodized plan in terms of increasing not only skills, but fitness of the three energy systems you need to ride. Again, in my experience in SF Bay Area spin classes.

Now, doing sessions on indoor trainers is completely different in that its your bike you've been fit to. The rub for me is (and this NOT a dig at spin class instructors, they deliver great general whoop ass classes, they GENERALLY don't have cycling backgrounds) that cycling is such a specificity of training sport that you have to have the right workouts to progress. This includes working on cycling specific skills in an indoor setting. If you build fitness on dysfunction (Gray Cook), you just make people "better at sucking (Bret Contreras)." Meaning, if they aren't moving correctly, then they shouldn't be made more fit/stronger in the movements they aren't good at.

When we do our indoor classes:
1) Our instructors walk around. This works better for several reasons. The biggest of which it allows them to monitor form better. We walk around with a plastic dowel rod placing it on people's backs constantly harping on people to extend their spinal columns for neutral posture. We also nag "bend your elbows" constantly because of too many reason to list without this turning into an article. Even in "professional" indoor trainer DVD's very rarely are there form cues, and very often the for of the riders isn't very good.

Since most people have desk jobs and poor posture, putting them on something that doesn't fit them kicking their ass for an hour will make it worse.

2) We hammer cycling specific skills: pulling up with hip flexors/abs, pushing down with glutes, using the lats to provide additional stability/force throughout the pedal stroke, breathing correctly into the diaphragm and NOT the chest (a very often overlooked training modality that trashes the body when done incorrectly), wrist position, elbow position, neck, shoulders, knees, everything. The biggest reason is whatever habits are formed inside WILL be taken outdoors.

The above mentioned are the biggest reasons I have issues with non cyclists teaching spin classes. There is a lot more going on than feet pushing pedals. If the seat is too high/too far back, you stress the IT band and hamstrings. Too low and close to the stem, and you get into knee/low back issues. Not being set up right on the bike in a class will trash your body pretty quickly, and not just the lower body once the kinetic chain is dysfunctionally stressed at high intensity.

Again, NOT a dig at spin instructors as humans teaching a general exercise class. I'm not trying to be elitist or pompous, but as someone who has worked with over 400 cyclists in the last 10 years, I see how the sport breaks them down and how you can prevent that with proper riding form.

For people who just want to hammer their heart rates for general fitness, arent serious about cycling, etc, then sure, go ahead and take the classes until something starts to hurt. If you want to systematically improve VO2 max, anaerobic threshold and lactate threshold to improve how you perform outside, find a place that does indoor trainer classes with a USA Cycling certified coach or someone with years of experience racing.

I apologize if this sounds like a rant, but I'm not a big fan of people exercising incorrectly at high intensity.
 

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Now, if you want to simulate outdoor workouts, then I would highly recommend the cycling edition of "Workouts in a Binder." They have periodized plans to follow that work really well. You can also pick up Chris Carmichael's "Time Crunched Cyclist" and follow the 12-week templates that are in there.
 

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I love all these out-door cyclists who rant on indoor classes. Why don't you all just stick to outdoor cycling if the spin classes aren't up to you high standards. I am a competitive runner, but I do not go to forums and bash people who run on Treadmills.
 

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I love all these out-door cyclists who rant on indoor classes. Why don't you all just stick to outdoor cycling if the spin classes aren't up to you high standards. I am a competitive runner, but I do not go to forums and bash people who run on Treadmills.
Umm, the poster came to a cycling forum asking for advice on a spin class, not the other way around. :rolleyes: FYI, great first post, welcome to the forum.

Having done both, I agree with what Integrate stated. If you are trying to train people to be a cyclist on a spin bike, it just isn't going to work the way you think. They are two different creatures. I was lucky enough that my spin teacher was also a cyclist and was focused on proper form etc... However, since getting my road bike I have yet to go back to a spin class because they now bore me.

They are great for a cardio workout, but that is about it.
 

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I attend spin classes and have 2 different instructors. One competes in triathlons and is a cyclist. The other is a competitive body builder. Both are female. Both classes are completely different. One focuses on trying to recreate the outdoor experience as much as possible while the other focuses more on pushing intensity and muscular activities. I enjoy both classes, but it's very obvious by observing the students who cycles and who doesn't simply by their pedal stroke technique, body position, etc. While one can focus on that and work on proper techniques, that's about as far as one can go to achieve similarity. You've stated that you're not an outdoor cyclist, so I'd say that you're going to have a difficult time relating to the outdoor cyclist in that manner.
 

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I love all these out-door cyclists who rant on indoor classes. Why don't you all just stick to outdoor cycling if the spin classes aren't up to you high standards. I am a competitive runner, but I do not go to forums and bash people who run on Treadmills.
There's no "ranting" or "bashing" on this thread. Two guys find spinning boring, with no further comment; Integrate posted a comprehensive, well reasoned, constructive comment (you could do worse than to read just about everything he has to say around here); and someone else posted some helpful links for the OP's consideration. The OP didn't have the courtesy to say thanks or respond further, and you offer a reply to a thread that's been dead for 11 months. Otherwise, welcome to the forum:)
 

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I agree with Integrate. Anyone can get on a trainer and mash away and lead a hard workout, but unless they are a cyclist they will not have the nuances down properly. Posture, as I have learned, can be the difference between a fast comfortable ride and a painfull a$$ beating. A coach that trains in posture, spin technique, as well as pace (to improve VO2 max) will make you a better cyclist on either bike. My gym has trainers for the spin classes and they are the same people who lead the group rides on the weekend, so they "get it."

bend the elbows, relax the back, use the glutes, dont mash, etc etc.
 

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It's not a bashing of indoor riders, it's pointing out the potential pitfalls of riding a spin bike and the different variables that come along with that.


Also keep in mind, indoor riding will help energy systems, but does nothing to actually make you a better rider because you are supported by the trainer so all you have to do is push the pedals down.

Rollers, and to some extent the Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer, require a little more real world application of the muscles required to keep a bike upright.

Specificity of training is my point.
 
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