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Sample Class: Cycling Power for the People

by Cameron Chinatti on Jan 01, 2012

Class Take-Out

Use power training concepts to teach participants how to specialize and blast past self-imposed boundaries.

In its most basic sense, power is simply a measure of work in relation to time. Formerly available to outdoor cyclists who could afford the technology, the ability to quantify output (work) is now changing the face of indoor cycling. This presents unique opportunities to progress attendees.

However, change can be difficult without buy-in. Use this workout to transition to a power-focused class. Participants will see just how motivating it can be to train with metrics, while still being fun! If you don’t have bikes that measure power, never fear. The concepts presented here are “translated” to support all bikes.

Cycling Power for the People Details

SETUP: Class configuration goes a long way toward developing a team vibe. Try the quad-pod: Arrange four bikes in a tight horseshoe shape that allows participants to communicate easily.

GOAL: Identify each team member’s “specialty.” After experiencing 5-minute, 30-second, 3-minute and 1-minute time trials, each team will assign someone to specialize in one of the time frames in a final competition.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour.

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

Share your objectives and explain the game. In the second half of the warm-up, cue three 60-second speed pickups to prepare the legs for the efforts ahead.

Power cues. “Observe the data! What do you notice is happening to your wattage as you increase your leg speed?”

Effort cues. “These leg-speed pickups feel doable and sustainable, yet this rpm [revolutions per minute] rate is a bit faster than what you might otherwise choose.”

Main Stages (45 minutes)
Stage 1: Dry Run (7 minutes)

Work. 5 minutes, hard effort.

Recovery. 2 minutes.

Power cues. “Choose how to achieve maximum power on this first effort. Whatever you choose—how much distance can you cover in 5 minutes?”

Effort cues. “Pace yourself! It’s tempting to burn it up in the first minute. Can you ‘spend’ your last dollar’s worth of effort in your final minute?”

Stage 1: Qualifier (8 minutes)

Work. 5 minutes, hard effort.

Recovery. 3 minutes.

Power cues. “Talk among your teammates. Who increased by the most distance from the dry run to the qualifier? He or she is now your 5-minute specialist!”

Effort cues. “Talk among your teammates. How did that second 5-minute effort feel? Choose the person who felt the freshest after that effort. He or she is now your 5-minute specialist!”

Stage 2: Dry Run (2:30 minutes)
Work. 30 seconds, explosive effort.

Recovery. 2 minutes.

Power cues. “This is an out-of-the-saddle, dynamite explosion. What is the highest maximum wattage (watts/body weight) you can achieve?”

Effort cues. “This effort requires the perfect balance of resistance and leg speed. What tactic will you choose to beat the competition?”

Stage 2: Qualifier (3:30 minutes)

Work. 30 seconds, explosive effort.

Recovery. 3 minutes.

Power cues. “It’s time to talk to your teammates. Of the three remaining riders, who had the highest maximum wattage? This person is now your 30-second specialist.”

Effort cues. “Once again, it’s time to talk to your teammates. Of the three remaining riders, who wants to own the 30-second sprint? This is your 30-second specialist for the final contest.”

Stage 3: Dry Run (4 minutes)

Work. 3 minutes, speed challenge.

Recovery. 1 minute.

Power cues. “Speed is the name of the game in this 3-minute challenge. The objective is to hold your average speed as high as possible for 3 minutes. If your console doesn’t display average speed, monitor it and try to memorize the speed you can see for the majority of the challenge.”

Effort cues. “Although subjective, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is still a great guide. During this challenge, envision the number from 1 to 10 that represents how hard you’re working.”

Stage 3: Qualifier (5 minutes)

Work. 3 minutes, speed challenge.

Recovery. 2 minutes.

Power cues. “Get strategic! Of the two remaining team members, who maintained the highest average speed? This is your 3-minute specialist.”

Effort cues. “Of the two remaining team members, who had the highest number on a scale of 1 to 10 (this is not an exact science!)? Whoever sustained the higher RPE is the 3-minute specialist.”

Stage 4: Dry Run (2 minutes)

Work. 1 minute, power challenge.

Recovery. 1 minute.

Power cues. “The 1-minute power challenge is fast and furious. Your remaining teammate owns this challenge and is also your team captain. After the 1-minute power challenge, the captain can trade assignments if she decides this 1-minute effort is better suited to a different teammate. You’re looking for the least drop in power from the dry run to the qualifier.”

Effort cues: “The remaining teammate owns this challenge and is now the team captain! As such, he may trade time trials with any of his team members. Being captain has its perks!”

Stage 4: Qualifier (2 minutes)

Work. 1 minute, power challenge.

Recovery. 1 minute.

Power cues. “Team captain, it’s now up to you to decide if the team has chosen the appropriate specialists. If any reassignments need to happen, now’s your chance.”

Effort cues. “Based on your team’s performance, the captain must decide if your specialist assignments will remain or if they should change.”

Stage 5: Recovery and Rules of Competition (2 minutes)

Work. Listen up!

Recovery. 2 minutes.

Power cues. “We begin with the 5-minute effort, which will be ridden by the 5-minute specialist of each pod. All other team members are cheering. We proceed immediately to the 30-second and 3-minute challenges and then finish with the 1-minute power challenge. When you are not working, please maintain a recovery pace of under 75 watts. After the contest ends, we’ll add up the accumulated distance. Whichever team goes the farthest wins!”

Effort cues. Rules from the power cues apply: “The loudest team will be dubbed the winner. If you aren’t racing, you’re making noise!”

Stage 6: Competition! (9:30 minutes)

Work. 5-minute effort: team member 1; 30-second effort: team member 2; 3-minute effort: team member 3; 1-minute effort: team member 4.

Recovery. Riders rest when they aren’t working.

Power cues. As the ringleader, you (the instructor) set the energy level with your supportive words and encouragement.

Effort cues. “The most supportive team wins. Make some noise!!”

Cool-Down and Stretch (5 minutes)

Cue teams to soft-pedal to flush out the legs. After 3 minutes of easy riding, encourage postures that stretch the front side of the body and/or engage the posterior chain. Use a calculator or pen and paper to add up everyone’s distances. You may also have teams do this themselves on the honor system. Team spirit is usually fairly easy to gauge. Who came together as a team? Recognize these individuals for their efforts.

This ride can feel chaotic, which is half the fun! Therefore, consider teaching off-bike. It gives you better control over the group and allows you to visit with individual teams throughout the ride. Carry your stopwatch and this Class Take-Out so you can keep track of time and intention for each stage.

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About the Author

Cameron Chinatti

Cameron Chinatti IDEA Author/Presenter

Cameron is the Director of Education for Foundation Fitness and lead developer of Stages Indoor Cycling. Concurrently, she serves as CEO of Sounds Fit Solutions Inc; a company dedicated to fitness and audio systems education. As an international presenter/lecturer, Cameron has had the opportunity to educate on numerous topics ranging from indoor cycling to fitness career development. Her recent publishing credits include work for Foundation Fitness, and multiple contributions to the IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fitness Manager. A background in Opera Performance and Vocal Pedagogy has led Cameron to create a specialty niche for fitness professionals wishing to develop the health, clarity and endurance of the human voice- a teacher’s greatest asset. Cameron is currently a Master Trainer for BOSU® by Fitness Quest as well as Gliding by Savvier . She is a continuing education provider for ACE and AFAA and holds specialty certifications through numerous organizations. When not EduTaining in Nashville, TN., Cameron can be found entertaining and singing with Hi-Phi Entertainment based in Boulder, CO.