Sample Class: The Perfect Party Ride

Keep participants active and engaged with a segmented ride.

By Amy Dixon
Mar 20, 2014

Where’s the party? In your cycling class! This segmented ride allows participants to discover their thresholds, stay fully engaged and leave feeling empowered. Ask three questions throughout class to ensure that participants know what’s expected at each stage and can therefore give their best effort:

  • What’s the goal?
  • How long is the drill?
  • How should it feel?

The Perfect Ride Details

Format: indoor cycling cross-training (mix of timed intervals, competitive racing, climbing and tempo riding)
Total Time: approximately 50 minutes
Equipment Needed: indoor bikes MUSic: suggestions offered (see chart)
Intensity Monitoring:
Easy: warm-up/cool-down; rating of perceived exertion: 0–5; heart rate reserve: 50%–65%
Moderate: aerobic activity; RPE 6–7; HRR 65%–80%
Hard: aerobic/anaerobic activity; RPE 7–8; HRR 80%–90%
Breathless: maximum effort; RPE 8–9; HRR 85%–95%

Source: Schwinn Cycling certification Manual.

Stage 1: Timed Stacked Intervals (22 minutes)

Start with a 4- to 5-minute warm-up, working toward the first classic climb as you introduce timed intervals. During this stage, cue riders to add gear and slowly increase intensity, allowing them to feel each zone. The stacked intervals are extensive and breathless, decreasing from set to set and varying in recovery time (see chart). Encourage participants to visualize that they are riding around a track while giving maximum effort in order to “earn” recovery.

Stage 2: Sprinting Flat/ Climb/Intervals (20 minutes)

A flat sprint requires a burst of power with a challenging resistance. While participants ride the flat road that leads into the
next hill, you have a perfect opportunity to use a dissociative coaching cue that incorporates mental imagery. This engages participants and allows them to push harder for longer (see chart for more details).

Sample script. “You’re riding on a long stretch of flat road looking for your VIP riding partner, who’s at the top of the hill. Along the way are three riders you need to pass. As you encounter each rider, the terrain gets steeper, challenging your strength. You pass the first two riders, but the third is farther ahead so you have to sprint to pass him before you get to the top, where your VIP riding partner is waiting.

“You made it to the top of the hill! Over the next 5 minutes you’ll experience intense intervals. Each interval will have half the recovery time. Your goal is to be present and ‘drain the tank.’ Remember, you’ll get about 3 minutes of active recovery once you finish this stage.”

Note: The increasing gear allows participants to feel the intensity protocol needed for each set. Cadence control is crucial here.

Pefect Party Table

Stage 3: Tempo Ride/Cool-Down (10 minutes)

A tempo ride is an endurance drill that uses pace and gear to build strength during long-distance rides. The intensity is tough enough that participants are right on the edge of breathlessness during the entire stage. Finding the right gear is a process of trial and error. As a coach, you’ll indicate the cadence (80–100 revolutions per minute) and cue riders to find the perfect gearto settle into their rhythm and connect with the power and intensity of the “road.”

Associative coaching cues keep participants present and aware of their breathing, heart rate and muscular endurance during a tempo ride. Once riders reach the “finish line,” incorporate a 5-minute cool-down. Allow a few moments on the bike to slow down heart rates, and spend at least 3–5 minutes off the bike leading static stretches for the hamstrings, quadriceps, hips/gluteals, shoulders, chest and calves.


Amy Dixon

Amy Dixon is the group fitness manager for Equinox in Santa Monica, California, and is the official spokesperson for WomenÔÇÖs Health magazine. She holds a degree in exercise science and has been in the fitness industry for more than 15 years. Amy is also a fitness DVD star and choreographer, a BOSU®, Schwinn® Cycling, Gymstick and GRAVITY® master trainer, and the writer and former director of a wellness program established for the national organization Senior Friends.
Certification: AFAA

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Montgomery Webster on March 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for the sample class. Really helps me understand how to go about becoming a spin instructor.

Leave a Comment

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.