Set the Pace!
Leverage content, voice and connection to get your ride off to a good start.
The best indoor cycling instructors get it: The workout isn’t about you; it’s about the people you’re coaching. Your class is an opportunity to shine a light on others and help them feel successful. It’s a forum for building confidence, inner strength and community.
An engaging start is like a handshake; it introduces you to the riders. It’s your time to capture your audience by rolling out the carefully constructed plan you’ve created especially for them.
How you deliver your warmup sets the tone for the rest of the experience, so provide an energetic, informative and well-paced first impression. Explain the big picture and your performance expectations up front. Let participants know you have their backs in a class that’s going to challenge and entertain them. They’ll be more inclined to rise to the occasion and give you their best when they know you’ve taken the time to plan their ride with care. Use these tips to master the first mile!
When delivering your warmup and class content, include the following must-haves.
PACKAGE THE INFORMATION
First things first: Deliver your information in small, digestible amounts. I use the term “spoon-feeding.” This allows ample time between cues for information to be absorbed, processed and applied. You can then “layer” your coaching cues to guide riders while also helping them anticipate the next stage.
Example: “As we complete the warmup, we’ll move into our first stage: a 5-minute hill climb. Hydrate, double-check your form, and get ready to increase your effort.”
USE YOUR VOICE AS A TOOL
The bikes and music make up only part of a successful class. Many instructors underutilize their voices. Use a combination of vocal tonality and cadence to complement your ride plan and playlist. Here are additional ways you can use your voice to keep participants engaged from the get-go:
- Vary your volume. Speak loudly, softly and somewhere in between to keep attention levels sharp. Dynamic tonality and proper cuing rhythm ensure that riders hear your plan and are hanging on every word. Variety also makes what you’re saying more interesting.
- Articulate your cues clearly and slowly. Indoor cycling classes are loud! Not only is music playing, but flywheels are spinning, and there may be outside noise.
- Ensure that the microphone is working optimally. There’s nothing more annoying to participants than having to strain to understand what you’re saying behind the static.
- Eliminate filler words. Be aware of expressions such as “um” and &ldquolike” that you’re prone to using, and cut them out. Be confident and clear!
- Tease the next direction. Start a cue and then pause, wait for the heads to come up, and continue.
CREATE A CONNECTION
Probably your most important role in an indoor cycling warmup is helping people feel safe and seen. Providing an overview of your class content fosters a feeling of safety by showing attendees you’ve come prepared with a solid plan.
Additionally, making eye contact helps people feel seen and appreciated. Make a conscious effort at the beginning of class to scan the room while cuing—this is a powerful way to establish a connection. Build relationships and create an inclusive environment by calling participants by their names and by getting off your bike to roam the studio and share high-fives and fist pumps.
Coaching for the Win
The warmup is simply a blueprint, a one-dimensional statement. To create a vivid picture, you must add highlighting, shade and color through your coaching. Infuse the warmup with your positive words and personality, and you will connect with participants and prepare them for a wonderful challenge.