In Honor of National Bike Month

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As an instructor, I bet you’ve witnessed this scene a time or two: Your class members are soggy, sweaty beings… one with the bike. I mean almost literally (whose idea was it to make those seats so small anyway?) They keep checking the clock to see how many minutes have gone by and almost swear they saw time go backwards. Then it happens, the perfect song comes on! They’re no longer wishing that seat would grow larger, they pedal harder & faster, and the minutes seem zoom by. For the next four minutes, they are unstoppable and so are you!

What separates good cycle classes from great? That is a matter of opinion, but to me it is all about the music! I can be the most motivating and entertaining instructor ever, but without music to match the intensity, good personality can only take me so far. I won’t claim to have the most robust iTunes selection, but I try to program my classes with the following in mind:

  • Music from all genres – I can’t make everyone happy, but I try to find wide range.
  • Songs that can appeal to various generations -Not all Baby Boomers love Lil John.
  • Appropriate BPM (beats per minute) – It is tough to sprint to Sedated by Hozier.
  • Emotional EKG- A class cannot sprint the whole time, so music is a great way to elicit the amount of intensity needed for any section of work. A heavy beat that is slower for climbs and quick, peppy songs for endurance are great.
  • Ebb and Flow – If the intensity of the work is 10 out of 10 the song should probably be shorter or have breaks built in. An endurance song may be six minutes long, but totally doable at a 6 out of 10 intensity. I build in that ebb and flow so the member walks away feeling successful, not defeated by program design that leaves them in the dust.

Here’s one of my recent playlists:

  • Warm Up: Lovesong -The Cure
  • Endurance: Kernkraft 400 (Dubstep Remix) – dubstep
  • Attacks: Helicopter – Martin Garrix & Firebeatz
  • Jumps: Sabotage – Beastie Boys
  • Climb: Channel Kgbs (TNT Remix) – The KGB’s
  • Active Recovery to Endurance: Levels  – Avicii
  • Long Sprints: Everlong – Foo Fighters
  • Attacks: Holiday – Green Day
  • Short Sprints: Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones
  • Climb: Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil John
  • Endurance: Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
  • Small Hills: Separate Ways Worlds Apart – XXX° Century
  • Final Climb: I Stand Alone – Godsmack
  • Cool Down: Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Stretch: Sedated – Hozier

Do you have a great playlist you’d like to share? With a diverse playlist, awesome members, and great motivation it is hard not to love cycle class. So spread the love for spin and post some of your favorites! Happy National Bike Month!

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About Erin Gray

Erin Gray is Co-Owner and Manager of 865 Fitness. She is a CrossFit L-1 trainer, CrossFit Kids coach, and yoga instructor. She is certified in all nine MOSSA group fitness programs. When she isn't leading CrossFit classes you’ll find her running, or blogging.